North Attleboro Books Trip To Gillette After Beating Billerica

North Attleboro football Tyler DeMattio
North Attleboro senior Tyler DeMattio breaks free from the Billerica defense for a first quarter touchdown. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 QUINCY, Mass. — September 10th sure feels like a distant memory for the North Attleboro football team.

The Rocketeers, who opened the season with a double-digit loss to rival Bishop Feehan, have come a long way from that point.

Now, the Big Red is heading to Gillette Stadium for the Division 3 State Final.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Behind a pair of key defensive stops in the second half, North Attleboro pulled away from a gritty Billerica squad for a 28-10 win in a D3 State Semifinal clash at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Quincy.

“That was about exactly what we expected, it was pretty clear that they were going to be a tough team no matter what,” said North Attleboro coach Don Johnson. “I think if we didn’t get those two penalties in the first half, maybe it would have been a different game, but they hurt us. Those would have been stops with good field position. But [Billerica] is tough, they have playmakers…they’re a good football team.”

With its back against the wall, North Attleboro’s defense delivered.

Billerica seemingly had all of the momentum after forcing a rare turnover from the Rocketeers on one end of the field, and now was in position to take the lead after a lengthy, double-digit play drive that put the ball inside North’s 5-yard line.

On the Indians’ 10th play of the drive, a 1st and goal attempt from the four down 14-10, the Rocketeers defense not only stuffed Billerica up the middle, they forced the ball free and recovered to end the drive.

“That was the first time all year that I felt like we got a lucky break,” Johnson said. “Now I mean there are kids working hard that caused that to happen but those are the things that have been happening against us. That was one time where it really worked out for us.”

And even when North wasn’t able to get any points on its ensuing 12-play, 80-yard drive because of a blocked punt, the defense didn’t let Billerica capitalize on that momentum. They forced a quick three-and-out, and from that point on it was all North.

Freshman Chase Frisoli converted a third down with a 24-yard pass to junior Jack Munley to move inside the red zone. And despite a false start penalty three plays later that cornered North into a 3rd and 14, Frisoli hit senior Tyler DeMattio for a 17-yard score and the Rocketeers had some breathing room up 21-10 with 6:18 to play.

After just two pass attempts in the first half, Frisoli went 5/8 in the second half for 92 yards and a score.

“We thought going in that we were maybe going to have trouble running the ball and we might have to ask more of him,” Johnson said. “We worked on the pass game a lot and I think he’s just showed tremendous poise for a freshman and he did that tonight.”

Billerica moved into North territory on the ensuing drive in an effort to make it a one-score game but DeMattio and Kaiden Leary combined for a tackle for a loss on second down and the Rocketeers stuffed a fourth down run two plays later to get the ball back.

And just two plays later, DeMattio broke free through the left side for a 72-yard touchdown run, shaking one more defender just before the goal line to ice the win with 1:17 to play — his third rushing score of the game and fourth overall. He also booted all four of North’s extra points.

Billerica’s lone touchdown drive — its second series of the game — had originally ended with a punt but a running into the kicker penalty shortened fourth down and the Indians kept the drive alive. The Indians capitalized on that momentum as junior quarterback Joseph Green scored from 4 yards out to take a 10-7 lead, which was Billerica’s lone advantage of the evening.

“The front seven has played great this year, and our secondary has been awesome,” said senior captain Jared Vacher. “That fumble just completely flipped the game. After that, it was our game and we were able to take over. [Dominic Gird] was quick but we were just trying to mix it up. Their quarterback was pretty good and broke some plays, it was my first time playing against that muddle huddle.

“After our first loss to Feehan, Coach [Paul] Sullivan told us a story about a team from the 2000s that lost their first game but won out the rest of the year and I think that brought us so much hope. We bought in and each we’ve gotten better and better, and that’s what it’s all about. Our goal all along was Gillette and it’s awesome to finally achieve that.”

North opened the game in style, marching 60 yards on seven plays on the first drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead. DeMattio (16 carries, 174 yards) and senior Tyler Bannon (12 carries, 56 yards) split the workload, including back-to-back first down runs early in the drive.

Billerica’s defense forced the Rocketeers into a 4th and 5 situation at the Indians’ 34-yard line. Without hesitation, North kept the offense on the field and DeMattio followed a block from Bannon up the left side for a 34-yard touchdown with 8:13 left in first.

The Indians used a combination of runs from back Joseph Gird (17 carries, 53 yards) and keeper runs from Green (18 carries, 104 yards) — plus a roughing the passer call — to move down the field on its opening drive but the Rocketeers’ defense stood tall in its own territory, getting key tackles from Bannon, DeMattio, Vacher, Greg Berthiaume, and Keysun Wise among others, plus strong coverage in the secondary from Joey Perriello.

Billerica settled for a 40-yard field goal from Shaan Rana to get on the board, down 7-3 with 2:51 left in the first.

Green’s 4-yard touchdown run after the running into the kicker call put Billerica up 10-7 with 8:05 left in the second quarter but North was back ahead less than five minutes later.

Frisoli found Gavin Wells for 35-yards on the second play of the drive, Nathan Shultz had back-to-back carries, and Bannon rumbled his way for 16 yards to move the offense into scoring position. From there, DeMattio took it in from 5 yards out for a 14-10 lead with 3:49 left in the half.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Following its first two scoring drives, Billerica punted on three of its next four drives (fumbling on the other), turned it over on downs, and then ran out of time to end the game on the final drive. The Indians had 219 yards of offense but went just 1-for-5 on third down in the second half.

“That was the other thing, we didn’t give up many big plays,” Johnson said. “We knew they kind of liked to grind it out so we didn’t see them on film making a lot of big plays. Our game plan was to try and stop their run game and force them into passing situations, which I feel like we didn’t do enough.”

North Attleboro (7-3) advances to play at Gillette Stadium (date and time TBA) against top-seeded Marblehead (10-0), who routed Westfield, 40-7, in the other semifinal.

Offensive Explosion Sends North to the Final Four

North Attleboro football
Tyler Bannon celebrates one of his three touchdowns during North Attleboro’s 62-28 rout of Milton in the D3 quarterfinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Heading into halftime of Saturday night’s Div. 3 quarterfinal at Community Field, the only things slowing down the North Attleboro offense was an hour-long delay for thunderstorms and a tornado warning. North scored on six of its seven possessions in the first half and got a touchdown on special teams as well.

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But, despite having already put up 49 points, North came out of the locker room not yet feeing comfortable. A pair of turnovers had given Milton, and it’s high-powered offense, a little bit of momentum. So, the Rocketeers did what they have done to so many opponents over the years and put together a long, clock-chewing drive on the first possession of the third quarter and sealed the win.

It was an offensive explosion for North, as both Tyler Bannon and Tyler DeMattio racked up three touchdowns apiece and freshman Chase Frisoli tossed the first two postseason touchdowns of his career, both to Gavin Wells. North rolled into the final four with a 62-28 rout of No. 6 seed Milton.

“We just didn’t feel comfortable with those guys,” said North coach Don Johnnson. “No lead felt comfortable. I’ve never been in a game where you get to 40 or 50 points and you still don’t feel like you’ve put the game away.”

