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OK, week 1 in the books. Not too many surprises, but some good results that we can read into for the next few weeks.

Here's my top five:

1. Everett - Dominated Xaverian, which is down, but won't lose that badly to too many teams the rest of the way.

2. Central Catholic - Took care of Dartmouth, 41-7, off the long bus ride.

3. BC High - Running game is beastly so far.

4. St. John's (Shrewsbury) - Had no problem with Catholic Memorial. Will be favored against Springfield Central.

5. St. John's Prep - About eight sophomores and juniors starting on both offense and defense.

Here are the Boston papers' EMass rankings:

Boston Globe Top 20

Boston Herald Sweet 16

Games to watch this week:

Friday 9/15 (all at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Andover at Billerica - Last year's game was a high-scoring affair.

Marshfield at BC High - Should be a slugfest.

Stoughton at Catholic Memorial - CM may start at 0-2 because Stoughton has a solid QB and decent speed.

Holliston at Lincoln-Sudbury - Holliston a good smaller school who will be the favorite, but L-S will be a good test.

Plymouth North at Dennis-Yarmouth - Both won their openers and have potential for big seasons.

St. John's Prep at Central Catholic - Battle of top 5 or 10 teams (depending on who you ask). Central should be favored.

Bridegwater-Raynham at Xaverian - Will be curious to see if Xaverian can bounce back against a top 10 team.

Saturday 9/16

Springfield Central at St. John's (S) - St. John's should take care of business.

Methuen at Tewksbury - Will be very interesting. Methuen brought back a lot, and Tewksbury is a contender in D3 North.

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Xaverian crushed B-R, 32-7, in one of the more surprising results of the night. B-R had a few guys out, but a big win for X nonetheless heading into next week's trip to Abp. Stepinac (N.Y.).

BC High ran the ball well again and made enough stops to top a good Marshfield team, 19-7.

Lincoln-Sudbury took down Holliston, 42-14, in what was a mild upset. L-S a higher division, but Holliston has been a better team in recent years.

Everett cruised past Leominster. Was up big at the half and coasted, 33-7.

Andover with a nice bounce-back win over Billerica, 22-14, to move to 1-1. The Golden Warriors were shut out by BC High in the first week.

Dennis-Yarmouth rolled past Plymouth North, 48-28. D-Y has one of its best teams in the last few years.

Right now, Stoughton holds a 13-0 halftime lead over Catholic Memorial, and St. John's (S) is pummeling Springfield Central at the half, 41-6.

 

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Stoughton beat CM, 28-14. Stoughton has a good junior QB.

SJS rolled Springfield Central, 62-39. It will be interesting to see how D3 plays out. SJS is a D1-sized school that only plays in D3 because there aren't enough non-EMass D1-sized schools (SJS, SC, Wachusett and Leominster are the four, I believe). An easy fix for SJS is moving them to the Catholic Conference. It's a natural fit. Like the others, SJS is an all-boys Catholic. It's not even that far into Central Mass., either. There are teams in EMass that are longer drives away for the CC schools than SJS. But that's another topic for another time.

Central Catholic dominated St. John's Prep, 21-0. From the looks of it, the Prep crossed the 50 just once (I think). Prep is low on playmakers but will be physical enough to hang with most of the teams on its schedule. Central looking like the clear No. 2 in the state behind Everett, unless maybe you want to throw BC High or SJS in there, but Central looks like it deserves that honor for now.

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Third week of games coming up and so far no huge surprises, but a few minor eyebrow-raisers...

My top 5 right now:

1. Everett - Same diagnosis as we predicted in the preseason. Crimson Tide unmatched skill, but a team with better line play can give them a scare,.

2. Central Catholic - Quarterback Bret Edwards, a three-year starter and UNH commit, playing outstanding right now. Team has maybe the best lines in the state, too.

