Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 09/07/18


Today’s games are listed below.

Game of the Week – Football
King Philip, 7 @ North Attleboro, 14 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (NA) Brendan McHugh 16-yard run, Tyler DeMattio XP good; (KP) Ryan Halliday 80-yard run, Cole Baker XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (NA) B. McHugh 33-yard run, T. DeMattio XP good.

Football
Milford, 7 @ Attleboro, 21 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (A) Jason Weir 16-yard pass to Ethan Cameron, Colby Briggs XP good.
3rd Quarter: (A) J. Weir 1-yard rush, C. Briggs XP good.
4th Quarter: (A) Justin Cote 33-yard rush, C. Briggs XP good. (M) Lucas Rosa 1-yard rush, Sean Lehane XP good.

Canton, 25 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 20 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (DR) 2-yard rush, XP good; (DR) 10-yard rush, XP good.
3rd Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 24-yard pass to Jace Emma, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (C) J. Hagan 30-yard rush, 2pt conversion failed; (C) Gersom Rivera 3-yard rush, 2pt conversion failed; (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 5-yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good. (DR) 5-yard rush, XP failed.

Foxboro, 6 vs. Hingham, 22 – Final
1st Quarter: (H) Charlie Egan 8-yard rush, Jonathan Bearden 2pt rush.
2nd Quarter: (H) Jack Johnson 11-yard pass to Kevin Shea, C. Egan 2pt rush; (F) Liam Foley 32-yard pass to Rob Fay, 2pt conversion failed.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (H) J. Bearden 9-yard rush, 2pt conversion failed.

Franklin, 34 vs. Andover, 10 – Final
1st Quarter: (A) Field goal good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Sean Hofferty 1-yard rush, Parker Chevront XP good; (F) Nick Gordon 1-yard rush, P. Chevront XP good; (F) Austin Jordan 44-yard interception return, P. Chevront XP good.
3rd Quarter: (A) 1-yard rush, XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) N. Gordon 66-yard rush, P. Chevront XP good; (F) Jack Nally 4-yard rush, P. Chevront XP good.

Mansfield, 21 @ BC High, 7 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.
1st Quarter: (M) Damani Scott 18-yard pass to Nick Marciano, Nico Holmes XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (BCH) Jacob Perez 12-yard rush, XP good; (M) Cincere Gill 18-yard rush, N. Holmes XP good; (M) C. Gill 4-yard rush, N. Holmes XP good.

Oliver Ames, 19 @ Concord-Carlisle, 20 – Final
1st Quarter: (OA) Cam Perron 20-yard pass to Nathan Cabral, C. Perron XP good; (OA) N. Cabral 12-yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (CC) Christian Gemeli 17-yard rush, XP failed; (CC) C. Gemeli 27-yard pass to Cam Ladd, XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (CC) C. Ladd 20-yard rush, XP failed; (OA) C. Perron pass to Shane Kilkelly, 2pt conversion failed.

Sharon, 7 @ Nauset, 6 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (S) Aaron Strong 25-yard rush, Mitchell Director XP good.
4th Quarter: (N) 50-yard pass, XP failed.

Stoughton, 43 @ Framingham, 22 – Final
1st Quarter: (S) Jeff Grier 86-yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (S) Chris Ais 10-yard rush, Malachi Green-Hightower 2pt rush; (F) Jack Beverly 41-yard pass to RJ Viele, J. Beverly 2pt pass to Dante Marino.
3rd Quarter: (S) J. Grier 5-yard rush, M. Green-Higtower 2pt rush; (S) Anthony Burke 20-yard pass to J. Grier, Josh Cocchi XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) J. Beverly 29-yard to Gabe Paixao, J. Beverly 2pt pass to R. Viele; (S) M. Green-Higtower 1-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good; (S) J. Cocchi 25-yard interception return, J. Cocchi XP good. (F) Reece LaChance 5-yard rush, 2pt failed.

Taunton, 7 @ New Bedford, 6 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (NB) Latrell Canto 10-yard rush, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (T) Noah Leonard 65-yard pass to Brayden Merrill, Coby Adams XP good.

Boys Soccer
Milford, 2 @ Franklin, 1 – FinalMilford junior Walisson de Oliveira scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with under 10 minutes to go, to lift the Hawks to a win on the road. de Oliveira opened the scoring off an assist from Anthony Salvador but Franklin freshman Terry O’Neill tied the game just before halftime. de Oliveira scored the unassisted game-winner with seven minutes to play.

Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – FinalKing Philip sophomore Camron Lawrence bagged a brace to lead the Warriors to their first win of the season. After Zac White drew a foul at the top of the box, Lawrence placed his shot back post to put KP up 1-0. With Sharon pushing numbers late to tie it, KP intercepted a pass and Lawrence was able to place a shot into the empty net to seal the deal in the 78th minute.

Mansfield, 4 vs. Dartmouth, 1 – FinalMansfield senior Luke Savoie scored a hat trick for the second straight game as the Hornets dispatched of visiting Dartmouth. Junior Owen Mullahy opened the scoring for the Hornets just two minutes into the game, finishing off a free kick from Derek Meuth. The Hornets doubled their lead when Savoie scored off a long throw from Cam Eddy. Dartmouth cut the deficit to one at half but Mansfield added two more in the second half. Savoie headed in a feed from Ethan Brill-Cass and completed the hat trick with seven minutes to go, scoring off Tommy Lanzillo’s free kick. Anthony Salisbury made 11 saves in net for Mansfield.

North Attleboro, 1 @ Taunton, 1 – FinalNorth Attleboro jumped ahead just before the midway point of the first half but Taunton found the equalizer in the 66th minute to earn a point. Gerson Bonilla cleaned up a rebound in the 18th minute to put the Rocketeers up. Joe Hilf’s header was denied on a terrific save by Taunton goalie Nolan Melo but Bonilla buried his chance. In the 66th minute, Taunton’s Colby Fernandes took advantage of a turnover and used a volley to bring the Tigers level. Kyle Briere made three saves for North Attleboro.

Stoughton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo Gallery of this game.

Girls Soccer
Franklin, 4 @ Milford, 0 – FinalErin Quaile, Calen Frongillo, Carly Alston, and Sydney St. Marie each scored in the first half to put Franklin in control of its season opener. Grace Gallo and Halle Atkinson each had assists in the win.

King Philip, 6 @ Sharon, 0 – FinalChloe Layne opened her account for the season and finished with a hat trick, while Avery Snead scored two and assisted on two others, as KP got its first win of the season. Makayla Griffin added a goal and two assists and Lauren Anderson had a pair of assists in the win. Sophia McLaughlin earned the clean sheet in net. KP finished with 17 shots in the game.

Field Hockey
Foxboro, 3 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final

Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 12 – FinalKing Philip opened its season with a big win at home over visiting Sharon. Senior Alli Meehan had four goals and three assists, freshman Meghan MacDonald netted a hat trick and added two assists and Olivia Kulesza scored three goals for the Warriors.

Volleyball
Foxboro, 1 @ Tri-County, 3 – Final

Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip began its 2018 season with a 3-0 sweep of Sharon (25-17, 25-12, 25-14). Catherine Waldeck had 10 kills for the Warriors while Nicole Coughlan added four kills and three aces. Kat Kmetz finished with three kills, three aces, and 18 service points and Grace Ely added three aces, three kills, and six service points.

Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – FinalOliver Ames bounced back from its season-opening loss to earn a win over visiting Bridgewater-Raynham (25-17, 25-15, 25-16). Senior defensive specialist Grace McCallum had a strong game for the Tigers with six digs, five aces and two kills. Senior Sadie Homer added 18 digs, junior Allie Kemp finished with 21 assists and three aces, and junior Jordan Bosse put down 11 kills with two aces.

Golf
North Attleboro, 172 @ Foxboro, 177 – FinalNorth Attleboro’s Jillian Barend earned medalist honors for the Rocketeers, carding a team-low round of 40.

Attleboro, 174 @ King Philip, 163 – Final

Taunton, 92 @ New Bedford, 77 – Final (Stableford) – Taunton’s Kyle Robinson had a team-best round of 43 to pace the Tigers to a win at the Whaling City Golf Club. Spencer Andrews and Sean Bunker each shot 45 to help Taunton.

Football: 2018 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2018 Kelley-Rex Football Preview
Mansfield quarterback Damani Scott (6) will try to help the Hornets challenge for the Kelley-Rex title this season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Kelley-Rex Football Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 5-6
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Strachan

Key/Returning Players: Justin Cote, Sr., RB/OLB; Nick Evans, Sr., OT/DE; Eddie Porreca, Sr., DT; Alex Rodriguez, Sr., RB; Josh Therrien, Sr., WR/FS; Desmond Woodson, Sr., OLB; Qualeem Charles, Jr., OT/DT; Isaac Gudiel, Jr., OG/LB; Nolan Jaeger, Jr., WR/CB; Jason Weir, Jr., QB/DE; Michael Strachan, So., LB/TE

Outlook:
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.”

Franklin

2017 Record: 3-8
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Eian Bain

Key/Returning Players: Ryan Driscoll, Sr., WR/DB; Sean Leonard, Sr., TE; Evan Wertz, Jr., LB; Sean Hofferty, Sr., RB; Liam Arsenault, Sr., OL/DL; Nick Gordon, Sr., QB/DB; Riley Downing, Sr., OL/DL; Will Davis, Sr., WR; Jack Jarosz, Sr., OL/DL; Jack Nally, Jr., WR; Jake Davis, Jr., WR/DB; Dom Natale, Jr., OL/DL; Thomas Gasbarro, Jr., QB/DB; Nolan McLaney, Sr., DB;

Outlook:
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.”

King Philip

2017 Record: 12-0
2017 Finish: MIAA D1A State Champions
Coach: Brian Lee

Key/Returning Players: Jack Webster, Sr., FB/LB; Aidan Bender, Sr., RB/DB; Max Armour, Sr., LB; Luke D’Amico, Sr., DB; Terrell Jacobs Baston, Sr., OL/DL; Ryan Halliday, Jr., RB; Josh Fice, Sr., OL/DL; Nolan Gunning, Jr., OL/DL; David Morganelli, Sr., WR;

Outlook:
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

2017 Record: 8-3
2017 Finish: Reached D1A South Quarterfinal
Coach: Michael Redding

Key/Returning Players: Key/Returning Players: Damani Scott, Sr., QB/FS; Michael DeBolt, Jr., WR/DB/K; Vinnie Holmes, Jr., RB/LB; Makhi Baskin, Jr., RB/DB; Nick Marciano, Jr., RB/DB; Aidan Sacco, Sr., RB/DB; Philip Dinov, Sr., RB/LB; Chris Copponi, Sr., RB/LB; Chris Graham, Jr., OL/DL; Jason Comeau, Jr., OL/DE; Khristian Conner, Sr., WR/DB; Daenin Walker, Sr., OL/DL

Outlook:
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.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 6-5
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mike Holland

Key/Returning Players: Cam Perron, Jr., QB; Dean Pacini, Sr., OL/LB; Darnele Ryan, Sr., LB; Sam Stevens, Jr., DB; Shane Kilkelly, Jr., WR; Nathan Cabral, Jr., RB; Shane Murphy, Sr., OL/LB; Billy Tat, Sr., OL/DL; Luke Thibeault, Sr., OL/DL; Garrett Wood, Sr., OL/DL;

Outlook:
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

2017 Record: 5-6
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Brad Sidwell

Key/Returning Players: Noah Leonard, Sr., QB; Brayden Merrill, Sr., WR/DB; Tryton Zavala, Sr., WR/DB; Wesner Charles, Sr., WR/DB; Christian Tourinho, Sr., OL/DL; Cam Correiro, Sr., OL/DL; Corey Pintabone, Sr., TE/DL; Ryan Williams, Sr., OL/LB; Jared Rockwood, Sr., TE/DE; Max Moitoso, Sr., RB/LB; Prince Brown, Sr., WR/DB; Mason Frank, Jr., OL/DL

Outlook:
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.”

Hockomock Football: Players to Watch on Offense

Hockomock Football Players to Watch on Offense
Franklin’s Sean Leonard is back after leading the league in touchdown receptions as a junior. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Player are listed alphabetically

Ryan Clemente, Senior – North Attleboro

Clemente is an imposing force on the offensive and defensive lines for the defending Davenport division champions and Div. 3 Super Bowl runners-up. As both a guard on the offensive line and defensive tackle, Clemente impacted the game on both sides of the ball and helped the Rocketeers control the battle in the trenches. He has the size and power that would be expected from someone in his position but also has quick feet and the athleticism to stay in front of opposing linemen or pick up blitzing linebackers. One of his most impressive traits is the ability to pull from his guard position, combining speed and power to clear the way for the run game. Clemente’s presence in the offensive line, opening up holes for the running game, makes North a favorite to claim a fourth straight league title this fall. Also, if you are into battles at the line of scrimmage, then keep the Sept. 28 game with Milford circled, as Clemente and North take on the Hawks and their heavily-recruited lineman Kevin Pyne.

Justin Cote, Senior – Attleboro

The Bombardiers will have a lot of offense to try and account for after the graduation of Cam Furtado and Elvin Sam, and Cote is one of the players that will try to keep the Attleboro offense clicking this season. Cote is listed as a wide receiver but was used in a number of ways by head coach Mike Strachan last fall, scoring five touchdowns on the ground and catching four others, and that versatility causes matchup problems for opposing defenses that are trying to keep tabs on him. He is quick with a low center of gravity that makes it hard for defenders to corral him and Cote showed that he can also fight for the extra yards when needed. Whether out of the backfield or split out wide, expect Attleboro to find ways to get the ball in his hands often and let him make big plays.

Liam Foley, Senior – Foxboro

Foley started last season splitting time with Devin Hassett and this year will take over the full-time job at starting quarterback, trying to get the Warriors back to the top of the Davenport division for the first time in three seasons. Foley tossed a pair of touchdown passes last year, and he will be asked to build on that experience to lead the Foxboro offense this fall. The Warriors typically focus on the ground game first, but Foley has shown that he can make plays downfield and has a strong arm that allows him to make quick, accurate throws. He can also keep the ball and, like Hassett last year, get crucial yards when necessary. Foxboro was very close to getting back on top in the league last fall, and Foley will be hoping to step in and get the offense going for the Warriors.

