ATTLEBORO, Mass. – During the first three weeks of the season, Attleboro struggled to live up to the preseason hype against a difficult stretch of opponents and a roster in flux from a series of injuries that ensured trainer Wes Pondolfino was earning his paycheck. The Bombardiers lost key players on both sides of the ball and lost the opening three games.
But, over the last two weeks, the injured players have returned to the field and Attleboro has looked like the explosive team that many predicted. On Friday night at Tozier-Cassidy Field, the Bombardiers put it all together, dominating in all three phases and posting 38 points in the first half of a 44-0 victory over Oliver Ames.
“That’s what happens when you get healthy,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “We’ve got a lot of good seniors and they worked hard all week. We had a good week of practice and we’ve just got to build off this win.”
Attleboro took control right from the opening kick-off, marching 58 yards in eight plays to take a quick lead. Alex Rodriguez had a pair of carries for 31 yards and senior quarterback Cam Furtado scored from 11 yards out. Furtado then took a hit, but completed the conversion pass to Nathan Barboza to make it 8-0.
The Bombardiers quickly got the ball back when running back Anthony Berksza fumbled trying to stretch a screen pass into extra yards, Desmond Woodson recovered for the hosts, but, after Furtado hit James Weir (one of the players back from injury) for 12 yards down to the OA 10, the Tigers held firm and forced a turnover on downs.
OA could not build momentum off the defensive stand, as Curtis Cann’s third down deep pass was intercepted by Josh Therrien. Attleboro moved the ball rapidly down field, showing balance between run and pass. Justin Cote extended the lead when he cut back against the grain on a sweep to the left and weaved his way for a 23-yard scored. Furtado got the pylon at full stretch for another conversion.
“Unfortunately, a lot of things went wrong for us,” said OA coach Mike Holland. “A few mistakes here or there that Attleboro capitalized on and Attleboro, their record is misleading and we knew that they’re a good team.”
Matt Corrado stuffed Berksza (12 carries, 63 yards) behind the line and Qualeem Charles batted down a Cann pass to end the next OA drive. Elvin Sam returned the punt 28 yards to the OA 42 and Attleboro again went to work offensively. This time the Bombardiers got to the end zone through the air, as Furtado (4-9, 70 yards) hit Cote in stride for a 41-yard score and added another conversion run.
“Lot of balance,” said Strachan about the Attleboro offense. “We’ve got a lot of senior leadership back, but now we’ve got a lot of the younger kids who’ve played the last four weeks and are really starting to put it all together. I’m very, very happy.”
On the ensuing kick, the up-back Darnele Ryan, who had a strong game for the OA defense, could not handle the bounce and Rodriguez was first to the loose ball for Attleboro. Furtado (nine carries, 35 yards) went 15 yards on the first play and then sophomore Joseph Llanos went straight up the middle for 12-yard touchdown.
“We’re getting better,” said Holland, “but we have to play mistake-free, which we didn’t. We have to hold onto the ball, which we didn’t, and if something goes wrong then you’ve got to keep fighting and we didn’t.”
Berksza broke a 19-yard run on the first play of the next OA drive, but Charles pressured Cann on third down and the pass fell incomplete. Berksza’s punt was fielded on a short hop by Sam at his own 26. The senior wideout took the ball straight up the middle and then cut to the far sideline where he found an opening to take it all the way to the end zone to make it 38-0.
“It was a tough few weeks for us but these kids have responded,” said Strachan. “This was a good week for us to get momentum and obviously Mansfield (Attleboro’s next opponent) is a great program and we’ll do our best to be ready for them.”
With an eye towards next week’s showdown with the Hornets, Attleboro turned to its bench in the second half, giving some of the younger players an opportunity. Dante Williams (eight carries, 46 yards) was one of those and with 1:46 remaining he punched it in from three yards out to put the icing on a dominant performance by the Bombardiers.
“Our team is getting better, but we have to be perfect for four quarters,” said Holland. “We have talent, we’re getting stronger, we’re getting bigger, but you just can’t make mistakes and tonight we made some mistakes.”
When asked if there was a different atmosphere in the Bombardiers’ locker room than during the first three weeks, Strachan responded, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah there is. We’re excited about where we’re at right now.”
