Franklin Holds Off KP To Clinch Kelley-Rex Crown

Franklin senior Shane Kindred hauls in a one-handed grab against King Philip on Thanksgiving. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 FRANKLIN, Mass. — Before the main course of turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, the Franklin football team helped themselves to an early serving of stuffing.

Franklin senior Jack Marino denied King Philip on a 4th and 1 situation just beyond midfield with two minutes left in the game to help the Panthers secure a 27-20 win over the Warriors in the 61st Thanksgiving clash between the two teams.

With the win, Franklin clinches its first-ever Hockomock League Kelley-Rex division title and first league crown since 2009. It also snaps a 10-game Thanksgiving skid and an 18-game overall streak to the Warriors, their first win over KP since the same year they won their last title.

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“It’s incredibly satisfying, and I’m obviously proud as the coach but I’m just happy for the kids and the town,” said Franklin head coach Eian Bain. “The last couple of years, this game has been good and there’s been some close ones and not so close ones. Eventually, these are games we have to win to move our program forward.

“This is a step in the right direction, and hopefully, our young kids realize what they can do if they keep working. But as awesome as this is, I hope they realize this took a lot of work from a lot of young men. I’m just really happy for the kids to see that hard work pay off today.”

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, the latter — plus a two-point conversion — had the hosts ahead 27-20 going into the final quarter of play.

The Warriors were marching into Franklin territory as the final minutes ticked off the clock. KP punted on its second drive of the second half and then fumbled in Panther territory on its previous drive.

A heavy dose of junior Rudy Gately (24 carries, 162 yards) and Crawford Cantave (14 carries, 72 yards) had the Warriors over midfield, but Will Astorino’s third down run was stopped a yard shy of the marker on a tackle from Luke Davis and Cullen Pek.

On fourth down, Marino came flying through the offensive line and met Gately in the backfield for a loss of yards and a turnover on downs.

Mack Gulla (16 carries, 109 yards) ran for back-to-back first downs and the Panthers ran the clock out to secure their first win in the series in over a decade.

“Me and [Nick Quintina], we knew it was going to be either me or him that had to make the play, we needed to make a play and make a tackle,” Marino said. “Rudy is a hard runner, I’m good friends with him but I was able to get through the gap and he was there for me to make the play.

“It’s great to get this win…the rivalry between Franklin and KP has always been there all the way back to Pop Warner. They’ve had our number for a decade or so, but it’s great to get the last one, especially for the seniors.”

“Jack is one of the savviest athletes out there,” Bain said. “Coach [Zach] Brown would say the same thing with baseball…looking back at any big win, there’s a moment when Jack Marino turned the tide.”

While it was the perfect end for Franklin, it was far from the perfect start.

King Philip’s defense forced a quick three-and-out and its offense needed little time to find the end zone. Gately broke free up the middle for 64 yards and three plays later, senior quarterback Charlie Grant (4/9, 84 yards) went play action and hit classmate Drew Danson in the back of the end zone for a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

Things went from bad to worse for the Panthers as they fumbled on their first carry of the ensuing drive and KP pounced on the loose ball, taking over in Franklin territory.

The Warriors needed just four plays again, helped along by a 33-yard pass and catch from Grant to Danny Clancy down the right sideline down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Grant kept it himself on the sneak and Matthew Kelley booted the point after for a 14-0 lead with 5:55 left in the first quarter.

“You’re up 14-0 and you keep trying to tell the kids it’s not going to last,” KP head coach Brian Lee said. “You want to try and jump on them as much as possible early. I think if we had maybe one more there…but it just comes back to the little things.

“The quick reaction is jeez, we made a lot of mistakes but how much of that is from the pressure [Franklin] was bringing on us? It makes you a little antsy, jump offside, lineup wrong, just little things like that…you like to think it’s us self-destructing but I think it’s the pressure they put on us. That’s what happens playing against a very good team.”

Franklin had to punt on its third drive but the Panther defense delivered a big stop, cooling some of KP’s momentum.

After a first down run from Gulla, Bain dipped into his bag of tricks and the Panthers executed a perfect flea flicker. Gulla took the handoff but tossed it back to Jared Arone (11/17, 231 yards, 3 TD) and he hit Shane Kindred (5 catches, 159 yards, 3 TD) in stride for an 85-yard touchdown with just over a minute left in the first. Sean King blocked the point after for KP but Franklin was on the board, down 14-6.

Helped by a holding call, KP’s offense went backward on its next series. A third-down pooch punt didn’t travel as far as the Warriors’ hoped and Franklin took over at the KP 45-yard line with 9:19 left in the second.

Arone broke free from a facemask hold and weaved his way to a 45-yard score, only for a block in the back to offset the penalties and nullify the play. But the Panthers’ offense carried on as Arone hit Will Deschenes to convert a fourth down and on the next play, Arone hit Kindred up the left hash for a 17-yard touchdown, making it 14-13 after Garrett Portesi’s extra point.

A false start and a tackle for loss from Marino stalled KP’s next drive, and a sack from Jay Gulla ended it as the Warriors had to punt it back.

Franklin’s offense capitalized on the momentum as Arone hit Kindred to convert an early third down, and the duo hooked up two plays later on the right side and Kindred managed to stay inbounds, racing up the right sideline and diving into the end zone. Hunter Hastings blocked another point after attempt but the Panthers had a 19-14 lead at halftime.

“I think we’ve been in that situation a couple of times, and even though you might get your confidence rattled a little bit, we’re still a pretty good football team,” Bain said of facing an early deficit. “And as long as we kept believing, I think the biggest thing was just having our kids settle down. You want them to play with emotion but they had to settle down and once we hit the big play to Shane at the end of the first quarter, and then we got a stop that we needed and we settled in.

“KP did an awesome job, they’re going to Gillette for a reason. Kind of like last week, we knew they’d score points and make big plays, we just had to take it one series at a time. You can’t hit fast forward to the fourth quarter and the game is over, we had to work for it and earn it.”

KP opened the second half in typical Warrior style: a 9-play, 70-yard march down the field to retake the lead. Gately and Cantave alternated carries, and Grant hit Gately for 25 yards out of the backfield on a third and long. Cantave capped the drive by backing his way across the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown.

The two-point pass was broken up in the corner of the end zone by Franklin’s Devine Johnson.

Franklin went three-and-out on its first drive of the second half after a pass break up on third by KP’s Kelley. But the Panthers’ defense bounced back and stuffed the Warriors, who went for it on 4th down from the Franklin 32-yard line.

“I think it was good to get back to our identity and our reality,” Bain said of the defense. “Certainly, Springfield Central can take anyone out of their comfort zone and King Philip does it in a totally different way, and that’s hard. It’s hard to keep getting hit in the mouth and then you’re down 14. You have to ask yourself, do I want to keep getting hit in the face over and over and over again. Our guys didn’t back down…it was hard, and they’ll be sore tomorrow but they kept answering the bell time and time again, getting off the mat. In the fourth quarter, they made a couple of plays that were key to winning the game.”

Gulla made a nice catch on the left sideline for 19 yards to move the sticks and then bulldozed his way for 10 yards on the ground and another first down. Four plays later, he ran up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown.