Johnny Hagan, Junior – Canton

The Bulldogs were a young team last fall, and that experience will be critical for Canton to make a push for the state tournament. One of the players that will benefit from a year on varsity is Hagan. The junior quarterback tossed four touchdown passes last year and ran for two others, showing flashes of the dynamic, all-around game that earned him the starting role as a sophomore. Canton typically keeps the ball on the ground, but the graduation of Alec Ragusa could open the offense up more for Hagan to have the ball in his hands. He has the toughness and strength to grind out yards in the ground game and showed good accuracy throwing while on the run. His ability to make plays outside the pocket gives the Bulldogs additional options offensively, but it will be his improved decision-making after a year under center that could propel the young Bulldogs up the league standings.

Sean Lehane, Senior – Milford

Milford senior Sean Lehane made a big impact for the Scarlet Hawks last season. As the kicker, he was a game changer for both the offense and the defense. His kicking power and accuracy gives Milford a shot at points from spots on the field that other offenses don’t have. And on top of that, extra points aren’t always a sure thing at this level so Lehane gives the Hawks stability and confidence there. When it comes to helping the defense, his deep kickoffs and punts can help Milford dominate the field position battle. Lehane will also try to give the Hawks a boost while on offense as the senior will see time as a wide receiver. He’s shown what he can do with his feet so it will be interesting to see how he can help the Hawks’ offense with his hands.

Noah Leonard, Senior – Taunton

Two years removed from being named HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, Taunton senior quarterback Noah Leonard is now in his third season under center for the Tigers and a veteran in the system installed by third-year head coach Brad Sidwell. Leonard helped Taunton achieve a winning record last fall, despite his touchdown total dropping from 14 as a sophomore to 11 as a junior. With a cadre of returning receivers and plenty of size on the line, Leonard has the chance to be in complete control of the offense this year, continuing to develop as a runner (six touchdowns on the ground last year) to complement his accuracy out of the pocket. The Tigers will be hoping to build on the momentum of a three-game win streak to close out 2017 and if Leonard can keep the Taunton offense moving, and avoid turnovers, then another trip to the postseason could be in the cards.

Sean Leonard, Senior – Franklin

Sean Leonard emerged as one of the top targets for Franklin quarterback Jake Noviello last fall and was one of the top big-play receivers in the league in his second season as a starter. Leonard had 36 catches for 561 yards as a junior and caught eight touchdowns. Capable of making plays down the sidelines with his speed, Leonard is also a threat through the middle, forcing defenses to cover that space and providing a tough matchup for coverage schemes by lining up in multiple positions. This season, Franklin may look to get the ball into Leonard’s hands in a variety of ways to take advantage of his playmaking ability while also using him as a good edge blocker to allow the ground game to flourish. With Noviello gone, the QB position is up for grabs this fall but Leonard will remain a player that the Panthers will look for as often as possible to keep the offense clicking.

Brendan McHugh, Senior – North Attleboro

North Attleboro’s offense is going to look a little different this season without three-year starter Chad Peterson under center, but the Rocketeers will have plenty of weapons for the next quarterback to utilize, including the multi-talented McHugh. One of North’s most dangerous weapons during its run to a third straight league title and the Div. 3 Super Bowl, McHugh rushed for 641 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for more than 300 yards and another three touchdowns. His speed to get to the edge and ability to turn upfield on a dime made North’s jet sweep effective even when teams knew it was coming. McHugh also has great hands and was able to find seams in the secondary either in the middle of the field or down the sidelines. The Rocketeers do not mind grinding out long drives, but McHugh gave them the capability for big plays on every snap and that will be a key this fall for the Davenport division favorites.

Kevin Pyne, Junior – Milford

One of the most highly-recruited players in New England has made his way to the Hockomock League this season and will be an imposing addition to the Milford offensive line. Pyne is listed at 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds and has been a dominant force for Millis, helping that program continue its dominance in the lower divisions. With a number of Div. I college offers in his pocket, including the likes of Michigan and Boston College, Pyne will present a unique challenge for a league that has prided itself on the strength of its defenses. Coaches will surely be targeting pass rushes away from Pyne and will face the daunting task of trying to get around him to tackle the ball carrier. With quick feet, strength, and good balance, Pyne will be a wall that teams will have to try and maneuver to get into the Milford backfield and should give Milford more options on the offensive side of the ball to try and make a run at a league title and a return to the postseason.

Damani Scott, Senior – Mansfield

Mansfield will be gunning for a return to the top of the Kelley-Rex division this season and the Hornets have a number of skilled players back to make it happen, including Scott. The senior signal caller will be in his second season as the full-time starter, after finishing fourth in the league with 12 touchdown passes last year. Scott has a big arm and great vision downfield to find receivers that other quarterbacks might have missed. Even with the graduation of record-setting receiver Hunter Ferreira, Scott will have plenty of weapons to take advantage of, particularly out of the backfield, and as he continues to get more comfortable in the pocket the Hornets offense will get increasingly dynamic. Expectations are typically high at Alumni Field this season and those expectations are further fueled by Scott’s experience and talent in running head coach Mike Redding’s balanced offense. Mansfield will be tested early and, as usual, the Sept. 28 game against King Philip is already circled as the biggest test for Scott and the Hornets in the league.

Mansfield’s Scott Emerges As Tournament Superstar

Damani Scott
Mansfield’s Damani Scott (right) drives to the basket against Franklin’s Will Harvey. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Mansfield junior Damani Scott admits he was trying to find his role out in the Hornets’ loaded and balanced offense throughout the regular season.

During the postseason, that all changed.

Scott went from averaging under 10 points per game during the 23-game regular season to leading the Hornets in both scoring (18.5 points per game) and rebounds (6.7 per game), playing a monstrous role in helping Mansfield secure its first-ever state championship with a 67-54 win over rival Franklin at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield.

“I don’t I’ve seen [this type of progression] think in the same season,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan about Scott. “I’ve seen it over a career but I’ve never seen a progression like his from where he was to where he is now [in one season]. It was not an easy run. Every team we played had great coaches and a lot of history, so to be able to complete this run was special.”

In the state championship against the Panthers, Scott finished with a team-high 19 points. And what has been most impressive about his game during the playoffs is his ability to get it done in multiple ways on the offensive end.

His three-point shot has come a long way to the point he’s drawn extra attention on the perimeter. And when the defense does come out, he has shown that he has no problem taking a defender off the dribble to get to the basket for a layup, draw a foul, or both.

He shot 50% (5-for-10) from two-point range against the Panthers, drained a pair of three-pointers, and earned his way to the line for six free throw attempts. His steal and breakaway dunk tied the game at the end of the first quarter, capping a 7-0 run to give the Hornets a wave of momentum.

“He’s a stud, and we’ve known that from the beginning,” beamed teammate Sam Hyland. “He had a bumpy season, and that’s what happens, you go through spurts and you’re not always playing your best. But he turned it on for the playoffs. It was the right time to turn it on too. He was knocking down threes, he was attacking the basket and he was playing smart on both ends of the court.”

And for his play this postseason, there’s little doubt he should be considered the MVP of the Division 1 tournament.

Scott wasted little time asserting himself in the playoffs. In the opening round of the playoffs, he went a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range on his way to a career-high 25 points.

From that point on, Scott was locked in.

