Canton, 8 vs. Duxbury, 7 – Final – Canton erased an 6-0 deficit and then escaped base-loaded jam in the seventh inning to open the season with a win. The Bulldogs scored four runs in the fifth to make it 6-4 and then took the lead with a four-run sixth inning. Senior Michael Konzal had a single, a triple, and two RBI while senior Matt Pigeon added a single, two walks, and two RBI. Sophomore Nate Hewitt earned the win on the mound.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Reid Latham pitched a complete game two-hitter to give the visiting Tigers a win over Taunton. Latham didn’t issue any walks, struck out four, and allowed just two singles. OA scored in the fifth inning when Sean O’Brien hit an RBI triple to score Justin Sarnecki. OA coach Joe Abarr said senior CJ Deveau made a excellent catch in left field in end the sixth inning and keep the lead.
King Philip, 10 @ Sharon, 5 – Final – King Philip led by just one at halftime but blanked the Eagles in the second half, outscoring Sharon 4-0 to pick up a win on the road. Andrew Sajdak had a team-high four goals while Colin DeVellis scored twice and had two assists. Robbie Tartaglia added two goals and an assist while Sam Mattson and Aidan Bender each scored once. Andrew McKinney made six saves in goal for KP.
Attleboro, 3 @ Franklin, 24 – Final – The Panthers raced out to a big lead at halftime and never looked back. Franklin had 13 players register a point in the win, led by junior Kelsey MacCallum (five goals, two assists) and freshman Jackie O’Neil (two goals, four assists). Freshman Kenzie Baker scored four goals while freshman Jill Fenerty had a strong game in the midfield with six draw controls. Kyra Lyons, Sydney DiLiddo, and Rylee Fontes each scored for the Bombardiers.
Canton @ Milford, 4:00
Foxboro, 14 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final
Sharon, 6 @ King Philip, 16 – Final – Caroline Klim scored seven goals and assisted on one for the Warriors, as they opened the season with a big win in a rematch of last year’s playoff opener. Olivia Tormey had a hat trick and two assists and Jess Sullivan had two goals and an assist in the win. Dana Truini also scored twice for KP, while Victoria Tormey and Jenna Hitchen each scored once. Caroline Watson earned the win in net with 10 saves. Emma Eberhardt led the Eagles with four goals, an assist, and five draw controls. Rose Wald made 11 saves to keep Sharon in the game. Jenna Goldstein and Maxine Gordon each scored once in the loss.
Taunton, 10 @ Oliver Ames, 17 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Olivia Piazza dominated at draws and led the team in scoring to give the Tigers a visit over Taunton. Piazza had 16 draw controls and scored eight goals while Ella Hogan had a nice game with four goals and one assist for OA. Olivia Carroll, Emma Pereira, and Emma Sharkansky also scored for OA.
Mansfield, 9 vs. Holliston, 16 – Final – Katie Garvin led the Hornets with five goals in a season-opening loss. Lauren Whitman and Maggie Danehy each scored twice for Mansfield, which also got five saves from Katie McCarthy. Holliston’s top two attackers scored four goals apiece, but first-year coach Lauryn Wilkie praised the defensive effort for blocking off a number of drives to the net.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Milton, 5 – Final
Foxboro, 4 @ Canton, 1 – Final
Foxboro, 5 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 0 – Final – Foxboro picked up its second win of the season, knocking off non-league for Dighton-Rehoboth and winning all five matches in straight sets. Pam Nelson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Sarah Prag picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles, and Julia Muise earned a 6-0, 6-1 decision at third singles. The team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta prevailed 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) at first doubles and the team of Maggie McAuliffe and Lindsey Nelson won 6-1, 6-1 at second doubles.
Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Norton, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames won one match in singles play and one in doubles action but suffered a 3-2 setback against Norton. Junior Maura Kiernan won 6-0, 6-3 at first singles while the team of senior Kathryn McCarthy and junior Sarah Barron won 6-0, 6-3 at second doubles.
King Philip, 3 @ Assabet Valley, 0 – Final – In just its second varsity game, King Philip picked up the program’s first ever win with a 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-22, 25-17) on the road at Assabet Valley. Senior setter Cam Corey paced the offense with 27 assists, senior Eric Altobello had a team-high 10 kills, and senior Jimmy Peterson added eight kills. KP coach Emily Tkowski said sophomore Aidan Lindmark played a huge role for the Warriors with strong right side defense and five digs.
Milford, 3 @ Medfield, 0 – Final – Milford earned a sweep (25-19, 25-15, 25-14) on the road at Medfield. Clayton Pickett and Zach Browne each had five kills, Lucas Caetano had 10 assists and seven aces for the Scarlet Hawks.
Taunton, 3 @ New Bedford, 0 – Final – Taunton went on the road and earned a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 28-26, 25-18) win over New Bedford. Gage Kingman paced the offense with 14 kills, 17 digs, and four aces. Sophomore Tyler Stewart added eight kills and a block while Chris LaCourse had a strong game with 26 assists, an ace, and a block.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – The first game back in September was a surprising shootout, but the rematch in the pouring rain on Friday night at Alumni Field was more of what has come to be expected from battles between Mansfield and King Philip.
Defense was the story of the Div. 2 South final. The Hornets scored a touchdown on their opening possession but were held off the board for the remainder of the game, while the Warriors were held without a touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter.
King Philip came away with a hard-hitting 10-7 victory over its division rival, securing its third straight trip to the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.
“There’s playing teams and then there’s playing Mansfield,” King Philip coach Brian Lee remarked. “You know what you’re going to get and it’s just how are you going to move the ball when they’re big and mean and tough and we’re just trying to find a way.”
Mansfield took the lead midway through the first quarter, taking advantage of a short punt to score its only touchdown of the game.
After a three-yard punt, the Hornets got the ball at the KP 37 but then backed up 10 yards on a pair of false starts. On third and 15, Aidan Sacco was able to pull the ball down and scramble for 16 and a first down. Two plays later, Sacco again found space to run and rumbled in untouched for a 16-yard score.
The ensuing kick was fielded at the one by Aidan Bender, but he returned it 47 yards out to midfield. The Warriors were unable to make it count, but the defense got the ball right back.
KP forced a Mansfield three-and-out and regained possession inside Hornets territory. Ryan Halliday (27 carries, 96 yards), with help from a defensive holding call, got the ball down to the 21, but Mansfield held firm and forced a 38-yard field goal from Cole Baker that cut the lead to 7-3.
Mansfield had a chance to add to its lead before halftime when it go the ball back at midfield. The drive started poorly, as Sacco was sacked by Halliday and Max Armour, but a personal foul following an incomplete pass gifted the Hornets 15 yards and a first down. Sacco then hit Cincere Gill for 20 yards down to the KP 18, but two plays later Gill fumbled and Bender recovered for the Warriors.
“When they didn’t score before the half, I thought we were okay,” said Lee. “We couldn’t have played any worse offensively and made some mistakes on defense, but if we could get into the half and make our adjustments and only be down four I thought alright that’s KP football, we’re fine.”
The third quarter continued the trend where defenses were in control of the game. Even without Vinnie Holmes at linebacker, Mansfield was getting big plays from Chris Copponi and T.J. Guy. KP was getting typically strong performances from Armour and fellow linebacker Jack Webster to stymie the Mansfield offense.
The score stayed the same heading to the fourth before KP finally got something going on the offensive side of the ball. The Warriors ate up six minutes with an 11-play, 51-yard drive to take the lead.
“We started just grinding it out, pounding it,” said junior quarterback Robbie Jarest about the go-ahead drive. “The line was doing really well, we were just grinding it out.”
Halliday continued to be the workhorse back, grinding out yards, including a two-yard burst to convert a fourth and one. On second and six, KP called for a bootleg from Jarest and he bounced it to the outside for 11 yards. On third and six, Jarest scrambled and managed to dive ahead for nine and another first down to the Mansfield 12.
On the next play, he hit David Morganelli just outside the goal line for a first and goal from about a foot, which Jarest finished off with a sneak.
The Hornets had 5:38 on the clock to try and get back the lead. Back-to-back nine-yard gains by Gill and Joe Plath got the ball out to the 43. After an eight-yard gain by Khristian Conner pushed the ball into KP territory, Mansfield took a chance downfield. Sacco tried to squeeze a pass in down the middle but it was picked off by Deric Casado at the 16.
On third and eight, again KP turned to its quarterback on a bootleg and Jarest weaved his way through the Mansfield defense for nine yards and a dagger first down that sealed the win.