3. BC High - Getting by on the running game alone right now (and a great D).

4. St. John's (Shrewsbury) - Very few weaknesses, and like noted earlier, kind of a shame this team isn't in D1 (D3 but D1-sized because it's in Central Mass)

5. Xaverian - Coach Al Fornaro gets his first win as a head coach after a longtime stint as the DC.

Media polls

Boston Herald Top 25 (EMass only)

Boston Globe Top 20 (EMass only)

Suite Sports (statewide)

Of note, ISL play begins this week. ISL and MIAA teams are not ranked together in any media poll, not one. Some people say that about 6-7 ISL teams are as good as any MIAA team or close to it. Some say otherwise. This topic has been covered a lot on here but there's no consensus. I will try to see my alma mater this weekend (Milton Academy). They have a sophomore who already has offers from Michigan and big schools like that, so we'll see. Safe to say, the ISL level of play is about a thousand times better than when I was there (early-to-mid-90s). Kids go 1a all the time from that league now when back then it was a rarity. 

Games to watch this week

Friday, Sept. 22 (all games at 7 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted)

Falmouth at Marshfield - Falmouth runs the option real well, while Marshfield suffered its first loss last week at BC High. I think Marshfield gets revenge from last year's loss, but it should be a close game.

Stoughton at Foxboro - Sort of an underrated game, but Foxboro played King Philip tough last week and Stoughton is coming off a nice win over Catholic Memorial. Could be low-scoring.

Mansfield at Franklin - Franklin's not bad, but Mansfield is off to a real good start and people are starting to wonder just how good the Hornets are. We won't know until the 28th when they travel to King Philip.

Billerica at Dracut - Billerica lost a close game to Andover and Dracut is 2-0, but Billerica will still be favored here.

Watertown at Melrose - Melrose has had some good teams recently, then took a dip, but seems back up. Watertown is a solid lower-division team and has a big Armenian population so you know who I'm rooting for.

Reading at Lexington - Last year was when we saw Lexington announce itself as for real with a blowout win at Reading. Reading is one of those schools that is good at every sport and the football team is no exception. This is also one of those 'take the over' games, too.

Whitman-Hanson at Duxbury - Best W-H in a few years but Duxbury sets the pace in the Patriots League, so we will see how this shakes out. Duxbury will be favored, no doubt.

Holliston at Westwood - This has become the big rivalry in the Tri-Valley League. Two good lower-division programs. Westwood another one of those schools that is good at every sport. The girls lacrosse program is as good as any in the nation.

New Bedford at Bridgewater-Raynham - B-R had some injuries in the loss to X, so that may play a role. NB had a great run in the 90s and is still young, but a lot of that young talent has big potential. NB never fares that well against B-R, though.

Catholic Memorial at Brockton - Tough to call. Both D1 South teams. Brockton likely to get in regardless because they're clearly the best team in a three-team league. For CM, this is almost a must-win. 0-2 start and still has Falmouth, Xaverian and St. John's Prep on the schedule. The possibility of missing the postseason then is real. There is talent there, but it has yet to come together.

Chelmsford at Lowell - Chelmsford is on the rise after a brief downswing. Lowell just won its last game, 62-61 (not overtime, either). I've got Chelmsford here.

Dartmouth at La Salle Academy (R.I.) - Dartmouth won a thriller last year but is a tad down, so the Rhody power might take this one.

Saturday the 23rd

Milton at Natick, 7 - Milton is a spread team with the fastest kid in New England running around in various forms, Smith Charles. Natick has been pointing to this year since this current crop was a bunch of sophs. Gimme Natick here and the defense that has yet to allow a point.

Methuen at Central Catholic, 2 - Central as you know is a wagon, but Methuen is experienced and can make it a game. But CC is very much for real and should win this.

North Andover at Tewksbury, 1 - Both 2-0 teams but North Andover flying under the radar a little. Has a terrific RB/CB in Darren Watson who is very, very underrated.

Everett at St. John's Prep, 4 - Prep is young, as many as 16-17 starters will be back next year. Prep is also big up front. Prep is mostly good on defense. But Prep does not have the speed to match a team like Everett. This will likely be Everett's toughest test until the playoffs. I will link a livestream to this game so people on here can watch.

BC High at Hudson Catholic (N.J.), noon - Only mentioning this because it's OOS, but from what everyone here tells me, BCH should roll here.

Xaverian at Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.), 1:30 - IMO, this is the best game of the day. We will see just how good X is. Stepinac has had some strong teams recently and while X is a little down, should still be competitive. Think Stepinac will be the slight favorite but not sure which way this will go. X confidence level much better after the B-R win.