The Wildcats have a lot of weapons on offense, so it was going to be important for the Rocketeers to get off to a good start and play from in front. North did just that. Jared Vacher sacked Owen McHugh to force a punt on the first possession. Greg Berthiaume blocked the kick, giving the hosts the ball at the Milton 23.

DeMattio (22 carries, 152 yards) got the first carry for 13 yards and Bannon (16 carries, 214 yards) punched it in from 10 to grab the lead. As soon as Bannon hit the goal line, the sky lit up and the forecasted thunderstorm descended on Community Field, forcing the game to be delayed the crowd to scatter to the safety of its cars.

An hour later, DeMattio kicked the extra point to make it 7-0. On Milton’s first play of the ensuing drive, Vacher came up big again, reading the screen pass and picking it off at the 34. Two plays later, Bannon ran straight through the Milton defense for a 33-yard score. It was 14-0 after 3-1/2 minutes.

Another Milton punt led to the next score, as Nathan Shultz fielded it at his own 35, despite being under pressure, cut out to the North sideline and was gone. The 65-yard return made it 21-0, a lead that lasted all of 24 seconds. Milton showed its quick-strike potential when Jack Finnegan returned the kick 50 yards to the North 37 and McHugh hit Michael Fulton down the middle for a score. The extra point was missed but it was 21-6.

North was unperturbed. On its next drive, Frisoli (4-of-7, 95 yards) deceived the defense with a perfect play action and fired a strike to Wells, who was running free down the seam for a 57-yard touchdown. Milton drove to the North 34, but turned it over on downs. North went 66 yards on seven plays, including a 32-yard run by DeMattio who capped it with a five-yard TD.

The defense forced a three-and-out and, with the help of a penalty on the punt, gave the ball back to the offense at the Milton 41. Frisoli hit Jack Munley for 18 yards down to the 11 and DeMattio did the rest, punching it in from two yards.

Johnson explained, “We thought we might be able to move the ball on them. Just having that tandem of the two Tylers, that’s been a real key. To be this deep in the tournament, you have to be lucky and stay healthy, so we’ve been able to minimize the number of hits that those guys have taken.”

Milton gave itself a chance by scoring three times in just 3-1/2 minutes. Chase Vaughan took over under center and he hit Fulton for a 43-yard score. The ensuing kickoff was muffed and Milton recovered at the 19. Vaughan then found Dillon Mackenzie for a 14-yard touchdown. The conversion went off the helmet of the North corner and was caught. After forcing another North fumble, Milton got the ball back at the 35 and needed just four plays to get in the end zone again, cutting the lead to 42-28.

There was still 1:00 to play in a first half that had stretched, including the weather break, to more than 2-1/2 hours. That was plenty of time for North to tack on another score. Bannon got it started with a 45-yard carry to the Milton 20. On fourth down from the 15, Frisoli threw a dart to Wells, who pulled in the pass in the back corner of the end zone.

North still felt that there was work to do starting the third quarter and the two Tylers went right back to work, alternating carries and moving the chains. North used 14 plays to go 68 yards and ate more than seven minutes off the clock to put the game away.

“It was kind of a bad feeling at half, letting up 20-something points in five minutes, so we just wanted to stay together, stay as one in the locker room,” Bannon said. When asked about the importance of the third quarter drive, he replied, “Huge, momentum shifted right to our side, so after that it was game over.”

The key play was a fourth and one at the Milton 32, which DeMattio picked up by the length of a football, although the Wildcats coaches and fans were upset with the spot. Bannon got his third score of the night, from five yards, to make it 55-28.

Milton had one more drive in it, converting on fourth and eight and getting all the way inside the five. The North pass rush made it difficult for Vaughan to stand in and find an open receiver and the Wildcats turned it over on downs at the North seven. On the next play, Bannon busted through the line and raced 51 yards into Milton territory. DeMattio got his third TD of the game, and eighth in two playoff games, with a 25-yard run.

“It’s very important,” Bannon said about being able to trade off carries with his classmate. “We can stay healthy, stay fresh, and call ourselves the best running back duo in the league. It’s important for us.”

North Attleboro (6-3), the No. 3 seed, will face the No. 2 seed Billerica, which edged Hanover in the quarterfinal, for the right to go to Gillette Stadium. The date, time, and location of the game are to be determined.

“We don’t know a whole lot,” Johnson said when asked about Billerica. “We got a chance to go up and watch them last night. They look like a proud program with a tradition of winning and tough kids. When you get to this point you need that ingredient, they got the most important ingredients.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

DeMattio Scores Handful, North Rolls Into Quarterfinal

North Attleboro football
North senior Tyler DeMattio proved to be unstoppable in the playoff opener, scoring five touchdowns against Plymouth North. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Three minutes into Friday night’s Div. 3 playoff opener at Community Field, the home crowd was stunned. Plymouth North, the No. 14 seed, took the opening kick and marched straight down the field to score the game’s opening touchdown. Could the visiting team pull an upset over No. 3 seed North Attleboro?

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It turned out that moment was only reminder for the North players not to overlook the Eagles. Once the message was received, the Rocketeers found the end zone on four straight possessions and scored 48 unanswered points, picking up a comfortable 48-6 victory that sends them into the state quarterfinal.

“I think it was a good wake up call,” North coach Don Johnson said about that opening drive. “We were concerned about their offense because they run that zone scheme so well and we just can’t duplicate that in practice. I think it really caught our guys off guard.”

The Eagles ran their offense to perfection on the opening drive. Quarterback Dallas Murphy used the zone read to find seams in the North defense, breaking runs of 25 and 35 yards. Killian Murphy capped the drive with a 4-yard dive. Plymouth North went for two, but Nathan Shultz was through the line in a flash to stuff the conversion attempt. It foreshadowed how North would take control of the line of scrimmage.

North’s first possession was just as effective as the visitors’ drive. The home team went 66 yards in eight plays, with five different players getting carries. Shultz was making plays on offense too, with jet sweeps of 12 and 20 yards. The second carry go the ball down to the 10. Chase Frisoli came up a yard short on a keeper and then Tyler DeMattio’s impressive night got started with a 1-yard plunge.

Johnson said, “We thought going in that we could move the ball on them, so the question was are we going to be able to stop them? It was nice to see us score that first touchdown but at that time I was thinking this isn’t enough. We need to get some stops on defense if we’re going to win this game and we did.”

After a couple of good tackles by Greg Berthiaume, who had a solid night at linebacker, and a full-stretch pass breakup by Danny Curran, Tyler Bannon picked off a pass to give North the ball on the visiting side of the 50.

Shultz again got things going for North with a 31-yard sweep down the sideline, getting the ball to the 15. A holding call wiped out a touchdown for Bannon, but on the next snap DeMattio (10 carries, 143 yards) broke free for a 17-yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead.

North’s defensive line was taking over the game. Keysun Wise and Jared Vacher both made good plays to stop Plymouth North’s next drive. On fourth and three, the Eagles, maybe sensing that they were going to struggle to stop North’s offense, tried a fake punt but the play was stopped for a loss of one.

“We’ve really matured as a group and we’re at the point where kids can make their own adjustments out there,” Johnson said about his defense making adjustments. “Sometimes I’ve got the worst seat in the house over there, so this group now can come over and tell me exactly what happened, why it happened, and what we need to do to prevent it. It’s awesome when you get to that point.”