“Robert gave us a little wrinkle at the end that was just enough,” said Lee. “That’s kind of what we do at KP, just enough. He’s really done a great job stepping up, taking the coaching, and I’m really proud of his efforts.”
No one was quite sure what to make of this KP team at the start of the season. With no returning starters on offense, this didn’t seem like a Warriors team that could make it back to the state title game, but here they are again booking a trip back to Gillette Stadium with eyes on a three-peat.
“It’s a very different team and it’s presented challenges along the way but they still have the same theme, which is keep believing, keep working,” Lee explained. “The one thing that stayed from the last two years is their work ethic and their belief that they can pull it off.”
He added, “We have heart, we have guts, we have teamwork, and we use it on this team better than anybody. Anybody can be a hero on a different play.”
King Philip (8-2) will face Franklin on Thanksgiving Day and then take on North champion North Andover in the Div. 2 title game. Mansfield also finished the season at 8-2 and will finish its season with its Thanksgiving Day rivalry game against Foxboro at Fenway Park.
“I was very happy with special teams, it really kept us in the game,” said King Philip head coach Brian Lee, who earned his 100th career victory. “But we have a lot of things we have to figure out still.”
King Philip’s defense had another strong showing after allowing just 14 points in the season-opening loss to North Attleboro. A sack from David Morganelli put a quick end to Foxboro’s first series.
A 23-yard punt return from Tim Nault gave King Philip’s offense a strong start, first down at the Foxboro 36-yard line. The Warriors got one first down on a Jack Webster run up the middle, but a tackle for loss from Foxboro’s Anton George and Will Ogbebor put the hosts in a hole.
KP quarterback Robbie Jarest (5-for-7, 32 yards) hit Morganelli (four catches, 35 yards) for an 11-yard gain but it was just short of the sticks. Junior Cole Baker drilled a 35-yard field goal to put the host Warriors ahead 3-0 with 4:05 left in the opening quarter.
King Philip’s defense stymied the Foxboro offense again during the second series, including a sack from Webster. This time the punt was hauled in by Aidan Bender just over midfield, and he raced it 35 yards back to the Foxboro 28-yard line.
Despite facing a 4th and 8, Jarest linked up with Morganelli for 11 yards to move the sticks. An offensive pass interference call moved the ball back at the end of the first quarter, but KP had an eight-yard scamper from Ryan Halliday (23 carries, 98 yards) and five more yards from Webster.
On 3rd and 7, Jarest rolled out right and hit Morganelli, who dove down to the 1-yard line. On the next play, Halliday went up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 9:09 to play in the first half.
“Two bad punt coverages hurt us in the first half,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli. “It gave them great field position. We gave them short fields two or three times…they earned them, and we’re not good enough to play that way. We have a great kicker (Russell Neale), but we haven’t gotten into range to use him.”
Foxboro responded with its best drive of the game, moving into King Philip territory. The Warriors ran 11 plays for 50 yards, highlighted by passes from Liam Foley (9-for-21, 84 yards) to Keyshawn Sanders (8 yards) and Brian Derba (5 yards). Foley hit Shayne Kerrigan over the middle for 20 yards to convert a third down.
A 15-yard scramble from Foley gave Foxboro the ball at the King Philip 30-yard line but three plays later, King Philip’s Deric Casado tipped a pass and then came down with the interception to end Foxboro’s threat.
Baker punted for KP when its drive stalled, booting to the Foxboro 30-yard line. With a long field to go, Foxboro’s drive ended near midfield when time ran out on the first half.
Foxboro’s defense started the second half on a high note, forcing a punt. Again, Baker booted it to the Foxboro 30-yard line. Although Foley hit Pat Stapleton for 16 yards on the first play, a sack from Morganelli three plays later halted the drive.
Although Foxboro’s defense came up with a stop, KP continued to win the field position with another strong punt from Baker (47 yards). King Philip’s defense pushed the visiting Warriors back even further with losses of six and three yards on the first two plays.
On fourth down, Foxboro’s punt sailed out of bounds at its 36-yard line. Once again, King Philip cashed in on good field position.
This time the host Warriors ran seven plays to cover 36 yards, capped by a 3-yard touchdown from Halliday, who had gallops of 12 and nine on the drive. Baker’s extra point put KP up 17-0 with 9:13 to play.
“In the second half, when we were struggling on offense, to flip the field on the big punt from Baker was huge,” Lee said. “Punting and those two punt returns…short field allows you to be patient. It puts the defense in a bind right away. ”
After giving up just 14 points last week, King Philip’s defense had another strong outing. Foxboro had just 92 yards of offense and KP recorded four sacks and one interception.
“We felt good about our defense, and we’re going to lean on them to get us going. We’ll play the field position and go from there. I’m very pleased with the defense. We don’t have a superstar this year. There’s no Shane [Frommer], no Mark Glebus, so we all have to chip in, we all have to contribute.”
Foxboro (0-2) will try to break into the win column when it plays Stoughton (1-1) at Canton High School.
Injuries hampered Attleboro right from the start of the 2017 season, but the 2018 Bombardiers are healthy and hoping for a big turnaround this fall to compete with the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division and make a return to the postseason.
The graduation of quarterback Cam Furtado is a significant loss on offense, but the Bombardiers will hand the ball to junior Jason Weir, who has a big arm and a lot of potential at the QB position. Size and strength won’t be a problem for Weir, who played defensive end as a sophomore. Seniors Justin Cote and Alex Rodriguez will be the primary backs for Attleboro this year and give the Bombardiers dynamic weapons out of the backfield. The offensive line is bolstered by 6-foot-6, 290-pound junior Qualeem Charles and 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior Nick Evans. At 6-foot-3, junior Nolan Jaeger will be a weapon at receiver along with senior Josh Therrien and sophomore tight end Michael Strachan.
Evans battled injuries at the start of last season, but he is one of the top defensive linemen in the league and is drawing Div. I college offers. Attleboro will be a tough team to run against this season with Evans on the end and Charles (who is also getting DI looks) and 6-foot-3, 365-pound senior Eddie Porreca on the inside. Strachan and junior Isaac Gudiel will be starting at inside linebacker, while senior Desmond Woodson will be starting on the outside. Therrien is capable of making plays downfield at his free safety position and will be the leader of the secondary.
“I am looking forward to the 2018 season,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “We have a strong senior class and we have strong leadership on our football team. Our team worked out hard in the off-season and I am looking forward to that hard work paying off this season.”
Third-year head coach Eian Bain is optimistic about the 2018 season, and the long list of players returning with plenty of experience is a big reason why. The Panthers have over a dozen players back that started or saw significant time on offense and the same goes for the defense, include a very seasoned secondary.
Franklin must replace three-year starter Jake Noviello at quarterback but Bain is confident that a healthy competition between senior Nick Gordon and junior Thomas Gasbarro will result in a strong option starting under center for the opening week. While Franklin has to replace its quarterback, they return a ton of skill players on offense including senior tight end Sean Leonard, who hauled in a league-best eight touchdown passes last season. Ryan Driscoll (five touchdowns), Jack Nally, Will Davis, and Jake Davis will fill out the receiving corps while Sean Hofferty and Owen Palmieri man the backfield. Seniors Riley Downing and Liam Arsenault are experienced and will anchor the offensive line.
Junior Evan Wertz will be a key piece in the middle of the Panthers’ defense after having a breakout campaign last year with nearly 100 tackles from his linebacker spot. Senior Spencer Briggs and sophomore Alex Honor will also see time at linebacker while Downing is joined by Jack Jarosz, Dom Natale, and Keenan Bassma on the defensive line. The Panthers boast a seasoned secondary with Nolan McLaney and Driscoll both back, along with Palmieri, Jake Davis, and both Gasbarro and Gordon.
“We have experience on both sides of the ball,” Bain said. “It is a cohesive group that has been working hard together for our first two years and they are eager to the turn the corner with our program.”
The target on King Philip’s back is bigger than ever as the Warriors pulled off a second straight undefeated season and another state championship.
So how will head coach Brian Lee get this year’s team to focus on 2018 and not the past two seasons?
“The work and preparation have been the same but now it’s up to this season class to leave their legacy,” Lee said. “The previous two classes had their moments, now it’s up to these seniors to make their own moment. This team will go as far as these seniors lead them.”
The seniors will have plenty of opportunities to make their mark because King Philip doesn’t have a returning starter on offense. The Warriors need to replace quarterback Brendan Lydon, who didn’t lose a game as a starter. Junior Robbie Jarest looks poised to take over under center this season. While it isn’t a lot of experience, Jarest took over in the second half of the state final after Lydon got hurt and helped the Warriors finish off Lincoln-Sudbury. The toughest shoes to fill will be those of Shane Frommer, who will go down as one of the best players in KP history.