“I knew in the first playoff game that Johnny [McCoy] was going to get a lot of attention, so I felt like someone needed to step up, so I stepped up,” Scott said. “And I have all my teammates to help me. You have [Ryan] Otto in the corner that I can dish it too, Tyler is probably the best shooter in the state, [Justin] Vine off the bench, Khristian [Conner] attacking the basket, Tommy [Dooling] is another good shooter. And Sam too. I knew that I had the support around me. If I didn’t have the play, I knew I had the support of my teammates.”

After Boulter put together an epic performance to shoot Mansfield past BC High in the second round, Scott was back at it against the Newton North Tigers.

Although he had scored just nine points in the first matchup back in December, Scott showed just how hard he has come this season with an MVP-like performance at inside the Rabouin Field House at Taunton High.

He connected on 8-of-12 shooting, dropping a team-best 23 points while hauling in 11 rebounds. The junior was a beast on the boards early on, getting some easy buckets that transitioned into a breakout game.

“He played as good as you could,” Vaughan said after the Newton North game.

“I wasn’t fitting into the offense as much in the first half of the season,” Scott said. “When I have confidence, and I can be the man, I turn it up a little bit. I kind of found my identity in the offense. When defenses focused on Johnny, I knew I had to be the next man up.”

When the Hornets had another rematch, this time against the Boxers of Brockton in the D1 South Final, Scott’s progression was on full display again.

In the first go around, Scott didn’t get into double figures for scoring. The second time, Scott played the role of finisher.

He scored 10 of his 21 points in the final quarter, helping the Hornets slam the door shut on the Boxers to clinch the program’s first South Sectional title since 2013.

“He’s really focused, he really wanted to win this state championship with us,” McCoy said of Scott. “I think his play throughout the tournament showed he can be one of the best players in the league and he’s going to have a good year next year.”

And under the bright lights of the TD Garden, where he had scored 13 points on over 85% shooting against Cardinal Spellman earlier this season, Scott dropped 17 points against North champion Everett. He was clutch from the free throw line (8-for-12), hauled in seven rebounds and dished out four assists.

“What drives me to coaching is kids’ progression,” Vaughan said. “People ask if I’d ever go to the college game, but when you watch a kid come into your program and progress… Damani, he played on the freshmen team as freshman. And now as a junior, he’s excelling at a high level.”

Mansfield Beats Rival Franklin For First State Title

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Mansfield boys basketball players celebrate after winning the D1 State Championship. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Just when it looked like Mansfield would run away the state championship, Franklin. Stormed back with a big run and had a chance to make it a two-possession game.

And no one was surprised because that’s the never-give-up type of team that Franklin is.

But when Mansfield was able to weather the storm, keep its lead, and break the pressure to pull away in the final minutes, it didn’t come as a big surprise either, because that’s the team the Hornets have been this season.

And with that, Mansfield earned a hard-fought 67-54 win over Franklin to earn the D1 State Championship, the first in program history.

“We’d knew they would press and do whatever they needed to do to get back into the game, that’s who they are,” said Mansfield senior Sam Hyland (17 points, five rebounds, four assists). “We turned it over more than we should have and we didn’t take the best shots. But from there it was just about winning the final three minutes, then winning the final two minutes, and so on. It was just about focusing at the time at hand and outworking them. They hit some deep shots, I have to commend them for those, sometimes you have to live with it. But we did enough at the end.”

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Mansfield led by as much as 18 points, up 59-41 with five minutes to play in the game after Ryan Otto (four points, four rebounds) hit a deep two just before the shot clock expired.

But true to form, Franklin turned things around. Jalen Samuels (seven points, seven rebounds, four assists) hit a free throw and then took a charge to get some momentum back. Sophomore Chris Edgehill (18 points) hit in the lane and Paul Mahon (14 points) splashed in a three to get the game back to ten, 59-49 with four minutes to play.

Out of a timeout he Panthers’ Matt Elias (eight points) picked off a pass at midcourt, leading to another three from Edgehill and suddenly the Panthers trailed 59-52 with three minutes to go.

Franklin had three chances to close the gap further but Mansfield’s defense wouldn’t allow it. Mansfield forced three straight empty trips, and then in transition, Mansfield junior Damani Scottt (19 points, four rebounds) drew the defense in and dropped a pass off right under the hoop for an easy two from Otto.

The Panthers came up short on the other end again, and Mansfield went on to sink six free throws over the final 90 seconds to secure the win the D1 State Championship.

“I can’t really put it into words,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I know the last time we were [in the state championship], the stage might have been too big. From the moment we got on the bus on Thursday, the kids were locked in. They’ve been locked in all season long. It’s been a great ride. We did great things in D1 South, we did great things in the EMass game, and we did great things tonight.”

While it looked like it may turn into a blowout in the fourth quarter, Vaughan knew that Franklin would go down swinging to the very end.

“That’s a very good team we just played,” Vaughan said of the Panthers. “We made some shots, we did some things we had to do but [Franklin] wasn’t underprepared, this wasn’t a lack of effort by Franklin. If we play this game 10 times, five go one way and five go the other. It comes down to the fact at some point in the second and third quarters, we made a few extra baskets.

“They weren’t going to go away, they weren’t going to roll over. They play hard, they compete, they do all the little things well. They were going to give us every last breath they have. Paul Mahon is one of the best players our league has seen in terms of his ability to change the game on both ends of the floor, especially defensively. He held Tyler [Boulter] (four points, seven rebounds) in check tonight plus scored points of his own. Edgehill is a special player, we still have to deal with him for two more years as a top player in the league. And Samuels is great too, and then they have great role players who step in a do a lot of things for them.”

Franklin coach CJ Neely had a similar outlook, noting that in the end, the Panthers knew it would come down to the small things. The Panthers finished 10-for-22 from the free throw line compared to 23-for-30 from the Hornets.

“As much as the hype went on all week, we talked about how at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to a couple of loose balls, rebounding and taking care of the ball, and making our free throws,” Neely said. “At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to and they [made their free throws]. When you play in this rivalry, if you’re not making your free throws and they are, and they can go from four to an eight-point lead instead of keeping it close.

“When it starts to expand, you have to come out of what you want to do a little bit. And both teams have had to do that in all three games, we’ve gotten out of what we wanted to do because the lead extended. Then you’re doing something that you practice but it’s not your go-to or your identity. You’re trying to get back into it and you’re taking a lot of risks. Mansfield did a good job of extending their lead making their free throws, and we didn’t. At the end of the day, we didn’t do what we needed to do.”

While Mansfield had the key runs throughout the second and third quarters, they needed another one in the first quarter just to keep pace with the red-hot Panthers.

Holding a 10-9 advantage late in the first quarter behind a free throw from Samuels, the Panthers got hot from deep. Mahon took a feed from Edgehill and made a deep three, and then repeated the same sequence two plays later for a 16-9 lead with just over a minute to play.

Mansfield was able to answer over the final minute though. Hyland drove hard for two, Scott completed a traditional three-point play on a possession the Hornets had because of a steal from Khristian Conner, and then Scott came up with a late steal and went in alone for a thunderous one-handed slam to tie the game after eight minutes.

Franklin’s offense picked up where it left off as Elias drained a three to open the second quarter and junior Will Harvey joined in on the three-party with a corner trifecta for a 22-16 lead just over a minute into the second.

Hyland hit a three but Edgehill answered with a traditional three-point play to keep the Panther advantage at four. A free throw from Scott cut it to three, and two more from Justin Vine (five points) made it one after he went to the line after hauling in a defensive rebound because Mansfield was in the bonus.