Three snaps of the ball later, the lead was extended. Frisoli went down the middle of the field to Gavin Wells, who kept his concentration to pull in a juggling catch for 35 yards. DeMattio made it a hat trick, going right up the middle for an 11-yard score.

Another three-and-out, this time facilitated by a Bannon sack on third down, set North up for a chance to make it four straight scoring drives. Frisoli hit Jack Munley in the flat for 15 to midfield. After DeMattio ran for 16 more, Munley made a highlight reel-quality, one-handed grab for nine yards to the 23. On the next play, DeMattio took a carry around the left tackle, turned up the sideline, and found the end zone again. He added his fourth extra point and had all 28 of North’s points.

“I think we’ve made ourselves so much better by alternating those guys, keeping [Tyler] healthy,” Johnson said about the depth in the offense that keeps DeMattio from having to carry the ball every down. “The combination of all those guys has just made us a better team.”

North had the chance to add one more score before halftime. A 15-yard illegal substitution penalty on a punt gave the Rocketeers a first down near midfield. DeMattio then went 44 yards on the next two plays to get it down to the five. After Frisoli was sacked on first down, he threw a pair of incomplete passes and North settled for a 33-yard field goal attempt that fell short.

It was a missed opportunity, but turned out to be inconsequential as Curran took the opening kickoff of the second half and promptly returned it 75 yards to make it 35-6.

Two plays later, Aidan Conrad recovered a Plymouth North fumble. A personal foul call meant the drive started at the Eagles 20. Bannon went for one and then DeMattio again proved unstoppable, scoring from 19 yards for his fifth touchdown of the night. Connor Ruppert was on extra point duties in the second half, but DeMattio accounted for 34 of North’s 48 points.

A long drive for the Eagles ended on a botched pitch attempt that was recovered by Munley. With the bench in the game, North moved upfield again. On fourth and goal, Garrett Inglese went up the middle for 16 yards and the game’s final points.

The win not only moved North onto the next round of the tournament, but was also the 100th career win for Johnson. Understandably he wasn’t thinking too much of the milestone after the game. “Someone just told me, I forgot all about it,” he admitted. “It’s good, but it’s not time to be thinking about any personal milestones at this point. There’s just too much going on.”

North Attleboro (5-3) will have a tough matchup in the D3 quarterfinal, as the Rocketeers host No. 6 seed Milton next Friday at Community Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Football: 2021 Davenport Division Preview

2021 Davenport Division Preview
Foxboro will be one of the top contenders for the Davenport division title this Fall season.

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2021 Davenport Football Preview

2021 Davenport Division Preview

Canton

2020 Record: 2-5
Coach: Anthony Fallon

Key/Returning Players: Colin Albert, Sr., RB/LB; Andrew Butler, Sr., WR/DB; Charlie Cox, Jr., WR/DB; Bashor Mahn, Sr., RB/LB; Vincent O’Brien, Sr., WR/DB

Outlook:
Canton was bound to have a rebuilding year in 2020, as the Bulldogs moved on from a historically successful class of players that won back-to-back league titles for the first time since the early 80s. With a second year under head coach Anthony Fallon, Canton will be looking to build on that experience and try to climb back up the standings this fall.

The strength for the Bulldogs will be on defense. Canton has a tough linebacking corps and an experienced secondary to try and slow down opposing offenses. There will be some new faces up front after graduations on the line of scrimmage but there are playmakers in this defensive unit. Senior Colin Albert is a tough tackler and someone who covers a lot of ground at linebacker and he’s joined by classmate Bashor Mahn, who is a leader on that side of the ball. Senior Andy Butler and junior Charlie Cox return at the safety positions and senior Vincent O’Brien is the top cover guy at corner.

Offensively, Canton battled injuries and consistency last year, but there are players capable of making big plays. Albert is a bruising runner, who filled in nicely last season after an injury to starting running back Cam Sanchez. Mahn will add depth and a different dynamic in the backfield. Butler, O’Brien, and Cox are a trio of tough receivers that can be used in various ways. As on defense, there will be some new faces up front but decent size and there is also youth at the quarterback position.

“Our strength will be our defense,” Fallon said. “With a strong core of LBs back and three of our four secondary guys we should be tough to score on. On offense we will be young but big up front and have a couple of guys who can spring some big plays.”










2021 Davenport Division Preview

Foxboro

2020 Record: 3-2
Coach: Jack Martinelli

Key/Returning Players: Ryan Addeche, Sr., NT; Steven Bridges, Sr., C/DT; Sam Carpenter, Jr., K; Andrew Finn, Jr., OL/DE; Dylan Gordon, Sr., RB/SS; Aidan Hughes, Sr., OL/DL; Dylan Kerrigan, Sr., G/LB; Eric Kristenson, Sr., G/LB; Omarion Otto-Broomstein, Sr., RB/LB; Tom Sharkey, Sr., WR/CB; Rashaad Way, Sr., WR/CB

Outlook:
Foxboro came as close as anyone to beating North Attleboro last season and nearly forced a three-way tie at the top of the Davenport division. As usual, the Warriors did it with defense, allowing only 48 points in five games with only Stoughton and North reaching double digits. This season, the Warriors should be right in the mix again with experienced skill position players and speed all over the field.

Senior Tom Marcucella is the returning quarterback from last year and he should have a lot of weapons to utilize in the Foxboro offense. Dylan Gordon is stepping in as the primary back this year with dynamic athletes Rashaad Way and Tom Sharkey lining up on the outside. Foxboro should have good balance on that side of the ball. There is also plenty of experience on the line, led by seniors Dylan Kerrigan, Steven Bridges, and Eric Kristenson. Special teams should also chip in with points this year, as junior kicker Sam Carpenter is back after a strong sophomore season and Way will be one of the top return threats in the league.

Defense is something the program prides itself on and the Warriors are looking at a deep, experienced group at linebacker and a playmaking secondary. Senior nose tackle Ryan Addeche, junior defensive end Andrew Finn, and senior Aidan Hughes will add to the strength at the line of scrimmage. Senior Omarion Otto-Broomstein and Kerrigan will be the players to watch at linebacker with their combo of speed and aggressiveness. The secondary is filled with ball-hawks, including Gordon, Sharkey, and Way.

“We are greatly looking forward to a somewhat normal football season even with a very short turnaround period from last year,” said Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli. “The kids are excited, resilient, and appear to be making the focused transition while retaining a great deal of what was taught last year.”




2021 Davenport Division Preview

North Attleboro

2020 Record: 6-0 (Davenport division champion)
Coach: Don Johnson

Key/Returning Players: Tyler Bannon, Sr., RB/LB; Greg Berthiaume, Jr., WR/LB; Danny Curran, Sr., WR/DB; Tyler DeMattio, Sr., QB; Zach Gallagher, Jr., OL/DL; Joey Perriello, Sr., WR/DB; Nathan Shultz, Jr., WR/DB; Jared Vacher, Sr., OL/DE; Gavin Wells, Sr., WR/DB; Keysun Wise, Sr., OL/DL

Outlook:
North Attleboro has won the league title in five of the past six seasons, including four out of five in the Davenport. The Rocketeers bounced back last year by going unbeaten and regaining the title. Now Big Red returns an experienced crew on both sides of the ball and, as usual, will have the target on its back as the team to beat in the division. North faces Bishop Feehan, Mansfield, and King Philip to start the season so will know right away where it stands.