On the two-point try, Arone went to the right on the bootleg but didn’t have anyone open so he raced back to the left and into the end zone for a successful conversion and a 27-20 lead.

“I don’t want to think if we did lose, but I think they still would have had a great career but I think this was needed for them,” Bain said of his senior class. “I think a couple of classes before them, I think they feel a part of this too but this group pushed us over the hump. Everyone got screwed out of a normal experience last year but to bounce back and to have this, for this to be their last high school football memory, it couldn’t be more fitting for this group of kids.

It was the first time in nearly a decade that Thanksgiving games counted towards division titles in the Hockomock League. With the new rating system, the league elected to have Thanksgiving count as a league game with holiday rivals only playing once in the season, rather than twice as they had for the past eight years.

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King Philip still has one game left as the Warriors are headed to Gillette Stadium to play Catholic Memorial in the Division 2 State Championship game. But the Warriors weren’t focused on next week just yet. KP played all of its starters.

“We were focused on this game…you have to respect their seniors, that’s a great team and they want to know they beat us with our guys,” Lee said. “They deserve that shot, that opportunity after the season they’ve had. And we wanted our guys to have a shot at the league title. Yeah, we’re going to the Super Bowl but who knows what’s going to happen? We’re playing against an absolute animal of a team. But with a chance at the Hock title, we wanted to try and go get it.”

Franklin finishes the season at 10-1 and a perfect 5-0 in Kelley-Rex division play. King Philip enters its showdown with CM next week at 9-2.

Franklin Beats Methuen to Get Another Shot at Gillette

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Franklin running back Mack Gulla rushed for a pair of touchdowns in a 24-7 win over Methuen in the D1 quarterfinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – During its undefeated run to the Div. 1 quarterfinal, Franklin’s high-powered offense has gotten a lot of the attention but there are exceptional athletes on both sides of the ball and in Friday night’s visit of Methuen to Pisini Stadium the defense showed off its speed and athleticism in slowing down the Rangers.

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After giving up a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, Franklin scored 24 unanswered points to pull out a 24-7 victory and for the second time in three seasons is one game away from a trip to Gillette Stadium and a Super Bowl appearance.

“We just have to play good football,” said Franklin coach Eian Bain. “You’re not going to win at this level if you don’t play good football. You have to be very sound in that phase of the game and we did a good job tonight minus maybe one or two miscues.

Senior linebacker Nick Quintina added, “We weren’t really communicating the first drive. Once we all started communicating, calling the routes out, where the receivers were placed at, that’s what really helped us out.”

Methuen, fresh off an opening-round win against perennial power Everett, is a tough offense to pin down with all of its pre-snap motion, the variety of its sets, and the speed that it brings to every position. The Rangers got off to a very quick start, taking the opening drive 76 yards in eight play.

On fourth and one from near midfield, Jaetel Gomez got two yards for a first down. On the next play, Drew Eason fired a strike to Will McKinnon for 48 yards down to the Franklin five. CJ Muniz did the rest, getting to the corner for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead. It looked like it might be a long night for the Panthers defense, but that ended up being the only score that Methuen could muster.

The lead didn’t last long either. Franklin answered right back with a 77-yard drive. Mack Gulla (19 carries, 122 yards) was the focal point for the Panthers, getting seven carries on the opening possession. After an 11-yard completion from Jared Arone to Will Deschenes into Methuen territory, Gulla broke runs of 14 and 23 yards to get inside the 10. He punched it in from five yards to tie the game.

“That’s kind of been what we’ve done all year, just pick our moments, pick our marks, and attack but also not get out of the game plan,” Bain explained. “We went right down the script, some of it worked great, some of it didn’t and we saw that, and when we had to have the moments our kids made plays.”

When it got back on the field, Franklin’s defense started to turn things around. Quintina and Jay Gulla stuffed Eason for a loss of one, a flea flicker sailed over the receiver, and then Luke Davis made a play on the ball to break up the third down pas. On the next possession, it was Luke Sidwell in coverage making a play to get off the field.

Franklin got the ball back for its third possession at its own 49 and took advantage of the short field to grab the lead for good. A 13-yard pass to Will Tracey got Franklin down to the Rangers 27. Two plays later, Arone went back to Tracey on the far sideline and the 6-foot-2 receiver was able to go up and haul the pass in while getting a foot down inbounds. The 23-yard score made it 14-7.

Methuen moved the ball on its next drive, with Eason finding Braeden Carter for 10 yards to convert on fourth and three and get into Franklin’s half of the field. Quintina and Cullen Pek stuffed a second and two run for no gain and Pek and Jonathan Martins made a stop on third down, but the Muniz got three on fourth down to move the chains.

Pek came up with another big stop, dropping Eason for a loss of four. Sidwell and Devine Johnson combined to break up a halfback pass and then Jack Marino sacked Eason back at the 38 to force fourth and long and a punt.

The Panthers got the ball to start the second half and Deschenes made sure they started in a good spot, returning the kick off 41 yards out to the 46. A pair of passes from Arone (8-of-15, 133 yards) to Tracey (four catches, 56 yards) got the ball to the Methuen 32. From there, Gulla did the rest. He burst through the line of scrimmage, raced past the linebackers into the secondary and was gone for his second score of the night.

“He’s the starting point,” Bain said of Gulla. “Everything we do kind of starts with him and how can we branch off that and we’re fortunate because we have a lot of good players and a lot of guys got involved tonight with different parts of the game plan. But, when he goes, we go a little bit better.”

Pek, Quintina, Jay Gulla, Emmett Lackey, and the rest of the Franklin front seven was flying around making plays and giving Eason no time in the pocket.

“We really just feed off the play and whoever gets open in the gap,” Quintina said. “Coach has been doing a great job getting calls in, double blitzing. When we double blitz usually it opens up a big gap and whoever is on that blitz has a free run.”

Bain added, “They’re relentless. They’re tough to handle and they have motors and they’re a lovable group of kids but they don’t stop. They would drive you nuts if you were their parents. They don’t stop and their pursuit of the quarterback and of excellence is contagious and I think it fuels our defense.”

Franklin put the game away four minutes into the fourth quarter. Facing second and 15 from the Panthers 38, Arone looked deep down the near sideline to Davis, who managed to pull in the catch and stay just inbounds right in front of the Franklin bench. The 32-yard catch got the hosts to the 30.

On fourth and eight, Arone was able to hit Shane Kindred for a 15-yard catch near the sideline to keep the drive moving. It would lead to a 22-yard kick from Garrett Portesi and a 24-7 lead.

“We’re just playing our role as underdogs all season,” said Quintina. “Every team that looks at us, we look small, but we’re just the underdogs and we love that role.”

Franklin (9-0) will put its perfect record on the line next week against No. 5 Springfield Central, which crushed Xaverian 40-15, at a time, date, and location to be determined.

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Undefeated Franklin Bests Milford In Defensive Struggle

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Franklin’s Jonathan Martins (left) and Devine Johnson (right) tackle Milford quarterback Evan Cornelius in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 MILFORD, Mass. – When it comes to Hockomock League football, one of the first things you learn is to expect the unexpected.