Junior Ryan Halliday will be the feature back while Aidan Bender and Sam Callanan will be in the mix as well. Jack Webster and Jack Collentro will be keys to the offense from the fullback position. Senior Terrell Jacobs Bastons has some experience on both sides of the ball and will likely start at guard while classmate Josh Fice will fill in the other guard spot. Junior Nolan Gunning is likely to get a starting spot as well, either at center or tackle.
Defense has been a staple for the Warriors throughout their successful run over the last couple of years, and that’s what KP will count on again this season. The strength will come from the linebackers with Webster back in an outside spot and Max Armour returning in the middle. Jacobs Bastons will be a big presence in the middle of the defensive line while the secondary will have familiar faces back in Aidan Bender, Timmy Nault, and safety Luke D’Amico.
And as we saw in the state final, having a reliable kicker is priceless. Cole Baker, who booted the winning field goal in the final, is back for his third year. Not only will he be a big help on offense, his kickoffs will be a weapon for the defense.
Mansfield has finished second in the Kelley-Rex in each of the past three seasons and the Hornets will be counting on experience under center and depth at the skill positions to end King Philip’s two-year reign atop the division and return to the top of the league standings for the first time since 2013.
Senior Damani Scott will be the starter at quarterback for the second straight season and he will be backed up by the capable Jack Mousette, giving the Hornets plenty of experience and reliability from their signal caller. Scott will also have a ton of weapons to call on this year with a skill position group that head coach Mike Redding calls one of the best that Mansfield has had in a while. Khristian Conner and Aidan Sacco will be weapons in the passing game while junior Vinnie Holmes is back in the backfield. Juniors Makhi Baskin, Michael DeBolt (who was also an outstanding kicker last year), and Nick Marciano will provide depth in the slot/running back positions. Senior Daenin Walker and junior Jason Comeau will add experience to the offensive line.
Defensively, Holmes will return to the linebacking corps after setting a program record for tackles in a season as a sophomore. Seniors Chris Copponi and Philip Dinov also return and can play as linebackers or as defensive ends depending on matchups. The secondary will be strong for the Hornets this year with Conner and Sacco at the corners and Marciano and Baskin at the safety positions. The only new additions on the defense are Anthony Capece at noseguard and junior Joe Plath at linebacker.
Redding said, “We have an experienced, athletic, aggressive defense that should be tough to score on and we’re young on offense, but have a ton of depth and talent at skill positions. Just need to gain some experience up front with our new guys on OL and DL.”
The 2018 version of the Oliver Ames Tigers have already had to make an audible after star running back Anthony Berksza suffered a season-ending injury over summer. Berksza had a breakout year last season, rushing for over 1,100 yards and finished with 16 total touchdowns, 15 of those rushing.
With Berksza out, Oliver Ames will rely heavily on the rest of its returning starters to carry the load. Junior Cam Perron returns under center after taking over the starting job during the regular season last year. While Perron looks to find some of his options, he has an offensive line protecting him that has some experience but will be looking to form cohesiveness throughout the year. Dean Pacini, Shane Murphy, Billy Tat, Luke Thibeault, and Garrett Wood all return with experience playing on the line. One challenge will be finding someone to step up and be a leader of that group after the graduation of two-time all star Jack Mills.
Nathan Cabral takes over as the feature tailback and OA head coach Mike Holland is confident the junior can get the job done. Holland says Cabral runs hard and is a tough player. Perron will also have the likes of Shane Kilkelly, Jake Erlich, and Evan Craig to work with as targets.
The heart of the defense will be at the linebacker position. Both Pacini, Murphy, and Darnele Ryan return after starting there last year and Holland will count on both senior captains to lead the way for the Tigers. Sam Stevens is back in the secondary at the safety position but OA will need some new faces to emerge alongside him.
“We’re looking forward to the start of the season,” Holland said. “We have a great group across the board. We have some experienced players back and some talented players competing for jobs.”
Taunton started last season with a 3-0 record, one of the program’s best starts in years, but then lost five straight games, including a playoff game against BC High, the top seed in Div. 1 South. The Tigers turned it on again from that point, winning the final three games of the season, including an impressive win against Brockton, to finish with a winning record under second-year head coach Brad Sidwell.
Experience will be a key for the Tigers this season, as Taunton tries to build on that playoff appearance and the momentum from a strong closing stretch. Senior Noah Leonard will be the starting quarterback for the third straight year and is now fluent in Sidwell’s offensive system. Leonard will have familiar targets in senior wideouts Brayden Merrill, Tryton Zavala, and Wesner Charles, while junior Cam Carroca looks to step in as a feature running back and junior Javon Franklin is a new target in the passing game. On the line, Taunton returns plenty of size in 6-foot-3, 337-pound tackle Christian Tourinho and his fellow senior Cam Correiro. Senior Ryan Williams will be the center, while junior Mason Frank, listed at 6-foot-2 and 274 pounds, will be back to battle at the line of scrimmage.
Size and athleticism will be strengths for Taunton on the defensive side of the ball as well. Tourinho, Correiro, and Frank can bottle up opposing running games and will be joined on the line by seniors Corey Pintabone and John Rockwood. Williams will lead the linebacking corps along with classmates Max Moitoso and Kyle Cuoto. Senior Prince Brown will be back at corner and senior Sebastien Celestin looks to step into the safety position.
“Taunton football is progressing forward,” said Sidwell. “Like all teams, we’d like to gain some confidence early in the season and carry it on. The Kelley-Rex division is challenging with great programs, coaching staffs, and communities. We are happy to be a part of it and want to represent Taunton High well by competing at the high standard set by the other league members.”
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Koppy
After coming up just one game shy of the postseason, Attleboro is aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in program history in 2018.
The Bombardiers doubled their victory total from 2016 to 2017, going from four to eight in the win column. Attleboro returns 11 players from last year’s squad and has a total of 12 seniors on the team. Now in its fourth year, interest in the program is growing rapidly with 17 combined freshmen on either varsity or the JV roster.
There will be a lot of experience on the defensive end for Big Blue. Junior captain Trevor Koppy is back for his third year as the Bombardiers’ starting goalie. He turned away 306 shots last year with a 64% save percentage. In front of Koppy, senior captain Dan Perry is back to anchor the defensive unit which features all seniors.
“Dan is a physical defender that has excellent field awareness and leads by example,” said AHS head coach Kevin Koppy. “He’s constantly hustling and fighting hard for loose balls.”
Perry is joined by classmates Jim Nordberg and Chris Reynolds on close defense while Matt Potter will man LSM and Matt Jiminez brins an extra long pole presence to the defensive unit. Another returner is senior Kyle Henry, resuming his role as the team’s primary faceoff man. Henry had a successful 2017 season in that role and Big Blue will rely on him to spark the offense once again.
Seniors Jimmy Burke and Aidan McKenna, junior Cam Littig, and sophomore Thomas Shipman return to the midfield for Attleboro. Big Blue will have some new faces on the attack with seniors TJ Infante, Shane Joubert, and Aidan Downey leading the way. Freshman Mike Strachan and Matt Perry will also be involved in Attleboro’s attack.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Bill Bendell
The Bulldogs found themselves in an unfamiliar position at the end of last season: on the outside looking in for the postseason.
Canton is looking to get back into the postseason this year after coming up just one game shy of qualifying. The Bulldogs won three straight to give themselves a chance but fell just short on the road against Abington in the final game of the season.
Using that as motivation, look for the Bulldogs to be right back in the mix this season. Leading the way will be senior captains Kevin Albert, Charlie O’Connor, and Griffin Roach. All three patrolled the midfield last season but could see time in other spots depending on how the lineup comes together.
O’Connor will step in to handle faceoffs but could miss some time early along with defensemen Brian Ghostlaw and Brendan Albert. Until Canton gets back to 100%, it will rely on senior Gabe Galeotos, junior George Kent, and sophomores Nick Mackay and Jace Emma to provide protection in front of sophomore goalie Jack Connolly. Connolly had a superb freshman season in the cage for the Bulldogs and will try to build upon that his season.
Junior Mike Shaw is back for his third year on attack for Canton, providing experience and leadership up front. Juniors Matt Martin and Dan Cohen, along with sophomores Chris Lavoie and David Allen will also figure into the Bulldogs’ offense this season.”