It starts on offense with senior Tyler DeMattio. North’s quarterback is a playmaker using either his arm or his legs and is just as capable grinding out a long drive as hitting a big play for a touchdown. Keeping DeMattio healthy will be a key and to help give other weapons in the backfield, senior Tyler Bannon will be used as a power back. There is a lot of talent in the slot and out wide with seniors Danny Curran, Gavin Wells, and Joey Perriello among the players who could step in and contribute. Up front, senior Jared Vacher will be the leader of the offensive line, and his versatility allows some flexibility as to where players slot in. Senior Keysun Wise will also be counted on to open holes for DeMattio and the offense.

On defense, North will have several positions to fill and players that will be building experience over the course of the season. Linebacker should be a strength. Bannon is a playmaker on the outside, whether he lines up on the end as a pass rusher or drops back into coverage. Junior Greg Berthiaume started as the “mike” last year as a sophomore and has great instincts when reading the play. Vacher and Wise will get help on the line from junior Zach Gallagher, who started on the offensive line as a sophomore. The secondary is athletic, with Nathan Shultz (a three-year varsity player) joined by Wells, Curran, and Perriello.

“On the proverbial ‘paper’ we’ve got some experience coming back that should enable us to be competitive, but every year is a new team that comes with new leadership and a cast of different players that have to find a way to get it done,” said North coach Don Johnson. “We have to develop some quality depth and stay healthy if we want to be in the hunt in the end.”




2021 Davenport Division Preview

Oliver Ames

2020 Record: 1-5
Coach: Ed DeWitt

Key/Returning Players: John Carey, Jr., OL/DL; Sean Friel, Jr., WR/DB; Jake Grimaldi, Sr., QB; Jaden Hinton, Sr., OL/DL; Robert Jenkins, Jr., RB/DB; Jack Morley, Jr., RB/LB; Minh Nguyen, Sr., OL/DL; Onyekachukwu-Obinani Nwadiugwu, Sr., OL/LB; Chad Silva, Jr., RB/LB; Collin Williamson, Sr., RB/DB; Chris Young, Jr., OL/DL

Outlook:
Oliver Ames is in its second year back in the Davenport division and head coach Ed DeWitt is looking for the Tigers to push up the standings and be more competitive with the teams above them. With experienced players coming back, especially at the skill positions, OA will be focused on more consistency on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, the Tigers only scored 46 points in six games last year, and only twice did they score more than 10 points in a game. OA will need more scoring punch to try and make a bigger impact in the league. Junior running back Chad Silva will be the focal point of the attack again this season. A bruising, every down back, Silva is a downhill runner that is hard to tackle. Senior Collin Williamson gives OA a change of pace with his ability to get to the outside and make people miss. Senior quarterback Jake Grimaldi is the leader on that side of the ball with classmate Sean Friel being a top target on the outside.

Up front, OA returns several players who will have key roles on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Senior Onyekachukwu-Obinani Nwadiugwu will play on the line on offense and drop back to linebacker on defense. Seniors Minh Nguyen and Jaden Hinton and juniors John Carey and Chris Young add to the size at the line. Silva and classmate Jack Morley are both strong linebackers who can cover a lot of ground. Williamson, Friel, and junior Robert Jenkins will give OA playmakers in the secondary. The concern for the Tigers will be depth over the course of a long season.

“We are trying to get to a more competitive level within the league,” DeWitt said. “We need to take that next step of being a team that makes other teams work hard. We want to be a difficult team to play against.”

2021 Davenport Division Preview

Stoughton

2020 Record: 5-2
Coach: Greg Burke

Key/Returning Players: Brady Clark, Sr., QB/DB; Anthony Girolamo, Sr., FB/LB; Liam Joyce, Sr., OG/DL; Jonah Ly, Sr., WB/LB; Emmett Pearl, Sr., WR/SS; Konrad Rogers, Sr., RB/LB

Outlook:
The Black Knights came up just short in the quest for the Davenport division during the Fall 2 season, and there will be plenty of new faces stepping into new roles this season. Stoughton graduated a very talented senior class that featured nearly a dozen players that played at least two years at the varsity level, highlighted by division MVP Christopher Ais, Christian Ais, Christian Georges, and quarterback John Burke among others.

Now there’s a group mixed with some returners and some new faces eager to prove that Stoughton isn’t in a rebuilding year, but just reloaded and looking to battle for the division crown. Senior linebacker and fullback Anthony Girolamo was one of Stoughton’s most impactful players last season before an injury cut his season short. When he’s back in the mix, he’ll be one of the top players on both sides of the ball for the Black Knights. Senior Jonah Ly was a two-way starter last year and will likely see an increased role on the offensive end alongside classmates Emmett Pearl and Konrad Rogers.

Both Pearl and Rogers will be key targets for new senior quarterback Brady Clark, who is eager to take over after the Knights had three seniors at the position last season. After the Knights introduced a handful of new faces to the line for the Fall 2 season, now Stoughton has a good amount of experience helping protect Clark while also paving the way for Stoughton’s ground game, which is always dangerous. Returning starter and senior Liam Joyce will be an anchor the offensive line for Stoughton this season.

Defense is always a calling card for Stoughton and the Knights will be looking to continue that tradition this year. Against division opponents last year, only North Attleboro (14 points) scored more than one touchdown against Stoughton, who allowed just one touchdown to each OA, Foxboro, and Canton. Rogers, who will get snaps at running back on offense, had a breakout year on defense a year ago and will be one of the top linebackers in the league this year.

On top of the always challenging Davenport division, Stoughton has a tough non-league schedule that features a pair of teams from the Kelley-Rex in Mansfield (Week 3) and Milford (Week 7).

“Hopefully we can stay healthy and get through a super tough schedule,” said longtime head coach Greg Burke.

Chaput, Coyne Lead Canton in Defensive Battle at North

Canton boys lacrosse
Jeffrey Chaput (17) celebrates after scoring his fourth goal of the game, during Canton’s win at North Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Davenport division title race is lining up to be a three-way race that could come right down to the final games of the season. On Wednesday night at Beaupre Field, two of those teams squared off trying to stay unbeaten in league play and keep pace at the top of the standings.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Jeffrey Chaput scored four times and Dylan Coyne made nine saves to lead Canton to an 8-5 win at North Attleboro in a game highlighted by strong defensive play by both sides.

“It was a big win,” said first-year Canton coach Ryan Quinn. “Our seniors really stepped up and held us together. I’m proud of the way they responded. It was a tough game, physical game, but I thought we were better today.”

North got off to a good start, with Connor Ruppert hitting the post just 90 seconds in. JT Gallagher (seven saves) made a good stop on a long-range shot by Canton’s Jeff Fitzpatrick and then a great check on the edge of the crease by Sam Gugliotta dislodged the ball from Colin Albert and led to a quick North break. Ruppert fed Clayton Billingkoff but his shot went just wide of the cage.

With 5:33 left in the first, the hosts snagged the lead. Billingkoff went to the bounce to beat Coyne and make it 1-0. Brendan Tourgee hit the post for Canton seconds later, but North settled down and doubled its lead with just under two minutes left in the first. Matt Antonetti was able to turn the corner and went up top with his effort for a 2-0 advantage.

The Bulldogs had been struggling to get any rhythm on the offensive end, but used a man-up situation to cut the lead to one before the first break. Chaput fired a shot at Gallagher’s feet, finding the corner and giving Canton momentum.