With both Scott and Hockomock League MVP John McCoy (18 points, 11 rebounds) in foul trouble for the Hornets — and Samuels for the Panthers — Mansfield’s Hyland stepped up into the spotlight.

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Hyland hit another trifecta, this one putting the Hornets up 27-25 with just under three minutes left in the half. Elias hit one free throw to make it a one-point game but Hyland got his layup to fall while fighting through a foul, completing the three-point play at the line. Two possessions later, Hyland once again attacked the basket, draw the foul, and got a kind bounce off the rim for another three-point play, plus a 33-26 lead.

Hyland finished with 12 of Mansfield’s 19 points in the second quarter and tied a career-high with 17 points overall on top of five rebounds and four assists.

“There wasn’t a specific game plan to get me going but we got into some foul trouble early so someone else had to step up and score points, it’s the Mansfield way,” Hyland said. “I had a couple open opportunities early that sometimes I’d pass up and wouldn’t take but fortunately I knocked them down. That gave me the confidence and then I started to get to the rim. I got a couple of bounces to go my way, a couple of calls and had a strong first half that kind of got the momentum back on our side. It ended up working out pretty nice.”

Franklin’s defense came out strong in the second half, holding Mansfield scoreless for nearly the first three minutes of the third. However, Mansfield’s defense was equal to the task and the Panthers only scored once, a layup from Mahon, during that stretch.

McCoy drained a three to give Franklin some life, pushing the lead to 38-28. Mansfield went up as much as 14 points in the frame (44-30) on a traditional three-point play from Scott. But Franklin closed with an 8-4 run with Samuels scoring the first four and Elias and Edgehill each contributing two.

Franklin nearly had a big stop to keep the deficit in single digits at the end of the quarter, but Hyland came flying in to steal an offensive board for an easy putback.

Mansfield opened the fourth with a set play to get two for McCoy, and then ran a set that resulted in a corner three for Vine. McCoy knocked down a pair of technical free throws to stretch it to 55-38.

Mahon answered for Franklin with a triple but two more from McCoy at the line, and a deep two from Otto gave Mansfield a commanding 59-41 lead, only for Franklin to charge back with its 11-0 run to make it a seven-point game.

“The resilience of this team….we’re never going to go away,” Neely said. “We’re not going to be the team that plays for the newspaper and loses by 10 or 11, we’re going to go out there and try and cut back into it as much and possible, and we’ll lose by 50 but we’ll do it trying to get back into it.

“We just couldn’t make a couple of those baskets there to get back into it. When Mansfield builds a lead like that, they do a great job of moving the ball and making you work, getting to the line and making their free throws.”

Vaughan agreed, stressing the importance of getting a big lead because he knew Franklin would continue to push back.

“This was a game we were fortunate to be up 18 so we could weather the storm and let the clock tick away,” Vaughan said. “But it comes down to what we’ve done all year. Otto steps up and has a huge basket, Vine hits the three in the corner. Different guys doing different things makes a huge difference for our team.”

While the Hornets secured their first state title win with a victory over rival Franklin, Vaughan noted his squad focused more on themselves and getting a win than about the rivalry.

“It wasn’t really about the opponent, it was just about winning this game,” Vaughan said. “If anything, there’s a part of me that knows how hard it is to get here, and I know what Franklin basketball is all about, and what CJ is all about and most of those kids I’ve coached at some point. They are great kids, great young men.

“There’s a part of me that has some sympathy. I wish there were times we weren’t in the same division and we didn’t face each other at some point. But we’ve also lost to Franklin back when they were in the South. It wasn’t about who we were playing, but it was about playing in this game and doing everything we can to win it.”

Franklin finishes the season 23-4 and had a second straight appearance in the D1 State Finals.

“The guys should be very proud of themselves,” Neely said of his team. “They are working hard year round, they are sacrificing a lot to put Franklin on the map and be one of the powers in the state. We’ve beaten a lot of good teams this season, we didn’t shy away from challenges. They should be very proud of themselves.

“These guys have brought Franklin to a place they had never been before and did it twice in a row. They have a lot to be proud of. Obviously, both teams wanted to win tonight, it’s two great teams that know a lot about each other. [Mansfield] was the better team tonight.”

Mansfield boys basketball picks up its 27th win of the season, finishing with just two losses.

“This win means a lot, I know a lot of players on [Franklin] and I’m pretty close friends with some of them,” McCoy said. “It’s definitely just amazing to beat Franklin in my last high school game.”

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Hornets Weather Crimson Tide, Book Trip To State Final

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Khristian Conner drives baseline against Everett in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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BOSTON, Mass. – Just when it looked like Mansfield was out of new players stepping up and taking control, in stepped junior Khristian Conner.

It’s only fitting that five years to the date, Conner was able to equal the performance his older brother, Kevin, had in the 2013 EMass Final.

The Hornets have had different players take charge throughout their 2018 postseason run: Damani Scott scoring 25 points against Newton South, Tyler Boulter dropping 35 points against BC High and Johnny Mccoy’s MVP performance against Newton North.

We’ve seen the likes of Justin Vine, Ryan Otto, and Tommy Dooling come in and hit a big three or take an important charge.

And you can’t forget about the tireless work of point guard Sam Hyland, who has continued to make good decisions on the offensive end while shutting down some of the most formidable opponents on the defensive side.

Now with the lights shining brightest, it was Conner that came off the bench and delivered 13 points and three steals to help the Hornets hold off Everett, 73-65.

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Mansfield advances to the MIAA D1 State Championship and will take on rival Franklin on Saturday in Springfield with time and exact location to be determined.

It will be the first time in D1 history that two teams from the same league will meet in the state finals for boys basketball.

“This was Khristian’s speed tonight…open floor, get out and take the matchup that’s given to you and go and make a couple of plays,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “He couldn’t have played bigger tonight.

“That’s the make up of our team. Any given night someone can step up and make plays. Tonight was his night. We’ve been talking about. The years we made some runs, back in 2012 and 2013, there were games no one knew who the superstar would be. But if you play good defense and get guys in the right positions, it gives guys opportunities like Khristian.”

Conner’s biggest play came with just over three minutes left in the game. After turning the ball over trying to force a pass baseline, it looked as though Everett had a chance to pick up some momentum and cut into the 10-point deficit.

Instead, Conner hunted the ball down, coming up with a quick steal just seconds after losing possession and went up for an easy two. That gave Mansfield its largest lead of the fourth quarter, 65-53, with 3:29 to play.

On the ensuing trip up the court, Conner used his quickness to get a hand in on the dribble, forcing it to bounce off the Everett player and out of bounds for a turnover. Although Mansfield didn’t score on its turn up the court, the Hornets ran off more time to get under three minutes to play.

“I just stuck with it,” Conner said of the play. “I couldn’t get down on myself because of the turnover so I just focused on defense. Defense is so important especially in this game and I was able to get the stops.”

After McCoy (13 points, five rebounds, four assists) hit one free throw to make it 66-57, Caleb Jacobs answered with a three-point play to get within six with under a minute to play.

McCoy responded with two free throws and Isaiah Likely drive in for two for Everett. The Hornets had a turnover against the Crimson Tide press and Everett cashed in with a putback for two, making it 68-64 with 19.4 to play.

