King Philip Edges Mansfield in Key Division Showdown

King Philip football
King Philip senior John DeLuca looks upfield after taking a reverse – a run that set up the game winning touchdown. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip head coach Brian Lee would be the first to tell you the Warriors’ offense isn’t typically flashy, but in a crucial division showdown on the road at Mansfield, sometimes you need to add some flare.

Lee did just that, picking the perfect time to reach into KP’s bag of tricks. Trailing 17-14 with nine minutes to play in the game, quarterback Brendan Lyon tossed to his right to Sean Garrity, but instead of taking the ball around the edge, Garrity tossed it back to an oncoming John DeLuca on a reverse. DeLuca went on to break a couple of tackles downfield – one with the help of receiver Michael Mello – before finally being tackled at the 4 yard line – a 61 yard gain.

Two plays later, Lydon (3/10, 77 yards; 5 carries 17 yards) snuck it in from a yard out to put KP ahead.

The Warriors defense did its job, forcing a three and out on Mansfield’s ensuring drive and stopping the Hornets on fourth down with just over two minutes to play to secure a 20-17 win at Alumni Field.

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“We’ve had it, we put it in the [playbook] a while ago but we were looking for the right moment to pull it out,” Lee said. “It’s a good play in concept but when John runs it, it becomes that much better of a play.”

The Hornets looked like they might pull back ahead on their final drive of the game. Anthony DeGirolamo connected with Hunter Ferreira for 24 yards on first down to move the ball to midfield. Two plays later, a double move from Ferreira put him open towards the end zone, but the throw just missed as Ferreira could only get one hand on the ball before it fell incomplete.

On fourth and 6 from their own 46, DeGirolamo dropped back to pass but the Warriors brought heavy pressure. Shane Frommer came from DeGirolamo’s right, forcing him to move in the pocket and Alex Olsen and Brett Mazur came crashing in for the sack and the turnover on downs.

KP converted a fourth and inches from the Mansfield 38 yard line with just over a minute to seal the win.

“Whenever you play Mansfield, it just always feels different,” Lee said. “I told the guys, when you come over there, you’re going to feel the difference. They hit harder, they run faster, they coach well. So you’re going to have to battle the entire time, there won’t be any runaways. I was pleased they were able to keep chopping like they did.”

After trading punts to open the game, DeGirolamo hit Will Garvin for a 27 yard gain to get inside the KP 10 yard line. The Warriors’ defense held on though and Mansfield settled for a 20-yard field goal from Diogo DeSousa to go up 3-0.

The Warriors forced Mansfield to punt on their next drive but King Philip senior Ethan Dunne came flying in untouched to block the kick. King Philip took over at the Mansfield 21 yard line.

It looked as though Mansfield’s defense had stopped KP despite the good field position, but the Warriors earned a defensive pass interference call on 4th and 19 from the 30 yard line. Two plays later, Lydon hit Garrity (15 carries, 58 yards) on a screen for a 25 yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

Mansfield worked up the field for a 44 yard field goal attempt just before halftime but it appeared the Warriors got a hand on the kick and it fell short.

“Just huge,” Lee said of the special teams plays. “We were struggling to move the ball on offense, we needed something positive to happen. We work a lot on special teams so to make plays like that…I think we blocked the field goal before the end of the half too. So two huge plays for us to turn it around.”

It didn’t take long for Mansfield to regain the lead in the second half, cashing in on its first drive. On just the third play, Hornet back Nick Graham (19 carries, 124 yards) got a nice block from fellow backJoe Cox, cut back into some space and sprinted for a 50 yard touchdown to put Mansfield up 10-7.

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KP responded right away to tilt the game back in their favor. Lydon hit Dunne on third down for a big 39 yard gain. Four plays later, Olsen (8 carries, 27 yards) plunged up the middle for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 with 5:37 left in the third quarter.

The seesaw battle continued with Mansfield landing a counter punch on its next drive. Facing 3rd and 5 from their own 34, DeGirolamo (5/12, 132 yards) used play action and then found a wide open Ferreira (3 catches, 105 yards) in space for a 66 yard touchdown, making it 17-14 with 2:17 left in the third.

The Warriors started the fourth quarter with a big play, converting a 4th and 1 from their own 30 yard line with a Lydon sneak. Three plays later is when Lee elected to go with the reverse for DeLuca’s big run.

“We blitzed on the backside and ran by it, that was a good call,” Mansfield head coach Mike Redding said of the play. “They had run the toss the last three games. We were prepared for that, but they hadn’t shown the reverse. It was a great call at that point and DeLuca made a great run. We wrapped him up a couple of times but he broke away.”