“We have a great group of kids this year with a nice blend of experienced players and new faces,” said CHS head coach Bill Bendell.
2017 Record: 11-9 2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East First Round Coach: Matt Noone
It’s safe to say Foxboro head coach Matt Noone is optimistic about the 2018 season.
The Warriors graduated just three players total and return their starting goalie, the entire defensive unit, and top three scorers from a season ago. Foxboro’s record was a bit deceiving based on how much talent they had, with five one-goal losses and two two-goal losses. The Warriors were dropped in the opening game of the playoffs by just one goal after holding a multi-goal lead in the second half.
With so much of the line up back, Noone is hoping to turn those close losses into wins.
“We’re going to be a better team than we were last year,” Noone said. “We have to play within our system, and do the simple things…if we do that, we will be very good and very tough to beat. If they don’t, we’ll be losing those one-goal games again.”
It all starts with defense in Foxboro with Jake Addeche returning in the cage for his third season. Addeche (185 saves) is one of the best goalies in the region and will have a very experienced defense in front of him. Senior Pat Kaveny and junior Pat Stapleton will anchor the defense, both with equipped with plenty of skill and experience, while sophomores Ronnie MacLellan and Matt Lathrop each already have a year of varsity experience under their belts.
Junior Brendan Tully (24 goals, 15 assists) will pace the Warriors in the midfield (“His lacrosse IQ is off the charts,” Noone notes). Tully can help transition Foxboro from defense to offense, and his ability to keep possession helps the Warriors control the tempo. Tully is complemented in the middle by seniors Louis Blake and Mike Collins while both Shayne Kerrigan and Bobby Yerardi will be in the mix as well.
Offensively, the Warriors look to be well-balanced with Louis Piccolo (25 goals, 13 assists) back this year along with senior Mike Moses (18 goals, 20 assists), junior Pete Conley (15 goals, 23 assists) and senior Andrew Whalen.
2017 Record: 16-5 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lou Verrochi
Expectations are high for the 2018 season based on the talent the Franklin Panthers boast this year.
“We return a very good team,” said FHS head coach Lou Verrochi. “We have a very good and deep bench too, we’re looking forward to the season.”
The long list of returning talent starts with All-American and 2017 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Eric Civetti. Civetti (Rutgers commit) has been tormenting opposing defenses since his freshman year. He scored 70 goals and notched 24 assists as a sophomore, and then netted 79 goals and 21 assists last year, totaling 194 points between the two years. The Panthers will also boast senior Zach Alexander and freshman Matt Lazzaro on attack.
The midfield will be loaded with two talented lines available. Captains Kyle McEniry (10 goals, 21 assists) and Chase Tanner (29 goals, 10 assists) will be joined by the speedy Nitin Chaudhury (24 goals, 10 assists) on the Panthers first unit while Jake Davis, Johnny O’Glishen, and Owen Palmieri give Verrochi an incredibly talented second unit.
As if the midfield wasn’t loaded enough, the Panthers have 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Jacob Alexander back to dominate the faceoff X. Alexander, who is committed to play at Bryant University, has dominated at the X for the past two years and really gives the Panthers an advantage in terms of getting possession. “He’s arguably the best FOGO in Mass,” Verrochi noted.
The defense will be anchored by junior Patrick Morrison (Rutgers commit) along with Trevor Raffin, Jack McGrath and Spencer Briggs. Sean Lazzaro will be our top LSM while the Panthers have plenty of talent as SSDM with Will Harvey, Ben Kolb, and Aaron Mollo in the mix. Backstopping the team in goal will be Colorado commit and captain Connor O’Rourke (169 saves, 64% save percentage).
2017 Record: 13-9 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals Coach: Hal Bean
The Warriors will be looking to replicate the success they had in the 2016 season again this year.
After finishing 9-2 in league play (second in the Kelley-Rex), the Warriors had an impressive postseason run, competing with top-seeded and eventual sectional champ BC High in the D1 South Quarterfinals.
A big reason why KP has had a lot of experience over the past four years is goalie Paul Macrina. Macrina is now manning the cage at Drexel University, so there are big shoes to fill in the cage this season for KP.
King Philip also has to find replacements for the production lost by LSM Zach D’Amico, attack Tim Watson (56 goals, 28 points – second in the Hockomock League), and defenseman Connor Khung – the first two selected to the 2017 HockomockSports.com First Team and Khung apart of the Second Team.
All is not lost though as the Warriors have junior Colin DeVellis back to spearhead the attack. DeVellis was fourth overall in the Hockomock League in points last season, scoring 22 goals and notching 36 assists (58 points). Another key piece will be senior Nate Minkwitz, who can make an impact on both ends of the field. Minkwitz had 13 goals and five assists last season and will aim to improve on that. Expect LSM Wesley Bishop and midfielder Aidan Bender to factor in this season as well.
2017 Record: 12-7 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
Mansfield returns a good amount of talent from last year’s playoff squad so the Hornets will certainly be looking to book a return trip as well as compete for a Kelley-Rex title.
The Hornets return one of the most dangerous attackmen in the area in senior Hunter Ferreira. Ferreira’s combination of size, speed, and strength – as well as finishing ability – make him a must-watch for opposing defenses. Most will dedicate two defensemen his way but Ferreira still finished fifth in the league in points with 34 goals and 19 assists. Ferreira will be joined by returners Aidan Sacco and Mike Reed, giving the Hornets an experienced three-headed monster on offense.
The midfield is also loaded with experience behind returning starters Joe Cox (19 goals, 14 assists) and Danny DeGirolamo (17 goals, 15 assists). Cox, who was named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com Second Team, muscles his way through opponents, while DeGirolamo can use his speed to cause problems. Haig Megerdichian, Brett Kessler, Connor Quirk, and Brad Grant will all see time in the midfield as well.
Tommy Donnelly will anchor the defensive unit but the Hornets will have some new faces in back. Dan Plugis and Chris Copponi will both see a lot of minutes for the Hornets in front of goalie Jack Munroe, who stepped in last season and impressed in the cage.
“Our strength this year will be at the midfield with lots of legs,” said MHS head coach Tim Frias. “We should be good in transition as well.”
2017 Record: 4-13 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jacob Scordato
Milford hasn’t had a ton of success overall since it joined the Hockomock League, but new head coach Jacob Scordato is hoping to change that going forward.
Scordato takes over a team that had just four wins a year ago and is the third coach in the past three years for the program.
“Our players are focused on making our program a successful one,” Scordato said. “Boys lacrosse in the Hockomock is known for being a tough league, and Milford lacrosse is going to be making a lot of noise from here on out.”
Although the Hawks don’t have an incredibly deep roster, the optimism stems from the experience returning on offense. UMass Boston commit and senior captain Andrew Gallagher (16 goals, 7 assists) will be a key weapon up front along with junior captains Ryan Hazard (41 goals, 10 assists) and Josh Ligor.
Scordato also expects junior newcomer Brendan White, who has had successful football and basketball seasons so far this school year, to make a big impact on offense for Milford. Defensively, Milford will rely on senior captain and midfielder Chase Blanchette.
2017 Record: 16-3 2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinals Coach: Kevin Young
North Attleboro graduated a lot of talent from last year’s squad, so it’s no surprise head coach Kevin Young believes this season will be a big challenge for his young squad.
Although he expects it to be a challenge, the Rocketeers have built a strong program and will likely be in the mix for the division title with Foxboro. Big Red will be anchored by defenseman and captain Tom Lockavitch (Roger Williams commit) and senior LSM Max Fontes. Both Lockavitch and Fontes had tremendous junior seasons and were both honored by HockomockSports.com (first and second teams, respectively). Sophomores Brett Labonte and Will Yeomans will round out a strong defensive unit.
One of the biggest tasks will be filling the void left in goal with Hock MVP and long-time starter Dan MacDonald now graduated. The Rocketeers have three goalies in the mix with Young noting all are working hard to claim the starting spot. Junior Jack Puccio and sophomores Nate D’Amico and Jake McNeany will all be in the mix.
Captain Tommy Lindstrom (Springfield commit) will pace the offense with the help of sophomores Jack Connolly and Andy DeMattio. Faceoff specialist Jason McNeany (Cocker College commit) is also back and will be a key piece of the offense. Nick Ward, Damien Curtis, and Dan Conroy should carry the transition in the midfield with help from Ryan Rajotte and Matt McSweeney.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Ben Devlin
Oliver Ames nearly made it two straight years in the postseason but came up just one game shy of qualifying in 2017. So the goal is simple for the Tigers in 2018: get back to the tournament.