Attleboro (2-3, 2-1) remains a game behind King Philip in the race for the Kelley-Rex division crown. The Bombardiers are currently tied with Mansfield and will host the Hornets next Friday night. Oliver Ames (2-3, 1-2) will try to play spoiler next week with a trip to Macktaz Field to take on league-leading KP.
Game of the Week – Football
Mansfield, 10 @ King Philip, 28 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Danny DeGirolamo 39-yard run, Mike DeBolt XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) M. DeBolt 37-yard field goal; (KP) Shane Frommer 96-yard interception return, Cole Baker XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (KP) Brendan Lydon 19-yard pass to Dylan Leonard, C. Baker XP good, B. Lydon 31-yard pass to Thomas Madden, C. Baker XP good; S. Frommer 47-yard run, C. Baker XP good.
Foxboro, 27 @ Canton, 21 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game. 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (F) Mike Henri 5-yard rush, XP missed.
3rd Quarter: (C) Alec Ragusa 59-yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) Devin Hassett 13-yard pass to Jack O’Donnell, D. Hassett 2pt pass to J. O’Donnell; (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 2-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (F) D. Hassett 1-yard sneak, Russell Neale XP good; (C) Johnny Hagan 70-yard pass to Tony Harris, O. Lehane XP good.
Overtime: (F) D. Hassett 6-yard pass to J. O’Donnell.
Franklin, 22 @ Oliver Ames, 40 – Final 1st Quarter: (OA) Noah Fitzgerald 29-yard rush, XP no good; (OA) Anthony Berksza 15-yard rush, XP no good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Jake Noviello 20-yard pass to Jack Nally, XP no good; (OA) A. Berksza 19-yard rush, Curtis Cann 2pt pass to A. Berksza; (OA) C. Cann 34-yard pass to Ralph Derolus, A. Berksza 2pt rush; (F) J. Noviello 25-yard pass to Sean Leonard, J. Noviello 2pt pass to Evan Wendell.
3rd Quarter: (OA) Michael Mulrean 50-yard interception return, Derick Hanscom XP good; (F) Nick Gordon 4-yard rush, J. Noviello 2pt pass to S. Leonard.
4th Quarter: (OA) A. Berksza 7-yard rush, D. Hanscom XP good.
Stoughton, 33 @ Sharon, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (Sto) Evan Gibb 1-yard rush, XP blocked; (Sto) Justin Ly 11-yard rush, 2pt failed;
3rd Quarter: (Sto) E. Gibb 1-yard rush, E. Gibb 2pt pass to Ruben Gonzalez; (Sto) Jason Joseph 50-yard fumble return, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (Sto) J. Ly 1-yard rush, XP good.
Mansfield, 3 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – Mansfield built a 1-0 lead at halftime and added two more in the second half to pick up a win on the road at KP. Jackson Murphy opened the scoring on an assist from Sean Lanzillo to put the Hornets ahead. Cullin Anastasia scored what proved to be the game-winner with a penalty kick in the second half and then added an insurance goal on an assist from Sam Hyland. Mansfield goalie Nick Ferraz made 11 saves in the win.
Milford, 1 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – North Attleboro scored all three of its goals in the second half to pick up a key division win over Milford. Big Red went up 1-0 when Gabe Pinhancos scored just under eight minutes into the second half, running onto a flick from junior Joe Hilf and converting. Pinhancos made it 2-0 just three minutes later, heading in a cross from Zach Matracia. Milford cut the deficit in half in the 62nd minute when Anthony Salvador volleyed in a throw from Joey Madden. Nate Burns put the game away with his first career goal, scoring off a flick from Connor MacIver.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Matt Alvarado collected his third and fourth goals of the season, helping OA pick up two points on the road. Michael Nikiciuk netted his fourth goal of the season as well. Nathaniel Cardoza, Colin Evin and Cam Valla each had an assist in the win.
Sharon, 4 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Sharon had four different goal scorers in the win on the road. Tyler Hippler, Andrew Reyes-Jones, Tyler Goldstein and Michael Baur each found the back of the net for the Eagles.
Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 5 – Final – Franklin scored four times in the opening half hour to break the game wide open. Emily Mastaj, Halle Atkinson, Olivia Dellorco, and Sarah Yelle scored the goals for the Panthers before halftime and Molly Duncan added a fifth with five minutes left to play. Julia Hayes netted the lone goal for Attleboro. Breanna Atwood made five saves for the Panthers and Ashley Macia made five for the Bombardiers.
