Teams of the Decade #9: 2019 Mansfield Football

Mansfield football

Team: Mansfield Football
Year: 2019
Record: 11-1
2019 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2019 Division 2 State Champions


Even though the Mansfield football team walked off the field at Lancer Stadium in Ohio with a loss to La Salle in Week 2, longtime head coach Mike Redding still had a good feeling about his Hornets.

“I was talking to some of our coaches after that game and I said ‘this team can win a state championship,'” Redding said. “Here we are, just lost by 22, but the way we competed out there against a high-level team. It was probably one of the more talented teams we’ve played in 32 years and we came up short on the scoreboard, but if you look at the film play by play, we stood up pretty equally to them.

“The feeling walking off that field…when we go back home and get everybody back on board, we could have a pretty special group that can play against anyone in Massachusetts.”

And that’s exactly what happened. The Hornets bulldozed through their league schedule, grinding out a tough win at KP while outscoring the other four Kelley-Rex opponents 152-28. The playoffs were more of the same as the Hornets limited tournament foes to a total of 15 points through four games played, including a 41-0 rout in the D2 State Championship over Lincoln-Sudbury.

The Mansfield football team opened the season with a convincing win over BC High before hitting the road for a trip to Ohio against La Salle. The Lancers featured at least a dozen Division I commits at the time of the game, including Northwestern bound running back Cameron Porter. While the scoreboard favored the hosts, Mansfield walked away with plenty of positives, including an edge in yardage on offense, and its swarming defense limited Porter to 30 yards on the ground.

The dominance back in Massachusetts wasn’t a gigantic shock as the Hornets entered the season as one of the favorites in both the Hockomock League and in the state. It felt like three years in the making as Mansfield football returned a boatload of returning players with either one or two years experience. Two seasons prior, the Hornets were swept by rival King Philip, who went on to win the state championship. A year prior, Mansfield won the regular season matchup and took home the division title but the Warriors got the last laugh in the playoffs. This season, Mansfield won both meetings, the latter earning a spot in the south final.

“I think it was back in January before the season, we were pretty honest with them and told them they had a chance to compete for the league title, which is challenging enough, but when you get in the playoffs, this is a team that can make a run towards a state title,” Redding said. “The last couple of years, we’ve lost a couple of high-level kids due to injuries.

“I think it was a big motivation for a lot of guys in this group because they had come so close before but couldn’t finish on the field because of injuries so they were a pretty hungry group. As coaches, we just hold our breath hoping they stay healthy because they have worked so hard and they deserve a chance to compete, win or lose, and you just don’t want them sitting on the sidelines watching.”

The offense started with senior quarterback Jack Moussette, who was like a coach on the field for the Hornets with his ability to manage the game. It was a pick-your-poison backfield that featured seniors Vinnie Holmes (895 yards, 8 TD), Michael DeBolt (402 yards, 6 TD), and Nick Marciano (334 yards, 6 TD) along with star junior Cincere Gill (979 yards, 10 TD). With the help of a strong, talented offensive line featuring Andrew Cowles, TJ Guy, Jake McCoy, Noah Jellenik, and Jason Comeau, the Hornets could break out a big run on any given play. Moussette (914 yards, 11 TD) connected with receiver Danny Rapoza (4 TD) for a team-high 20 receptions. On top of that, DeBolt was one of the best kickers in the area with nine field goals and 38 successful PATs.

“From the first practice we all knew we had the opportunity to be a special team,” Holmes said. “I think that the first two games prepared us for how we need to play for the rest of the season, fast and physical. We all knew we were going to be faster and more physical than whoever lined up across from us, and the La Salle game sparked that intensity. Bringing that intensity into the league paid off as we were able to get another league title.

“Going into the playoffs we knew we had a great shot at winning a state title if we can keep up our level of play. I think we soared over our original expectations by a long shot outscoring our opponents 121-15 in a four-game span on our way to a state championship season. One thing that stood out to me that I think clicked in the playoff run is that everyone knew their roles and did exactly what they were supposed to and we executed extremely well.”