Such was the case on Friday night as Milford and Franklin, the top two offenses in the Kelley-Rex division, ended up locked in a defensive battle. Both the Hawks and the Panthers entered the contest averaging just north of 30 points per game, but Friday’s contest featured just one trip to the end zone.

In the end, it was the Franklin defense that stood tallest, limiting the hosts to just four first downs and pitched a second half shutout to grab a 13-3 win to improve to 7-0 on the season.

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The Kelley-Rex division title won’t be decided until Thanksgiving when the Panthers take on King Philip in a winner-take-all showdown. But first, the playoffs.

“I think sometimes just dictate themselves early,” said Franklin head coach Eian Bain. “There was a lot of feeling each other out early in the game. I thought we had a couple of chances to score in the first half and we only walked away with the three [points].

“In the second half, we had a really nice drive to get that score, which was huge. And we had a nice drive late [for the field goal]. It was two great defenses tonight, I think we’ve both done well against our opponents so I thought that might be the case…but it could have gone the other way too.”

Franklin had success on its early drives but its first foray into Milford territory — a nine-play drive — ended up with a turnover on downs just outside the red zone. The Panthers’ second drive lasted eight plays and got all the way down to the Milford 1-yard line, but the visitors had to settle for a 19-yard field goal from Garrett Portesi after a false start.

Milford didn’t have much success early on, punting on its first two drives. But the Hawks were able to orchestrate a response after Franklin took the lead. The hosts took advantage of a good kick return from Jack Veo, covering 39 yards on nine plays.

Facing a 4th and 2 at the Franklin 32-yard line, the Hawks elected to go for it and quarterback Evan Cornelius scampered for 19 yards to move the sticks. But the drive stalled from there as the Franklin defense limited the Milford offense to just two yards over the next three plays and the Hawks went with a 28-yard field goal from Nick Araujo with 7:21 left in the quarter.










After trading punts, Franklin marched into Milford territory late in the first half but Milford’s Angelo Romero and Mason Baldic combined for a sack, and Jared Arone’s (11/17, 129 yards) third down pass to Will Tracey was ruled incomplete, despite what looked like a good circus catch over the middle between two defenders, and the teams went into halftime knotted 3-3.

Franklin started the second half with a big bang, going with some misdirection to the left before Arone went back to the right and hit Shane Kindred in stride. Kindred used his speed to race away for a 71-yard completion down to the Milford 11-yard line.

Three plays later, Arone went with a bootleg and hit Tracey streaking across the back of the end zone for the lone touchdown of the game and a 10-3 lead less than a minute into the second half.

“We definitely want to make sure we’re getting our playmakers touches, and I think everyone had a touch or at least a target,” Bain said of going to Kindred early in the second half. “We had set up a lot of things but we didn’t get to them because of some situations in the first half.”

Franklin relied heavily on running back Mack Gulla (35 carries, 200 yards) for the majority of the game, but even more so in the second half. Of their 31 plays run in the second half, the Panthers handed the ball off to Gulla on 21 of them. Although he didn’t find the end zone in the game, his work rate and ability to get positive yards on almost every play helped the Panthers dominate the time of possession.

He carried the ball nine times for 48 yards on Franklin’s second possession of the second half which, after a costly false start, finished just an inch short of a first down after a 19-yard pass and catch from Arone to Kindred on fourth down.

“It’s awesome to get those carries but that’s my job, I only play one way so I think I’m conditioned enough to do that,” Gulla said. “It definitely feels like a special season. No one expected us to do this this year, no one saw us coming undefeated against one of the hardest schedules in the state. Now we just have to keep pushing going forward.”




A second down sack from Joe Tirrell stunted any momentum the hosts had. Jonathan Martins and Emmett Lackey also had sacks on the day while it seemed Franklin was able to pressure the passer on almost every drop back with linebackers Nick Quintina and Cullen Pek finding their way into the backfield often. Cornelius tried getting the ball into the hands of Nick Schuler and Grant Scudo, as it looked like junior wideout Isaiah Pantalone battled through an injury.

“Most of their passes are out in about 2.2 seconds,” Bain said. “We wanted to try and do is try to elongate the drop back game. It hurt us early because he’s scrambled and he’s a good runner, got an early first down. But with any quarterback, you’re just trying to get him off their spot, doing things they don’t like to do. I think something like 88% of their passes are in the pocket so we tried to design some pressure to try and spill that out, set some things up. They are tough to defend and they do a good job of putting their quarterback in successful situations.”

Gulla went right back to work when the Panthers got the ball back. This drive, Gulla had eight carries that went for 50 yards and took up a lot of clock between the end of the third and nearly half of the fourth quarter.

“I think it speaks to having talent but also working hard,” Bain said of Gulla’s large workload. “You put your body in a good position to last for four quarters, seven games into the season, eight weeks into the season. There’s a lot of kids out there that work hard but when one of your best players is your hardest worker, those things happen. He’s kind of built that up for himself and that’s through all of his hard work and dedication and setting the example.”

Franklin’s third down pass was knocked down on a jump ball in the end zone and Portesi delivered his second field goal of the game, this time a 25-yard boot to make it a two-score game with 4:44 left.

“I think you saw two of the best kickers around,” Bain said, also recognizing Milford’s Araujo. “[Portesi] was a soccer guy, came out in the spring for the first time. He’s worked hard, he comes to practice every day and he’s always working, working, working, and you have to trust the kids that put the work in.”

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Milford showed some life as Cornelius hit Jaden Agnew over the middle for a 41-yard gain on third down to move into Franklin territory on the ensuing drive but two plays later, Franklin junior Luke Davis hauled in an overthrown pass in the end zone for a touchback, putting an end up any comeback hope.

“They got us on that deep ball and that was alright because that’s going to happen, they’re going to make plays,” Bain said. “But a lot of it is that when the big play happens, you have to bounce back. We gave up a couple of completions that were good plays but eventually that pressure, that frustration we created, I think that disrupted the passing game as a whole.”

Franklin will likely enter the playoffs as the top seed in the Division 1 bracket while Milford will likely be one of the top seeds in the Division 2 bracket. The MIAA will release official ratings and playoff information on Sunday.

Franklin Continues Perfect Start By Beating Mansfield

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Jonathan Martins celebrates after catching a fourth quarter touchdown pass to seal Franklin’s first win against Mansfield since 2009. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – It was only seven months ago that Franklin traveled to Alumni Field to open the Fall II season. The Panthers were a young team learning the ropes against a senior-laden, highly-experienced Mansfield squad filled with Super Bowl-winning talent.

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When the two teams met on Friday night at Pisini Stadium, the roles were reversed. Now it was the Panthers that had the experience and they took advantage at every opportunity. Jared Arone (9-for-13, 206 yards) tossed four touchdown passes and the Panthers beat Mansfield 28-10. in front of a packed house.

It was Franklin’s first win against the Hornets since going undefeated in the 2009 regular season. It also ended Mansfield’s 19-game win streak, which had been the longest active streak in the state.