(ISL Saturday games next)

Governor's Academy at Brooks, 2 - Governor's is a great lacrosse school and has had some solid squads the past few years, but Brooks has a Penn State commit in Pat Freiermuth who plays TE/DE/LB who will be all over the field.

BB&N at Lawrence Academy, 1:30 p.m. - You'll see some good line play in this one. BB&N has a tight end going to Pitt, and Lawrence has three BC commits.

Milton Academy at St. Sebastian's, 1 - I might go to this one. MA has some good talent and a fair amount returning, while St. Seb's lost a lot but returns at least two players I know of with 1a offers.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Adam Kurkjian said:

Third week of games coming up and so far no huge surprises, but a few minor eyebrow-raisers...

My top 5 right now:

1. Everett - Same diagnosis as we predicted in the preseason. Crimson Tide unmatched skill, but a team with better line play can give them a scare,.

2. Central Catholic - Quarterback Bret Edwards, a three-year starter and UNH commit, playing outstanding right now. Team has maybe the best lines in the state, too.

3. BC High - Getting by on the running game alone right now (and a great D).

4. St. John's (Shrewsbury) - Very few weaknesses, and like noted earlier, kind of a shame this team isn't in D1 (D3 but D1-sized because it's in Central Mass)

5. Xaverian - Coach Al Fornaro gets his first win as a head coach after a longtime stint as the DC.

Media polls

Boston Herald Top 25 (EMass only)

Boston Globe Top 20 (EMass only)

Suite Sports (statewide)

Of note, ISL play begins this week. ISL and MIAA teams are not ranked together in any media poll, not one. Some people say that about 6-7 ISL teams are as good as any MIAA team or close to it. Some say otherwise. This topic has been covered a lot on here but there's no consensus. I will try to see my alma mater this weekend (Milton Academy). They have a sophomore who already has offers from Michigan and big schools like that, so we'll see. Safe to say, the ISL level of play is about a thousand times better than when I was there (early-to-mid-90s). Kids go 1a all the time from that league now when back then it was a rarity. 

Games to watch this week

Friday, Sept. 22 (all games at 7 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted)

Falmouth at Marshfield - Falmouth runs the option real well, while Marshfield suffered its first loss last week at BC High. I think Marshfield gets revenge from last year's loss, but it should be a close game.

Stoughton at Foxboro - Sort of an underrated game, but Foxboro played King Philip tough last week and Stoughton is coming off a nice win over Catholic Memorial. Could be low-scoring.

Mansfield at Franklin - Franklin's not bad, but Mansfield is off to a real good start and people are starting to wonder just how good the Hornets are. We won't know until the 28th when they travel to King Philip.

Billerica at Dracut - Billerica lost a close game to Andover and Dracut is 2-0, but Billerica will still be favored here.

Watertown at Melrose - Melrose has had some good teams recently, then took a dip, but seems back up. Watertown is a solid lower-division team and has a big Armenian population so you know who I'm rooting for.

Reading at Lexington - Last year was when we saw Lexington announce itself as for real with a blowout win at Reading. Reading is one of those schools that is good at every sport and the football team is no exception. This is also one of those 'take the over' games, too.

Whitman-Hanson at Duxbury - Best W-H in a few years but Duxbury sets the pace in the Patriots League, so we will see how this shakes out. Duxbury will be favored, no doubt.

Holliston at Westwood - This has become the big rivalry in the Tri-Valley League. Two good lower-division programs. Westwood another one of those schools that is good at every sport. The girls lacrosse program is as good as any in the nation.

New Bedford at Bridgewater-Raynham - B-R had some injuries in the loss to X, so that may play a role. NB had a great run in the 90s and is still young, but a lot of that young talent has big potential. NB never fares that well against B-R, though.

Catholic Memorial at Brockton - Tough to call. Both D1 South teams. Brockton likely to get in regardless because they're clearly the best team in a three-team league. For CM, this is almost a must-win. 0-2 start and still has Falmouth, Xaverian and St. John's Prep on the schedule. The possibility of missing the postseason then is real. There is talent there, but it has yet to come together.