As dominant as the Hornets were on offense (29.8 points per game), Mansfield’s defense was equally as powerful as they allowed under 10 points per game against some of the best competition in the state. Massachusetts foes averaged just over seven points per game with Mansfield holding opponents to seven points or less in seven contests. Similar to the offense, it all started up front with the line play, including Guy, Chris Graham, Mark DeGirolamo, and Nico Holmes. To complement that group, Mansfield football had a loaded group of linebackers (Holmes, Joe Plath, Paden Palanza) and a very talented secondary (Makhi Baskin, Nick Bertolino).

“I think it was definitely one of the more talented teams I’ve had in the three decades plus that I’ve coached,” Redding said. “It was one of those teams that had the rare combination of being really good up front on the o-line and the d-line, which is usually enough to be competitive, but then you throw in a very, very talented group of skill players on both sides. We had the running backs and receivers, and the linebackers and secondary on defense.

“Top to bottom, it was really hard to find a weakness. So many of them had contributed the previous year or two so they came in with a pretty high level of experience. In high school, if you can put that package of skill, physical and tough kids up front, and a group that’s battle tested and confident, that’s usually a recipe for a championship run.”






Mansfield football
Mansfield football

Opponent
Result
BC HighW, 31-10 (Recap)
La Salle (OH)L, 38-16
TauntonW, 31-6
King PhilipW, 15-13 (Recap)
FranklinW, 39-9 (Recap)
Oliver AmesW, 36-6
AttleboroW, 46-7
MarshfieldW, 24-6
King PhilipW, 34-6 (Recap)
NatickW, 22-3 (Recap)
FoxboroW, 22-12
Lincoln-SudburyW, 41-0 (Recap)






Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football


Mansfield football
Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football


Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/25/20

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalOliver Ames rallied for three goals in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and grab a win at home over Attleboro. Cam Perron, Hunter Costello, and Jake Gottwald each found the back of the net for the Tigers, who scored the game-winning goal with 4:30 left in the contest. Perron and Ryan Gottwald had assists for OA.

Franklin, 1 @ Canton, 3 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Foxboro, 5 @ Taunton, 5 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Mansfield, 3 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip rallied from a two-goal deficit, scoring the tying goal with just over five minutes remaining to earn a key point and move into a tie for first place in the Kelley-Rex division with two games let. King Philip junior Aidan Boulger scored on an assist from classmate David Lawler with 5:43 to play to bring the Warriors level. Mansfield opened the scoring less than a minute in when Jake Lund (from Kevin Belanger and Chris Jenkins) scored at 14:10. Jenkins doubled the lead with 9:19 left in the second period on a feed from Lund. King Philip got on the board with 7:46 to play in the middle period on an unassisted tally from Jack Coulter but Mansfield pushed the lead to 3-1 on a goal from Mark DeGirolamo (from Kyle Oakley and Joseph Gormley) just 19 seconds later. KP pulled one back on the power play when Chris Daniels scored on assists from Joe Boselli and Rocco Bianculli.

Stoughton, 1 @ Nauset, 1 – FinalStoughton rallied for a goal late in the third period to earn a tie on the road at Nauset. Dante Massaro scored a goal on assist from Anthony Hern with 2:57 left in the game to grab a point.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 4 @ Hingham, 1 – FinalCanton freshman Olivia Maffeo scored all four goals to lead the Bulldogs to a win on the road.

Franklin, 1 @ Norwood, 2 – Final

King Philip, 1 @ Westwood, 4 – Final










Wrestling
Methuen Super-Quad (Canton) – The Bulldogs notched a pair of wins at the Metheun SuperQuad. Canton picked up wins over Waltham (58-24) and Quabbin (24-15) but suffered setbacks to St. John’s Shrewsbury (52-23), Lynnfield/North Reading (54-21) and host Metheun (71-6).