“We had a normal summer, a normal weight program, a normal training camp where we could meet and walk through and do all the things that you’re supposed to do and we let our kids just be kids this year finally,” said Franklin coach Eian Bain about the growth of his team over the past few months. “I think they’ve grown a lot as people, as men, as students, as players.”










Despite being 3-0, Mansfield has struggled early in games and had to come from behind in each of the past two weeks. The pattern repeated itself on Friday, as the Hornets hurt themselves with penalties, regularly finding themselves in long-yardage situations, missed a field goal, and were unable to finish drives.

Mansfield coach Mike Redding admitted that was too much to overcome against a team as good as Franklin. He said, “So sloppy and I think tonight was the first time that we played young almost the whole night. Tonight it was like we could never be consistent. We just kind of took a step back in terms of execution on both sides of the ball.”

After forcing a three-and-out, thanks to pass breakups by Jase Lyons and Devine Johnson, Franklin took over for its second possession at its own 32. Two plays and a first down later, Arone went deep right down the middle of the field, hitting Shane Kindred (five catches, 106 yards) in stride for a 54-yard touchdown. Garrett Portesi’s extra point made it 7-0.

“You want to always play with a lead,” said Bain. “It gives you a little flexibility, allows you now to panic, and we hit those big plays early. It also put some pressure on them to get out of their comfort zone.”

Another Mansfield three-and-out gave Franklin a chance to double its lead, but Trevor Foley intercepted Arone at the Hornets 39. Mansfield’s offense finally started to get things going.

Conner Zukowski (13-of-27, 141 yards) hit CJ Bell for 27 yards down the sideline to get into the red zone. A sack by Nick Quintina (one of five Franklin sacks in the game) pushed the Hornets back eight yards and Luke Davis made a nice play on the ball to deny a touchdown pass to Foley. The Hornets were forced to try a 32-yard field goal by James Gilleran, but it slid wide right.

Franklin fed off the defensive stand, putting together a 14-play, 84-yard scoring drive. Three times Arone found Kindred for first downs and Mack Gulla (32 carries, 164 yards) had nine rushes on the drive. On third and goal from the eight, Arone was able to buy time in the pocket, eventually rolling out to his right and spying Grayson Hunter open in the back corner of the end zone.

The visitors needed a spark to try and get something going before halftime. On third and seven, Foley made a nice sliding grab to get a first down. A pass interference call helped get Mansfield to the 24 and then Zukowski hit Bell for 21 more to get inside the five. Drew Sacco would get Mansfield on the board, taking a big hit at the goal line but squeezing across to make it 14-7.




Mansfield got the ball coming out of the break with a chance to tie the game, but once again the Hornets struggled to finish off a drive. Sacco broke an 18-yard run around the left side and a screen pass to Rocco Scarpellini went for 23 down to the Franklin 11. That’s where things stalled. Sacco dove on errant toss for a loss of a couple and on third down Jonathan Martins pressured Zukowski into an incompletion. Gilleran nailed a 30-yarder and the lead was down to four.

A mistake on the ensuing kick pinned Franklin back at its own four. It looked like a turning point in the game where, in the past, Mansfield would suddenly turn things around and find a way to win. Instead, the Panthers went 96 yards and extended the lead.

The drive started with an offsides penalty and then eight straight carries by Gulla. The Panthers were controlling the line of scrimmage, winning the battle in the trenches and marching downfield. After converting on third down into Mansfield territory, Franklin went for the home run. Arone threw a strike to Will Tracey on the far sideline and he hauled in the 41-yard score.

Redding said, “Gulla was as advertised. He’s a solid kid, but I think he was faster than we expected. We handled him okay but they did enough to set up the pass game and, when they did throw, they got some huge pass plays out of it. They had a good little combination going.”

A Gulla fumble would give Mansfield one last chance to try and get back into the game with 8:24 to play, but the Franklin defense continued to cover well and to pressure Zukowski. A sack by Jack Marino and another pass breakup by Davis helped the Panthers get the ball back at the Hornets 39.

“We’ve got a lot of really good athletes playing on defense,” said Bain. “They run well and they’re aggressive and they’re smart and we’re able to get in and out of a lot of looks and packages and keep the offense off-balance.”

Three plays later, on fourth and four, Franklin caught Mansfield in a blitz. Martins was free down the seam and Arone picked out his wide open tight end for a back-breaking 34-yard score.

“This a huge moment, Mansfield is a great program, but wins are not our goals,” Bain said when asked about staying focused on the schedule ahead. “It’s an elite result but we can’t forget that reaching our goals every day got us this result, so tomorrow and then Sunday and Monday we’ve got to keep achieving greatness every day.”

For Redding and the Hornets, they face undefeated Milford next, knowing that a second loss would effectively end their chances at claiming another league title. He explained, “I don’t know if anyone can run the table. So, next week is do or die. If we bring our ‘A’ game then we have a shot to win. If we stay sloppy, then we’re going to struggle. But I like our kids’ character and I think we’ll be back next Friday.”

Franklin (4-0) will try to keep its perfect season going next week with a visit from Taunton. Mansfield (3-1) will host Milford at Alumni Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Football: 2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview
King Philip could be the favorite to challenge Mansfield for the Kelley-Rex division title this season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2021 Kelley-Rex Football Preview

2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Attleboro

2020 Record: 1-5
Coach: Mike Strachan

Key/Returning Players: Ryan Betts, Sr., RB/LB; Keigan Conley, Sr., RB/LB; Christian Dame, Sr., TE/LB; Alvin Harrison, Sr., OL; Hayden Hegarty, Sr., TE/LB; Aiden Hochwarter, Jr., QB; Ethan Lako, Jr., RB/DB; Chris Leonardo, Sr., OL/DL; Isaiah Miranda, Jr., C; Kaiden Murray, Sr., RB/DB; Isaac Pereira, Sr., OL/DL; Anthony Salviati, Jr., WR/DB; Jacob Struminski, Sr., OL/DL; Freddy Wheaton, Sr., RB/LB;

Outlook:
Attleboro struggled on the offensive side of the ball last year, scoring only 44 points in six games and not scoring a touchdown until the fifth game of the season. The Bombardiers will need to improve on that side of the ball to try and move up the standings and challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex. With eight returning starters on both sides of the ball, Attleboro can rely on an experienced roster to try and turn things around this fall.

It will be obvious where Attleboro’s strength lies. The Bombardiers run 6’3 285, 6’3 255, 6’2 285, and 6’3 305 at the guard and tackle positions. They are going to try and overpower teams. The leader of that group is senior Chris Leonardo, who is a force on both sides of the ball. Seniors Alvin Harrison, Jacob Struminski, and Isaac Pereira are a formidable front and junior Isaiah Miranda will be back at center. Experience and size are important, but the Bombardiers will need its array of running backs to take advantage. Seniors Ryan Betts, Freddy Wheaton, Keigan Conley, and Kaiden Murray will all get the chance to carry the ball. Junior Aiden Hochwarter returns under center after taking over midway through last year and he will have classmate Anthony Salviati to throw to out wide and senior tight end Christian Dame.