Canton, 1 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Katelyn Mollica scored what turned out to be the game-winner with 12 minutes remaining to extend Foxboro’s win streak to five games. Shaina Abbott had the opening goal on a volley from a Mackenzie Fraser assist before Mollica doubled the lead. Canton cut the lead to one with a late goal, but the Warriors held on for the win. Jamie DeVellis made eight saves to earn the win in goal.
King Philip, 2 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Avery Snead scored one and set up the other to lift KP to a win over the defending Kelley-Rex champs and put the Warriors into a tie atop the standings. Chloe Layne opened the scoring off a Snead assist in the first half, firing a low shot into the corner. Kerina Geminiani equalized for the Hornets with a 25-yard free kick that sent the game into halftime 1-1. Snead scored the game-winner with 11 minutes remaining, sending her shot just past the outstretched arms of the Mansfield keeper. KP coach Gary Pichel credited his “great defensive line” for helping the Warriors earn the two points.
North Attleboro, 3 @ Milford, 0 – Final – North Attleboro scored all three of its goals inside the first half hour of the match and played a strong defensive game to earn the shutout. Ashlyn Gaulin opened the scoring in the 15th minute, converting a feed from Haley Guertin to make it 1-0. Guertin then doubled the lead off an assist from Kayla Pasquel before Emma Gaulin made it 3-0 in the 30th minute, with Leah Jette getting the assist. Emma Noreck made six saves for North to earn the shutout. Milford head coach Jay Mastaj said Briana Braza played well defensively for the Scarlet Hawks.
Taunton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – OA scored a pair of second half goals to come back from a goal down and pull out the win. Erin Holmberg scored off a through ball from Anna Tempestoso in the first minute after the break and Gabrielle McLaughlin netted the winner on an assist from Maeve Hogan. Samantha Tichelaar scored the lone goal of the game for Taunton in the opening minute. Alex Wapenski had the assist for Taunton.
Stoughton, 2 @ Sharon, 6 – Final – Ally Filipkowski and Fallon Pfeifer both scored hat tricks for the Eagles and Filipkowski added an assist as well. Bridget McManus and Marika Fillon also had assists for Sharon. Stoughton got goals from Nicole Weir (off a cross from Brigid Pearl) and Mia Greene.
Sharon, 2 vs. Bellingham, 2 – Final – Emily Locke scored both goals for the Eagles to earn the non-league tie.
Foxboro, 173 @ Stoughton, 189 – Final – Foxboro’s Dylan Quinn earned match medalist honors, carding a low-round of 41 for the Warriors. Brendan Campbell shot a team-low round of 42 for the Black Knights.
Attleboro, 197 @ North Attleboro, 198 – Final (5 cards) – It came down to a fifth card tiebreaker after rivals Attleboro and North Attleboro were knotted at 154. Kyle DelSignore led the Bombardiers with a par round of 35 while Corey McKenna carded a 38. Dylan Kane led North Attleboro, carding a 37 at the middle course of Heather Hill.
Milford, 165 @ Canton, 156 – Final – Canton’s Jack Goyetch carded a round of 37 to earn match medalist honors and help the Bulldogs pick up another key division win. Joey Vaughan finished with a 38 and Bubba McNeice chipped in with a round of 40. Zach Tammaro and Andrew Fauerbach each shot 39 for the Scarlet Hawks.
Sharon, 190 @ Mansfield, 171 – Final – Freshman Nathan Morreale carded a low-round of 41 while classmate Joseph Gormley shot a 42 to help the Hornets fend off visiting Sharon. Senior Brett Kessler, junior Jake DiSangro and freshman Brian See each carded a 44 for Mansfield.
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.
The Bombardiers started the season 3-2, but closed with only one win in the final six games, including a pair of losses to league rival and eventual Super Bowl champion King Philip. Injuries piled up for Attleboro in 2016, but it gave a number of players the chance to gain valuable varsity experience and the Bombardiers have high hopes for improvement this fall.
Experience at the skill positions is one of the reasons for optimism at Attleboro. Senior Cam Furtado is slated to start the season at quarterback and has proven to be a dynamic playmaker. Classmate Elvin Sam emerged as a big play weapon last fall, whether in the backfield or split out wide, and tight end James Weir gives Attleboro an option in the middle of the field. Wideout Josh Therrien and running back Justin Cote could also play bigger roles with running back Marcus Blaise adding depth.
