Below are the official 2021 (Fall 2) Hockomock League Football All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
TJ Guy, Mansfield
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Michael Strachan, Attleboro
Chris Leonardo, Attleboro
Jake O’Brien, Franklin
Mack Gulla, Franklin
Patrick Zarba, King Philip
Mikey Malatesta, King Philip
Crawford Cantave, King Philip
TJ Guy, Mansfield
Jake McCoy, Mansfield
Cincere Gill, Mansfield
Nico Holmes, Mansfield
Anthony Comer, Mansfield
Nick Bertolino, Mansfield
Mario Lee, Milford
Carter Scudo, Milford
Dominic Schofield, Milford
Kedrick Santos, Taunton
Trent Santos, Taunton
Davenport Division MVP
Christopher Ais, Stoughton
Davenport Division All Stars
Jack Albert, Canton
Matt Connolly, Canton
James Kraus, Foxboro
Jon Moses, Foxboro
Luis Sulham, Foxboro
Mike Norvish, Foxboro
Sean Ferguson, Foxboro
Harry Bullock, North Attleboro
Jacob Silva, North Attleboro
Jared Penta, North Attleboro
Matt Penta, North Attleboro
Tyler DeMattio, North Attleboro
Ike Ogbonnanze, Sharon
Christopher Ais, Stoughton
Christian Ais, Stoughton
Jake Queeney, Stoughton
John Burke, Stoughton
Sproul Deroulos, Stoughton
Below are the official 2021 (Fall 2) Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The weather was a little warmer and the crowd was a little smaller, but when North Attleboro (6-0) squared off with Attleboro (1-5) on Saturday morning at Community Field the usual emotions of the Thanksgiving Day rivalry were still there.
North capped off an undefeated season and avenged a loss from Thanksgiving 2019, rallying from an early deficit to win 28-7 in the “Century Game” (marking the 100th “holiday” meeting between the programs). Seniors Matt Pentaand Jacob Silva scored two touchdowns apiece for the Rocketeers.
As his team celebrated in the background with “Hilda”, North Attleboro coach Don Johnson explained what the victory, and the chance to play the game at all, meant to his team.
“I think it gives our seniors a sense of completion,” he said. “I think up to this point our seniors have felt a little bit robbed of the usual senior experience and adding this game and the significance of it completes it for them and they can walk away quite satisfied.”
The dynamics of the game changed on Thursday night when, according to Johnson, North’s starting quarterback Tyler DeMattio had a cast put on a wrist injury he suffered in the Davenport title decider against Foxboro. North turned to Penta and fellow senior Dylan Eberle and inevitably the Rocketeers looked a little out of rhythm offensively in the first quarter.
Attleboro took advantage. The Bombardiers stopped North on its first possession and a short punt gave them the ball at the North 34. Attleboro was also on its backup quarterback, as sophomore Aiden Hochwarter started for the second week in a row, but the Bombardiers turned to its power running game.
Michael Strachan gained five yards on fourth and two to keep the drive moving and then Alexander Bakowski found a seam on a counter for a 16-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
North went three-and-out on its next possession but Nathan Shultz recovered a muffed punt to give the Rocketeers a second chance. Again, Attleboro’s defense held. Ryan Betts and Kaiden Murray both made nice plays to break up passes and turn North over on downs.
The game changed early in the second quarter. After Attleboro went three-and-out, North blocked a Colby Briggs punt and took over at the Bombardiers 13. It was the momentum and field position shift that the North offense needed.
“It just changed the feel of the game,” Attleboro coach Mike Strachan explained. “It was a big play for them and they were able to capitalize and they have a bunch of good kids over there. We’ll learn from this.”
Two plays later, Penta saw a hole and burst up the middle on an 8-yard keeper to tie the game.
Attleboro’s issues on offense have been a familiar theme this season. The Bombardiers have only scored touchdowns in two of their six games and they recorded only four first downs on Saturday.
“They have a good football team,” Strachan said. “I thought we did a good job in the first half, but we had a couple mishaps on special teams that turned the momentum a bit and we just weren’t able to regain it.”
After a tough start, the North offense started to click into gear. On the first play of its next drive, Eberle hit Silva right in front of the North bench and the running back broke a couple of tackles, stayed inbounds and broke free for a 46-yard score, putting North ahead for good.
The Rocketeers had a chance to break the game open before halftime. A short punt gave them the ball at the Attleboro 26 and they marched down inside the 10. With time running out, Attleboro’s defense was able to stop three plays from inside its own three to keep it a one-score game.
That only lasted until North’s first drive of the second half. The Rocketeers went 60 yards on 12 plays, eating the clock and grinding out a touchdown drive that gave them a little cushion. Penta ( 13 carries, 113 yards) was making big plays with his legs and DeMattio (13 carries, 48 yards), cast and all, was able to give North a change of pace. Silva capped the drive with a one-yard plunge.
Johnson said, “In our three biggest games, Stoughton, Foxboro, and Attleboro, we failed to get that third touchdown at an opportune time that would’ve made you relax and maybe put the game away. That’s all we talked about [at halftime], not how we screwed up at the end of the first half but what are we going to do in the first drive.”
Attleboro was looking for a spark and thought it might have one in the fourth quarter when Freddy Wheaton recovered a Penta fumble to stop North’s drive with 6:14 to play. The Bombardiers got one first down, but North’s defense was flying, particularly Tyler Bannon and Greg Berthiaume, who snuffed out a screen to force a punt.
Penta left no doubt about the winner when he took off on yet another keeper, broke it to the outside, stayed on his feet, and found the end zone from 39 yards out, making it 28-7 with only 1:16 to play.