But Scott (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists) hit a pair of free throws, Everett’s Jalen Iles-Smith only made one, McCoy hit another, Everett threw it away and Scott iced the game with two more from the charity stripe to end the game.

“I’ve said all postseason that we’re a really hard team to play when we’re up,” Vaughan said. “All of our stuff seems to work, we’re more comfortable playing, that was a major key. If we could minimize their opportunities in the first and second quarters and get any cushion whatsoever, I think it made a big difference in the outcome of the game.”

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Mansfield was able to take the lead between the end of the first and beginning of the second quarters. After going back-and-forth with the Crimson Tide for the first seven minutes, the Hornets finished the opening stanza with a quick surge.

Scott splashed in a three from the left side on a feed from Hyland (nine points, four assists, there rebounds), Vine got out in transition for two, and then Hyland went one-on-one to the basket to beat the buzzer for two to give Mansfield a 21-17 edge after one.

That momentum carried into the second quarter as Mansfield outscored the Tide 13-2 over the first five minutes of the second quarter.

Scott hit two early free throws and then set up Vine in the corner for a trifecta. McCoy had two free throws followed by a strong baseline drive from Boulter. McCoy then followed a free throw with a big three-pointer to make it 34-19 with 2:56 left in the first half.

Boulter and Conner helped carry the Hornets in the third quarter. Boulter drained an early three and had seven of his 14 points in the frame while Conner had two straight baskets, a big steal, and a free throw all in a row for the Hornets.

“All of my teammates were just pushing me to have a good game,” Connor said. “I didn’t do too well in the other playoff games. Coach Vaughan just told me to come out and play your game and I just tried to do that at my best. I love my role on this team, I just have to come out when given the chance and compete. When I make the first couple, my adrenaline was pumping and I just wanted to help the team win tonight.”

Meanwhile, Hyland was at it again on the defensive end. Ghared Boyce, who has over 2,000 career points, scored 22 hard earned points but was held to just 31% shooting with Hyland in front of him.

“Hyland’s been our unsung hero right now,” Vaughan said. “He doesn’t score a lot of points, he takes everyone’s best shot because he has to take the ball up and then he’s getting everyone’s best player [defensively].”

Mansfield boys basketball (26-2) will now take on rival Franklin (23-3), who defeated Springfield Central 61-43, in the D1 State Championship.

The Hornets fell at Franklin on January 12th but have won 17 straight games since, including a 59-47 verdict over the Panthers at home on February 9th.

“First game they whacked us, second game we were in control for most of the game,” Vaughan said. “A league opponent, going out to Springfield. If this isn’t Duke-UNC at its finest in the NCAA tournament, I don’t know what it is. There’s going to be no secrets. We’re going to know who dribbles right, who dribbles left, who’s girlfriend is named what, what brand of underwear they like [they’ll know] what brand of underwear we like. This is going to be one for the ages. I don’t know if any state title has been done from two teams from the same conference.

“We’re 18 minutes from each other and we’re going to drive an hour and 45 minutes to Springfield to do this a third time. The beauty if we both one once so this is the ultimate rubber match. You don’t get a better rubber match than this. We’re going to get Franklin’s best shot. CJ [Neely] is going to do a tremendous job. The emotion is going to be high, the game is going to be high…we’re excited to be here, we’re going to enjoy it and start getting ready tomorrow for a very, very talented and well coached Franklin team.”

The game is scheduled for Saturday in Springfield, with exact location and time still to be determined.

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Mansfield Knocks Out Boxers to Win South Title

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield won its first South sectional title in five years with a strong performance against Brockton at Taunton High. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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TAUNTON, Mass. – There are a lot of programs that would love to have the level of consistent success that Mansfield has enjoyed over the past several seasons, but heading into Friday night’s Div. 1 South final at Taunton High the Hornets were not thinking about all the games that they had won in the last five years.

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The Hornets, especially the senior class, were thinking about the two sectional finals they had reached in the past three seasons, including last year’s loss to Needham on the same court, and focusing on ensuring that the third time would be the charm to bring home the program’s third South title. It was.

Mansfield put in another dominant performance on both ends of the floor to beat Brockton 79-65. The Hornets used a 15-0 run in the second quarter to break the game open, led by as many as 24 points, and the 14-point final margin was the closest that the Boxers got in the second half.

“We’ve lost it twice and our senior year we wanted to go out on top and win the South sectional final,” said senior point guard Sam Hyland after the game. “We’re not done yet, but that was awesome. It meant a lot to win it.”

Senior John McCoy added, “We want to win the state [tournament]. We had three goals at the beginning of the season – to win the Hock, win the South sectional finals, and to win the state title – so far we’ve done two of those three.”

When Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan was asked about what drove the Hornets to get over the hump and bring home the title, he replied, “Last year, when we lost to a very good Needham team, the guys who played last year felt that pain, they wanted to get back here and represent the South in the state tournament.”

Few teams are playing as well as Mansfield at this point in the season and even fewer teams are as good when facing a team for a second time. The Hornets avenged one of their two losses by beating BC High by 13 in the quarterfinal and rolled past Newton North for the second time this season in the semifinal. After beating the Boxers by five in a tight game a little more than two weeks before, Mansfield made sure this meeting was nowhere near as close.

One of Mansfield’s strengths is the balance it has on offense and in the first quarter six different Hornets scored, including Tommy Dooling who drilled a three after a scramble for a loose ball fell to Ryan Otto and he swung it over to the junior guard. The three put the Hornets up 19-15 after one.

“I know my job,” said Hyland about the team’s depth. “I’ve got to get the ball over half-court and let someone make a play. Vine hit a couple shots, Damani was huge obviously, Tommy Dooling hit the biggest shot of the year for him, and Johnny has always been huge.”

McCoy answered a Brockton basket to start the second, but the Boxers got a layup off an inbounds pass to cut the lead back down to just two. The Hornets scored the next 15 and never looked back.

Senior Justin Vine (11 points) started the run with a straightaway three off another of Otto’s five assists on the night. Damani Scott also started to get going with a basket off an offensive rebound and a transition basket after a Hyland steal. After the Boxers finally ended the run with a runner, Vine added another three, this time from the corner off a Tyler Boulter feed. Mansfield went into the break leading 41-26.

“The thing I like about this team right now is they’re really engaged with the game plan,” said Vaughan. “They’re executing what we’re putting in; they’re executing the little things in the game we need to do to win.”

Brockton came out for the third quarter energized but, similar to the game against Newton North, the Hornets always seemed to have an answer to prevent a comeback. The Boxers cut the lead to 15, but Otto (nine points) chased down an offensive rebound and Hyland moved it over to Boulter for a big three in the corner.

Despite the Brockton full-court press, the Hornets continued to get the ball into the offense thanks in large part to Hyland keeping turnovers to a minimum. He explained, “[Coach] told me before the game tonight that when they’re pressing you have to be like a boxer. You can’t let them keep pounding you, you’ve got to try and attack them.”

Boulter would score seven of his 10 points in the third to help stretch the lead, while McCoy continued to take over the game with his ability to get to the rim. The senior, who was greeted by “MVP” chants by the Mansfield crowd after every basket, scored six in the third on his way to a game-high 23. He also pulled down nine rebounds, had a pair of steals, and dished out three assists.

“It was almost like he was pacing himself early, letting the game come to him and we said to him at halftime of the last game you need to put your will on the game,” said Vaughan of McCoy. “There’s reasons why basketball has superstars and he played like a superstar the other day and tonight was no different. He’s a game-changer on both ends of the floor.”