Tourgee struck the post early in the second and Canton started to get a foothold in the attack. Eamon Kelly turned a steal on one end into a great transition, carrying the ball the length of the field and flipping a pass to Sam Carlino for a low-angle rip that tied the game. Two minutes later, Carlino added his second with a bounced shot on the spin and the Bulldogs took their first lead.

Coyne made a nice stop on a chance by Ruppert and then he was able to deny Will Copley from point-blank range after a turnover on the clear. Gallagher added a nice save before halftime, reading the bounce to deny Carlino a hat trick.

North coach Kevin Young praised his team’s defensive effort. He said, “I know we have good defensemen and today they stepped up. It’s a very inexperienced group and the kids who went in there really filled their role. They played well, they never overextended. Whenever you get a game with two teams under 10 [goals], that’s as good as you can ask for in lacrosse.”

After scoring the final three goals of the first half, Canton added the first two of the third quarter as well. Fitzpatrick got his hands free and fired a man-up goal and then Chaput intercepted a clearance and was able to beat Gallagher with a leaping shot from straightaway.

Just seconds after Coyne made a great kick save, North was able to cut the lead back to two. Antonetti assisted on a man-up rip by Ruppert to make it 5-3. The teams then traded goals in the span of 16 seconds. Tourgee fed Chaput right in front but Jared Vacher won the face-off and Antonetti was able to convert on the other end.

Down by two, North had a great opportunity to get back into the game. Coyne was penalized for a hit with 2:21 left in the third. Defender Sean Connolly stepped into the cage for the rest of the quarter, but the Rocketeers managed only one shot off target in that period and the Bulldogs maintained their lead into the fourth.

“I saw the momentum swing a few different times and frankly I thought it was going to go their way a little more,” Young said. “I thought they were solid moving the ball up and down, in the clear and the ride. I’ve got guys who’ve never seen varsity before and it shows at times, but the guys stepped up and played like old pros.”

Ruppert completed his hat trick with a spin and low shot 90 seconds into the quarter, but Fitzpatrick won the draw and Canton turned it into a quick response. Fitzpatrick got the ball ahead to Carlino who moved it along to Chaput and he fired a quick-release shot into the top corner just 12 seconds after North cut the deficit to one.

“Our attack has a knack for the big goal and the big moment,” Quinn said. “When we need it, they always give it to us.”

Canton sealed the win with 1:58 to play. Tourgee made an interception and the ball ended up in the stick of AJ Thomas for the finish. Coyne made the goals stand up, saving chances from Ruppert and Antonetti and then adding a ninth save just before the minute mark on another low rip by Ruppert.

Quinn said, “Today was all about our goalie and our ‘D’. I’m pumped about our attack, but our goalie and ‘D’ really held it down for us. He’s really the heartbeat of our team. he does a great job communicating for our defense, our defense listens well, and then our attack just finished when we needed it.”

Canton (8-0, 5-0) remained in a tie for first with Foxboro. North Attleboro (5-3, 4-1) dropped one game back in third place. The two teams will meet again on Friday afternoon.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview

2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview
By HockomockSports.com Staff

2021 Hockomock Boys Lacrosse Preview

EDITOR’S NOTE: Only teams that responded to HockomockSports.com with information regarding their team and the upcoming season are listed in this year’s preview.

Attleboro

2019 Record: 4-14
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Kevin Patton

Attleboro is a young program and, after the two-year break, also has a young roster, but the Bombardiers have a group of experienced players to lean on at both ends of the field to try and build on the four wins from 2019.

Senior Michael Strachan will lead the Attleboro attack and he’s joined up top by junior Keigan Conley, who played two years ago as a freshman, and sophomore Carter Shelton. In the midfield, senior Dan White and Matt Perry will be joined by junior Ryan Betts. Attleboro has a lot of depth in the midfield with juniors Chad Beaupin and Seth LaPlaca and senior Elijah Turner, who has transferred in from Xaverian. Junior Freddy Wheaton and senior goalie William Runey will be the leaders on the defensive side of the ball. Wheaton’s brother John and freshman Bobby Sawyer will also jump in on defense. Senior Jack Nagy and freshmen Ethan Lyons and Shane Evans will also see action in defense this season. Freshman Harry Wheaton will be the backup goalie this year.

2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview

“After missing last season due to pandemic, our team (like all others in the league) is young,” said Attleboro coach Kevin Patton. “However, we do have a lot of varsity experience on the team from returning players. This coupled with leadership from our captains has me excited for the season.”

Canton

2019 Record: 12-8
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal
Interim Coach: Tommy Galvin

Canton came close to winning its third league title in program history in 2019, finishing just a game back of Foxboro, and now the Bulldogs return a veteran spine for the new coaching staff to build around. With a few exciting newcomers, especially in attack, Canton could be ready to challenge for its third title in the past eight seasons.

Experience will be key for the defensive unit. Senior goalie Dylan Coyne provides a big frame and a tough, physical presence in goal. In front of him, senior Jack Albert is a strong on-the-ball defender and freshman LSM Colin Blake should be able to step right in and make an impact. Canton is hoping to limit the transition game and use its strength to keep the opposition away from goal. Senior midfielder Jeff Fitzpatrick is strong on the faceoff ‘X’ and can jump into the attack. Junior Sam Carlino has been explosive through the first two games, with 12 goals already, and he leads a relatively young attacking crew. Sophomore attacker Jeff Chaput and freshman midfielder Brendan Tourgee should contribute to Canton’s offense right away.

“We have a mix of veteran players and new players and I am very excited to see what this group can accomplish this year,” said Canton interim coach Tommy Galvin. “We have great leadership and are a gritty team who plays until the final whistle.”




Foxboro

2019 Record: 12-7
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central/East Quarterfinal
Coach: Matt Noone

Foxboro is in search of a three-peat of Davenport division titles, but the Warriors will also be looking to the future with a relatively young and inexperienced roster. There are only three seniors on the roster this season, so underclassmen will be getting the chance to contribute right away at both ends of the field.

Senior Nick Penders has been on varsity since his freshman season and will be an important contributor both at the faceoff ‘X’ and in the attack. He will be joined in the midfield by classmate Max Biegel, whose athleticism makes him a factor on offense and defense. Junior Tommy Sharkey, sophomore Finn Stapleton, and freshman Tony Sulham will round out the midfield unit. At the back, senior Paul Andrews will add leadership once he returns from a football injury. Junior Jack Avery saw some time as a freshman and he’ll get help in the attack from sophomore Conor Noone and freshman Lincoln Moore. Juniors Dylan Kerrigan and Ben Ricketts will lead the defensive corps until Andrews returns and freshman Adam Addeche will continue a family legacy as he steps in at goal.

2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview

“Right now we are shaking a lot of rust off,” said Foxboro coach Matt Noone. “We are young, but we will be tough! I look forward to this young team as they grow and come together.”

Franklin

2019 Record: 18-3
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Lou Verrochi

Franklin has developed not only into a league power, having won the outright Kelley-Rex division title in each of the past five seasons, but is showing that it can compete with the top programs in the state. In 2019, the Panthers reached the South semifinal and lost by just one to perennial power Duxbury. This year’s team expects to be just as skilled and athletic as usual with sights set on another league crown.