The Attleboro defense will also rely on its strength up front with Leonardo and Harrison controlling the middle. The linebackers have plenty of experience, with Dame, Wheaton, Betts, Conley, and senior Hayden Hegarty all coming back after seeing significant time last year. The secondary has a lot of athleticism. Junior Ethan Lako, Salviati, and Murray are all capable of making big plays and forcing turnovers.
 
“It is great to have some normalcy back this fall,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “We have eight returning starters on each side of the ball this season and we have great senior leadership. We are looking to a great fall season.”










2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Franklin

2020 Record: 3-4
Coach: Eian Bain

2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Key/Returning Players: Jared Arone, Sr., QB; Shane Kindred, Sr., WR; Will Tracey, Sr., WR; Mack Gulla, Sr., RB; Ethan Aeillo, Sr., OL; Jack Porkorny, Sr., OL; Jonathan Martins, Sr., DL; Cullen Pek, Sr., LB; Joe Tirrell, Sr., DB; Luke Davis, Jr., DB.

Outlook:
All eyes are on Mansfield and King Philip as the favorites in the Kelley-Rex and that’s how coach Eian Bain likes it. The Panthers are certainly flying under the radar a bit but that might not last very long, especially after their success during the preseason has turned some heads.

Having a lot of familiar faces in key positions will be an early advantage for the Panthers, who have a strong non-league schedule that starts with Wachusett and features perennial state powerhouse Duxbury. Senior Jared Arone gained a lot of experience at quarterback during the Fall 2 season and could be poised for a big year with a full schedule on tap. Part of the reason why is because of all the weapons around him. Both Shane Kindred and Will Tracey developed a lot of chemistry with the QB in the abbreviated season and will be his main two targets this year.

And while the Panthers have developed a reputation for a pass-heavy offense, we saw a much more balanced approach during the spring and with senior running back Mack Gulla ready for a breakout season, it’s likely that balance continues. Gulla is a tough runner that will keep defenses honest; he isn’t just going to help set up the passing game, he’s a true threat to run all over defenses. It will all start up front and the Panthers have center Ethan Aeillo and tackle Jack Porkorny back in starting roles.

Senior Joe Tirrell and junior Luke Davis give the Panthers a veteran presence in the secondary. Franklin allowed over 20 points per game last season but will be looking to bring that number down some this year as they try and establish themselves as a contender in the division. Senior Jonathan Martins impressed last season and will be a key piece on the defensive line while the linebackers will be anchored by senior Cullen Pek.

“The Panthers return many familiar faces but face a tough task of replacing some key positions,” Bain said. “Many players have stepped up but there is still a lot to be answered before the home opener against Wachusett.”




2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

King Philip

2020 Record: 4-3
Coach: Brian Lee

Key/Returning Players: Charlie Grant, Sr., QB/DB; Crawford Cantave, Sr., RB/DB; Nick Viscusi, Sr., WR/DB; Jonathan Joseph, Sr., WR/DB; Hunter Hastings, Sr., OL/DL; Chris Sesay, Jr., OL/DL; Rudy Gately, Jr., RB/LB; Danny Clancy, Sr., WR/DL; Matthew Kelley, Jr., K.

Outlook:
King Philip has a strong core of returning players set to compete for the Kelley-Rex crown this Fall season but the Warriors are hoping to develop some depth along the way as they navigate through one of the state’s toughest schedules.

KP is still hurting from the Fall 2 season, when they lost six players to season-ending surgery, four of which were starters. With a quick turnaround to this season, the Warriors will still be without those players but there is still lots of excitement around those who will be on the field this year. Senior Charlie Grant returns as the starter at quarterback and has some weapons to utilize around them, starting with receivers Danny Clancy, Nick Viscusi, and Jonathan Joseph. All three have varsity experience and are seniors. Junior Rudy Gately and senior Crawford Cantave give the Warriors a thunder and lightning running back combination. Senior Drew Danson was set to be one of the top tight ends in the league but is out due to injury. Sophomore Thomas McLeish will also be in the mix to play at quarterback and Grant could see time at receiver.

Hunter Hastings and Chris Sesay are the returners on the offensive line and will start at the tackle positions while Dan Nineve will be the center and Amro Ismail and Sean King man the guard positions. It will be a lot of the same names on the other side of the ball with Hastings, King, and Sesay all playing both ways. Junior Nate Kearney will also be in the mix as a pass rusher.

The veteran group on defense will be the KP secondary, which features a lot of familiar faces. Both Cantave (safety) and Viscusi (corner) had really strong junior seasons and will lead the way alongside junior Thomas Brewster, senior Eli Reed, and Joseph, who has really impressed so far this preseason. There will be a little inexperience at linebacker but the Warriors have Gately back in the fold alongside senior Jake Sullivan and junior Will Astorino. Matt Kelley is back as the starting kicker.

“I love my team, great kids,” said KP head coach Brian Lee. “We just have to make sure ready to go every single week. It’s been kind of a burn, playing in the Spring. It feels like we’ve been going, going, going, but now we have to focus on staying healthy and getting through Thanksgiving. It’s been fun to be around them, they are good kids that work hard. Hopefully, we can turn that into being successful.”




2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Mansfield

2020 Record: 6-0 (Kelley-Rex division champions)
Coach: Mike Redding

Key/Returning Players: Mark DeGirolamo, Sr., OL/DL; Ryan DeGirolamo, Jr., TE/DE; James Fichera, Sr., WR/LB; Joe Forte, Sr., OL/DL; James Gilleran, Sr., OL/DE; Zander Holmes, Sr., RB/LB; Jephte Jean, Jr., OL/DE; Dana Johnson, Sr., WR/DB; Drew Sacco, Jr., RB/DB; Rocco Scarpellini, Jr., RB/LB; Braeden Veno, Sr., OL/DL; Conner Zukowski, Jr., QB/DB

Outlook:
Mansfield won the 2019 state title, is riding a 16-game win streak, hasn’t lost a game in league play since September 2017, and hasn’t lost an in-state game since a triple-OT thriller against Foxboro at Fenway to close out 2018, so the Hornets have earned the target that is on their backs this fall. Everyone will be aiming to be the first Hock team to hand the Hornets a loss and try to end a three-year run as the top team in the Kelley-Rex. Although there are some guys in new spots, especially at the skill positions, Mansfield returns 10 starters and several players who saw significant action off the bench last year.

The offense will be powered by an experienced line. Four of five starters return from last year with only junior center Colton Johnson added. Seniors Mark DeGirolamo, Joe Forte, and James Gilleran, and junior Jephte Jean are all back and should give the Hornets an edge up front. Junior Conner Zukowski will be the new starting quarterback and he will have several new weapons to call on. Juniors Drew Sacco and Rocco Scarpellini are new starters in the backfield, but both were called on plenty last season. Senior Dana Johnson and sophomore Trevor Foley will get the start out wide.

Defense has been Mansfield’s calling card during its run, as the Hornets allowed only 23 points in six games last year. DeGirolamo and classmate Braeden Veno are back on the defensive line along with Jean and senior Pedro Cruz. All three starting linebackers returned, as seniors Zander Holmes and James Fichera are paired with Scarpellini. Junior safety Ryan DeGirolamo is the only starter back in the secondary and will need to provide leadership for sophomores Foley and CJ Bell. Senior Jared Fraone will start at the other corner spot.