The Tigers return their top six scorers from last season, and now with a year more experience under their belts, should be ready to take on some of the top defenses in the league.
Assistant coach Ben Devlin takes over the reigns of the program, and the familiarity should help make for a smooth transition. Senior captains Eric LeBlanc (30 goals, 13 assists) and Owen Gallagher will spearhead the attack while senior captain Jack Lang will make an impact on both ends of the field while also handling faceoff duties. Junior Colin Bourne and sophomores Sam Stevens and Shane Kilkelly give the Tigers varsity experience in the midfield. Sophomore Frankie Ireland and freshman Remi Creighton will also figure into the mix on offense.
Devlin will have holes to fill on the defensive end but its excited about the skill that the Tigers have. Shane Murphy, Cullen Gallagher, and Matt Saba will be relied upon to carry the defensive unit while Rory Madden will handle LSM duties after missing last season. Nick Gillis will take over for Sean Cosgrove in net after impressing at the JV level.
“We are a couple years into rebuilding this program, which is difficult while playing in such a tough conference against some of the best players and coaches in the state,” Devlin said. “We’re young and inexperienced, but talented on defense. All I can ask is for my kids to play to their capabilities. If we do that I think we can win enough games this season to reach our goal.”
2017 Record: 7-11 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jon Shocket
New head coach Jon Shocket is excited and optimistic that the 2018 season will be a successful one on the lacrosse field for the Sharon Eagles.
Shocket believes the Eagles have the lacrosse IQ and skill to get back to the postseason after missing out on qualification by two wins. A big reason for the optimism is the senior class.
“I have a really good senior group,” Shocket said. “If everyone buys into the system and trusts the process, this should be a fun season. This year, we have to make better decisions and move the ball around. It’s about working as a team instead of as individuals.”
The Eagles have experience at all positions on the field, starting with returning goalie Johnny Greenberg. Greenberg enters his third year as the starting goalie and will have good size in front of him. Both Sam Spencer and Coleman Loftus stand at 6’2 and look to be key pieces in the Eagles’ defensive unit.
In the midfield, Jimmy Fitzhenry, Chase Waxman, and Spencer Hall give the Eagles a well-balanced and experienced group. The three provide a combination of speed, strength, and skill that will help Sharon transition from defense to offense. Junior Matt Callan will handle faceoff duties while freshman LSM Tyler Freidman will be in the mix as well.
Senior Brett Litner brings a strong shot to the offense and will be tough to stop on the inside. Classmate Kadin Nestler gives the Eagles speed on the outside and makes the move from midfield to attack this year. Freshman Drew Litner rounds out the Eagles’ attacking unit.
2017 Record: 4-12 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Pat Healey
After winning four games in its inaugural season at the varsity level, Stoughton boys lacrosse is hoping to continue heading in the right direction this spring.
The Knights picked up wins over Milford twice, Taunton, and Norton and will look to be in competition with those squads again this year. Leading the blue collar group will be captains Justin Ly, Sean Doherty, and Danny Nakhili. Ly is a three-sport athlete that is willing to do the dirty work, Nakhili provides a lot of leadership in the midfield and uses his speed to give the offense a boost, and Doherty will handle the faceoff duties and provide an offensive punch.
Twins Nate and Alex Wilson bring skill to the long poles, Marty Barrett and Josh Cohen will be key pieces on defense, and Charlie Morgan, Luke Bainton, and Mike Tracey will all be in the mix offensively.
“I’m hoping for more wins,” said SHS head coach Pat Healey said in an interview with Stoughton Media Access. “Last year we got four under our belt which is great for a first-year program. We brought up a lot of freshmen this year from the youth program. But baby steps, this is a tough league so we’ll do as best as we can.
Now in its third year as a varsity program, Taunton is aiming to progress day by day to continue to build the program.
The Tigers went without a win last season but bring seven starters back with another year of success on their belts. Junior goalie Ryan Williams returns in cage to give the Tigers a familiar face on the defensive end. Williams has been manning the cage for Taunton since the team moved to a varsity schedule.
In front of Williams will be junior Justin Demoga, a captain, that handles close defense. Head coach Brendan Chambers noted Demoga is great with positioning, takes a great approach, and is willing to learn and improve every day. Chambers noted Demoga will be tasked with menacing opponents’ best attack throughout the season.
In the midfield, junior captain Dylan Nichols provides leadership and experience for the Tigers. Nichols has the speed to make an impact on both ends of the field and Chambers is hoping for some offensive production out of the junior. Nichols will be joined by senior Chris Kanabayashi who will contribute to the offense with his hard shot.
Junior Noah Kuczewski is making the jump from JV to varsity and will be one of the Tigers’ main pieces on attack. Chambers is also relying on junior captain Joel Delgado, who put a lot of time in during the offseason to improve, to be an important part of the offense.
“Our goal this year is to continue to build on what we did last year,” Chambers said. “We want to increase our lacrosse IQ and try to be more competitive in all our games. Ideally, we’ll win a couple games and get better every day.”
WRENTHAM, Mass. – Over the course of its 21-game win streak, King Philip has found a number of ways to come out on top, particularly in close games. Whether it is a big passing play, breaking a long run, or forcing an important turnover, the Warriors know how to grind out results week after week.
There was a lot of turnover from last season’s state title-winning roster and head coach Brian Lee has admitted that he was not sure how good the Warriors could be this fall, but the new faces have stepped right in where the previous team left off and continued to win.
On Friday night at Macktaz Field, KP extended its winning streak by another game, pulling out a 13-11 win against rival Mansfield, beating the Hornets for a second time this season and advancing to the Div. 2 South final. This is the third sectional final in the past four years for the Warriors.
Lee explained, “The kids just battle. They’re tough. They’re not much to look at but they battle and compete. I didn’t know if we’d be any good this year and somehow we’re here again.”
“We’ve got a lot of guys who are just laid back and chill and they know when to perform,” said junior linebacker Jack Webster. “They perform at the right times. We’ve got good confidence on the team. We’re just calm, cool, and collected and we just play team ball.”
After pulling away with a strong fourth quarter in the first meeting between the two teams, KP carried the momentum into this game.
The Warriors called for a reverse on the opening kick-off and Shane Frommer took it up the sidelines for 42 yards to start near midfield. Brendan Lydon (5-14, 69 yards) hit David Morganelli for 16 yards and then Frommer for 21 to get the ball into Mansfield territory. Three plays later, Frommer (24 carries, 110 yards) bounced a run to the outside for six-yard score.
“We score the first drive, everyone’s smiling, and I was like, ‘Remember, it’s going to be a long game,’ “ said Lee. He added, “I told them before the game, ‘I don’t know how it’s going to play. I don’t know what they’re going to do different this time. All I know is that it’s going to take the entire game.’”
After a three-and-out by the Hornets, Aidan Bender’s return gave the Warriors great starting field position at midfield. The Mansfield coaches were imploring the defense to come through with a big stop and that is exactly what the Hornets got, forcing three-and-outs on back-to-back KP possessions to settle the game down.
The first meeting changed on a first half interception and it looked like Friday’s game might too. Lydon was flushed out of the pocket by Nick Marciano and his pass was picked off by Hunter Ferreira, who returned the ball down to the Warriors eight and gave the visitors momentum. Three plays later, Damani Scott (5-15, 55 yards) punched it in from the half-yard-line.
The Hornets surprised KP by running a trick play rather than an extra point with Ferreira pitching it to Mike DeBolt for the conversion and an 8-7 lead.
The excitement on the Mansfield sideline was short-lived, as the Warriors returned the ensuing kick out to the 45 for another great starting spot. As usual, KP turned to Frommer and the Yale University-commit carried the ball five times for 42 yards on the drive, including his second touchdown of the game, this time from 10 yards out.
The Hornets had gone practically nowhere on offense to this point, but with 3:25 left in the half and starting at their own 23 Mansfield put together its best drive of the game. Scott hit Danny DeGirolamo for a 14-yard completion and Khristian Conner for eight yards, while sophomore Vinnie Holmes (17 carries, 89 yards) gave the Hornets a threat up the middle. Mansfield got the ball to the KP 16 and DeBolt nailed a 33-yard field goal with 8.4 on the clock to cut the lead to two.
Deric Casado had an interception to start the second half for KP, but the Warriors were held to one first down, Chris Graham making a big stop on Frommer on second down. Mansfield’s next drive got on the edge of field goal range but Evan Rice had a big third down sack that forced a Hornets punt. It was one of three second half sacks for the Warriors, who ratcheted up the pass rush in the second half.