The centerpiece of the Franklin attack will be senior Matt Lazzaro, an All-American in 2019, and he will be partnered up top by sophomore Luke Davis, whose brothers Will (goalie) and Jake (attacker) are both playing college, and sophomore Jayden Consigli, who moved from Northbridge. The midfield is loaded with athletes, including Owen Kielty, Joe Consigli, Tim Walsh, and Mike Griffin. Zach Harvey will lead the defensive unit along with Ben Harvey and Kyle Palmieri. Senior Jack Maguire will step in between the pipes with freshman Matt Corvi also ready to jump in and play goal when needed. Justin Alexander will be taking faceoffs, following in the footsteps of his brother Jacob who was the league MVP in 2019.

“We have a very competitive group of lacrosse athletes this year,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “We are looking forward to see what this group can do during our Hock schedule and hopefully advance in the state tournament.”

Mansfield

2019 Record: 8-10
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Tim Frias

Mansfield reached the postseason in 2019 only to have to face Franklin in the first round. With 10 seniors returning this spring, the Hornets will be hoping to lean on their experience to challenge the Panthers in the race for the Kelley-Rex division crown and get playing time for a large and talented sophomore class getting its first taste of varsity action.

The Hornets should have the speed to burn and plenty of aggressive play in the middle of the field with seniors Nico Holmes, Ethan Bruce, and Joe Gormley. Seniors Thomas Norton, Jake Quirk, and Dylan Morris will give Mansfield some versatility and dynamism in the attacking zone. Seniors Ben Johnston, Frankie Kennedy, and Ben Tatusko will be the leaders in the defensive corps. Sophomore Ryan DeGirolamo will step into the cage and anchor the defense.

“There are a number of key young players we look at to play an integral part in this year’s team,” said Mansfield coach Tim Frias. “Our strength will be speed and size.”

North Attleboro

2019 Record: 10-8
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central/East Quarterfinal
Coach: Kevin Young

North Attleboro finished a game out of first in 2019 and now two years later the Rocketeers will be looking to take that next step and snatch back the Davenport division title from Foxboro. North has a good blend of experience and new faces, strength in defense, and dynamic attackers to challenge for the league title this year.

2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview

Defense is going to be a key for the Rocketeers. Senior Tyler Sarro has been a starter since his freshman year and the St. Michael’s-commit is going to be the leader in the defensive end of the field. Senior LSM Sam Gugliotta will add more experience at the back, while Eric Hobbs and James Brennan look ready to step into bigger roles. In the attack, juniors Matt Antonetti, Connor Rupert, and Clayton Billingkoff will try to build on the experience they had as freshmen to shoulder the scoring load this season. Midfielder Jared Vacher is going to step in at the faceoff ‘X’ and North has a pair of new goalies, Ethan McGrath and JT Gallagher, who have had solid preseasons and look ready to compete at this level.

“COVID has hit all sports hard,” said North coach Kevin Young. “We are focusing on getting all players ready to step into any role. It will be a challenging year but, we’re glad to be back.”




Oliver Ames

2019 Record: 14-5
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round
Coach: Ben Devlin

Oliver Ames won 14 games in 2019 and finished tied with King Philip for second in the Kelley-Rex division, but two years later only one player from that team is back as the Tigers look to make noise in the Davenport. Despite its inexperience, the Tigers will be hoping that the underclassmen can step in and help OA challenge for a league title.

The lone player with varsity experience is senior attacker Remi Creighton. One of the league’s most creative players, Creighton had 60 points as a sophomore and will be the spearhead of OA’s attack. Seniors Doug Oliveira and Ross Carroll will also add to the offensive punch and sophomore attacker Ben Reardon will make his varsity debut this season. Juniors Wyatt Frichtman and Wes Tower will both step in after a year with JV in 2019. Senior Brendan Cross and Michael Branagan will be joined on defense by sophomore Jake Manthous and freshman LSM Landon Grothe. Sophomore Noah Isleib and junior Cam Tower will battle for the starting goalie spot.

“It’s tough to replace what OA lax graduated last year,” said OA coach Ben Devlin. “We now have a lot of kids that haven’t played together before and many who haven’t played a lacrosse game in over two years. We’ll be focused on getting these guys on the same page and working off some rust while incorporating a lot of young players.”

Sharon

2019 Record: 7-11
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Jon Shocket

Sharon has a team loaded with upperclassmen this season and, despite missing last spring, the Eagles are hoping that experience will carry them up the standings to challenge Foxboro at the top of the Davenport division.

The Eagles will be hoping to bolster the attack this season, led by senior Drew Litner, who played a part in more than half of the team’s goals as a sophomore. Junior Brady Daylor will be taking on a bigger role in the midfield this season and his classmate Ben Shocket could be ready for a breakout season on the faceoff ‘X’ after being third in the league in faceoff wins as a freshman. Defensively, senior Shea Letendre will be the vocal leader and senior Adam Rabb is back in goal to anchor things at that end of the field.

“We’re very excited about the upcoming season,” said Sharon coach Jon Shocket. “We have several returning starters with a majority of our team seniors and juniors.”

2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview

DeMattio, North Attleboro Score Big Win Over Canton

North Attleboro football Tyler DeMattio
North Attleboro junior quarterback Tyler DeMattio carries the ball on a run in the first half against Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“[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.

Football: 2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview
North Attleboro quarterback Tyler DeMattio (6) runs away from the Foxboro defense during the 2019 season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Davenport Football Preview

Canton

2019 Record: 10-1 (Davenport division champions)
2019 Finish: Reached D5 South Final (Davenport Division Champions)
Coach: Anthony Fallon

Key/Returning Players: Matt Connolly, Sr., OL/DL; Cam Sanchez, Sr., RB/DB; Jack Albert, Sr., WR/DB; Carson Campbell, Sr., OL/DE;

Outlook:
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.”

2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

Foxboro

2019 Record: 5-6
2019 Finish: Reached D5 South Semifinal
Coach: Jack Martinelli

Key/Returning Players: Jon Moses, Sr., DE; Sean Ferguson, Sr., OC; Mike Norvish, Sr., LB; Chris McNamara, Sr., RB; Luis Sulham, Sr., WR; Dylan Kerrigan, Sr., OG; James Stamatos, Sr., OLB; James Kraus, Sr., SS; Rashaad Way, Jr., WR/CB;

Outlook:
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.




2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

North Attleboro

2019 Record: 4-7 (Davenport Division Champions)
2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Don Johnson

Key/Returning Players: Jared Penta, Sr., SLOT/DB/PR; Jacob Silva, Sr., TE/LB; Harry Bullock, Sr., OG/DE; Matt Penta, Sr., SE/DB; Tyler DeMattio, Jr., QB/K; Robbie Donovan, Sr., TE/DE; Alex McCoy, Sr., SLOT/DB; Jared Vacher, Jr., OG/DE; Danny Hayes, Sr., OT/DT; Colby Feid, Sr., SE/DB; Tommy Whalen, Sr., SLOT/LB;

Outlook:
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

2019 Record: 4-7
2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ed DeWitt

Key/Returning Players: Jadon Ricci, Sr., RB/DB; Gavin Morrison, Sr., OL/DL; Max Tower, Sr., OL/LB; Dante Cocivera, Sr.,OL/DL; Jaden Krowski, Sr., DB; Colin Williamson, Jr., RB/DB; Chad Silva, Soph., RB/LB;

Outlook:
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.