Attleboro also has a strong returning core on defense with Furtado, Sam, and Therrien in the secondary and Weir joining senior Nate Barboza and junior Jacob Weatherford at linebacker. Matt Corrado, Matt Jimenez, and Kyle Walsh will give the Bombardiers strength on both sides of the line and junior Nick Evans could be poised for a breakout year after moving from linebacker to defensive end. Sophomore Qualeem Charles is also a player to watch on the line.
“I am extremely excited about our senior group of players,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “We have some dynamic players in Cam Furtado and Elvin Sam and hopefully they can maximize their athletic talents. We have many returning starters from last season so we hope to build on that experience.”
The first season for the Panthers under new head coach Eian Bain was a struggle at times for a young roster that was adapting to new systems on both sides of the ball, but there is hope that the experience gained last fall will pay dividends in 2017. Franklin will have a number of returning players to count on this season.
Offensively, Franklin will have to find ways to make up for the production of graduated running back Jacob Wolowacki, who was a go-to weapon in the ground and passing games. Senior quarterback Jake Noviello will be counted on to lead the offensive unit after more than 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall. Junior wideout Sean Leonard started all 11 games last year and will be a tough matchup for defenses along with fellow receivers Jack Nally, Will Davis, and Evan Wendell and running back Sean Hofferty. Three-year starter Brian Kosicki will be the leader of the offensive line and tight end Patrick Morrison will be a weapon in the passing game.
On defense, the Panthers have depth in the secondary, including junior safety Nolan McLaney, who was second on the team in tackles last year. Junior Ryan Driscoll has speed on the corner and Bain called him the “focal point” of the defense. Nick Gordon will hold down the other corner spot. Senior defensive end Jackson Gilbert is coming back from injury that cut short his junior season and will add strength on the edge. Junior Riley Downing gives Franklin size and speed in the middle of the line.
“We are in year two of our process,” said Bain. “We are in a different place than we were a year ago…Fans should expect to see a better team in 2017. We have a roster full of experience and had great participation through the Franklin speed and conditioning program. In a league this good we have to bring our best every week.”
What will the Warriors do for an encore? King Philip won its third league title in the past five years, second outright Kelley-Rex title in the past three seasons, and completed an unbeaten season with a win over Reading in the Div. 1A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.
Despite losing a large and influential senior class, the Warriors are being picked by some to repeat at champs this fall. One reason for continued belief is the return of senior quarterback Brendan Lydon, who showed poise in the pocket and the ability to make accurate passes downfield in his first year under center in 2016. Yale-commit Shane Frommer is also back for his senior season and will be the feature back for the Warriors in a system that prides itself on pushing teams around on the ground. Beyond that, it will be up to a group of rookies to make an impact. KP will boast an entire new offensive line, anchored by senior Anthony Vahue, and all new receivers. Junior David Morganelli will be one of the options for Lydon.
The Warriors boast a bit more experience on the defensive side of the ball. Even though a good chunk of starters are gone, KP’s rotation last year allowed for players like Evan Rice (defensive end), Jack Webster (linebacker) and Dylan Leonard (safety) to see action. Frommer will be back opposite Webster while Vahue will also play on the defensive line. Andrew Dittrich returns as a starting corner back to anchor the secondary.
Although there are a lot of new faces on this year’s roster and a lot of leadership missing from last season’s championship squad, head coach Brian Lee has instilled a toughness that permeates the program and expectations are that KP will have a decent chance at lifting a trophy again this fall.
“We don’t get any points for last year, we don’t get spotted a touchdown because we went undefeated last year,” Lee said. “When it comes to high school football, it’s about taking those rookies and getting them ready for varsity speed, they have to be able to handle the bright lights on Friday nights. If we can get them up to speed, we should be okay.”
The Hornets finished second in the Kelley-Rex division last year, with the only Hock loss coming by three points to league champ King Philip. Mansfield was stunned in a playoff thriller against Marshfield, but then bounced back to beat Div. 1 playoff teams Needham and Newton North and will enter 2017 with typically high expectations, as the Hornets look to win their first league title since 2013.