Timberlane (NH) Invitational (Franklin, Mansfield) – Both Franklin and Mansfield finished in the top five in the team standings at the Timberlane Invitational. The Panthers had one individual champion, a second place finish, five grapplers take third while the Hornets had two champions, one second place finish, and three wrestlers take fourth. Franklin’s Dom Sackley won the 160 bracket, Mansfield’s Antonios Sevastos went 3-0 to take first at 126, and CJ Glaropoulos needed just 1:19 total to get three wins and take first at 170 for the Hornets. Finishing second included Franklin’s Kenny Sauer (152) and Mansfield’s Noah Jellenik (220). Drew DiFilippo (120), Jake Carlucci (132), Alex Fracassa (145), Liam Cogavin (170), and Dylan Nawn (182) all finished third for the Panthers while Mansfield’s Noah Price (120), Will Stratton (145), and Ciaran Connolly (160) each finished fourth.

St. John’s Prep Quad (Foxboro), 10:00AM

Whitman-Hanson Quad (King Philip, Sharon) – Sharon picked up a pair of wins, recording victories over both Bridgewater Raynham (43-25) and host Whitman-Hanson (56-18). David Gelman, Amit Levin, Kirit Gosetty, and Philip Varvak each picked up a pair of wins at the meet.

Framingham Quad (North Attleboro) – The Rocketeers picked up two wins as a team and had five grapplers post 3-0 records at the Framingham quad. North Attleboro pinned down wins over Needham (45-25) and Milton (55-12) but fell to the host Flyers (39-30). Ethan Smith (126, three pins), Chris Galligan (132, one pin, one tech fall), Mike Edmonds (170, two pins), Keysun Wise (220, three pins) and John Kummer (285, one pin) each went 3-0 on the day. Andrew Faris (138), Jon Lozinski (145), and Alex Warsofsky (195) each had a pair of wins for the Rocketeers.

Sandwich Tournament (Taunton) – Taunton had its best ever showing at the Cape Cod Invitational, a tournament the Tigers compete in annually, by taking third overall as a team with 135 points. Taunton had one champion, a pair of second and third place finishes, and three wrestlers take fourth. Christian Balmain won the 152 bracket, earning three pinfall victories to get to the final where he used a third period escape to secure a 3-2 decision. Nico Sallaway (170) and James Collins (106) each finishes second, Xavier Sandoval (126) and Brandon Mendes (113) each took third, and Peter Ye (182), Jackson Mandeville (138), and Ben Mandeville (132) each finished fourth.

Hopkinton Quad (Milford), 9:00AM

Mansfield Rings In New Year With Win at Attleboro

Mansfield boys hockey
Mansfield forward Chris Jenkins (9) looks for a shooting lane against Attleboro. The Hornets scored twice in the third period to get the win. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Mansfield and Attleboro met for a New Year’s Day matinee at the New England Sports Village to not only kick off a new year but also the start of league play. In a game filled with chances at both ends of the ice, one goal proved decisive and made for a happy start to 2020 for the Hornets.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Cam Page scored with 10:52 remaining in the game and Jake Lund added an empty net goal in the final minute to secure Mansfield a 2-0 victory. Senior goalie Sean McCafferty made 23 saves to record his second straight shutout and he was matched save-for-save by Attleboro sophomore Nick Piazza, who made 30 stops to keep the Bombardiers in the game to the end.

“It took us a while,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “Their goalie played phenomenal. His rebound control was great. He was poised, he didn’t get flustered. We had good looks, we had shots, but we didn’t get enough people to the front of the net.”

Despite coming out with a loss, Attleboro coach Mark Homer was proud of the effort that his team put in, particularly in the defensive zone.

“In order to get to the next level, you have to be able to compete with the bigger teams in the league and I thought we did that today,” he explained. “They would have control in the zone and then there’d be a push back. The kids coming out of a game like this gained a lot of confidence, especially our defense. They know that they’re that close.”

