#1 King Philip (S) vs. #1 Lincoln-Sudbury (N)
By Matt Feld, Boston Herald
Those who witnessed King Philip’s South Sectional showdown with Bridgewater-Raynham will find close similarities in the Trojans and the Warriors Super Bowl opponent in Lincoln-Sudbury. Now in his 40th year as head coach, Tom Lopez’s Lincoln-Sudbury squad has two power running backs in Alex Marshall and James Dillon. Quarterback Braden O’Connell is unlikely to beat KP down the field with his arm but his speed and athleticism make him dangerous if he is able to break contain. Marshall, Dillon, and O’Connell have combined to rush for over 2,800 yards.
Operating out of the wing-T and offset I-formation, L-S finds the root of its success in its line play. If there is one place where L-S has an advantage over King Philip it is up front with the play of center Dan Kerrigan, tackles Cal Kenney and Andrew Guerra, and guards Mike Ciaffoni and Aidan Cavanaugh at the root of Lincoln-Sudbury’s offensive success.
Defensively, L-S is anchored by Dillon, Ciaffoni, and Kyle Smith. One aspect where King Philip may be able to exploit L-S is in the passing game especially if star running back Shane Frommer can force L-S to pack the box. Especially with the shortened ten minute quarters, expect Lincoln-Sudbury to focus on time of possession in hopes of putting together long extensive drives that keep Frommer and King Philip quarterback Brendan Lydon off the field.
#1 North Attleboro (S) vs. #1 St. John’s Shrewsbury (C)
By Matt Feld, Boston Herald
North Attleboro has been one of the best defensive units in the state so far this postseason, but they will have their hands full going up against St. John’s Shrewsbury. The Pioneers have scored more points (553) than any team in Central Massachusetts history while quarterback Steve Bucciaglia also set a district record for passing yards (3,377) and is tied for the CMass single-season record for touchdowns (42).
Reminiscent of Chip Kelly’s days at Oregon, the Pioneers run a full no-huddle offense going on quick, often three or four play drives, in an effort to score in a matter of moments. St. John’s has a trio of running backs in Eamonn Dennis, Colin Deso, and Dan Byers that can beat a defense both in the passing game and via the run. On the outside, John Shrestha and Zach Pedone are Bucciaglia’s top targets. Perhaps most impressive of all the Pioneers offensive metrics is that they have turned the ball over just once this season.
While the Pioneers give up their fair share of points it’s largely due to the fact that the opponent ends up with a surplus of possessions. St. John’s still has their fair share of talent on the defense with linebackers Isaiah Keegan and Liam Doran leading the group. Hunter Gorgas finished with a pair of sacks in St. John’s state semi-final win over Springfield Central.
If North Attleboro is going to dethrone St. John’s the Red Rocketeers edge rushers in Jason Mcneany and Jeff Wilson are going to have to put pressure on Bucciaglia that he has not yet seen so far this season.
Ryan Lanigan: King Philip
Josh Perry: King Philip
Matt Bosh: King Philip
Jeff Pickette: King Philip
North Attleboro (S) vs. St. John’s Shrewsbury (C)
Ryan Lanigan: North Attleboro
Josh Perry: North Attleboro
Matt Bosh: North Attleboro
Jeff Pickette: North Attleboro
Ryan Lanigan: 56-35
Josh Perry: 67-24
Matt Bosh: 62-29
Jeff Pickette: 67-24