“Our special teams were good and our defense was good and I think that was enough to give our offense the field position we needed,” said Johnson. “The plays that Penta was running, he’s good at, and the things Eberle was doing, he’s pretty good at, so it worked out okay…two seniors who stepped up.”
When asked what it meant for his team, result aside, to finish up this unusual season with a game against North, Strachan replied, “At the end of the day, to be out here, with what these kids have been through this year, it’s unbelievable. That’s what it’s about. For the communities to come together at Community Field, this is what it’s about.”
Attleboro, 7 @ North Attleboro, 28 – Final 1st Quarter: (A) Alexander Bakowski 16-yard rush, Colby Briggs XP good.
2nd Quarter: (NA) Matt Penta 8-yard rush, Tyler DeMattio XP good; (NA) Dylan Eberle 46-yard pass to Jacob Silva, T. DeMattio XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) J. Silva 1-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
4th Quarter: (NA) M. Penta 39-yard rush, Evan Vigorito XP good.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Years from now, members of the North Attleboro football team will still be talking about “the drive.”
After the Rocketeer defense stood its ground in the red zone and forced a turnover on downs, the North Attleboro offense put together a methodical drive that will define this year’s Davenport division champions.
Junior Tyler DeMattio (18 carries, 136 yards, two touchdowns) led the Big Red on a 20-play, 92-yard drive that took up 9:52 of game time, culminating in a gutsy 16-yard touchdown run from the quarterback with under three minutes to play, turning a three-point deficit into a 14-10 win for North Attleboro.
North Attleboro football Foxboro football Tyler DeMattio Luis Sulham Rashaad Way
“That last drive was epic,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “That’s one you don’t see too often, [a championship drive], I was very proud of them.”
Foxboro denied the Rocketeers a chance at the go-ahead score one drive earlier when junior Rashaad Way took advantage of a rare miscue from DeMattio, intercepting a floated pass right before the goal line with 4:44 to go in the third quarter.
The Warriors used that momentum to march down field, putting themselves in position to increase their lead. Highlighted by back-to-back first down runs from Dylan Gordon (seven carries, 47 yards) and a 27-yard pass and catch from Cam Prescott to Way, the hosts moved across midfield.
Way hauled in a 23-yard pass to convert a third down and get down to the North 5-yard line. From there, North’s defense buckled down, sending the Warriors backward on first and then forced three straight incompletions, the final one knocked away in the end zone by Matt Penta to keep the Rocketeers down just three, 10-7, with 0:31 left in the third.
North Attleboro football Foxboro football Tyler DeMattio Luis Sulham Rashaad Way
DeMattio had nine carries on the drive for 71 yards, converting a 3rd down very early in the drive, keeping it himself to move the sticks on 4th and 1 from the North 33-yard line, scrambled for 7 yards and a first on 3rd and 5 just over midfield and then converted another 4th and short just before the touchdown. North also got key carries from Jacob Silva (10 carries, 52 yards), Tommy Whalen (nine carries, 36 yards), and Alex McCoy (eight carries, 37 yards) on the drive.
After Luis Sulham and Jon Moses combined for a tackle for loss, North was faced with 2nd and 13 from the 16-yard line. DeMattio brought Whalen in motion to the left and then kept it himself after the play action, sprinting to the left side of the line, following the block of both Silva and senior lineman Harry Bullock. DeMattio then split through two Foxboro defenders and bounced off two more in the secondary, diving across the goal line for the touchdown.
“I’m running out of words for him but that run typifies him,” Johnson said. “He looks exhausted and you wonder if he can do it on the next play, and you try not to give it to him every down but he just finds a way. He had to kick the extra point so I took a timeout just to rest him for a minute. He’s just a phenomenal kid, there aren’t many like him. He’s just so tough and he has the respect of all of his teammates.”
Foxboro’s ensuing drive got off to a strong start with a 9-yard run from Gordon and a 12-yard pass from Prescott to Sulham but two plays later, Bullock and Robbie Donovan came crashing in for a 10-yard sack. Two incompletions later, the final one on 4th and 22 following a false start, turned the ball over on downs to clinch the win and division title for the Rocketeers.
“They left everything they had, every ounce of their ability and then some,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinello about his team’s effort. “[North Attleboro] is a good football team, give credit where credit is due. We had our chances to put it away but if you don’t take those opportunities against a good team, you give them a shot.”
After a postgame handshake with Johnson, Martinelli made his way across to the North Attleboro sideline to shake hands with DeMattio.
“I do when I think they are special,” Martinelli said of the postgame meeting with the North QB. “As much we knew when he was going to take it, you still have to stop him and we just weren’t able to. The kid is tough, he’s their best running back, and his ability to throw the ball this year has made it more difficult to defend him.
North Attleboro football Foxboro football Tyler DeMattio Luis Sulham Rashaad Way
“He’s tough and they have other weapons, he has more around him this year than he did last year. So you have to respect all of them. It opens some space up but you have to watch out for their different formations with trips, two receivers, the motion, the whole nine yards. But they are a good team, [DeMattio] is special. We would have liked it to have ended a little differently but the kids left it all on the field.”
North Attleboro got off to a strong start, forcing Foxboro to go three-and-out on its opening drive. Starting at their own 37-line, the Rocketeers used 12 plays to cover 63 yards and took a 7-0 lead when DeMattio kept it himself for a 1-yard touchdown.
Foxboro’s defense forced a three-and-out on North’s second drive and the offense was able to take advantage. On first down, Prescott connected with Way down the left sideline for a 48-yard gain. Two plays later, Prescott fired a laser to Sulham right at the goal line for a 7-yard touchdown, making it 7-7 with 10 minutes left in the second.