2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

Sharon

2019 Record: 0-11
2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dave Morse

Key/Returning Players: Nico Marrero, Sr., RB/LB; Ike Ogbonnanze, Sr., WR/LB; Kiran Chandrasekaran, Sr., QB; Owen Conway, Sr., WR/DB; Shea Letendre, Sr., C/MLB; PJ McManus, Sr., WR/DB/K; Conor McLaughlin, Sr., WR;

Outlook:
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

2019 Record: 8-3
2019 Finish: Reached D3 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Greg Burke

Key/Returning Players: Christopher Ais, Sr., RB/LB; Christian Ais, Sr., RB/DB; Christian Georges, Sr., HB/DE; John Burke, Sr., QB/DB; Jake Queeney, Sr., WR/DB; Sproul Derolus, Sr., OL/DL;

Outlook:
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.”

2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

Rocketeers Ride Experience Past Young Warriors

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd
North Attleboro senior George Ladd takes a shot over Foxboro sophomore Alex Penders in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 FOXBORO, Mass. – The final eight minutes of Wednesday afternoon’s contest gave us a glimpse into the future as a young Foxboro squad scratched and clawed its way back into the game, showing what the Warriors are capable of.

But the first 24 minutes belonged to North Attleboro, a veteran group that built a big cushion through the first three quarters and showed its experience by making enough plays down the stretch to fend off Foxboro’s ferocious comeback attempt, earning a 61-53 win.

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd

The Rocketeers’ offense exploded for 21 points in the first quarter and added 19 more in the second, carrying a 17-point lead into the final quarter. The Warriors made things interesting, cutting the deficit to single digits with three minutes to play but North Attleboro did enough to close out the win.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Basketball is a game of swings, I always say it,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “They are a younger team, we have an older group and I didn’t want us to have a hangover from the 23-point final to lead into this start so I want at them pretty hard yesterday and prior to the start of the game to stress how important a good start was. Jon [Gibbs] obviously does a great job and they came back with a counter punch and thankfully we had just enough of a cushion.”

North Attleboro followed a similar blueprint from its win over the Warriors (58-35) on Monday evening as Mulkerrins stressed the importance of a strong start, fully aware of what Foxboro can do (as seen in the fourth quarter).

The Rocketeers heeded the advice of their coach and came out flying in the first eight minutes. North score on six of its first eight possessions to build a 13-4 lead over the first four minutes of action. After missing on the first possession, Casey Poirier (nine points, five rebounds) took a feed from Edan Kelley (nine points) to break the ice and get the run started.

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd

“North is an excellent team, they are a veteran team and they execute extremely well on offense,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “They get the ball to the right guys in the right places and put you in difficult positions. And defensively they are so well prepared and they do a great job taking away what you want to do, which is a credit to their coaches and players. Playing against a good team like that, it certainly gives us a good measuring stick moving forward.”










Brody Rosenberg (nine points, five assists, four rebounds) sniffed out a pass and laid it in for two and Poirier scored after Jared Vacher forced a Foxboro turnover. The Big Red missed on its first shot of the next possession but junior Gavin Wells (career-high 13 points) crashed hard and tipped it back in. North’s defense got its sixth stop of the game and Rosenberg cut to the basket, taking a feed from Kelley for two and a 10-2 lead, forcing the home side into a timeout.

Foxboro got one stop but couldn’t turn it into points and North came back down and senior George Ladd (21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) came down with a traditional three-point play. JuniorDylan Gordon (16 points) hit two from the line but Kelley answered with a three to make it 16-6, a double-digit lead the visitors would carry for the majority of the game.

“We knew that Foxboro would be ready and it wouldn’t be a continuation of what the scoreboard was from the first game,” Mulkerrins said of the strong start. “I was real happy with the way our guys were locked in. There were a couple of things, counters to the counters so to speak, that I thought we were ready for. Defensively we were locked in too.”

Ladd added two more and Rosenberg drained a three off a feed from Poirier and the visitors staked a 21-8 claim through one quarter.

Foxboro made things interesting in the opening moments of the second with back-to-back threes from sophomore Sam Golub (12 points, four rebounds) to get within two possessions but North responded with a pair of runs to regain a comfortable lead. Wells, Kelley, and Poirier all hit from two-point range and then Jason Rodriguez linked up with Ladd for two more. Ladd used a strong post move for two to cap a 10-4 surge that put the Rocketeers ahead 31-20.

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd

Gordon finished at the rim to get Foxboro back into the scoring column but North used another run, this time a 9-2 spurt to close out the first half. Wells drained a corner three off a feed from Ladd and then Rosenberg rewarded Ladd for his movement down low. Kelley scored off a turnover and then fed Wells for two in the final minute to put North ahead 40-22 at the half.

At halftime, North Attleboro had 12 assists on its 18 makes from the field.

“Our guys have done a great job committing to sharing the ball with each other,” Mulkerrins said. “It starts with George because if your best player offensively isn’t willing to share the ball then it creates some issues. We know he’s going to get doubled, going to get tripled and he’s willing to share it and I think there’s a domino effect.”




Foxboro’s defense started to slow the Rocketeers’ offense in the third quarter, limiting the visitors to just 10 points on four makes from the floor while forcing three turnovers. Foxboro’s offense was steady. Four players scored for the Warriors with Gordon getting four, Golub and sophomore Alex Penders (16 points, 15 rebounds three blocks) had a bucket each, and Sean O’Leary drained a three but the deficit was 50-33 going into the final quarter.

The Warriors made things interesting with a quick 7-0 run to open the fourth quarter, Golub making an early three, and Gordon scoring four straight in just 1:30 of action. Six straight from Ladd, including a traditional three-point play, kept the visitors ahead, pushing the lead back to 56-42, but Foxboro continued to claw its way back.

“Penders is a heck of a player, he’s a bull,” Mulkerrins said. “We tried to go to George early and often to try and see what counter [Foxboro] would make defensively. They did a good job on him but I thought later in the contest, a couple of penetrations he made from the right-wing area, I thought he showed his senior stripes a bit there and made some big buckets for us.”

Penders had back-to-back strong takes down low and Gordon sliced through the defense for two more and the lead was down to just six, 56-48, with three minutes to go. Foxboro fouled to try and extend the game and North obliged with some missed free throws but the Rocketeers’ defense clamped down and didn’t let Foxboro get any closer.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Wells added four free throws down the stretch to help ice the game.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of their effort,” Gibbs said. “North made some timely shots throughout the game and we missed some shots that we probably hope to make. We had a couple of stretches where we got sloppy with the ball and had some turnovers and that allowed North to build a little bit of a lead.

“But at the end of the day, our effort and energy was phenomenal and it could have been easy for a team that’s 2-8 to quit when you’re doing 17 points going into the fourth quarter but we fought and scrapped and battled and made it a game and a had chance to steal it. I think that speaks a lot to the character of those kids and I’m really proud of that.”

North Attleboro boys basketball (7-2 Davenport, 7-2 overall) kept its hopes for a share of the division title alive with a win at the time but Oliver Ames won it outright with a victory over Stoughton later in the day. The Rocketeers travel to Sharon on Friday to close out their division schedule. Foxboro finishes its season at 2-8 in the division and 2-9 overall.