Kevin Belanger had the game’s first chance when he got behind the Attleboro defense just 40 seconds into the game, but Piazza stayed with the puck and made a big pad save. Sam Flynn forced McCafferty into a save with a shot from the high slot and McCafferty stopped the rebound as well.

The best chance of the first period came with four minutes left. Joseph Troiano raced down the left wing and centered the puck to Page, but again Piazza stood tall to stop the close-range effort.

“That has been our struggle the past few games, coming out of the gates,” said Balzarini about the lack of clear chances in the opening period. “I thought everyone’s first few shifts were good and then we just kind of stopped for whatever reason. We stopped moving our feet and we started trying to make the more difficult plays rather than the easy play.”

Things picked up in the second, as both teams had flurries of attacking zone play and created numerous scoring chances.

Mansfield started the period on the front foot. On the power play, Troiano had a chance from the slot that was blockered aside and seconds later Ben Ierardo set up Mark DeGirolamo, but Piazza flashed a pad to deny the opening goal.

Freshman Aidan Dryjowicz nearly broke the deadlock when he stole a puck in the neutral zone and skated in alone but his shot was wide of the net. Ryan Morry kept a puck alive on the boards to set up Liam McDonough at the point, but Morry was unable to get a clean tip at the post. Dryjowicz and Morry had breakaway opportunities just seconds apart, but McCafferty stopped both.

With two minutes left in the second, Braedon Copparini and DeGirolamo both had shots from the edge of the crease but in both cases Piazza made sure the puck didn’t get through.

“He’s the type of kid that we don’t have to say too much to him,” said Homer about Piazza. “He’s fundamentally sound. He’s making better and better decisions. Having him back there, we know that most shots we’re going to have a good chance of stopping the puck.”

Three penalties in the final 23 seconds of the second gave Mansfield more than 90 seconds of 4-on-3 to start the third period and the Hornets used it to build momentum. Belanger had a good early chance when he drove off the left wing boards and forced Piazza into a good kick save. Page teed up Chris Jenkins for a backdoor one-timer but he hit the side of the net.

“There were a few chances where we just forced pucks into the middle rather than using our point and regrouping,” said Balzarini about finding ways of turning zone time into more goals. “We’ll start with getting the ‘D’ more active.”

Attleboro almost stunned the Hornets with a shorthanded break. Dryjowicz gained the zone and passed it to Sean Marshall, but his backhand try slid just wide of the post. Owen Dryjowicz nearly put the Bombardiers in front a minute later with a clean breakaway, but McCafferty was able to sprawl and get a toe to the shot and keep it out.

The breakthrough finally came on the power play. Belanger and Page had a nice passing sequence and Page found space right in front of goal for a one-timer into the corner that gave Piazza no chance.

Owen Dryjowicz was an inch from tying the game two minutes later. On the power play, he lined up a shot from the point that McCafferty never saw but that struck the bar and caromed to the corner. Jake Ward sprung Morry up the boards for a rush with three minutes to go, but again the shot was saved and the rebound covered up after a scramble.

After Attleboro pulled the goalie for an attacking zone face-off, Mansfield put the game away. Lund flicked the puck into the empty net from just outside the blue line to seal the 2-0 win.

“They’re creating the opportunities and I think once they pocket one and they figure it out then I think more of those are going to go in,” said Homer. “I like the fact that we’re getting those opportunities. We were penetrating and I saw forwards going to the net. These guys aren’t afraid to go to the dirty parts of the ice.”

Mansfield (3-1-1) will try to make it four wins in a row when the Hornets travel to Shrewsbury on Saturday. Attleboro (2-2-1) will try to carry its performance into Saturday night’s visit from Canton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Hornets Swarm Past King Philip Into D2 South Final

Mansfield football Jack Moussette
Mansfield senior quarterback Jack Moussette throws a past in the first quarter against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – The past two seasons, the Mansfield football team has had its hopes of competing for a state championship dashed by rival King Philip.