North turned it over on downs in Foxboro territory and punted on its other two drives of the first half while Foxboro had its third punt of the game before halftime.
The Rocketeers started on offense in the second half but just two plays in, Foxboro’s Mike Norvish came in with a big hit to knock the ball free and junior Dylan Kerrigan, who had the original tackle, came up with the loose ball.
Helped along by a pass interference and misconduct call, Foxboro moved inside the red zone down to the North 10-yard line. After a pair of runs totaled just two yards and an incomplete pass in the end zone, Foxboro settled for a 25-yard field goal from Sam Carpenter to make it 10-7.
North had two turnovers and Foxboro was able to get inside the 10-yard line off both chances but ended up with just three points total.
North Attleboro (5-0) is taking next week off while Foxboro (3-2) will host Franklin on Friday at 5:30 in a crossover matchup.
North Attleboro football Foxboro football Tyler DeMattio Luis Sulham Rashaad Way
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Through the first three weeks of the Fall II season, North Attleboro’s high-powered offense has received plenty of attention and headlines.
In the biggest game of the year to date, however, it was the Rocketeers’ defense that received rave reviews after containing a dangerous Stoughton offense — all the way to the final play of the game — to the tune of a 14-6 victory, clinching at least a share of the Davenport division title in the process.
The North Attleboro defense forced four straight punts to start the game, ended a pair of Stoughton drives on downs inside their own territory, created back-to-back turnovers in the fourth quarter, and denied the visitors a chance at tying the game as time expired.
“We were worried because it’s a physical matchup against those guys with their big backs and all of our little guys coming up trying to tackle them,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “I think we kept them off balance enough. We learned last year one guy isn’t going to bring down their backs so we worked all week on getting guys to the football, and we have some speed on defense so that helps.
“It felt like the whole second half we kept giving them chances, we could never get that third score. We felt like if we could get that third score we could relax a little but we never got it, we never finished it on offense but the defense kept stepping up and making plays.”
It marked a quick one-season turnaround for the program, which finished under .500 for the first time in over 25 years during the 2019 season. Now, the Rocketeers are division champions for the fifth time in the past six years.
“These kids were really motivated throughout the whole offseason, they wanted to get North Attleboro back to where it should be,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them, they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them for the past 15, 16 months now and it’s been awesome, it’s a great group of kids.”
Stoughton’s defense, down three starters to injury including top pass-rusher Christian Georges, put in a solid shift as well as the Black Knights continued to make big stops in the second half to give themselves a chance. The visitors made things interesting by scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter as senior quarterback John Burke read the blitz and got the pass out quickly, hitting an open Christian Ais. Ais turned on the jets and sprinted up the left sideline for a 43-yard score and Stoughton trailed by just one possession, 14-6.
North nearly answered right away but couldn’t quite finish off the drive. The Rocketeers used all of their weapons on the drive to march down the field, as junior quarterback Tyler DeMattio (24 carries, 150 yards) started with a 24-yard run, Tommy Whalen followed with a 10-yard carry, and Jacob Silva moved the sticks for the third straight play with a 16-yard rush.
DeMattio ran for 11 yards later in the drive to get into the red zone but on 4th and 5, Stoughton’s Christopher Ais came up with a sack and the Knights took over on downs.
But just three plays into the ensuing drive, North Attleboro got the ball back as junior Tyler Bannon ripped the ball free from the ball carrier and recovered the fumble himself, setting the Rocketeers up with the ball at the Stoughton 30.
The Black Knights once again came up with a red zone stop to stay in the contest. Christian Ais had a tackle for a loss on second down, and on fourth and 2 from the 8-yard line, Stoughton’s Davin Swierzewski met DeMattio up the middle to deny him the first down with 3:24 to play.
A 20-yard rush from Burke plus a personal foul followed by an 11-yard reception from Jake Queeney moved Stoughton over midfield. But Stoughton’s drive came to another screeching halt as Bannon came flying in and jarred the ball free and the ref ruled it was a fumble and not an incomplete pass, allowing sophomore Greg Berthiaume to slide into the loose ball before it went out of bounds, seemingly ending Stoughton’s chance at a comeback with just 1:17 to go.
Stoughton used its two timeouts on first and third down, denying the Rocketeers a first down and making the hosts punt with just seconds to go. A high snap forced punter Max Bumpus to chase the ball down, falling on it at his own 20-yard line for a turnover on downs, giving Stoughton one last chance.
Burke’s first pass was knocked down as Christian Ais was triple covered in the end zone, and his second toss was just out of the end zone as he tried to hit Queeney in the corner.
“We had a chance at the end,” said Stoughton head coach Greg Burke. “I was happy we didn’t let them score in the second half and we got one, but we can’t give up the two scores. They certainly deserved at least one [score] in the first half, they were pushing us around and I thought we’d do a little better upfront so hats off to them. Their quarterback is tough, every time you think you got him he just squirms awayWe lost the ball a couple of times, and you can’t do that in games like this.
“It’s a consolation but the kids played hard, we didn’t get blown out. Our kids are never going to quit, no matter what, no matter who we play so I’m happy about that.”
North Attleboro orchestrated back-to-back scoring drives on its second and third chances of the game. After going three-and-out to start the game, the Rocketeers took advantage of good field position both times.
On the first drive, the Big Red needed seven plays to cover 45 yards before finding the end zone. Silva had a 15-yard carry to set the tone to start the drive and then hauled in a 3-yard catch inside the 5-yard line to move the chains. DeMattio kept it himself from a yard out to give North a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
North’s next drive started in the first quarter and ended in the end zone with 8:29 left to play in the second quarter. Again starting in Stoughton territory, North marched 41 yards on 10 plays, twice converting on fourth down, to double its lead.