Mansfield coach Mike Redding is counting on a tough preseason, against state powers Everett and Central Catholic, to help the Hornets prepare. He is also excited about the new statewide playoff system that could pair Mansfield with a new set of tournament opponents as they seek to make it a three-peat in Div. 2.




2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Milford

2020 Record: 5-2
Coach: Dale Olson

Key/Returning Players: Key/Returning Players: Evan Cornelius, Jr., QB/DE; Tyler Lane, Sr., RB/LB; Alex McColl, Sr., DE/OT; Marco Monteiro, Sr., DT/OT; Angelo Romero, Sr., RB/LB; Grant Scudo, Sr., RB/SS

Outlook:
Milford made a successful move into the Kelley-Rex last season. Under first-year coach Dale Olson, the Hawks earned a first-ever win over perennial league power King Philip and finished second in the division. This year, the Hawks will try to make another title challenge despite having several new faces stepping into important roles.

On offense, the Hawks will be transitioning from the pass-first offense that Brady Olson ran last year. Junior Evan Cornelius is a very different quarterback, who will bring a lot of size and strength to the position (which makes sense, since he also plays defensive end). Graduation took away a lot of dynamic playmakers from last year’s offense but seniors Tyler Lane, Angelo Romero, and Grant Scudo will give Milford a deep backfield and last year senior Jaden Agnew emerged as a major threat in the passing game.

The Hawks will be tough up front again this year on both sides of the ball. Seniors Alex McColl and Marco Monteiro are big and tough and will open holes on offense while clogging running lanes on the other side. Cornelius will add a threat on the edge defensively and the linebacking corps continues to be a factor, led by Lane and Romero. Scudo seeks out the ball at safety and is always a threat to force a turnover.

Olson admits that his team lacks experience at the skill positions, but he added, “Having three scrimmages will help prepare the first-year varsity kids to play week one.”

2021 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Photos

Taunton

2020 Record: 2-4
Coach: Brad Sidwell

Key/Returning Players: Trent Santos, Sr., WR/DB; Nate Keenan, Sr., WR/RB/FS/K; Nick Lima, Sr., WR/TE/OLB; Nate Laplante, Jr., OL/DL; Ryan MacDougall, Jr., OL/LB; William Guachiculca-Torres, Jr., OL/DL; Faisal Mass, Sr., TE/WR/DL; Tyler Wynn, Jr., WR/DB/P; Evan Perrota, Sr., RB/LB; Jake Leonard, Jr., QB; Isaiah Williams, Jr., WR/DB; Logan Frank, Jr., OL/LB; Bryan Batista, Sr., RB; Jon Castillo, Sr., WR/SS; Jack Moitoso, Sr., OL/DL; McKyen Gonsalves, Jr., WR/DB;

Outlook:
Taunton didn’t have the best record during the Fall 2 season but the opportunity to just get on the field and play was incredibly valuable for the Tigers. There are less than a dozen seniors (eight) on the roster for the Tigers this season so head coach Brad Sidwell will be looking for a strong class of juniors, as well as some sophomores, to make up the majority of the lineup this Fall.

A good chunk of those juniors were inserted into the starting lineup or played a large number of snaps just five months ago when the Tigers played six games. That allowed the Tigers to build some depth for the upcoming season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Junior Jake Leonard got a jump start to his career when he took over for an injured Danny MacDougall. That experience will be key as he begins his first full season as the starter under center. Leonard will have three veteran options to work with in senior captains Trent Santos and Nate Keenan — two receivers — and tight end Nick Lima. Senior Faisal Mass will be a big target as a tight end, also providing key blocking on the line, while seniors Jon Castillo (receiver), Jack Moitiso (offensive line) and Evan Perrota (running back) will be in the mix as well.

Junior Ryan MacDougall started on the offensive line last season and will be joined by classmates Nate Laplante, William Guachiculca-Torres, and Logan Frank while sophomore Bryan Joanis will also be in the mix so some playing time. Keenan could also get some carries out of the backfield while junior Bryan Batista could emerge as a go-to option carrying the ball. Juniors Tyler Wynn, Isaiah Williams, and McKyen Gonsalves are three names to watch as receiving options for Leonard.

Taunton has a lot of experience in its secondary with both Santos and Keenan playing on both sides of the ball, and that experience will be a big strength for the Tigers. There is also a lot of depth in the linebackers, starting with Lima, who uses his speed to attack the ball. He can also step out and play in coverage or drop back into a safety role if needed. Lima will be joined by Frank, MacDougall, and Perrota as linebackers. On the line, Laplante had a strong sophomore season and could be poised for a breakout year.

Taunton will prepare for the ever-challenging division slate with non-league games against New Bedford, Durfee, and Middleboro in its first three weeks. It also marks the first year of its new Thanksgiving rivalry with Milford.

“We’re excited to begin the season with this group after productive preseason practices and scrimmages,” said head coach Brad Sidwell. “Although we only have eight seniors, many of our players gained experience in the spring season. We need to improve through the non-league start of the season as the Hockomock Kelley-Rex is always a challenge for any of the teams involved.”

2021 Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars

Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Kyle Sarney, Oliver Ames

Hockomock League All Stars

Ethan Crosby, Attleboro
Nathan Seybert, Attleboro
John Blouin, Attleboro
Deyontai Dennis, Canton
Jonathan Chery, Canton
Adam Connolly, Foxboro
Nick Calitri, Franklin
Joseph Zercie, Franklin
Griffin Sienczkiewicz, Franklin
Connor Kucich, Franklin
Jovan Joseph, King Philip
Noah Hurd, King Philip
Dylan Buchanan, Mansfield
Jack Taylor, Mansfield
Kevin O’Connor, Milford
Matthew Penta, North Attleboro
Colby Feid, North Attleboro
Nathan Shultz, North Attleboro
Owen McMorrow, Oliver Ames
Kyle Sarney, Oliver Ames
Ike Ogbonnanze, Sharon
Patrick McManus, Sharon
Jordan Emile, Stoughton
Elisha Teneus-Claude, Stoughton
Jake Wall, Mansfield
Omari Welch-Guytan, Stoughton
Mark Edge, Stoughton
Sproul Derolus, Stoughton
Cashmere Mathurin, Stoughton
Nolan Tavares, Taunton
Steven Westgate, Taunton
Nate Candido, Taunton
Almonroe Leaman, Taunton
GJ Mualis, Taunton
Gavin Weldon, Taunton
Edward Paiva, Taunton
Aidden Fitting, Taunton
Conal Scully, Taunton

Honorable Mentions
Lee Casstevens, Attleboro
Kyle Downing, Canton
Nic Olson, Foxboro
Colman Flynn, Franklin
Will Martin, King Philip
Trevor Flint, Mansfield
James Comisky, Milford
Jack MacLaughlin, North Attleboro
Jaiden Daly, Oliver Ames
Paiden Arya, Sharon
Jalen Castillo, Stoughton
Nolan Tomaszycki, Taunton

Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. 2021 Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars

2021 Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars

Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Jordyn Collins, Foxboro

Hockomock League All Stars

Kamsi Igbobi, Attleboro
Kelly Neuendorf, Attleboro
Talya Mendez-DeGraw, Canton
Kiara Cerruti, Canton
Madison Rousseau, Canton
Jordyn Collins, Foxboro
Aislinn Servaes, Foxboro
Rebecca Foley, Foxboro
Camryn Collins, Foxboro
Emma Dahl, Foxboro
Jillian Fenerty, Franklin
Katelynn Taylor, Franklin
Lindsey Morse, Franklin
Milan Simmons, King Philip
Sofia DelVecchio, King Philip
Tessa Lancaster, Mansfield
Caitlin Dumouchel, Mansfield
Anna Buckley, Mansfield
Emma Lawrence, Milford
Kiyanni Simas, Milford
Kerry O’Connor, Milford
Dani Atherton, Milford
Julia Gonzalez, Milford
Olivia Etienvre, North Attleboro
Tess Collins, North Attleboro
Annelise Grunewald, North Attleboro
Katie Sobieraj, Oliver Ames
Taegen Hodges, Oliver Ames
Emily Meyers, Oliver Ames
Jenna Gilman, Oliver Ames
Jojo Holmes, Oliver Ames
Simone Dunbar, Sharon
Carolyn Bayha, Sharon
Daphne Theiler, Sharon
Shayla Ford, Stoughton
Hannah McEntee, Taunton
Nia Mainer-Smith, Taunton
Caelen O’Leary Taunton

Honorable Mentions
Cassondra Stuger, Attleboro
Kiley Hanlon, Canton
Camryn Collins, Foxboro
Ava Fraulo, Franklin
Sydney O’Shea, King Philip
Alissa Cooke, Mansfield
Catherine Madden, Milford
Arianna Newth, North Attleboro
Ella McDonough, Oliver Ames
Olivia Nau, Sharon
Ashley Camillo, Stoughton
Olivia Dias, Taunton

Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. 2021 Hockomock League Girls Outdoor Track All Stars

2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars

Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Kelley-Rex Division MVP

Matt Lazzaro, Franklin

Kelley-Rex Division All Stars

Freddy Wheaton, Attleboro
Mark DeGirolamo, Mansfield
Matt Lazzaro, Franklin
Luke Davis, Franklin
Joe Consigli, Franklin
Zach Harvey, Franklin
Jack Maguire, Franklin
Evan Hazard, Milford
Sam Mattson, King Philip
Paul McDonald, King Philip

Davenport Division MVP

Dylan Coyne, Canton

Davenport Division All Stars

Jack Albert, Canton
Sam Carlino, Canton
Dylan Coyne, Canton
Conor Noone, Foxboro
Dylan Kerrigan, Foxboro
Tommy Sharkey, Foxboro
Matt Antonetti, North Attleboro
Tyler Sarro, North Attleboro
Remi Creighton, Oliver Ames
Drew Litner, Sharon
Ben Shocket, Sharon
Mike McLaughlin, Stoughton

Honorable Mentions
Harry Wheaton, Attleboro
Jeff Fitzpatrick, Canton
Nick Penders, Foxboro
Owen Kielty, Franklin
Sean Crowther, King Philip
Zander Holmes, Mansfield
Tyler Small, Milford
Connor Ruppert, North Attleboro
Noah Isleib, Oliver Ames
Brady Daylor, Sharon
Iago Bonfim, Stoughton

Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. 2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars

Franklin Has Playoff Run Come to Close in South Final

Franklin boys lacrosse Matt Lazzaro
Franklin senior Matt Lazzaro’s shot from the ground is turned aside by BC High goalie Jamie Horton in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FRANKLIN, Mass. – In the semifinal win over Hingham, Franklin (18-1) struggled with uncharacteristic turnovers early in the game, but once the Panthers found the back of the net and grabbed the lead they established a rhythm on offense and never looked back.

In Sunday night’s Div. 1 South final against defending champ BC High, Franklin had another slow start but this time never looked comfortable on either end of the field. The Eagles clinched a fourth sectional title in the last five seasons, handing the Panthers a 14-9 loss in their first final appearance. It was Franklin’s only loss this season.

“It was a great year,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “We ran into a better team, at least tonight they were better. Hats off to them, they were bigger, faster, stronger, and in so many different areas they played great. Our kids battled.”

He added, “We didn’t handle the pressure real well. They pressed out on us and I don’t think we handled it as well as we could have, but I have nothing but good things to say about this group. They were unbelievable.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin’s Justin Alexander won the opening five face-offs of the game, but the Panthers struggled to connect passes together and the Eagles took advantage of turnovers to take an early lead. Will Emsing opened the scoring in transition and Emmett Martin doubled the lead with a shot on the run. Louis Timmins added a man-up goal to push the lead to 3-0 after eight minutes.

It took the Panthers almost nine minutes to create a good scoring chance, but once Luke Davis got his hands free on the run he was able to pick the bottom corner. About 30 seconds later, Davis got his second of the game, spinning his defender on the edge of the crease and squeezing a shot through the five-hole while falling.

A minute later Jack Maguire (11 saves) made a big stop, but Franklin turned it over in the clear and Vin Horton came right down and scored to make it 4-2. Another turnover handed the Eagles one more chance before the end of the quarter and this time it was Tim Rogers spinning back on his marker and firing into the corner.

The visitors had all the momentum and that carried over to the second quarter. Inside the first minute, Owen Porter became the sixth Eagle to find the back of the net with a lefty shot on the bounce.

Needing a spark, Franklin was able to again turn to Davis. The sophomore attacker received a pass from senior Matt Lazzaro and rifled a shot under the bar and just 40 seconds, after Joe Consigli was taken down driving towards the cage, Davis scooped the loose ball and finished from close range.


“It’s awesome to see Luke and Jayden, they have a ton of talent and the future is wicked bright for those two,” Lazzaro said about his fellow attackers. They’re just hard-working kids. Can’t wait to see what they do in the future.” Two years ago, Lazzaro was the young guy in an attacking three with Jake Davis and Ben Greco and he got a different perspective from being the veteran this season. He explained, “To see those two take charge and take command on the offensive end is cool.”

For the second time in the game, Franklin was able to hit with two quick goals and looked like it might be able to get back in it, but those were just flashes of the Panthers’ attacking ability and BC High quickly responded. Timmins got his second of the day, then Carter Rice and LSM James Carroll scored before halftime to build a 9-4 lead.

The Panthers really needed to get the first goal of the second half to try and start a rally, but it was Horton that found the bottom corner to extend the lead to six. Joe Consigli set up his brother Jayden for a good look from the edge of the crease only to be denied by Jamie Horton (12 saves).

Franklin was pressing and saw another turnover end a spell of possession, but Davis hustled back to force a turnover on the clear. He then turned and pushed forward into the attack, setting up Jayden Consigli for a goal.

Lazzaro was getting more space to get touches than he had in the previous two rounds, but the Eagles were making sure to throw multiple defenders at him every time he got the ball. With four minutes left in the third, he showed what makes him an All-American when he threw a fake that left the players on the field (and even some of the people of the sidelines) wondering where the ball ended up. Turns out it was still in his stick and he ripped a shot past Horton.