“The coaches just made up a great defensive plan this week,” said Webster. “We knew what we’re doing and we attacked it.”
Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “We played tough on Frommer, they did a great job on our run game, and we just needed to complete a few more passes. They’re as good a team as we play defensively every year, they make you work.”
The punt pinned KP down inside its own 10, but Webster managed three yards on third and three for a big first down then Lydon hit Morganelli for another third down conversion and Frommer picked up another with a nine-yard dive up the middle. The Warriors managed to get as far as midfield to switch the field position advantage.
“They got a lot of big first downs,” said Redding. “The Lydon kid hit a couple of outs, great throws on time. Field position was a killer. We always started in our end and gave them the ball at midfield way too much.”
The game seemed to be over when Makhi Baskin muffed a punt with about four minutes remaining, but again the Hornets held firm defensively with Conner making a big stop on Frommer on the sideline and Baskin redeeming himself with an interception at the goal line on fourth down.
Mansfield had one more shot. After a sack by Webster pushed the Hornets back five yards to their own 24, Scott hit Ferreira for his only catch of the game and the senior appeared to be out to the 40 for a first down. After some confusion, the officials marked him down at the 38, one yard short of the marker.
“I thought we completed the pass for 20 yards on [third down], someone’s got to explain that to me, but even with that I don’t know if we’ve got the time to get the field goal,” said Redding. “You just hate to see that in a big game, that kind of mismanaging of the stakes.”
On fourth down, Holmes tried to fight his way to the sticks but Webster was on the spot, as he had been all game, to make the stop that sealed the win.
“Fourth and one, I was daggering off the outside,” Webster explained, “and Jack Piller made a great play and everyone just collapsed on him and pushed him back. It was a great team effort.”
When asked what has made this KP roster continue to find ways to win, Webster said, “Shane Frommer and Andrew Dittrich, our two captains, have just made us play together, play great team ball, everyone’s made plays when we’ve had to…it’s just been a good team game.”
The respect for the Mansfield program and all that it has achieved is evident on the KP sidelines and Lee said that the strength of the Warriors’ rivals has pushed them to be even better.
“You know why I love Mansfield so much,” he said, “because they have made this program work so hard to compete against that and that’s how we’ve gotten better. You’re either getting crushed by them or you learn how to fight and our guys have responded.”
King Philip (9-0, 5-0), the top seed in Div. 2 South, advances to the sectional final and will host No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham next Friday night. Mansfield (7-2, 4-1) has not set an opponent for next week.
FOXBORO, Mass. – It was fitting that the first game played the recently dedicated Jack Martinelli Field had an old school feel to it.
Unfortunately, King Philip played the role of spoiler, walking away with a hard-earned 16-7 win over Foxboro.
Defense shined for both teams in the first game played on the grass at Ahern Middle School, the first regular season football game played there since it was named after Foxboro’s coach in August.
“That was a good old-fashioned football game, old school by both teams and both sets of kids,” Martinelli said. “[King Philip] made some big plays and we didn’t make enough, I think it came down to that. Both teams had good kickers, both teams played good defense. It was just a matter of a couple of big plays they made and we didn’t.”
King Philip punter Cole Baker averaged over 35 yards on his punts, his last pinning Foxboro deep in its own territory as it looked to complete a second half comeback.
Foxboro punter Liam Foley averaged over 40 yards on his four punts, and the Warriors defense limited visiting King Philip to just 70 yards of offense in the second half.
The longest drive by either team was 56 yards, orchestrated by KP quarterback Brendan Lydon in the second quarter, using eight plays to find the end zone.
Foxboro’s offense didn’t run more than four plays on an offensive series until its last two drives of the game, the first ending in a turnover on downs, the second stopped by the end of the game.
“If style points, we wouldn’t get any,” admitted KP head coach Brian Lee. “We’re playing pretty good defense though. And we’re playing pretty well on the special teams, Cole is doing a nice job kicking for us, putting the defense in good field position.
“We’re missing our hoggies [offensive line] from last year. They’re going to get better. We replaced all six of them from last year. They’re going to get better, it’s tough to get those tough first downs. We had a bunch of weird penalties we have to straighten out too.”
KP forced a quick three and out to start the game and quickly put points on the board. After an eight-play drive only resulted in 19 yards, the Warriors trotted out Baker, who drilled a 31-yard field goal with 4:14 left in the first quarter.
It looked Foxboro was ready to respond, starting with a 20-yard carry from Mike Henri (10 carries, 50 yards), a seven-yard carry and then a run that advanced into KP territory. But on that third carry, Aidan Bender forced a fumble on the tackle and Max Armour pounced on it to get the ball back for KP.
KP had to punt the ball back to Foxboro after its drive stalled but with Baker placing his kick to the Foxboro 10-yard line, KP’s defense was in a good spot. Two rushes for loss and an incompletion resulted in a punt back to the visitors.
“Defense is keeping us in there,” Lee said. “We were making big plays when we had to. It’s always a grind over here. Especially tonight, you know they are playing for their coach. You knew it was going to be a bloodbath out there.”
Shane Frommer had carries of six, seven, eight and 12 to get KP into the red zone. But a big stop from Foxboro’s Patrick Kaveny resulted in a one-yard loss, and then Matt Pond stopped a run for a five-yard loss, forcing KP into a 3rd and 16.
Lydon then tossed a perfect pass into the back of the end zone where senior Tom Madden hauled it in for a 25-yard touchdown. The extra point was low and blocked, giving KP a 9-0 lead with 6:24 left in the second quarter. KP took that lead into the halftime break.
“It was definitely a defensive battle,” Lee said. “The defense put is in a position for the first three points. We hit the big play for the [Madden] touchdown. Then we just hung on again, which we did last week. This was really a 9-7 game here and just scratching it out.”
Midway through the third quarter, King Philip was pinned inside its 10-yard line and elected to punt on third down. Foxboro took over at the KP 35 yard line and needed four plays to cut into the deficit.
A pair of runs from Henri (seven yards, three yards) sandwiched around a run from Anthony Capachietti (8 carries, 32 yards) set Foxboro up for 2nd and 7. Quarterback Devin Hassett elected to keep the ball on the option, raced out to the left side and followed a huge block from Teddy Maher around the edge to race for a 22-yard touchdown. Russell Neale’s extra point cut the deficit to 9-7 with 3:08 in the third quarter.
Foxboro picked up some momentum at the end of the third quarter when Henri picked off a pass from Lydon. But on the first play of the fourth quarter, an errant snap resulted in a 13-yard loss and two plays later, Foxboro had to punt.
The hosts got the ball back with 5:19 to play and started the drive with three straight positive plays. Back to back five-yard runs preceded a 14-yard completion from Hassett to Phil Dure. But a one-yard rush was followed by two incompletions.
Facing 4th and 9, Foxboro originally sent out its punt team but then decided to send the offense back out. Foxboro had to take a timeout, leaving them with just three. But before they could get a play off, a flag for delay of game cost the hosts five yards.
Armour, along with Kerr, Dylan Leonard and Jack Piller came up with a sack on the play, giving the ball back to KP’s offense.
“We have to find a way to get the ball into the end zone more consistently,” Martinelli said. “Whether it’s in the air or on the ground, we’re still searching. We answered some questions for ourselves tonight. Even though it’s a non-league game, it’s an important game.”
KP took advantage of the short field, using four plays with Kerr punching it in from five yards out with 1:29 to play to ice the game.
King Philip football (2-0) opens Kelley-Rex division play next week when it welcomes Attleboro (0-2) to Macktaz Field. Foxboro (1-1) welcomes Stoughton to Jack Martinelli Field in its Davenport division opener.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip came into Friday night’s season opener against fellow league champion North Attleboro at Macktaz Field in a very different position than last season’s matchup. The defending Div. 1A Super Bowl champion Warriors graduated the vast majority of the starters on both sides of the ball, including all but two on offensive, and had a roster filled with new faces.
Many of the names may have been new, but the play on the field was the same.
KP sacked North’s star quarterback Chad Peterson (13-24, 165 yards) five times, forced four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumbles), and the Warriors made enough plays to pull out a 24-14 victory, the program’s 14th straight win stretching back 2015.
“I’m very pleased,” said KP coach Brian Lee after the game. “I had no idea what to expect. We’re only returning five guys, so there were a lot of rookies out there, a lot of guys going two ways. I love playing North because they make you play your best.”
From North Attleboro’s perspective, it was mistakes that doomed the Rocketeers on Friday. In addition to the struggles protecting Peterson and the turnovers, North also committed five penalties and just looked out of sync.