The Rocketeers went to Silva to covert 4th and 1 early in the drive, and then DeMattio kept it himself for 10 yards on 4th and 2. North kept going with DeMattio up the middle and two plays later, he kept it for a 5-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
“With their speed, they were doing a good job of shutting down the edge on us early so it was leaving a little bit of a seam up inside,” Johnson said. “He’s the safest way to run off tackle, you don’t have to risk a handoff or anything. So that’s why it ended up being him more than some of the other running backs.
“[Tyler’s] the guy you want in your fox hole. There’s no stop to him, he’s just constantly going hard in everything that he does. He’s pound-for-pound the toughest kid that I’ve seen in a long time.”
After four punts to open the game, Stoughton finally got something going on offense late in the first half. Jonah Ly sprinted for 12 yards on first down, Christian Ais followed with a 13-yard carry, and Christopher Ais went up the middle to convert third and short. The Black Knights moved inside the red zone but back-to-back incompletions, including one near the pylon in the front of the end zone, stopped the drive.
Stoughton’s defense forced a turnover on downs on North’s first drive of the second half (10 plays, 51 yards) and the Black Knights carried some momentum to offense. Christian Ais scampered his way for a 41-yard carry to start the drive but three plays later, Burke’s pass to Christian Ais was spotted a yard short on fourth down.
“They have great speed, they were able to use that,” Burke said. “We had some success going right at them but we didn’t continue with it, but shoulda, coulda, woulda, and we just didn’t do enough. We had some chances but came up short on some fourth downs. They did a good job using their speed, brought an extra guy in on us. I thought we’d hit a few more passes but we didn’t. And we had turnovers, you can’t do that.”
North Attleboro (4-0) can clinch the Davenport title outright when it travels to Foxboro on Friday for a 5:30 kickoff. Stoughton (3-1) will compete in crossover action when it hosts Milford (3-1) on Saturday at 11:00 AM.
King Philip, 12 @ Milford, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (M) Brady Olson 60-yard pass to Carter Scudo, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: (M) B. Olson 8-yard pass to Max Martin, XP no good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Oliver Ames, 12 @ North Attleboro, 41 – Final 1st Quarter: (NA) Jacob Silva 3-yard rush, Tyler DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 38-yard pass to Matt Penta, T. DeMattio XP good; (NA) T. DeMattio 34-yard pass to Colby Feid, T. DeMattio XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 65-yard pass to Jared Penta, T. DeMattio XP good; (OA) Jake Grimaldi 23-yard pass to Jason Dennehy, Conversion no good.
4th Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 10-yard pass to M. Penta, Evan Vigorito XP good; (OA) Chad Silva 1-yard rush, Conversion no good; (NA) Kyle Conroy 23-yard rush, XP no good.
CANTON, Mass. – The chance to put last season in the rearview mirror couldn’t come soon enough for the North Attleboro football team.
The Rocketeers had a rare sub-.500 season in the Fall of 2019 but with the majority of its roster back, including eight starters on each side of the ball, the Big Red was ready to get back on track as one of the most successful programs in the state.
North Attleboro needed less than a minute to do so.
The Rocketeers scored just three plays into the new season and then really hit their stride on offense in the middle of the game, scoring on four straight possessions between the second and third quarters, to run away with a 41-13 win over host Canton.
After a drop on the first play, North senior Jared Penta (three carries, 65 yards) ripped off a 20-yard run and on the next play, junior quarterback Tyler DeMattio (8/12, 138 yards, touchdown, nine carries, 73 yards, three touchdowns) kept it himself and weaved his way through the defense for a 45-yard score and a 7-0 lead just 53 seconds into the game.
The combination of penalties, self-inflicted mistakes, and Canton’s defense stifled the Rocketeers over their next three drives, including two fourth down stops and one punt, which was set up by a sack from Canton senior Matt Connolly. North even got inside the 10-yard line on their third drive but a botched snap on a field goal attempt ended with an incomplete pass.
North Attleboro football
But while North’s offense worked out the early season jitters, the Rocketeers’ defense was smothering from the start against a Canton offense that featured new faces in almost every position. Canton went three-and-out on its first five possessions and the sixth came to an end just two plays in for the halftime whistle.
“We looked like a team that hadn’t played in 15 months…some stupid penalties early, procedure stuff, a bad snap on the field goal attempt…it was a lot of stuff that you get out of your system if you play a second scrimmage, which we normally do,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “Once we got into a groove though…we still have a lot of work to do but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
Even though North’s fifth drive didn’t start in an ideal manner due to a false start and a two-yard loss on first down, the Rocketeers finally clicked into gear. DeMattio kept it himself for a 32 yard gain the move the chains and then hit Matt Penta (three catches, 74 yards, touchdown) for another first to move into the red zone.
Two plays later, DeMattio kept it himself up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 4:37 left in the second quarter.
“North Attleboro has a strong tradition, they are a great program, they have good coaches and good players over there, that’s a solid team for sure,” said first-year Canton head coach Anthony Fallon. “We’re working hard over here, we graduated a big senior class last year, and we’re getting better.”
Canton’s ensuing drive came to an end after a sack from North’s Jared Vacher. The Rocketeers needed two plays to tack on another score by halftime with DeMattio hooking up with Penta down the middle for a 47 yard gain. And then DeMattio kept it to the left and won the race to the pylon to make it 21-0 with 1:07 left in the first half.