In the fourth quarter, Mansfield made sure the game stayed out of reach with stellar ball movement to find open looks. Scott caught fire on the fourth, scoring 10 of his 21 in the final quarter. He buried a pair of threes from essentially the identical spot right in front of the Hornets fans and he capped a near-perfect night for the Hornets with a steal and dunk that put Mansfield up by 24.

“We’re just excited to be able to close the loop on the South and put our name back in there,” said Vaughan, who has now won three South titles as coach (2011 and 2013 being the others). “It’s been a while since we’ve gotten this so we’re excited to be back here and now we’ve got more work to do starting tomorrow morning.”

Although there is still work to be done, the players were definitely enjoying the moment on the floor. As the crowd was being urged to disperse, Hyland stood at midcourt cradling the South championship trophy. When asked how it felt at that moment, he said, “It feels pretty awesome right now. This thing feels pretty great in my hands right now.”

Mansfield (25-2) will play the North champion, either Everett or Lawrence, at the TD Garden in the state semifinal on Monday night at 7:30.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield Rolls Past Newton North Back Into D1S Final

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield senior Johnny McCoy (25 points) drives to the basket in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – Coming off a loss on the road at Franklin in mid-January, Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan admitted he wasn’t quite sure where his Hornets fit into a loaded D1 South field.

Fast forward nearly two months and those Hornets are now clicking on all cylinders, the proof being a dominant 70-50 win over #4 Newton North.

With the win, Mansfield returns to the D1 South Sectional Final for the second straight year, the third time in the past four years, and fourth time in the past six seasons.

“I was concerned, I was really concerned where we would fit in the South, considering the South was loaded this year,” Vaughan said. “There are eight teams that if they were to win the South no one would be surprised, it’s a loaded field. We are playing good at the right time, other teams are playing good as well. We’re going to continue to do what we do and hopefully try to find a way to get one more against either Brockton or Needham.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Hornets haven’t lost since that game at Franklin High, rattling off 17 straight wins including victories over Hanover (defending D3 state champions and current D2 South semifinalists), Cardinal Spellman, Taunton, Brockton, and Newton South. Mansfield also avenged its lone two losses in that span, comfortably beating both Franklin and just last week, BC High.

The winning ways continued on Monday night at Taunton High as the Hornets beat Newton North for the second time this season.

Senior John McCoy took over in the second half, scoring 18 of his game-high 25 points after halftime, junior Damani Scott was nearly unstoppable on the offensive end with 23 points and 11 rebounds, and senior Sam Hyland spearheaded an impressive Hornet defensive effort the resulted in Ethan Wright – arguably the best player in the state – scoring just nine points, three of which came in the fourth with the game in hand.

“We had to throw everything we had at him,” Vaughan said of defending Wright. Wright scored 32 points in the first meeting back in December. He was held to just nine points on 4-for-10 shooting on Monday night.

“He’s one of the best players I’ve seen play at the MIAA level. He’s a tremendous kid, tremendous athlete, tremendous competitor. Our goal early was to try to take him out of his rhythm, and I thought we did a good job doing that. It’s just a matter of grinding through possessions, limiting his touches, and contest what he has opportunities. I thought Sammy was tremendous playing him and I thought I help defense was good making sure he didn’t get easy and clean looks. He’s a very special player and we just do everything we had at him.”

The Hornets got off to a strong start on both ends of the court. While limiting the high power Tigers’ offense from getting going, Mansfield began to establish itself on the offensive end. Tyler Boulter (11 points) hit an early three and had a strong take to the basket, Scott turned a pair of offensive rebounds — one his own, another from Ryan Otto — into four points, and McCoy added four of his own for a 15-6 lead after one.

Scott became the focal point of the offense in the second quarter. He opened the scoring for the Hornets with a traditional three-point play and got by his defender for two right after Newton North had answered.

“I didn’t feel good at the shootaround today so I didn’t expect this at all,” Scott said. “With Johnny and Tyler and all the guys I try to ease my way in and score when I can. And having Johnny, it makes it easier for me to get into a rhythm because he’s there if I miss. When I get into a rhythm it really gets me going.”

McCoy hit another three and Scott continued to find success at the rim with four straight points, helping Mansfield take a 31-18 lead at the break.

“He played as good as you could,” Vaughan said of Scott. “He’s engaged on defense, you can’t ask for a kid to play a better game at this point in his career. It was nice to see, he kind of helps us weather the first half when we weren’t as comfortable as it may have seemed. He had to go make some plays for us, and made some tough ones. He made the difference of us having a lead and as we talked about before, when we have a lead, we are more difficult [to beat] because all of our stuff works. When we’re playing from behind, it’s difficult for some of our stuff to work so it played to our advantage tonight.”

Scott scored on the first possession of the second half but picked up two quick fouls on the defensive end, forcing him to the bench. With their top scorer in the game on the bench, the offense switched gears and McCoy took over.

Tom Andreae (11 points) cut the deficit to single digits for Newton North but McCoy responded with a traditional three-point play on the other end. After a turnover, McCoy once again attacked the basket, resulting in another three-point play and a 41-26 advantage.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Boulter and Newton North’s Aaron Cooley traded baskets but McCoy couldn’t be stopped. He once again drew contact at the rim, finishing off yet another three-point play for a 46-28 lead.

Wright came up with a Mansfield turnover and tried to inject some life into the Hornets with a two-handed slam on the fast break, but the Hornets quickly got the ball up court for an easy two from McCoy, preventing Newton North from building any momentum.

“Part of our game plan offensively was to pick our spots when we thought we could get downhill,” Vaughan said. “They are a really good contest team, one of their focuses is to defend the three-point line which sacrifices helping. I thought we had some matchups with Damani, who play tremendous, and Johnny in the second half. Johnny answered my call at halftime. He needed to be better and he was, he was tremendous, that’s why he was league MVP because of the performance he put on in the second half.”

McCoy opened the fourth quarter in familiar fashion, taking advantage of a Tiger turnover and then driving to the basket for two points plus the harm – he hit the free throw for his fourth three-point play of the half.

“It was definitely nice to see the ball go through the hoop finally,” McCoy said after scoring eight points through the first two playoff games. “I kind of struggled the past two games, but my coaches and teammates told me to just stick with it and keep shooting, and it worked out tonight.

“Once we get to the hoop it opens things up for the shooting. When we get to the hoop our offense really gets in motion and everything starts to go down.”

After Scott hit a three, Newton North amped its defensive pressure up with a press, resulting in four quick points but after each team traded turnovers, McCoy sank a triple that wrapped the game up. Mansfield led 59-42 with five minutes to play.

Mansfield boys basketball (24-4) will take on either Needham (19-3) or Brockton (19-3) in the D1 South Final. If the Rockets beat Brockton, it will be a rematch of last year’s final (Needham won, 65-56). If the Boxers ground the Rockets, it will be a rematch of regular season matchup that Mansfield won 69-64. The game will be at Taunton High with the date and time still to be determined.

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Boulter Boosts Mansfield Past BC High, Into Semis

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Tyler Boulter readies to take a three pointer against BC High. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan mentioned that sometimes when senior Tyler Boulter misses his first three point attempt, it can sometimes take him a while to even attempt a second.