Rice answered with a spin and overhand finish and Horton came up with a big stop after Lazzaro sprung Ravin Chaudhury, who also took a big hit when he got to the edge of the crease. Franklin was able to get back within four, as Lazzaro went low-angle with a rip just a second before the horn.

“He’s been the man for four years now,” Verrochi said of Lazzaro. “He’s just an exceptional kid too. No one works harder than him, absolutely no one. You swear that the ball has eyes when he shoots sometimes from the angle that he shoots at and finishes. Everybody says, it was lucky, but it wasn’t, that was hours of preparation.”

Trailing 11-7, Franklin was still hanging around and still felt like it had a chance at winning a first South title, but the Panthers needed to be the next team on the board. Instead, BC High showed its championship pedigree by scoring three straight goals and opening the biggest lead of the game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Lazzaro still had time for an addition to his lengthy highlight reel, as he got up from being knocked down and fired a shot from a seemingly impossible angle into the corner. Franklin added another in transition, Tim Walsh getting the ball up to Jayden Consigli for a close-range finish.

“The four captains did a great job in the offseason getting the kids to workouts and stuff and they were just committed,” Verrochi said. “They thought that this was going to be an exceptional year. They worked really hard.”

When asked about going further than any other Franklin team, Lazzaro, a Penn State-commit, replied, “It definitely shows how hard we worked as a team. It just shows off how hard we work and how great of a coaching staff we have and I’m just lucky to be part of a great program.”

Franklin Dominates Hingham, Books Spot in First Final

Franklin Boys Lacrosse
Franklin senior Matt Lazzaro fakes a shot on the break during the Panthers’ 15-7 win against perennial power Hingham. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FRANKLIN, Mass. – In the opening minutes of Friday night’s Div. 1 South semifinal at Pisini Stadium, Franklin looked a little out of sorts. Atypical turnovers, passes going awry, struggling to get into the attack, the Panthers looked a little tentative, like a team that had never gotten past this stage going up against a perennial state power.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Nearly 10 minutes into the first quarter, Franklin broke the deadlock. Two minutes later, the Panthers added a second. In the second quarter, they went on a 6-0 run and suddenly it was two-time defending D1 South champion (and 2017 D2 state champion) Hingham that was on the ropes.

After that slow start, Franklin dominated the Harbormen in every facet, putting together a complete team performance and pulling out a 15-7 victory that head coach Lou Verrochi called one of the biggest in program history. With the win, Franklin advances to its first ever sectional final.

“We took it to them really and I was pleased with that,” Verrochi said. “I mean, who wouldn’t be with that result against a Hingham team that’s traditionally one of the powers in Div. 1? It was a great win for the program and a great win for the kids.”

A relatively young and inexperienced defensive group has morphed into one of Franklin’s biggest strengths this season and the back line was excellent in the opening quarter. Hingham dominated possession, as an even younger Franklin attack tried to find its footing. It took more than eight minutes for Luke Davis to get Franklin’s first shot on target. Seconds later, senior goalie Jack Maguire (seven saves) came up with a big stop on a wrap around effort to keep it scoreless.

“Our best games are practices every day after school,” Maguire replied when asked about the growth of the defense this season. “Our offense is one of the best offenses in the state so we get to practice against the best in the state and we’re going to get better and we definitely did.”

The Panthers sparked into life after almost 10 minutes of play. Joe Consigli teed up Tim Walsh for a big chance but the shot smashed off the helmet of Hingham goalie Samuel Bellomy. Just seconds later, Matt Lazzaro got the ball behind the cage, dodged to the left of Bellomy and fired a low shot into the corner.

Bellomy (11 saves) came up with another big stop almost two minutes later, but the rebound was scooped up by Owen Kielty, who went behind his back to find the open net and double Franklin’s lead before the end of the quarter.

“The fact that we did score the first couple of goals I think was pretty good,” Verrochi explained. “It set the kids at ease a little bit and I think we played with a lot of composure after that.”

Hingham came back with a goal early in the second, as Owen Hoffman found the top corner. Instead of the start of a comeback, the goal seemed to open the floodgates on the other end of the field. The Panthers would score the game’s next six goals to open up a big lead.

After a Maguire save, the Panthers transitioned quickly with the ball going from Jayden Consigli to Davis to Lazzaro, who faked a shot to get Bellomy out of position before putting the chance away. Maguire took one off the mask from Charles Packard and then a minute later, Jayden Consigli fed his older brother for a rip to make it 4-1.

Lazzaro set up Joe Consigli for a chance that was saved, but Walsh and Kielty made sure Hingham couldn’t clear, forcing a turnover that turned into a Kielty backhand finish off a Lazzaro assist. Joe Consigli found his brother cutting for a sixth goal and then picked the corner with a snipe to make it 7-1. Kielty completed his hat trick with a great fake and overhand finish.

Although Hoffman scored just before halftime, Franklin went into the break with an 8-2 lead. A key to the Panthers’ dominance was Justin Alexander controlling the face-off ‘X’. The sophomore had a tough day against Wellesley in the previous round but won 19-of-24 on Friday.

Hingham did win the draw to start the second half and immediately cut the lead down to five, but a minute later another Maguire save turned into a transition goal at the other end. His outlet hit Ben Harvey at midfield and the sophomore pole quickly relayed it to Joe Consigli, who then found his brother right in front of goal. Davis added another less than a minute later to make it 10-3.

Verrochi said, “One thing about the Consigli boys is they’re always moving off ball, Jayden in particular. He’s always open, which is huge.”

With two goals three minutes apart, Hingham tried to get back into the game, but Franklin’s passing in the attack was too potent. Kielty to Jayden Consigli to Joe Consigli made it 11-5 and then Kielty made a nice one-on-one move to tack on another goal before the end of the third.

“I’ve been preaching to our middies that they need to go to the hole more,” said Verrochi about the balanced offense Franklin showed on Friday. “Tonight they did a pretty good job slowing down our attack so our midfielders, Joey and Owen, just took over. I’ve been telling Owen all year long, he’s been Mr. One More, and I said Owen you can start scoring goals. Tonight was evidence of that.”

As expected from a team with Hingham’s pedigree, the Harbormen kept fighting back, scoring a pair of goals in the opening three minutes of the fourth. Hoffman had a chance to make it a four-goal game and build some momentum for the visitors but his rising shot was tipped over the bar by Maguire.

Less than a minute later, the Consigli brothers, who transferred in from Northbridge last year, connected again (Jayden to Joe this time) for a goal that settled things down for Franklin. Lazzaro added another and then Kielty snagged his fifth of the game, taking a hit to finish.

Hingham had not allowed more than 10 goals in a game this season (even with a schedule featuring the likes of Lincoln-Sudbury, Duxbury, and St. John’s Prep), but the Panthers put 15 past them on Friday.

“This is our first time making it this far,” said Maguire. “It was just an all-around great game from goal line to goal line. We played awesome and…it’s on to BC High. It’s incredible. It’s awesome. It still doesn’t feel real.”

Franklin (18-0) will host No. 6 seed BC High on Sunday at 7:00 to try and win the program’s first sectional title and reach its first state championship game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.