A pair of sacks sent Canton backward on its first drive of the second half and North started with good field position after the punt. Helped along by a 15-yard penalty on the defense, DeMattio finished the drive by hitting Penta in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 28-0 with 7:43 left in the third.
North Attleboro football
“I thought our defense was pretty good because I was worried about it with them having new players, a new coaching staff,” Johnson said. “We basically had half of a scrimmage to go off of and they played their starters for about 15 plays so there was definitely that fear of the unknown but I think the experience in our secondary and our linebackers paid off today.”
The Bulldogs put together their best drive of the game on the ensuing drive, Anthony Botelho (12/23, 160 yards) hitting Vincent O’Brienn to convert a third down, and then connecting with Cam Sanchez down the middle for 41 yards. Carson Campbell had a big lead block on a fourth-down run that allowed Sanchez to get the first down, and two plays later, Botelho scrambled into the end zone. Will Keefe’s extra point made it 28-7 with 2:19 left in the third.
North needed less than a minute to respond as Jacob Silva (six carries, 104 yards) broke free for 11 yards, DeMattio linked up with Jared Penta for 39 yards down the right sideline, and then Silva scampered into space for a 21-yard touchdown.
“[Tyler’s] a hard-nosed tough kid who has had to learn how to play the position,” Johnson said. “If it was up to him, I think he would run the ball every single down and just lower his shoulder and run through people. He’s had to learn how to play quarterback, learn to read coverages, learn when to throw it and when to dump it, and all that stuff. And he’s just getting better every year with it.”
Sanchez capped a 10 play, 77-yard drive for Canton with a touchdown from one-yard out but North blocked the point after. On the ensuing kickoff, North junior Danny Curran took the kickoff the distance to get the touchdown right back for the Rocketeers.
North Attleboro (1-0) is back on the road again next week when it takes on Sharon, who will host the game at Mansfield High. Canton (0-1) hits the road to Easton to take on Oliver Ames.
Canton was one of the best teams in the Hockomock League over the past two seasons because of how well-balanced they were with impact players all over the field. The majority of those players graduated so this year’s Bulldogs will be leaning on the few experienced players back. One of those is two-way lineman Matt Connolly, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound guard/defensive tackle that demands attention no matter what side of the ball he’s playing on. When the ball is snapped, Connolly almost always requires a double-team defensively to try and slow him down. He does a great job of taking away gaps and rushing lanes, and when it comes to pass rush, he can really put opposing linemen on skates, driving them backward. Canton will have a lot of new faces on the line this year but Connolly will be a familiar force for foes.
Georges was a dominant presence on the Stoughton defensive line last season, whether it was setting the edge, taking on extra blockers to open gaps for his teammates, or bursting into the backfield to make a big play behind the line of scrimmage. A versatile weapon for the Stoughton defense, Georges could line up on the outside as a pass-rushing linebacker or with his hand down on the line ready to stuff the opposition ground game. George combines speed, strength, and football IQ to always find the point of attack and destroy the offense’s best-laid plans. He was a major factor in the Black Knights allowing 12 points or fewer in seven games last year, finishing with 15 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He will be hoping to do even better this season, as Stoughton seeks out a first league title since 2015.
Guy was a one-man wrecking crew for the Mansfield defense last season, which was a huge problem for teams facing the Div. 2 state champions since the Hornets had a few players who qualified for that title. At times unblockable, Guy dominated the line of scrimmage, forcing teams to double-team him and opening gaps for Mansfield’s ball-hawking linebackers to get into the backfield. Combining strength and a quick first step, he finished with 34 tackles, including four for loss, and had four sacks. The University of Michigan-commit was a disruptive force in both the ground game and in the pass rush, while also being one of the top linemen on the other side of the ball as well. Guy’s presence in the heart of the Mansfield defensive line is one of the reasons the Hornets will be favored again to bring home another Kelley-Rex division title.
Mansfield has a big void to fill with the graduation of league MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Vinnie Holmes, who had 91 total tackles last season. It just so happens it will be Nico Holmes, Vinnie’s younger brother, that will be one of the candidates to step up into that role. Holmes has plenty of experience at the varsity, starting along the defensive line last season for the D2 State Champions. Now he’ll line up with the linebackers and look to continue to make plays from that spot. We know he’s not afraid to hit people, we saw it last year on both sides of the ball as he led the way for the Hornets’ rushing game as a fullback. The senior is one of four captains for Mansfield this season so the Hornets will be counting on his leadership both on and off the field.
Foxboro has always leaned on its defense to be successful and Moses is an imposing figure in the heart of the linebacking corps and will be key to the Warriors remaining a tough team to move the ball against. At 6’4 and 215 pounds, Moses looks more like a defensive lineman and uses his size and strength to set the edge against the ground game. Not someone who allows runners to get away once he gets his hands on them, Moses is also capable of using his quickness to get into the backfield and disrupt things right at the point of attack. His big frame makes him an important piece of the Foxboro pass rush, as it’s not easy for quarterbacks to look over him and try to make plays downfield. Also a solid blocker at tight end and a big target in the passing game, Moses can make an impact on both sides of the ball. The Warriors will be hoping to make a run at a league title this season and Moses and a hard-hitting defense will have to be a big part of that title challenge.
Oliver Ames is hoping to surprise some teams this year in its first season back in the Davenport division. While the Tigers’ division record hasn’t been great, they have done a really good job against their non-league foes and their defense has really stood out in those games. A major player in that defensive unit is back this season in senior Jadon Ricci, a defensive back specialist that has a nose for the football. Ricci can line up in the slot or outside, or even take a step back into a safety role, but no matter where he is on the field, he seems to find his way to the football. Whether it’s reading a quarterback’s eyes and making a play on a pass or flying to a ball carrier, Ricci seems to always been in the mix.