The Hornets weren’t going to let that happen again this year.

Mansfield senior quarterback Jack Moussette tossed four touchdowns in one of his best performances of the season and junior Cincere Gill accounted for four total scored to help the Hornets roll to a 34-6 win over #3 King Philip.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I was just trying to make the most of my opportunities,” said Moussette, who completed 12-of-17 passes for 230 yards. “We run the ball the majority of the time but Coach Redding told me ‘I trust you, go out there and do your thing tonight.’ I just tried to do the best I could. We had a great game on the ground and in the air, it was overall a great team win, I’m really proud of the guys. The offensive line stepped up big when we needed them too.”

While the Hornets have won the past two regular season meetings (28-27 in 2018, 15-13 this season), the Warriors have been the ones with the last laugh. KP knocked off Mansfield 13-11 in the semifinals in 2017 and celebrated with the D2 South trophy on Alumni Field last season after a 10-7 triumph.

“We’ve won the last two regular season games to win the league title but back-to-back losses, when you’re this close to Gillette…the guys have been waiting a year for another chance,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. “We got the monkey off the back in the league, the playoff thing was like a gorilla on our back. It would have been another long year if we blew this one. But being home, being healthy for a change in the playoffs has made a difference. We’re doing it in all three phases right now and with confidence.

“Every year we play them we seem to get seven and get stuck. Last year in the playoffs, we got seven early and didn’t score. This year we got seven and didn’t score until the end. We harped on that, get to 14, get the 14-point lead, build off that. Tonight we got more than that which is great but extending the lead was critical.”

Mansfield made it clear early on that repeating that feat would be a tough task. After a punt and a red zone turnover, the Hornets got on the board on their third series.

Moussette hit Danny Rapoza (three catches, 58 yards) for 32 yards on first down, and four plays later, used play action before connecting with Gill (five catches, 107 yards, three touchdowns) out in the flat and the junior used his speed to race inside the pylon for a 7-0 lead with 11:54 left in the second quarter.

The Hornets’ defense helped set up the next score. Nico Holmes and Chris Graham combined for a tackle for loss, and the front seven helped pressure King Philip quarterback Robert Jarest (8-for-23, 107 yards, touchdown) into a throwaway that was flagged for intentional grounding.

Stuck at their own 11, KP chose a quick kick from Jarest on third down trying to flip the field. Mansfield took over at the KP 46-yard line and quickly cashed in. Gill faked outside to shake his defender and Moussette delivered a pass on the mark for a 46-yard touchdown with 9:19 left in the second quarter.

“It’s a lot of people to cover and I think their quarterback has come along,” said King Philip coach Brian Lee. “He’s the one piece that’s the difference for them right now. He’s getting better and better, it was tough. It’s a lot to defend, and on a short field, you’re asking for trouble.”

Makhi Baskin broke up a third down pass on KP’s next drive and the Hornets took over at their own 32-yard line with 7:12 left to play in the half. Vinnie Holmes (12 carries, 70 yards) broke off a 17-yard run and Gill hauled in a 27-yard pass but Mansfield was faced with a third down when they entered the red zone.

Moussette faked to his right before dropping off a pass to the left on a screen to Everett Knowlton. Junior TJ Guy came up with a big block to spring Knowlton for an 18-yard touchdown, and Michael DeBolt’s third of four successful extra point attempts gave the hosts a 21-0 lead with 3:41 left in the quarter.

“We had a great night throwing, and I think that was the difference,” Redding said. “Jack was on, we had some good matchups with Cincere [Gill] out as a receiver, Danny [Rapoza] did a good job. I think that was the difference was our ability to throw the ball. We ran pretty well but we had to throw it.

“And our defense was lights out, and the field position was a pretty big factor with the kicking game. We fed off the field position, defense got stops. Now you can take chances on offense because you have four downs. Things went our way from the beginning.”