A strength for Mansfield this fall will be the experience it returns at the skill positions led by senior wideout Hunter Ferreira, who has emerged as one of the area’s top receivers. The backfield will once again be loaded for the Hornets, who will count on seniors Danny DeGirolamo and Joe Cox and juniors Khristian Conner and Aidan Sacco. New quarterback Damani Scott will try to make use of that talent and the 6-foot-3 junior has a big arm to make plays downfield.
Cox and Ferreira will add strength and speed to the linebacking corps, while seniors Mike Shannon and Jareme DiLorenzo will provide a pass rush at the defensive end positions. Conner, Sacco, and DeGirolamo will all return in the secondary. If there are questions for the Hornets, it will be at the line of scrimmage; senior Will Shield and junior Colbey Eason have returned and will be the players to build around on the offensive and defensive lines.
“After one week, we are happy with work ethic and development of linemen,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding, who is in his 30th season with the Hornets. “If we can get pieces of the puzzle sorted out up front on OL and DL, we’ll be a tough out. We have a very good collection of playmakers that can run and catch and we should score some points this year.”
The Tigers got off to a promising start to 2016, winning two of the opening three games including a dramatic one-point win over Franklin, but Oliver Ames struggled down the stretch against a difficult schedule. Now entering his third year, head coach Mike Holland is confident the program is heading in the right direction this fall.
According to Holland, the Tigers’ strength on the offensive side of the ball is the experience of playing in the system for several seasons and a greater understanding of the concepts. Senior Curtis Cann will lead the attack after taking over as the starting quarterback last season and he has several talented weapons on the outside in seniors Michael Mulrean and Noah Fitzgerald. Jay Fruci will be one of the returning players in the backfield, lining up behind a big offensive line.
Jack Mills will be a mainstay in the middle on both sides of the ball and is one of the top lineman in the league. He will be paired with fellow senior John-Michael Cole on the line, giving the Tigers depth in the trenches. Fitzgerald and Mulrean will also be important contributors in the secondary, while Fruci will bring athleticism to the linebacking corps. Holland wants his defensive scheme to take advantage of the team’s speed.
“Looking forward to the start of a new season. Our guys’ preparation and approach leading up to the season has been excellent,” Holland said. “We have guys with experience that need to play big, as well as some new guys that are in the mix to compete for spots.”
The Tigers narrowly missed out on a winning record in their first season under head coach Brad Sidwell and showed signs of improvement, including a narrow, three-point loss to Mansfield. In year two, Sidwell is hoping for even more and Taunton has potential on the roster to be a tough out in the league.
Losing wide receiver Adam McLaughlin to graduation will certainly impact the offensive attack, but junior quarterback Noah Leonard returns for his second season under center and will look to build on the experience he gained last fall. With a number of athletes at the skill positions, including senior Collin Hunter and junior Brayden Merrill at wideout and T.J. Mendes in the backfield, Taunton will use a number of formations and styles to cause matchup problems. Sidwell expects the passing game to be a major strength for the Tigers.
Defensively, Taunton will have a number of new faces, but has size and experience at the line of scrimmage. Seniors Paul Corrao and Zakim Harrow and junior Cam Correiro will all make a significant impact on the battle in the trenches. Senior Nuno Camara provides experience to the linebacking corps, while Merrill and Hunter will be important in the secondary.
“Moving into the second year, the players, coaches and fans are excited for the season but there is lots of work to be done,” Sidwell said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start and provide some confidence to gain momentum into the difficult Hockomock League season.”
Football Playoffs D1A South
#1 King Philip, 33 vs. #6 Bridgewater-Raynham, 28 – Final 1st Quarter: (KP) Brendan Lydon 5 yard rush, XP blocked.
2nd Quarter: (BR) Bryce Shaw 33 yard rush, George Lampros XP good; (KP) John DeLuca 12 yard rush, Shane Frommer 2pt rush.
3rd Quarter: (BR) Shawn Noel Jr. 62 yard rush, G. Lampros XP good; (KP) S. Frommer 5 yard rush, Cole Baker XP good; (BR) S. Noel Jr. 30 yard rush, G. Lampros XP good.
4th Quarter: (KP) S. Frommer 4 yard rush, XP blocked; (KP) B. Lydon 1 yard rush, 2pt failed; (BR) Corey Sullivan 23 yard pass to S. Noel Jr, XP good.
#3 North Attleboro, 19 @ #1 Duxbury, 26 – Final 1st Quarter: (D) Bobby Maimaron 1-yard rush, XP blocked.