Sometimes flying under the radar last season because of the attention that went to fellow linebackers Luke Rosa and CJ Cerrella, Schofield emerged as a consistent playmaker on the outside. Capable of making big plays in the pass rush, against the run game, and dropping into coverage, the UMass-commit is poised for a breakout season as the Hawks take on the challenge of facing a Kelley-Rex division schedule. An imposing presence at 6’5 and 230 pounds, Schofield has the quickness to cover ground in a hurry and the strength to step up and set the edge to bottle up the opposing running game. Milford has seen its fair share of talented linebackers in recent years and Schofield is continuing that trend and is poised for a breakout season as the Hawks look to make noise in their first season in the Kelley-Rex.
North Attleboro’s lineup was torn apart by injuries last season but one player that really stood out on both sides of the ball is now senior captain Jacob Silva. Whether it was at tailback or outside linebacker, Silva gave it his all on every play and was a real bright spot for the Rocketeers. Silva is the type of player that isn’t afraid of running tight at — and on some occasions through — the opposition, whether it’s when he’s carrying the ball or flying off the edge to try to make a play on a running back or sacking a quarterback. Silva reads the game really well and reacts accordingly, using his speed to drop into coverage when needed to cover tight ends or running backs downfield. The Rocketeers have high expectations for this season and Silva’s leadership on defense will be a big key to achieving their goals.
A rare four-year varsity player, Strachan comes into his senior season as one of the league’s top returning linebackers. He has led the Bombardiers in tackles each of the past two seasons, including 80.5 tackles (66 of them solo) last year. Strachan, a University of Rhode Island-commit, is also strong in the passing game, dropping into coverage and recording two pass breakups and a clutch end zone interception that sealed the Thanksgiving Day win at North Attleboro. His toughness and physicality were also on display on offense, where he finished with 512 all-purpose yards and six rushing touchdowns. Able to read the play and with the speed to cover a lot of ground, Strachan has been a force to be reckoned with in the Attleboro defense and will be hoping to close out his high school career by helping Attleboro challenge the top teams in the league.
If you’re looking for a player that defines King Philip football, look no further than senior Pat Zarba. A three-year starter, Zarba is a blue-collar type player that works incredibly hard on both sides of the ball, doesn’t do anything overly flashy, but is an incredibly effective player. Offensively, Zarba really sets the tone with his physicality and creates a lot of opportunities for the backs. Zarba lines up at defensive tackle defensively, and at 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, in a one-man wrecking crew in the middle. He almost always sees a double team but that doesn’t stop him from using his strength to get free and clog up the middle. Expect more of the same when it comes to toughness along the line from King Philip this season with Zarba setting the example.
It’s a new era in Canton as Anthony Fallon takes over for longtime head coach Dave Bohane, who stepped down from his second stint in charge of the Bulldogs at the end of last season.
While it’s a new era, all of the players and coaches are hoping that the success from the past two seasons continues going forward. If that success is going to continue, it’s going to be by a host of new faces. The Bulldogs graduated a historic class that won back-to-back Davenport division titles and reached the D5 South Sectional final in 2019. While competing for the Davenport division title this year, Canton will lean heavily on its few returners while new players take advantage of the new opportunities.
Senior Matt Connolly is a force on both sides of the ball, protecting the quarterback on the offensive line and leading the way for the ground game with his blocking. And defensively, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound senior who is committed to play at Assumption College, is an absolute handful and requires a lot of attention. Cam Sanchez is another experienced player back for the Bulldogs and will be involved in the running game offensively and apart of the secondary defensively. Carson Campbell started all 11 games for Canton last year at right tackle and will add defensive line duties this season. Jack Albert should see an expanded role on both sides of the ball and will be one of the main targets in the receiving game.
“Our team has great speed in our secondary, we are big and strong upfront and our linebackers are tough and fast,” Fallon said. “We have a solid mix on our varsity of juniors and seniors. I am also excited with our numbers on the sub-varsity level with 30-plus players. With a tough-minded defense and a fast offense, I know we will compete in every game.”
There is a lot of optimism in Foxboro for the Fall II season, and with a strong group of returning starters in different spots all over the field, there is good reason for it.
The Warriors seem to be in the mix for the Davenport division title each season, coming in third in 2019 and 2017. With talent back in key spots, Foxboro could be a serious contender for their first crown since 2015. The offense starts with the line and Foxboro has some experience and size to work with. Senior Sean Ferguson is a towering presence at 6’5, 315-pounds and anchors the line from the center position and he will be joined by junior Dylan Kerrigan (6’0, 205) at tackle. Senior Cam Prescott will start under center and will have a bevy of options to work with including playmaker Luis Sulham and junior Rashaad Way. Look for Chris McNamara to pick up where he left off carrying the ball.
Foxboro has an equal amount of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball with the strength of the team coming from the linebackers and the secondary. Seniors Mike Norvish and James Stamatos return with plenty of varsity experience under their belts and will anchor the linebacker position while senior James Kraus will start at safety and will be accompanied in the secondary by Way and Tom Sharkey, both juniors. One player to keep an eye out for is senior Jon Moses, a 6’4 defensive end that really improved over the course of last season and could be a handful for opposing offenses to deal with.
“The heart and soul of team this year is the senior leadership and experience along with a strong and talented junior class,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli.
North Attleboro was ravished by injuries during the 2019 season and the result was the program’s first sub-.500 season in 27 years. It speaks volumes to how consistent the Rocketeers are year in and year out that it had been that long but the Big Red are ready to turn the page and begin a new streak.