That was not the case on Saturday night at Taunton High School.

After missing his first look on the opening possession of the game, Boulter connected on his next eight trifectas, shooting 13-for-16 from the field overall en route to a career-high 35 points, leading the top-seeded Hornets to a 71-58 win over #8 BC High.

“He started the year hurt and he’s had to grind and battle and get his legs underneath him,” Vaughan said of Boulter. “He missed his first, and sometimes when he misses his first it takes him a while to shoot his second whether it goes in or not. He stuck with it and what a performance.”

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Boulter was just off on his first shoot but two points apiece from Damani Scott, Ryan Otto, and John McCoy had the Hornets off to a quick 6-0 start.

It wasn’t until 2:42 left in the opening quarter when senior Sam Hyland hauled in an offensive rebound off a miss and dished it out to a wide open Boulter that the senior got it going.

That three created a 12-5 advantage for the Hornets but the Eagles quickly put up six straight to cut it to one.

Once again, Boulter came up big with a three, sparking a 7-0 run (Hyland putback, Khristian Conner layup) to end the quarter with Mansfield up 19-11.

“I think we struggled a little bit in the first game against [BC High] so I felt I could help in that regard,” Boulter said. “And just defensively, picking up the energy and getting out there and running the floor. I just wanted to create some energy.”

The Eagles started the second with an 8-1 run to get within a point again, but Boulter had yet another answer dropping his third triple of the game. And on the ensuing possession, Boulter picked off a pass and went in alone for an easy layup.

“The thing with Tyler, he left last season as a possible league MVP candidate at the level he’s capable of playing at,” Vaughan said. “I think it took him enough trust in his body, and then get his basketball legs under him. He’s just been able to get into a nice rhythm and he’s played big for us in key moments.”

He added a free throw and another transition bucket later in the quarter as well. BC High cut the deficit to five with two minutes left but Hyland converted down low and Boulter hit a triple, giving the Hornets a 36-27 edge at the break.

Although Boulter had an impressive first half (6-for-8 FG, 3-for-4 3PT), he had more to offer in the second half, and his shooting became contagious.

Boulter opened the half with a three out of a set play but the Eagles landed a counter punch in the form of a 7-0 run to get within three.

Of course it was Boulter who put a run to a halt, hitting a trifecta to bump the lead to six. When BC High got it within four, Boulter hit yet another triple off a feed from Hyland and then senior Ryan Otto joined in on the fun with a three of his own to make it 48-38.

“I had a moment of deja vu,” Vaughan admitted. In the team’s first meeting, the Eagles used a run early in the third quarter to create the separation they needed to win. “I think we came down and got back to back baskets that got it back to 10 so we kind of weathered it. We talked about how BC High is capable of scoring points in a hurry. [BC High’s Travis] Evee (25 points) is obviously one of the best players in the state and he’s going to get his.

“But you have to come back down and capitalize on the other end. I thought we did a nice job of capitalizing tonight when our backs were against the wall. When they cut it four or six, I thought we did a good job of getting a good possession, not just any possession.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Hyland got in on the action with a three, and a few possessions later, Scott deposited his first triple of the game, giving Mansfield a 56-44 lead through three quarters of play. In the third quarter, Mansfield shot 6-for-8 from deep.

“It’s about doing what we do within our team structure,” Vaughan said of getting the outside looks. “We’ve seemed to be a better team in the second half of the year when we control the tempo of the offense. Historically we’ve liked to score in transition. This team has found more opportunities running in the half court. They really do a good job of helping each other out and making each other better by setting screens or cutting hard, or just little things that creating more space.

“I think three of [Boulter’s] threes were off offensive rebounds. We weren’t doing anything to be offensive geniuses there, that’s just doing a really good job on the glass. That was one of our focuses today, rebounding. We didn’t think we did a good job the first time, I thought we were much better this time and we got some key baskets. I’m not sure how many offensive rebounds we had but I’d say most of them resulted in baskets.”

Boutler’s three with 6:23 to play made it 62-46, and then he converted through the contact at the rim to make it 66-53. After a monstrous block from McCoy on one end, Boulter took a nice pass from Scott and finished for an easy two.

After a steal by Hyland on the defensive end, Boulter put a bow on the win by draining his eighth trifecta of the game.

“Our goal was to win the three point line,” said BC High coach Bill Loughnane. “Needless to say we did not succeed in that. We were trying to take it away but they did a nice job of running their stuff, getting to that option and all of a sudden there’s a guy standing there by himself and they didn’t miss tonight.”

Mansfield boys basketball (23-2) advances to the D1 South Sectional Semifinals. The Hornets will take on #4 Newton North (18-4) on Monday at 7:30 at Taunton High.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/28/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
D1 South

#1 Mansfield, 76 vs. #16 Newton South, 49 – Final – Mansfield junior Damani Scott poured in a career-high 25 points, going a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range to lead the Hornets to an opening-round win over Newton South. Mansfield led 13-9 after the first quarter but scored 44 points over the second and third quarters, limiting the Lions to just 21 in that same span. Tyler Boulter added 14 points, four rebounds and three assists and Justin Vine finished with 13 points. Mansfield will host #8 BC High, just one of two teams that beat the Hornets this year, on Friday at 6:30.

#14 Attleboro, 48 @ #3 Brockton, 71 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

#15 Taunton, 53 @ #2 Needham, 66 – FinalTaunton opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run over the first 2:32 to get within one possession (49-46) but never got closer. The Tigers were within seven (55-48) with 3:30 to play but the second-seeded Rockets finished with an 11-5 run. Senior Malik Charles led the Tigers with 13 points while classmate Lens Esquil added 12 points.

Girls Basketball
D1 Central

#5 Franklin, 39 @ #4 Natick, 53 – Final

D2 South
#1 Foxboro, 64 vs. #16 Milton, 30 – FinalFoxboro senior Ashley Sampson scored 24 points to pace the top-seeded Warriors to a big win in its playoff opener. Foxboro will host #8 Stoughton on Friday at 6:30.

#12 Canton, 46 @ #5 Silver Lake, 53 – Final

Boys Hockey
D1 South

#3 Franklin, 0 vs. #14 Barnstable, 1 – Final

#9 Mansfield, 2 vs. #8 Xaverian, 6 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

D2 South
#9 North Attleboro, 2 vs. #8 Medfield, 9 – Final

#10 Oliver Ames, 2 vs. #7 Westwood, 3 – Final (OT) – – Click here for a recap of this game.

Girls Hockey
Division 1

#21 Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 3 @ #12 Plymouth, 0 – FinalMOA freshman Alex Ledin scored the game-winner goal just over six minutes into the third period and the Warriors tacked on a pair of empty-net goals to earn the first postseason win in program history. Mackenzi Fraser and Cat Luciano scored empty netters to ice the win. Freshman Cate Gallagher recorded the shutout in net. #21 Mansfield/Oliver Ames will play #5 Barnstable on Sunday at 6:00 at Kennedy Rink.

Division 2
#14 King Philip, 2 vs. #19 Bishop Fenwick, 1 – FinalSenior Talia Quinn opened the scoring in the first period and senior Olivia McCarthy scored the game-winner early in the third period to lift King Philip to its first ever postseason win in program history. #14 King Philip will take on #3 Archbishop Williams (14-4-2) on Saturday at 3:00 at Zapustas Rink in Randolph.