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd

North Attleboro Edges Canton In Overtime Thriller

North Attleboro boys basketball Julius Hicks Edan Kelley
Canton’s Julius Hicks goes up for a shot with North Attleboro’s Edan Kelley defending. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It was a tale of two halves between the Canton and North Attleboro boys basketball teams.

But the overtime period? That was completely up for grabs.

In the end, the pendulum swung in favor of the Rocketeers just once more than it did for the visiting Bulldogs as North Attleboro claimed a 52-50 win over Canton inside Kenneth Pickering Gymnasium.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The decision was split after 32 minutes of action, North Attleboro claiming a double-digit first half advantage only for Canton to completely flip the script in the second half, stifling the Rocketeers’ offense and turning stops into points, and a deficit into a lead.

“We felt good about getting to overtime because we were on our last life for what felt like forever,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “To get to overtime, we stole the momentum and their bench quieted down a bit. It was big to get points on the first possession. For us, it was just continuing what got us back into it against their zone and we had to keep playing good defense. It was a great Hockomock basketball game, felt like a playoff game almost. We made just enough plays.”

North Attleboro boys basketball

North Attleboro’s lead at halftime, 26-10, took a major hit when Canton came out swinging in the form of a 10-2 run in just over two minutes of action, putting the hosts on their heels. By the end of the third eight-minute segment, North Attleboro’s lead shrunk down to just five, 31-26, the Rocketeers getting a much-needed three from senior Tommy Onorato in the final minute.

It turned out to be a sign of things to come for Onorato, who finished with a career-high 12 points, and the Rocketeers. Canton’s comeback continued into the fourth though as a pair of free throws from Steven Burbank (12 points, six rebounds) preceded a three from Will Keefe (12 points) that gave Canton its first lead since the opening moments of the game.

Eric Mischler (11 points, eight rebounds) sliced his way to the rim for two, the Bulldogs earned back-to-back stops and Keefe tossed another triple in and Canton, on the back of a 12-1 run, suddenly had a 40-34 lead with 1:34 to play.










“It’s kind of been like that in the Davenport this year, seems like one team brings it for a half and another brings it the other half,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “It was kind of the opposite when we played them at home, we had a good first three quarters and they came back in the fourth. We talked at halftime about how we could get back into this game. Instead of quitting, the kids made a commitment and the effort to really start rebounding and playing defense, which got us back into the game.”

North Attleboro had an answer to stem the tide. With the defense collapsing on him in the paint, senior George Ladd (16 points, 15 rebounds) dished it out to Brody Rosenberg (seven points), who hit his first field goal of the game with a triple to halve the deficit.

Ryan Connerney (13 points, five assists) pushed the lead back to five when he sank a pair of free throws but North Attleboro had another answer from downtown. This time, Casey Poirier (four points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals) dished it to Onorato for a three with 41.1 left to make it 42-40.

Canton added to its lead with a free throw but once again the Rocketeers, who had just five makes from three-point range through the first three quarters, hit their third three of crunch time. Poirier was short on his attempt from the corner but followed his shot, got the rebound, and dished it to senior Edan Kelley for a three – his first make of the game – from the top of the key to tie the game with 12 seconds to go.

“Tommy Onorato, I’m really proud of him, the second half of the season he’s really stepped into a nice role for us and understood what it took to be on the court,” Mulkerrins said. “Edan, a senior co-captain, missed some time this year and still isn’t completely back but hit a big shot. He’s got that big moment in him.”

The Bulldogs’ attempt at a game-winner was off the mark, only getting a chance to chuck a shot off an inbounds play with 0.6 seconds to go.

In overtime, the momentum swings continued back and forth as North opened the scoring when Ladd converted an offensive rebound but Canton went back ahead on their third look of the possession on a Mischler three, with Dillon Nguyen’s offensive rebound the catalyst of the play.

North Attleboro boys basketball

But just seconds after Mischler gave the visitors a slight lead, Rosenberg hit his second three of the night to put the hosts ahead. The teams traded stops as the game ticked under a minute to go, North Attleboro getting its biggest stop forcing a turnover. With the shot clock shrinking, Onorato stepped up and drained another three, this one with 14 seconds to go in overtime, to give North a 51-46 lead.

Canton fought to the very end, getting two free throws from Burbank to make it a one-possession game. A trap on the inbounds led to a jump ball and Canton getting possession back. Another foul led to two free throws from Connerney, making it a one-point game, 51-50, with 7.8 seconds to go.

The Bulldogs trapped once again and got another jump ball called, but the ball stayed with the Rocketeers. Rosenberg added a free throw to make it 52-50, and North Attleboro held on as Canton’s half-court heave was just off the mark.

North Attleboro had full control of the opening half, hitting 7-of-10 field goals from two-point range to go along with four three-pointers. And on the defensive end, the Rocketeers were doing just enough to keep the streaky Bulldogs from getting going.

Tied early, North closed the final three minutes of the first with an 8-0 burst. Onorato hit his first three of the game, Poirier added a triple, and Ladd attacked the rim for two and a 14-6 lead after one.




Big Red’s run continued into the second with Jared Vacher tossing in a three, Ladd getting back-to-back baskets and Nate Bennett scoring from in close for a 17-0 run in total. Jimmy Caraballo added a three as well as North staked a 26-10 halftime lead.

“Basketball is a game of runs and there’s some psychology behind it,” Mulkerrins said. “I thought the scoreboard was deceptive at half. I thought we played good but not as good as the other night and I felt Canton missed a lot of shots that they can make. I told them at half, if they make a couple in the second half they are going to relax, and then their defense will get better, and sure enough they hit some shots right away. Then the basket on our end starts looking smaller.

“Coach Gordy did a great job adjusting, made some changes. You never know exactly what you’re going to get with him, you’ll get the kitchen sink of tricks and if you aren’t mentally ready, which we learned on Monday night, you’re going to be on the wrong side of games against them. So hats off to them, they had a great season with a lot of great seniors, we have nothing but respect for that program.”

After North found success against Canton’s 1-3-1 defense in the first half, the Bulldogs elected to shake things up defensively, going with a 2-3 zone — a defense they hadn’t utilized all season.

Despite their inexperience in the set, the defense was very effective as North’s offense came to a screeching halt, managing just five points in the third. Meanwhile, those stops turned into buckets for the Bulldogs. Connerney scored on Canton’s first possession, Keefe got going with a triple, and Mischler added one from downtown as well. Burbank got a layup to fall and Canton’s 10-2 run to open the second half turned the game around.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We haven’t practiced the 2-3 zone this season,” Gordy said. “Ladd’s a nightmare for us to match up with, Rosenberg, Poirier, and Kelley are all really good players. I didn’t think we could guard them man-to-man for an extended period of time. We had a lot of success with the 1-3-1 on Monday, they figured out some things tonight. They were getting to us on the glass so we went to the 2-3 to try and clean some things up on the rebounding which I thought helped big time in the game.

“It all flows, once you’re getting stops you can push in transition. Will Keefe got hot a little bit in the second half and a lot of those came from us getting stops, getting out, and not letting them set up in the half court.”

North Attleboro (5-2 Davenport, 5-2 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Foxboro. Canton wraps up its season at 4-6 in the Davenport and 4-9 overall.

North Attleboro boys basketball