The Rocketeers are getting a lot of players back that missed time last year and also have a bunch of players back that were thrown into the fire last year and now have varsity experience. With that combination, North Attleboro is hoping the end result is the Davenport division title. Junior Tyler DeMattio is back under center for his second year as the starter after making a big splash on Thanksgiving his freshman season. DeMattio can get it done with both his arm and his legs (and his foot in the kicking game). He has a lot of weapons at his disposal this year with Jared Penta and Alex McCoy in the slots, Coby Feid and Matt Penta at split end, and 6-foot-5 Endicott-commit Robbie Donovan at tight end. Jacob Silva returns at tailback and will be complemented by senior Tommy Whalen while sophomores Nathan Shultz and Greg Berthiaume could be in the mix as well. Harry Bullock will anchor the offensive line alongside classmates Danny Hayes and Justin Vecchiarelli and juniors Jared Vacher and Keysun Wise.
On top of the eight returning starters on offense, the Rocketeers boast eight returners on the defensive side of the ball as well. North Attleboro has a lot of depth at the linebacker position with Silva, a team captain, being a key part of the group. He’ll be joined by Berthiaume, Vecchiarelli, Whalen, senior Dylan Eberle, and junior Tyler Bannon. Jared and Matt Penta are both very experienced safeties while McCoy and Feid return at corner, so the secondary will certainly be a strength for the Big Red. The Rocketeers don’t have the biggest defensive line but the likes of Donovan, Vacher, and Bullock provide speed from the edge.
“The extended off season has provided extra time for tremendous growth in the weight room,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “The depth at the skill positions on both sides of the ball will be the strength of this team. The key will be how quickly and effectively we can put together our offensive and defensive lines.”
Oliver Ames is back in the Davenport division and is looking to make a splash in its first season back.
The Tigers had a lot of success when the league first split into two divisions, winning the Davenport title in 2011 and 2013 before making the jump up to the Kelley-Rex. With a strong group of players back, OA is looking to take the next step forward during the Fall II 2020 season. Senior captain Gavin Morrison is a two-way lineman and will anchor the offensive group from the center spot. He’ll be joined by senior Dante Cocivera and Max Tower, both returning players from last season. Junior Collin Williamson burst onto the scene last year and should see an expanded role in the backfield during this abbreviated season while sophomore Chad Silva should be in the mix as well.
Speed will be a strength on the defensive side of the ball for the Tigers, who boast a lot of the same faces on the defensive line as their offensive line. Tower anchors the linebackers and will be one to keep an eye on, using his speed and strength to make plays, and he’ll be joined by the sophomore Silva. Senior captain Jaden Ricci is one of the best defensive players on the team, a fast, physical player with a nose for the ball that will start at corner. He’ll be joined by senior Jaden Krowski in the secondary.
2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview
“We are excited about where our program is heading and are really ecstatic and thankful to get an opportunity to play this season,” said head coach Ed DeWitt.
Sharon had a very young squad a season ago and went through plenty of growing pains. The Eagles are hoping to turn some of that experience into success on the field this season.
Not only do the Eagles have their quarterback and top receivers back, but they are also getting a big boost with a return from injury. Senior Kiran Chandrasekaran returns under center and has weapons in PJ McManus, Owen Conway, and Conor McLaughlin in the passing game. Nico Marrero, who showed flashes of great play as a sophomore, had to miss all of last year due to injury but is back this year and will be a key two-way player for the Eagles. Marrero is a powerful runner that will look to find space created by an improved offensive line. The Eagles’ offensive line is anchored by senior center Shea Letendre while junior Jack Murphy and sophomores Miles Clay and Daniel Davis help round out Sharon’s line.
Defensive the Eagles are always a competitive group, the challenge will be doing so for four quarters against some top offenses in the Davenport. Ike Ogbonnanze, who is also a big receiving target on offense, will start at linebacker alongside Marrero and Letendre, giving the Eagles a very experienced group in the heart of the defense. McManus and Conway will play on both sides of the ball, starting in the secondary defensively.
“Our kids know our numbers are not strong but they have a great attitude and are playing like their backs are against the wall,” said Sharon head coach Dave Morse.
Stoughton head coach Greg Burke always leans heavily on his senior class and he has a real talented group this year.
The Black Knights have a handful of very talented and experienced seniors that have played a lot of snaps over the past two seasons and that has Stoughton primed for a run a the Davenport division title. Senior John Burke is back under center at quarterback for the Knights and it’s likely we’ll see Brady Conlin take some snaps similar to how Burke split with Clayton Rahaman last season. Both quarterbacks will have plenty of options to work with, especially on the ground. The Knights have a “home run” type offense with any given handoff capable to break off a big run. Senior brothers Christopher and Christian Ais recently committed to the University of New Haven and both bring speed and power when running the ball. Christian Georges is another workhorse out of the backfield while juniors Anthony Girolamo and Jonah Ly could see some carries as well. What makes Stoughton’s run game so dangerous is all of the backs do a great job of blocking when they don’t get carries. Jake Queeney will be the main target in the passing game for the Knights. Sproul Derolus is one of the few returners on the offensive line so Stoughton will need some players to step up there.
Defense is always a staple for the Knights and that looks to be the case again this year. A lot of the same faces that make plays on the offensive side will be the ones making plays on the defensive side. Georges is an absolute monster coming off the edge and uses his speed and strength to cause havoc in the backfield. Christopher Ais will be joined by Ly and Girolamo at linebacker while Christian Ais, Queeney, and Burke are all returners in the secondary for the Knights.