Chelmsford at Lowell - Chelmsford is on the rise after a brief downswing. Lowell just won its last game, 62-61 (not overtime, either). I've got Chelmsford here.

Dartmouth at La Salle Academy (R.I.) - Dartmouth won a thriller last year but is a tad down, so the Rhody power might take this one.

Saturday the 23rd

Milton at Natick, 7 - Milton is a spread team with the fastest kid in New England running around in various forms, Smith Charles. Natick has been pointing to this year since this current crop was a bunch of sophs. Gimme Natick here and the defense that has yet to allow a point.

Methuen at Central Catholic, 2 - Central as you know is a wagon, but Methuen is experienced and can make it a game. But CC is very much for real and should win this.

North Andover at Tewksbury, 1 - Both 2-0 teams but North Andover flying under the radar a little. Has a terrific RB/CB in Darren Watson who is very, very underrated.

Everett at St. John's Prep, 4 - Prep is young, as many as 16-17 starters will be back next year. Prep is also big up front. Prep is mostly good on defense. But Prep does not have the speed to match a team like Everett. This will likely be Everett's toughest test until the playoffs. I will link a livestream to this game so people on here can watch.

BC High at Hudson Catholic (N.J.), noon - Only mentioning this because it's OOS, but from what everyone here tells me, BCH should roll here.

Xaverian at Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.), 1:30 - IMO, this is the best game of the day. We will see just how good X is. Stepinac has had some strong teams recently and while X is a little down, should still be competitive. Think Stepinac will be the slight favorite but not sure which way this will go. X confidence level much better after the B-R win.

(ISL Saturday games next)

Governor's Academy at Brooks, 2 - Governor's is a great lacrosse school and has had some solid squads the past few years, but Brooks has a Penn State commit in Pat Freiermuth who plays TE/DE/LB who will be all over the field.

BB&N at Lawrence Academy, 1:30 p.m. - You'll see some good line play in this one. BB&N has a tight end going to Pitt, and Lawrence has three BC commits.

Milton Academy at St. Sebastian's, 1 - I might go to this one. MA has some good talent and a fair amount returning, while St. Seb's lost a lot but returns at least two players I know of with 1a offers.

 

 

Great job with the breakdown of games.

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17 minutes ago, Gospeeder said:

Its going to be interesting to see how St Joe's progresses now that Derek Landri is HC. It would be interesting to see another player in the upper end of the NY scene.

They probably figure hiring a former NFL guy / Norte Dame player will help attract talent from the Buffalo area.  Will see how it goes up there. 

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23 minutes ago, MA Fan said:

MA taking it to FL in some classic OOS action! Love the lateral on the opening kickoff return. There were lots of Mass teams that played in Florida in this era, but is this the only time a Florida team came up to MA?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QES8-wxy9y0

 

Wow, I've never seen that. Crazy!

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5 hours ago, MA Fan said:

MA taking it to FL in some classic OOS action! Love the lateral on the opening kickoff return. There were lots of Mass teams that played in Florida in this era, but is this the only time a Florida team came up to MA?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QES8-wxy9y0

 

Fun to watch those single wing misdirection plays.

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On 9/16/2017 at 10:23 PM, Adam Kurkjian said:

SJS rolled Springfield Central, 62-39. It will be interesting to see how D3 plays out. SJS is a D1-sized school that only plays in D3 because there aren't enough non-EMass D1-sized schools (SJS, SC, Wachusett and Leominster are the four, I believe). An easy fix for SJS is moving them to the Catholic Conference. It's a natural fit. Like the others, SJS is an all-boys Catholic. It's not even that far into Central Mass., either. There are teams in EMass that are longer drives away for the CC schools than SJS. But that's another topic for another time..

If it weren't for the fact that most people in the Greater Boston area think that Massachusetts ends at I495, and that anything west of that is, like, California, this would have already happened.

There really is no official dividing line between Eastern and Central Mass.  Western Mass is pretty clear; New York border to Quabbin, but there's a good case to be made for including that 10-mile-wide strip just west of 495 in Eastern Mass.

That would put SJS and Leominster in the East.  I'm afraid Central and Wachusett are stuck in the West, though.