Mansfield nearly added more points before the break with runs from DeBolt and Nick Marciano helping get the Hornets inside the red zone. But a pass fell through a receiver’s hands in the end zone and KP sophomore Crawford Cantave snatched the interception with under a minute to play.

King Philip looked to have a bright start to the second half when Jarest connected with Alex Behling for almost 30 yards down the sideline but a holding call erased the completion and two plays later, Marciano came up with an interception to give Mansfield the ball back with good field position at the KP 23-yard line.

Four plays later, Gill took the handoff, cut up field and found the end zone with an 11-yard touchdown, and a 28-0 advantage with 7:59 left in the third quarter.

“One thing that was a little disappointing was that we got beat up, we got out-physicaled, out-played,” Lee said. “I’m not sure what was so different this time than last time but it definitely was a big difference. When they are out in front, they get on you. You have to keep it close with them. They are loaded, they have a lot of guys. They are coached well and they believe.”

The Warriors put together their best drive of the game in response. Jarest had a first down pass to Behling and Ryan Halliday (13 carries, 47 yards) barreled his way for a first down. Jarest linked up with Behling again for a 42-yard gain to get inside the red zone.

On the next play, Mansfield’s Joe Plath broke up a pass intended for KP’s Drew Danson, but the loose ball was hauled in by Andrew McKinney along the back of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.

Sophomore Mark DeGirolamo recovered an onside kick attempt from the Warriors, and the Hornets needed just three plays to strike. DeBolt hauled in a 19-yard pass, Holmes grinded out nine yards, and Moussette connected with an open Gill for a 24-yard touchdown, and a 34-6 lead with 3:14 left in the third quarter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We have great receivers,” Moussette said. “Cincere is unbelievable, I worked all summer with Danny Rapoza, I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the league. We have guys on the sidelines like [Joe] Cappelletti that can come in and make plays. We’re loaded with weapons and coach is doing his best to get everyone involved.

“This means the world to me. We got up in the summer every day at 5 in the morning to work out. Our main goal is to win a state title and we wanted to beat KP. We were lucky enough to do it twice this year, I couldn’t be prouder of the team. We really battled and put it all together to show everyone what we’re all about.”

Mansfield football (8-1) will play at top-seeded Natick in the D2 South Final, but the date and time have yet to be posted by the MIAA. King Philip (7-2) will enter the non-playoff pool for one week.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/26/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Mansfield, 2 vs. Shrewsbury, 3 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Mansfield outshot the Colonials 29-19 but the two-time defending D3 state champs (who moved to D1 this season) pulled out a one-goal victory at Rodman Arena. Jake Lund scored the game-tying goal in the first period, assisted by Austin Ricker and Brad Grant, but the Colonials scored twice in the second, including the eventual game-winner with a two-man advantage. With the goalie pulled and less than two minutes on the clock, Mansfield got back into the game when freshman Mark DeGirolamo knocked in a rebound of a shot by Matt Copponi, but Shrewsbury held on.

King Philip, 3 vs. Milton, 2 – FinalKing Philip’s Conor Cooke scored the game-winning goal with 6:28 left in the third period to lift the Warriors to a win over the Wildcats. Paul McDonald had the assist on the game-winner. KP took a 1-0 lead in the first period off a power play goal from Ryan Fitzpatrick, assisted by Brendan Shandley. Kyle Gray scored unassisted in the second but Milton scored twice to make it a 2-2 game. James Lewis made 15 saves in net for KP.

Stoughton, 0 vs. Littleton, 12 – Final

Girls Hockey
Franklin, 3 @ Algonquin, 2 – FinalAmanda Lewandowski, Cassi Ronan, and Regan Paterson (game-winner) each scored goals for the unbeaten Panthers and Gabby Colace (14 saves) picked up the win in goal.

Stoughton vs. Cohasset, 4:00