“Hopefully without a ton of injuries we can have a good year,” Burke said. “We have some experience and the kids have worked hard in the clubs for weight training. We need the juniors to step up and contribute fast while still learning varsity speed. The league is always tough and hopefully, we can survive tough crossover games.”
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro scored twice in its first five plays from scrimmage but with less than a minute remaining on the clock North Attleboro (4-7) was driving with a chance to steal the 99th annual Thanksgiving Day meeting between the two neighboring rivals on the soaked grass at Community Field.
Rocketeers backup quarterback Casey Poirier, who took over from sophomore Tyler DeMattio (17 carries, 83 yards) in the fourth quarter, engineered a 15-play drive from his own 20 all the way down to the Attleboro five-yard-line.
Fellow quarterback Jason Weir pushed North back when he grabbed hold of Poirier and swung him down for a nine-yard sack back to the 14 and on third and goal junior linebacker Michael Strachan came through with a game-ending interception in the end zone, sealing a dramatic 13-7 victory for the Bombardiers.
“I think we prepared really hard for this game and I think it just goes to show, this rivalry, what it means,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan after his third win in this holiday series. “[North] played great, they’re always prepared, but this is what it’s all about.”
While Attleboro (6-5) made the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in D1 South, neither team had big postseason plans this year, so both had weeks to prepare for Thursday’s game and it took on added importance, as Weir, who won the Balfour Trophy for Offensive MVP, succinctly explained.
“It means so much,” he said. “This is our Super Bowl. It’s phenomenal.”
North was able to move the ball on its opening drives, but couldn’t finish. The Rocketeers got to the Attleboro 39 on its opening possession but a bad snap on fourth and one ended the drive, while the second possession reached the Attleboro 35 but another turnover on downs meant no points.
Attleboro had none of those problems at the start of the game. The Bombardiers went 52 yards in three plays on the their first possession and then 65 yards on two plays on their second to build a solid lead.
On the first play from scrimmage, Weir (7-of-10, 104 yards) hit Ethan Cameron (five catches, 88 yards) in stride for a 43-yard completion to the North five. Two plays later, Strachan burst through the left side for a five-yard score. After completing a 13-yard pass to Cameron to start the second drive, Weir took it himself, breaking tackles at the line of scrimmage and breaking free for a 52-yard touchdown to make it 13-0.
“That was the whole game plan, come out and throw the first punch,” said Weir. “That works against any high school team, they’re going to back down right away and that’s what we did today. Our line stepped up huge today.”
Coach Strachan said of Weir, “I think we finally put him in a situation where he could make some plays for us, make him comfortable, roll him out a little bit more, and that was good.”
The visiting Bombardiers felt like they might break the game wide open and put things away, but the North defense started to stiffen, with Tom O’Neil, Ethan Friberg, and Jacob Silva all making plays that kept Attleboro from gaining more traction offensively.
Also, the North offense finally found a way to complete a drive. The Rocketeers marched 77 yards on 11 plays to cut into the lead. DeMattio led the way, with help from Tommy Whalen and a 27-yard run up the gut by Silva. Attleboro forced fourth an 10 after pressure by Trainor Sherck and a breakup by Adam Pearlstein, but then Demattio scrambled for 12 yards to keep the possession alive.
DeMattio added 16 more on a quarterback draw to get to the Attleboro four and two plays later Jared Penta took a jet sweep over the left side for a three-yard score to make it 13-7 with a minute left before the break.
“We gave up two touchdowns in the first five plays of the game and that’s been the story of our season,” said North coach Don Johnson. “We give up too many easy ones like that and all of a sudden we have to dig out of a hole.
Johnson was asked if he changed anything defensively after Attleboro’s two quick strikes and he answered, “We played a little bit of a different front, but I don’t think that was the difference. I think we just started playing a little bit better.”
The third quarter was largely a stalemate. Weir had a sack to effectively end North’s first possession of the half and Attleboro just missed out on extending the lead when Cameron was ruled to be out of bounds on a catch in the end zone on fourth and 11.
After just missing out on the touchdown, Attleboro had a chance to break the game open two plays later. Justin Daniels tipped a DeMattio pass that was picked off by Pearlstein, setting the visitors up at the North 20. The Bombardiers managed six yards on three plays and a low snap led to a missed 31-yard field goal by Colby Briggs with 9:43 to play.
Attleboro wouldn’t see the ball again for more than nine minutes.
Starting at its own 20, North took over going into the wind and put together a drive that gave it a shot at the win. Defensive MVP Isaac Gudiel stuffed Silva (nine carries, 53 yards) for a two-yard loss to force a third and 10, but then a pass interference call gave the Rocketeers a much-needed first down.
Poirier picked out Ethan Friberg for 10 yards to the 33. After a penalty backed North up five yards, Silva gained 13 on a draw. Gudiel stuffed Silva for a loss to bring up third and 11, but Poirier again had the answer with a 12-yard pass to Whalen for another first down to the nine.
Coming out of a timeout with 1:14 to play, North drew an illegal substitution penalty that backed it up to the 14, but Penta gained nine on first and goal to get the Rocketeers up to the five. Weir came flying through on second down, dropping Poirier for a nine-yard loss and forcing North into its final timeout with 27 seconds on the clock.
On third and goal, Strachan made amends for allowing an earlier completion by jumping the route and picking off a pass two yards deep in the end zone to end the game and bring Hilda back to Attleboro.
“I was on him because he missed the play before,” joked Coach Strachan about his son’s game-clinching play, “so they ran the same route and he undercut it and it was good.”
When asked about how much winning on Thanksgiving means, Strachan added, “It’s huge. We battled injuries just like everyone else has, but this was a big game for the program. Like I said to the kids, these games mean something and these kids responded.”