“Too many self-inflicted wounds,” said North coach Don Johnson. “We had kind of seen it in preseason, but way too many [mistakes] to beat anybody really. They made plays they had to make but we had mistakes in basic coverages. That second touchdown we had someone line up wrong and left a guy wide open.”
The struggles started on the opening drive when KP defensive lineman Evan Rice sniffed out a third down screen, tipped, and intercepted Peterson’s pass to give the Warriors the ball at the North 33. A 13-yard run by senior quarterback Brendan Lydon (7-12, 143 yards) got the ball inside the 10, but KP was stopped on three straight plays and settled for a 22-yard Cole Baker field goal.
North’s defense made the next big play when Brendan McHugh got to Lydon on a blitz and stripped the ball loose. Brad White recovered the fumble for the Rocketeers and three plays later Peterson hit Nolan Buckley for a 21-yard touchdown into the back corner of the end zone to take North’s only lead of the game.
Facing third and 15 on its next possession, KP hit a big play to answer right back. A broken coverage left junior Aidan Bender running free down the seam and Lydon hit him in stride for a 71-yard score. Just two plays into the Rocketeers’ next possession and senior corner Andrew Dittrich forced a McHugh (11 carries, 45 yards) fumble and Dylan Leonard dove on it to get the ball right back.
Thomas Madden saved the possession for the Warriors by diving on a fumble on the first play and on third and eight from the North 13, Lydon threw a perfect strike into the corner that was pulled in by David Morganelli for a 17-7 halftime lead.
“I thought the wideouts caught some really good balls for us and I thought our pass [protection] was good,” said Lee about the success of the passing attack. “Sometimes you’ve got to change up what you’re doing and I thought the guys really responded.”
Johnson added, “I was pleased with the way that we stopped the run game, but they had good balance. I think the quarterback has come a long way for them. He was a difference maker.”
A punt and then back-to-back fumbles gave North the ball at its own 21 about halfway through the third quarter. The Rocketeers put together a 17-play drive that took more than 10 minutes off the clock and needed two fourth down conversions to get themselves back in the contest.
Peterson was sacked three times on the drive, twice by Bender, but also went 5-for-7 passing, including a dart on fourth and eight that hit Omar Jasseh and kept the drive alive. One play after the combo just missed on the right side of the end zone, Peterson threw another fourth down strike, this one to senior Marion Bresko down the left sideline for a 27-yard score that cut the lead to just three points (17-14) with 7:54 remaining.
Lee joked, “They pulled a KP on us. We didn’t do anything in the second half, except for hang on and play some ‘D’. We tell the kids, you’re going to fight. They’re going to come over here and fight to the end. We hung on and sometimes that’s what you have to do.”
A punt gave North the ball right back and a roughing the passer call pushed the Rocketeers to the KP 31. Two plays later, Peterson tried to go for the end zone, but the ball was intercepted by Luke D’Amico at the three-yard-line.
On third and nine, facing another punt to give the ball back to the Rocketeers, Lydon fired down the middle to senior tight end JJack Piller, who pulled the pass down despite two Rocketeers in coverage and held on through contact for a crucial first down. With 48 seconds left, senior running back Shane Frommer, who was held to just 41 yard on his first 13 carries, bounced a run off tackle to the left side and was gone for a 57-yard touchdown to seal the win.
The personnel may be very different from last season’s experienced squad, but the attitude is the same. The Warriors find a way to grind out victories and make opponents uncomfortable.
“That’s kind of our mentality in general – we like to attack,” said Lee. “Sometimes it looks nice to drop eight into coverage but good quarterbacks make plays when they have enough time. We’re just pretty good at it.”
He added, “We love to play good defense here. We made plays when we had to.”
King Philip (1-0) will try to make it 15 wins in a row when it takes on Foxboro next Friday in the first game at the newly renamed Jack Martinelli Field. Next week, North Attleboro (0-1) will host Bishop Feehan at Community Field.
Game of the Week – Football
North Attleboro, 14 @ King Philip, 24 – Final – Click here for a recap of the Game of the Week. 1st Quarter: (KP) Cole Baker 22-yard field goal.
2nd Quarter: (NA) Chad Peterson 21-yard pass to Nolan Buckley, Geoff Wilson XP good; (KP) Brendan Lydon 71-yard pass to Aidan Bender, C. Baker XP good; (KP) B. Lydon 13-yard pass to David Morganelli, C. Baker XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (NA) C. Peterson 27-yard pass to Marion Bresko, G. Wilson XP good; Shane Frommer 57-yard rush, C. Baker XP good.
Football Attleboro, 32 @ Cumberland (RI), 33 – Final
1st Quarter: (C) Joe Leonard 31 yard pass to Jack Andrews, XP good; (A) Cam Furtado 1 yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (A) C. Furtado 6 yard rush, XP failed. (C) Hayden Lacroix 8 yard rush, XP good; (A) C. Furtado 16 yard pass to Elvin Sam, 2pt failed; (A) C. Furtado 29 yard pass to Jeremy Haas, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: (C) H. Lacroix 37 yard rush, XP failed. (C) J. Leonard 14 yard pass to H. Lacroix, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (A) C. Furtado 32 yard pass to Justin Cote, C. Furtado 2pt rush. (C) J. Leonard 31 yard pass to Mason Matos, XP good.
Canton, 42 vs. Pentucket, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (C) Alec Ragusa 3 yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good; (C) A. Ragusa 4 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (C) Gersom Rivera 4 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) A. Ragusa 4 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (C) G. Rivera 14 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (5) Pentucket 5 yard pass, XP good; (C) Alain Jean 62 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
Foxboro, 7 @ Hingham, 3 – Final 1st Quarter: (H) Matt Lahiff 32-yard field goal good; (F) Liam Foley 9 yard pass to Mike Luong, Russell Neale XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Stoughton, 28 vs. Franklin, 14 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game. 1st Quarter: (F) Jake Noviello 8 yard pass to Sean Leonard, Matt Zucco XP good. (S) Evan Gibb 15 yard pass to Ajahn Rue, Josh Cocchi XP good.
2nd Quarter: (S) E. Gibb 35 yard pass to Ruben Gonzalez, J. Cocchi XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) E. Gibb 35 yard pass to R. Gonzalez, J. Cocchi XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) Even Wendell 13 yard pass to Jack Nally, M. Zucco XP good. (S) E. Gibb 1 yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good.
Mansfield, 34 vs. Walpole, 13 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Damani Scott 38 yard pass to Joe Cox, XP failed. (W) Brett Lavanchy 5 yard pass to Chase Conrad, XP good; (M) Danny DeGirolamo 27 yard rush, Hunter Ferreira 2pt rush good.
2nd Quarter: (W) B. Lavanchy 5 yard rush, XP failed; (M) J. Cox 12 yard rush, Mike Debolt XP good; (M) D. Scott 36 yard pass to D. DeGirolamo, 2pt failed.
3rd Quarter: (M) D. Scott 36 yard pass to Mike Shannon, M. Debolt XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Milford, 7 @ Scituate, 34 – Final 3rd Quarter: (M) Will Pointer 19 yard rush, Sean Lehane XP good.
Oliver Ames, 32 vs. Bedford, 21 – Final 1st Quarter: (B) Bedford 30 yard pass, XP good; (OA) Anthony Berksza 35 yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (OA) Curtis Cann 15 yard pass to Ethan Eckstrom, 2pt failed; (OA) Safety; (OA) A. Berksza 10 yard rush, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: (OA) A. Berksza 5 yard rush, XP no good.
4th Quarter: (OA) A. Berksza 30 yard rush, 2pt failed; (B) Bedford 25 yard pass, 2pt good.
Taunton, 25 vs. New Bedford, 15 – Final 1st Quarter: (T) Noah Leonard 8 yard pass to Jahmeir Lewis, John Teixeira XP good; (T) Woudanly Danger 4 yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (T) TJ Mendes 5 yard rush, XP failed; (T) T. Mendes 4 yard rush, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: (NB) Tru Williams 39 yard rush, XP good.
4th Quarter: (NB) T. Williams 14 yard pass to Jeremy DaCruz, T. Williams 2pt pass to Edgar Semedo.
Franklin, 0 @ Xaverian, 1 – Final – Franklin head coach Fran Bositis noted improvement from the Panthers’ opening game and said his side played hard, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Oliver Ames, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames used three different goal scorers to race out to a 3-0 lead through the first 40 minutes and added a pair of second half strikes to open 2017 with a win. Senior Brandin Osborne netted a goal in each half while Matt Alvarado, Jack Sheldon, and Michael Nikiciuk each scored once. Sheldon, Nathaniel Cardoza, James Gillespie, Josh Melnick and freshman Matt Nikiciuk each registered an assist.