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2 minutes ago, HSFBfan said:

Last year HC lost to delbarton by about 40. And you know being on this board that delbarton stinks

But this year so far they're 2-0 by a margin of 91 - 26.

It seems like they must have something.

Or are Immaculate Conception and Morris Catholic just that bad?

BCH's two wins are not impressive.  I know it's early days, but Marshfield seems down  and Andover is just not at the same level as the Catholic Conference.

But we'll see.  That's why we have the games.

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14 minutes ago, Wosinc said:

But this year so far they're 2-0 by a margin of 91 - 26.

It seems like they must have something.

Or are Immaculate Conception and Morris Catholic just that bad?

BCH's two wins are not impressive.  I know it's early days, but Marshfield seems down  and Andover is just not at the same level as the Catholic Conference.

But we'll see.  That's why we have the games.

Yes bad very very bad

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4 hours ago, Wosinc said:

If it weren't for the fact that most people in the Greater Boston area think that Massachusetts ends at I495, and that anything west of that is, like, California, this would have already happened.

There really is no official dividing line between Eastern and Central Mass.  Western Mass is pretty clear; New York border to Quabbin, but there's a good case to be made for including that 10-mile-wide strip just west of 495 in Eastern Mass.

That would put SJS and Leominster in the East.  I'm afraid Central and Wachusett are stuck in the West, though.

Yes, and Shrewsbury is what, one town over from Framingham? Absolutely close enough.

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Some interesting results this weekend.

Everett rolled St. John's Prep, 42-28, with one of the Prep's touchdowns coming against the Everett backups. That said, the Prep moved the ball pretty well against the Everett 1s and there is some mild concern over the Crimson Tide's defense. The offense is in fine shape, though. But the Prep showed some life, and its sophomore quarterback made some plays when the starter was knocked out of the game.

Central Catholic had some trouble with Methuen but eventually pulled away, 47-30. This is a team that is still probably No. 2 in the state.

BC High took care of Hudson Catholic, (N.J.), 30-14, but that game was a little closer than I thought it would be.

Abp. Stepinac (N.Y.) handled Xaverian, 42-20, in a game where the Hawks really couldn't deal with Stepinac's speed on the perimeter.

Marshfield blasted Falmouth, 57-6, in a game that was expected to be much closer. That makes BC High's win over Marshfield last week look even better.

Lexington lit up Reading, 41-21, in a game that proved the Minutemen may have the ability to really contend in Division 1 North.

Big, big win for North Andover over Tewksbury in a 35-16 victory. This is a team that can really make some noise in D2 North.

Catholic Memorial earned a huge win over Brockton, 15-10, to really keep its playoff hopes alive. CM should make it but has a tough schedule. Brockton really struggling now.

Melrose doubled up Watertown, 28-14, and the Red Raiders look like a team to watch in Division 4 North.

Mansfield escaped Franklin, 14-13, as the Hockomock League has some decent parity this season.

Natick took down Milton, 35-19, and looks like the best team in either division of the Bay State Conference and a contender in D2 South.

Foxboro slipped past Stoughton, 13-12, and may only be a D5 team, but can play with higher division teams.

In the ISL, Lawrence Academy pummeled BB&N, 38-17. This is a team that I'd love to see play Everett.

My alma mater, Milton Academy, slipped by a good St. Sebastian's team, 21-19, in overtime.

Governor's Academy topped Brooks, 23-7, and will be heard from in that title chase.

Main takeaways:

Everett's offense will score on anyone, but the defense is a concern. A potential game with Central Catholic could be more competitive than originally thought.

BC High appears the clear favorite in D1 South, but don't be deceived by Xaverian's loss to Stepinac. The Hawks can still beat anyone in D1 South. It's the teams in the North that will cause the most problems for them.

D2 South is shaping up to be a terrific bracket. King Philip, Natick, Marshfield, Bridgewater-Raynham and Mansfield can all win that sectional. Would not be surprised by any result there.

North Andover made the statement of the weekend. Knew it had some talent but put it all together. RB/DB Darren Watson is only a junior and he's a stud.

The ISL still looks like it runs through Lawrence Academy, but my boys over at MA will have something to say about that. But Lawrence is so tough up front that the Spartans will be tough to stop.

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