2nd Quarter: (D) B. Maimaron 3-yard pass to James Miele, 2-point conv. no good; (NA) Chad Peterson 30-yard pass to Kyle McCarthy, Geoff Wilson XP good.
3rd Quarter: (D) B. Maimaron 3-yard pass to Ryan Reagan, Liam O’Donovan XP good.
4th Quarter: (D) B. Maimaron 11-yard pass to R. Reagan, L. O’Donovan XP good; (NA) C. Peterson 36-yard pass to David Engler, XP blocked; (NA) C. Peterson 25-yard pass to Mario Bresko, XP blocked.
Non-Playoffs Foxboro, 33 @ Oliver Ames, 15 – Final
1st Quarter: (F) Mark Clagg 25 yard pass to Trey Guerrini, XP good; (OA) Liston Funai 4 yard rush, XP good; (F) M. Clagg 22 yard pass to Jamaine Few, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (F) Mike Luong 1 yard rush, 2pt failed; (F) M. Clagg 4 yard pass to J. Few, XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (OA) Curtis Cann 25 yard pass to Dean Pacini, Leandro Moro 2pt rush; (F) T. Guerrini 16 yard rush, XP good.
Mansfield, 35 vs. Needham, 6 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Joe Cox 5 yard rush, Diogo DeSousa XP good; (M) Nick Graham 5 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) Anthony DeGirolamo 45 yard pass to Mike Shannon, D. DeSousa XP; (N) Max Sylvia 15 yard pass to John Andre, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: (M) J. Cox 81 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Will Garvin 5 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good.
Stoughton, 20 vs. Dartmouth, 19 – Final (OT) 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (D) Cole Jacobsen 5 yard rush, XP failed; (S) Justin Ly 6 yard rush, 2pt failed.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (S) Ryan Sullivan 25 yard rush, XP failed; (D) C. Jacobsen 6 yard rush, XP failed;
Overtime: (D) C. Jacobsen 10 yard pass to Liam Caulfield, L. Caulfield XP good; (S) Ryan Sullivan 6 yard rush, R. Sullivan 2pt rush.
Taunton, 7 @ Barnstable, 20 – Final
Girls Soccer D1 South
#5 Oliver Ames, 0 vs. #1 Natick, 2 – Final
Football Playoffs D1A South
#1 King Philip, 14 vs. #5 Marshfield, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (KP) Brendan Lydon 1-yard rush, Cole Baker XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (KP) Alex Olsen 1-yard rush, C. Baker XP good; (M) Jackson Phinney 2-yard rush, Gavin Admirand XP good.
#3 North Attleboro, 37 @ #2 Dartmouth, 27 – Final 1st Quarter: (D) Nate Ellis 75 yard pass to Miles Linhares, Liam Caulfield XP good; (NA) Nick Rajotte 2 yard rush, Devin Slaney XP good.
2nd Quarter: (NA) Chad Peterson 44 yard pass to Hacmoni Cuevas, D. Slaney XP good; (D) Cole Jacobsen 15 yard pass to L. Caulfield, (NA) Jack Dakin block XP, Neal Doherty 75 yard 2pt return.
3rd Quarter: (NA) N. Rajotte 1 yard rush, D. Slaney XP good.
4th Quarter: (D) C. Jacobsen 37 yard pass to N. Ellis, L. Caulfield XP good; (NA) C. Peterson 4 yard pass to Bobby Mylod, D. Slaney XP good; (D) C. Jacobsen 11 yard pass to N. Ellis, L. Caulfield XP good; (NA) N. Rajotte 50 yard rush, D. Slaney XP good.
#4 Stoughton, 21 @ #1 Duxbury, 35 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Izon Swain-Price 57 yard rush, XP failed; (S) Ryan Sullivan 47 yard rush, R. Sullivan 2pt rush; (D) Bobby Maimaron 31 yard pass to Devin DeMeritt, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (D) B. Maimaron 15 yard pass to Miele, Carver XP good; (S) Evan Gibb 37 yard pass to I. Swain-Price, Josh Cocchi XP; (D) B. Maimaron 7 yard pass to D. DeMeritt, 2pt rush good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (D) B. Maimaron 4 yard pass to Miele, 2pt good; (D) B. Maimaron 8 yard rush, XP good.
