Thursday, November 1, 2018

MIAA Football: Sectional Semi-Final Picks

One season after being eliminated by North Attleboro, John Roberts and Duxbury hope to get some revenge (Photo Courtesy; Todd Maddock/Duxbury Clipper)

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612), Featuring Joe Parello (@HereWeGoJoe)

Heading into a weekend full of sectional semi-final matchups, editors Matt Feld and Joe Parello are here to make their picks on the top games on the docket.

Following the conclusion of play in week eight, here are our editors are doing so far this season:

Feld: 56-18
Parello: 49-25

Now, with just two weeks remaining with a full slate of games, here are this weeks picks!

Div. 1 North: No. 3 Acton-Boxboro at No. 2 St. John's Prep, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: Acton-Boxboro has shown they can handle a team that's good up front - their win over Lincoln-Sudbury provided plenty of proof. But I think the Prep's whole package on offense is the difference here with Trent Tully out of the backfield opening up a dangerous passing attack.

34-23, St. John's Prep

Parello's Pick: Nah man, A-B's magical run continues with an offensive explosion against the Prep, and just enough defense to close things out.

31-30, Acton-Boxboro

Div. 1 South: No. 3 Catholic Memorial at No. 2 Needham, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: If this was the same Needham team of the first five weeks of the season, I may have a different opinion. The Rockets, however, have struggled in recent weeks offensively while Catholic Memorial has scored 40 or more points in back-to-back weeks. John DiBiasio's teams always hit their stride come November and there is simply no way the Knights will allow Needham's top offensive weapons to beat them. Look for Catholic Memorial's front seven to make the difference.

30-16, Catholic Memorial  

Parello's Pick: I may go down with the ship saying this, but I'm still riding this CM bandwagon until it breaks down. Mixed metaphors aside, the Knights are as talented as anyone in the state, and Needham's offense hasn't quite packed the same punch lately.

24-20, Catholic Memorial

Div. 2 South: No. 3 King Philip at No. 2 Natick, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: It is hard to pick against Natick at home, but they have not played a team in recent weeks that matches the physicality of King Philip. The Warriors have played in plenty of games like this in the past, and I expect this one to be capped off with a familiar seminal moment - a Cole Baker game winning field goal.

23-20 King Philip

Parello's Pick: Agreed, this is tough, because I love Natick up front on both sides of the ball, and you know that crowd is going to be hyped. But, how can you bet against the two-time defending state champs in the first round? I can't.

17-14, King Philip

Div. 3 South: No. 3 Hingham at No. 2 Walpole, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: Walpole has been awfully impressive as of late, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Hingham's running game has been strong throughout the season, however, and I expect their ability to control the clock and get consistent pressure up front allows them to reach the Div. 3 South Sectional Final.

27-23, Hingham 

Parello's Pick: Walpole is red-hot, fresh off of wins over Braintree and Natick, but Hingham has one of its best squads in recent memory, and the Harbormen are just too consistent to bet against.

21-14, Hingham

Div. 3 South: No. 4 North Attleboro at No. 1 Duxbury, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: After the way last year ended, Duxbury has been counting down the days to get another shot at the Red Rocketeers and now that its here they will take full advantage. North Attleboro's front seven keeps them in it for a half, but its only a matter of time until John Roberts and the Dragons offense wakes up. Duxbury's quick-strike ability on offense ends up being the difference here.

33-17, Duxbury

Parello's Pick: Duxbury simply has too many weapons for most teams, and I don't see the Red Rocketeers keeping pace with the Dragons.

42-28, Duxbury

Div. 3 Central: No. 3 St. John's (Shrewsbury) at No. 2 Wachusett, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: In what is sure to be a terrific game throughout, Wachusett seizes an opportunity to wipe the ugly memories from the twos regular season matchup and uses its ground and pound style to keep St. John's offense off the field.

28-24, Wachusett

Parello's Pick: Well, I picked St. John's to reach the sectional final in our D3 Central preview, so I kind of have to take the Pioneers, don't I? That said, I don't see how anybody could be confident about picking any team in this bracket, but St. John's is the top dog in CMass until somebody knocks it off...

33-30, St. John's

Div. 4 Central: No. 4 Marlboro at No. 1 Nashoba, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: This plays out similar to the first matchup between these two teams, with Nashoba creating a little extra separation in the fourth quarter to overcome Lou Vigeant and the Marlboro rushing attack.

27-17, Nashoba

Parello's Pick: Marlboro closed the season with a bang, upsetting St. John's (Shrewsbury), but Nashoba was in full bounce-back mode against Shrewsbury high. Both these teams know they can compete with anyone, but gimme the Chieftains in a tight one.

31-28, Nashoba

Div. 5 South: No. 3 Scituate at No. 2 Holliston, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: Scituate's strength of schedule pays dividends, with quarterback Aidan Sullivan no stranger to the big moment after the Sailors huge come from behind victory versus Dennis-Yarmouth last week.

35-28, Scituate 

Parello's Pick: As a former lineman, I'm a sucker for a team that just might have the best big guy in the state. I'll ride with Scott Elliott and the Panthers.

28-26, Holliston

Div. 6 North: No. 4 Bishop Fenwick at No. 1 Stoneham, Thursday 630pm

Feld's Pick: Cory Bright's return from injury makes this game incredibly interesting, as his jolt under center to the Bishop Fenwick's offense cannot be understated. Stoneham gets the edge at home, but not by much.

26-23, Stoneham 

Parello's Pick: I'll grant you that Bishop Fenwick suddenly looks a lot scarier on offense, but this is still a Stoneham team that is winning by an average of over four touchdowns every game. Until I see a team hang with the Spartans, it's gonna be tough to think anyone in this bracket can beat them.

35-21, Stoneham

Div. 7 Central: No. 4 Leicester at No. 1 West Boylston, Friday 7pm

Feld's Pick: Leicester gave the Lions a run for their money on the first go-around, which may actually prove to be to their detriment this time around. West Boylston will be prepared, with Corey Shea ready for a breakout night.

30-14, West Boylston

Parello's Pick: As good a 1/4 matchup as you'll find in the state, but I can't bring myself to pull the trigger on the upset. WB has just been dominant this year, and it's hard to see the Lions not at least making the sectional finals.

23-20, West Boylston

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