Saturday, November 3, 2018

MIAA Football: Top Sectional Semi-Final Performances

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Despite being only a sophomore, Nick Mazzie has already etched his name in Central Catholic program lore.

With two-time defending Div. 1 champion Everett and fourth-seeded Central Catholic tied at 20 and less than a minute remaining, Raiders kicker Nick Mazzie drilled the game-winning 33 yard field goal as Central Catholic stunned the Crimson Tide, 23-20, at Everett Memorial Stadium.

The Raiders win not only means a new Div. 1 North representative at the Super Bowl, but it also snaps Everett's 27-game winning streak dating back to October of 2016. Central Catholic will take on St. John's Prep in the Div. 1 North Final on Friday night.
Everett was not the only team to see its run of dominance halted. 

In Div. 7 South, Cohasett became the first team in 28 tries to knockoff Mashpee as the Falcons incredible run of three consecutive Super Bowl titles came to an end with a 44-17 loss to the Skippers. Quarterback Matt Lund and wide receiver Cliff Ward had breakout performances for Cohasett. Lund finished with 221 passing yards and four touchdowns while Ward reeled in six receptions for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

Those two were far from the only games that had a flair for the dramatic.

With his team trailing by four and less than 25 seconds remaining, Braden O'Connell fired an improbable, 70-yard touchdown pass to Cam Anderegg as second-seeded Lincoln-Sudbury shocked No. 3 Reading, 34-30, to put itself on the precipice of a second consecutive Div. 2 North title.

"That was an incredible moment, for all of us," said O'Connell. "We didn't play a perfect game, we made a lot mistakes with myself included, but we found away. That was really something special."

In Div. 1 South, meanwhile, five-time defending champion Xaverian proved its not quite ready to give up the title just yet as it held off a relentless Franklin team, 37-29, in double overtime. Franklin had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but Lucas Ferraro blocked a game-winning field goal attempt to keep the score tied at 21.

Out in Central Mass. Leicester pulled off potentially the biggest upset of the week d as they took down previously unbeaten West Boylston, 7-6, to advance to the Div. 7 Central sectional final.

Here are our top performances from sectional semifinal weekend.

Matt Crowley, Jr., QB, St. John's Prep

Crowley was flawless for most of the night in St. John's Prep's 55-28 win over Acton-Boxboro. The junior quarterback completed 11 of his first 12 passes and finished 20-of-31 for 289 yards and five touchdowns.

Nick Mazzie, So., K, Central Catholic

Mazzie drilled one of the most memorable kicks in Central Catholic history, drilling a game-winning 33-yard field goal with 57 seconds remaining as the Raiders stunned No. 1 Everett, 23-20.

Ryan Halliday, Jr., RB, King Philip

Halliday was nothing short of a workhouse on Friday night handling 38 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns as the junior running back powered No. 3 King Philip to a 17-7 win over Natick and a third consecutive appearance in the Div. 2 South Final.

Luke McMenamin, Sr., QB, Milton

McMenamin threw four touchdown passes - three of them to Ja'mier Woods - to lead Milton to a 34-7 win over Hopkinton and a spot in the Div. 4 South Final.

Colin Schofield, Jr., QB, St. John's Shrewsbury

Schofield showcased his talents both in and out of the pocket throughout St. John's Shrewsbury dominating performance against Wachusett on Friday night. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns while adding a fifth score on the ground as the third-seeded Pioneers defeated Wachusett, 51-26, to advance to the Div. 3 Central Final.

Cliff Ward, Sr., WR, Cohasset

The Skippers passing game was on fire Friday night with Ward playing a crucial role. The senuor wideout finished with six receptions for 180 yards and three touchdowns as Cohasset snapped Mashpee's 28-game winning streak.

Aidan Sullivan, Sr., QB, Scituate

For the second straight week, Sullivan was a difference maker for the Sailors. Sullivan finished 10-of-13 for 228 yards and four touchdowns as Scituate defeated Holliston, 57-34, in the Div. 5 South Semis.

Wellington Pereira, Sr., RB,, Wayland

With Wayland staring at elimination, Pereira rose to the challenge rushing for a pair of touchdowns in overtime to lead the Warriors to a 34-26 win over No. 8 Dracut in the Div. 4 North Semifinal.

Mike DeBolt, Jr., WR/OLB/K, Mansfield

DeBolt was a master of all trades on Friday night, as he rushed for two touchdowns and added a third on a 35-yard scoop and score to lead the top-seeded Hornets to a 28-10 win past Barnstable in the Div. 2 South Semifinal.

Braden O'Connell, Sr., QB, Lincoln-Sudbury

O'Connell threw for 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winning 70 yard strike to Cam Anderegg, while also running for a third to lead No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury to a dramatic 34-30 win over Reading. The win sets up a meeting with North Andover in the Div. 2 North Final.

Hunter Mazza, Sr., RB, East Longmeadow

Mazza had a big night rushing for 112 yards and three touchdowns as No. 1 East Longmeadow cruised to a 48-22 win over Amherst in the Div. 5 West Semifinal.

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