Stoughton, 3 @ Attleboro, 4 – Final – Attleboro scored a pair of goals in each have and senior goalie Katie Pelletier turned aside nine shots to help the Bombardiers edge Stoughton. Grace Mayer scored a pair of goals for Attleboro in the first half, the latter on an assist from Eliza Sabilla. Alex Compton netted both goals in the second half for Big Blue, converting assists from Mayer and Abigail Boudreau. Allie Howe found the back of the net twice for Stoughton while Alanna McCormick scored once.
Canton, 4 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Canton junior Maggie Malloy scored a hat trick to lead the Bulldogs to a win on the road at Mansfield.
Foxboro, 1 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – After a scoreless first half, King Philip exploded for four goals in the second half. Nicole Connor opened the scoring off an assist from Alli Meehan just under three minutes into the second half and six minutes later, Meehan doubled the lead with an unassisted goal. Liz Furfari scored back-to-back goals four-minute span, the first off a feed from Christina Hathaway, the second from Meehan. Foxboro tallied with just under three minutes to play when Lily Daly finished a pass from Jackie Brion. KP finished with 19 shots and 14 corners.
Milford, 1 @ Franklin, 4 – Final – Franklin junior Cassi Ronan registered her first hat trick of the season, including scoring on a penalty stroke, to lead Franklin over Milford. Freshman Victoria Quinn scored for the second straight game, finishing off an assist from sophomore Elizabeth Clark. FHS head coach Lisa Cropper also noted junior Emily Valentino had a strong game for the Panthers.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Taunton senior Kya Enos scored the lone goal of the game just over midway through the first half. Enos converted the lone tally on an assist from Liana Duarte. Taunton goalie Emma Sheehan turned away nine saves to record the shutout. THS head coach Liz Hathaway said Kathryn Robinson and Lauren Torres both had strong games for the Tigers.
Sharon, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 8 – Final – Oliver Ames had seven different players find the back of the net in the win, with Liz Nuss registering a pair of goals.
Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton’s Nicole Brown (15 assists) did a great job running the offense in her debut as starting setting according to head coach Pat Cawley as the Bulldogs registered a 25-17, 25-23, 25-16 sweep of Attleboro. Megan McDonough led the defense with 12 digs and was “a strong leader on the court,” according to Cawley. Cawley added Sofia Connor and Hannah Jerrier played strong all around games, combining for 10 kills.
Mansfield, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Mansfield opened its 2017 campaign with a 25-23, 25-16, 25-23 sweep on the road at Foxboro. Senior Meg Hill led the offense with 13 kills and senior Lexi Gardner chipped in with seven kills. Senior Emma Ascoli finished the game with 25 assists for Mansfield.
Franklin, 1 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – Franklin fought off the sweep but North Attleboro finished the match in four sets, 25-20, 25-18, 25-27, 25-20. Kezia De La Cruz led the Rocketeers with 12 kills and a pair of aces while Katie DeMontigny had nine kills and two aces in the win. For Franklin, Meaghan Maguire had eight total blocks (six solo) and five kills, Hailey Sanders added three blocks (one solo) and five kills and Lauren McGrath had 19 assists and four aces.
King Philip, 3 @ Milford, 0 – Final – King Philip slammed the door shutout on its sweep of Milford with senior Michaela Palumbo accounting for 16 service points in the third set alone in a 25-20, 25-11, 25-7 win. Palumbo also had five kills and five aces in the win while Sydney Phillips had 11 kills and Grace Ely notched three kills.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Stoughton senior Val Whalen had a very strong game in a 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-9, 25-21) win over visiting Oliver Ames. Whalen led the way with 19 kills, 13 digs and six blocks while juniors Molly Turner and Hanna Holden combined for over 30 assists. OA’s Emma Petrillo had seven kills and four aces, sophomore Allie Kemp had 22 assists and Sadie Homer notched 10 digs and two aces.
Taunton, 2 @ Sharon, 3 – Final – In a back and forth match, Sharon emerged with a 22-25, 25-20, 25-16, 20-25, 15-11 win over visiting Taunton. For the Tigers, Sam Reaume had 10 kills and an ace, Kayli Fagan notched 26 assists, five aces and four kills and McKenzie Lucie played well in the back row according to head coach Toby Chaperon.
Mansfield, 165 @ King Philip, 167 – Final – Mansfield freshman Ryan Dow had shot a team-low round of 38 to lead the Hornets to their first win. Freshman Brian See added a 41 in the win.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Back in April, North Attleboro boys lacrosse saw its second half comeback effort against King Philip fall just short.
Fast forward to Friday afternoon where no come back was necessary. In fact, the Rocketeers were in driver’s seat the entire way, racing out to an early lead and never looking back to pick up a convincing 10-3 win.
With the win, North Attleboro clinched at least a share of its first ever Davenport division title; also the program’s first ever league title.
“I think we worked together as a team, on both ends of the field,” said North Attleboro head coach Kevin Young on the biggest difference between the two games. “It wasn’t just one guy trying to drive the crease and everyone else watch. Everybody out there was pretty conscious of the transition game, both offense and defense. [King Philip’s] Paul Macrina is one of the best outlet goalies in the league so we always had someone high all the time – that seemed to work. It was a great effort on both sides, I was very happy with the guys today.”
While the Rocketeers were limited to just one goal in the first half of the first meeting between the two, it took North just one quarter to find the back of the net three times.
In the first minute of play, Owen Costello found some space and then found the back of the net to put North up 1-0. The Rocketeers continued its strong start when Zach McGowan found Nick Moore in front for a bounce shot less than four minutes into the game. Big Red’s lead grew to three shortly after with McGowan again assisting. This time the senior connected with Tommy Lindstrom for a man up goal.
King Philip’s Tim Watson found Colin DeVellis with a perfectly weighted pass over the goal and the sophomore finished to bring the Warriors within two by the close of the first quarter.
“They came out a little more intense than us to start,” said King Philip head coach Jamie Stefanini. “And then just mental errors. Guys missing assignments, not communicating on defense, and just throwing the ball away — just simple stuff you can’t do. When you play a quality team like North Attleboro, you can’t throw it away.”
North Attleboro tacked on two more goals in the second quarter with McGowan having a hand in both of them.
First, the senior attack took control of possession, dodged around and defenseman as he raced from behind the net. McGowan released a shot as he curled toward goal and found the back of the net top shelf. Minutes later, McGowan connected with Costello as he eluded his mark in front for a quick goal to make it 5-1 heading into half.
The Rocketeers continued to build their lead into the second half. After neither side scored for the first eight minutes, Colin Young found the back of the net on a feed from Jack Dakin. Moore grabbed his second to put North up 7-1.
King Philip had an answer when Watson recorded his second point of the game, sneaking one in from a tight angle to cut it to 7-2.
If there was any hope for a comeback, it was quickly erased when North scored in transition just one minute in. Freshman Will Yeomans scooped up a loose ball and raced into the attacking zone. When he defense committed, he dropped the ball off to McGowan for an easy finish in close.
King Philip cut it back to five when Aidan Bender converted a feed from John DeLuca, but that would be the Warriors’ last tally.
Young grabbed his second on a nice tic-tac-toe play with passes coming from Moore and McGowan. Dakin then found the back of the net from distance after a simple pass from McGowan.
McGowan (two goals, five assists) paced North’s offense with seven points.
“He’s controlling our offense,” Young said. “He’s smart, he calls the right plays all the time. If he gets the ball and controls the ball, we’re in much better shape. He’s just calm with the ball.
We have a lot of seniors this year that are getting playing time and you can see the difference. Last year we were losing the one goal games, now we’re winning them or we’re getting up early. We traded blows with KP last game and ti went right down to the wire. We were hoping to get up early and we did.”
“My assistant coach John Hensey has been working on some defensive schemes that are really working well,” Young said. “There’s no one that doesn’t have a job. All the slides were set. We have a couple of different sets based on who we play and who is carrying the ball. The defense can play with confidence because Danny is in net and he’s killing it.”
North Attleboro boys lacrosse (11-2 overall, 8-1 league) is back in action against Attleboro in a non-league game. The Rocketeers can win the Davenport title outright with either a win over Mansfield or Stoughton, or a loss from Foxboro. King Philip (10-5, 7-2) is back in action on on Saturday, hosting Walpole.