Attleboro, 7 vs. Brookline, 35 – Final
Oliver Ames, 16 @ Canton, 42 – Final 1st Quarter: (C) Alec Ragusa 4 yard rush, Thomas Monagle XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) A. Ragusa 5 yard rush, T. Monagle XP good; (C) Joe Mulkay 32 yard rush, T. Monagle XP good; (OA) Liston Funai 40 yard rush, Kyle Gagliardi 2pt pass to Brandon Timulty; (C) A. Ragusa 6 yard rush, T. Monagle XP good; (C) Dan Dillon 68 yard pass to Tony Harris, T. Monagle XP good.
3rd Quarter: (C) D. Dillon 17 yard rush, T. Monagle XP good.
4th Quarter: (OA) Curtis Cann 9 yard pass to B. Timulty, C. Cann 2pt pass to B. Timulty.
Foxboro, 47 vs. Nauset, 3 – Final 1st Quarter: (F) Mike Henri 3 yard rush, XP failed; (F) Mark Clagg 35 yard pass to Jamaine Few, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (F) Mike Luong 8 yard rush, XP good; (F) Matt Mullally 6 yard rush, XP good; (N) Nauset field goal.
3rd Quarter: (F) M. Clagg 20 yard pass to Trey Guerrini, XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) M. Mullally 1 yard rush, XP good; (F) Louis Piccolo 15 yard interception return, XP good.
Franklin, 21 @ Needham, 28 – Final
Milford, 14 vs. Walpole, 21 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Shapel Feaster 22 yard rush, Sean Lehane XP good; (W) Walpole 28 yard pass, XP good.
2nd Quarter: (W) Walpole 37 yard rush, XP good.
3rd Quarter: (W) Walpole 1 yard rush, XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Matt Curran 9 yard pass to Kayden Kelley, S. Lehane XP good.
Sharon, 7 @ Hingham, 20 – Final
Taunton, 39 vs. Weymouth, 18 – Final 1st Quarter: (W) Kyle Thomas 70 yard rush, XP failed; (T) Brevan Walker 10 yard rush, John Teixeira XP good; (T) Noah Leonard 25 yard pass to Adam McLaughlin, J. Teixeira XP good.
2nd Quarter: (T) B. Walker 4 yard rush, J. Teixeira XP good.
3rd Quarter: (T) N. Leonard 50 yard pass to Mike Fernandez, XP failed; (W) K. Thomas 12 yard rush, 2pt rush failed; (W) K. Thomas 2 yard rush, 2pt pass failed.
4th Quarter: (T) B. Walker 15 yard rush, XP failed; (T) TJ Mendes 45 yard rush, XP failed.
Boys Soccer D2 South
#17 Canton, 4 @ #16 Bristol Plymouth, 1 – Final – Jake Verille scored a brace for the Bulldogs and Paul Corcoran and Sam Papakonstantino each tallied goals as well. Canton will travel to top seed Nauset on Sunday afternoon in the D2 South first round.
#19 Stoughton, 1 @ #14 Medfield, 6 – Final – Jordan Asnes scored the lone goal of the game for Stoughton, finishing off an assist from Noah Schulze.
Field Hockey D1 South
#11 Canton, 1 @ #6 King Philip, 2 – Final (OT)– Andrea McNeil scored the goal for Canton in the 10th minute. Elizabeth Furfari tied it for the Warriors with just 2:30 remaining in the game. Kate Lindmark scored the winner for KP off an assist by Christina Hathaway with 1:10 left in overtime. KP advances to the D1 South quarterfinal and travels to #3 seed Somerset-Berkley on Sunday.
#10 Franklin, 1 @ #7 Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – Final – Alex Sullivan scored in the third minute for the Panthers. Franklin advances to the D1 South quarterfinal to face Walpole at 2:00 on Sunday.
#13 Mansfield, 1 @ #4 Sandwich, 2 – Final
#15 Oliver Ames, 1 @ #2 Walpole, 2 – Final (OT) – Just four minutes after Walpole took the lead, Dimitra Efremidis scored off a corner to tie the game with 11 minutes remaining. The Rebels scored two minutes into overtime to get the win.
Volleyball D1 South
#7 North Attleboro, 3 vs. #10 Bridgewater-Raynham 0 – Final – Rocketeers win 25-17, 25-11, 25-7 and advance to play #2 seed New Bedford on Monday.