The extra point following Lydon’s sneak was short, opening the door for Mansfield with a three point deficit and foot of DeSousa available.

But KP’s defense held Mansfield on the ensuing drive, forcing a punt. Mansfield’s defense did the same as the time ticked away in the fourth quarter. That set up Mansfield’s fourth down attempt that was shut down by Olsen and Mazur’s sack.

“We were having a hell of a time covering their guys,” Lee said of sending pressure on the fourth down. “You wonder if you should play soft. They have so many weapons; they could have run it on fourth down. We thought they’d pass, the guys got in there and made a huge play.”

“Alex is our emotional leader on defense, a captain on defense. He puts us in the right defense, he works really hard. He’s an old school hard-nosed kid. And then at the end, running the ball, those ugly looking dives.”

The win puts King Philip in the driver’s seat in the Kelley-Rex division. Although it was Mansfield’s second loss of the season, it was the first in terms of the playoff system.

“Now we have to bang out the next three and get ready for the playoffs. Maybe [KP] finishes the one seed and we finish the second seed and maybe we play again, maybe the finals or the semifinals. I think that’s the focus now. We have three games to bang out wins and then lined up ready to go.

“This thing could go on for three more days and I think it’d go back and forth – two very good high school teams. It’s a tough one to lose but with this new system we have a second life to get lined up for in November to make a run in the playoffs. I think us and them are two of the better teams in the division, we still have a lot to play for.”

King Philip football (4-0, 2-0) will return to Macktaz Field next Friday with a visit from Thanksgiving rival Franklin. Mansfield (2-2, 1-1) will take a trip to Aleixo Stadium to take on the Tigers on the same day.

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Lydon, Garrity Lift Warriors to Win at Community Field

King Philip Football
Junior Brendan Lydon thre the game-winning touchdown pass and Sean Garrity ran for a pair of scores as King Philip beat North Attleboro on opening day at Community Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – King Philip head coach Brian Lee likes to keep things close to the vest. Coming into the season, many outside of the program expected senior John DeLuca to be the starting quarterback for the third straight year. Instead, on opening night at Community Field, DeLuca was split out as a slot receiver and junior Brendan Lydon was under center.

Facing North Attleboro on the road is not the easiest task for a quarterback’s first varsity game, but Lydon answered the call with 112 yards, the game-winning touchdown, and most importantly no turnovers. Thanks to a strong performance from Lydon, two touchdowns from senior running back Sean Garrity, and a typically smothering defensive performance, KP started its season with a 19-7 victory.

“He’s like a surfer or something,” Lee joked about Lydon. “He doesn’t really get rattled too much and that’s a good temperament to have and he couldn’t have played better on his first night.”

Lydon said, “It feels unbelievable. I just had to stay calm, cool, and collected and I knew the boys would get it done.”

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The Warriors moved the ball well on its first drive, including a 26-yard completion by Lydon to Shane Frommer on a screen to the North 20-yard line. But, the drive stalled, as did KP’s second drive, which also ended up in Rocketeers territory until Garrity lost a fumble at the North 39.

After back-to-back three and outs, North finally got something going offensively and moved the ball upfield. Junior Chad Peterson hit senior Bobby Mylod for 21 yards on third and 11 to keep the drive alive and then hit Mylod again on a crossing pattern for a 15-yard touchdown to give the hosts the lead.

Another KP drive ended in North territory, but the Warriors got the ball back at the Rocketeers 26 when Frommer dove on Nick Rajotte’s fumble. It was doubly difficult for North, which also lost Rajotte to an injury for the remainder of the game.

Garrity made the turnover count when he took a toss to the near sideline and burst through a hole for a 26-yard score that tied the game heading into halftime.

“It was huge because we had some drives fizzle,” said Lee of the tying touchdown. “I thought Sean really set the tone for us tonight. We didn’t even know he was going to be our main dude until tonight and he was angry and he wanted the job.”

The Warriors started the second half with the ball and quickly went back to work grinding out yards with the running game. Alex Olsen had a 10-yard carry on an inside handoff to convert on third and short and two plays later KP took the lead. North got pressure on Lydon, but he somehow eluded the rush long enough to fire a strike downfield to Michael Mello. The 48-yard touchdown put KP ahead 13-7.

“Defintely a lot of pressure,” said Lydon. “I don’t know…it was kind of a spur of the moment kind of thing. Swam the guy, threw it deep and Mello was there to get the TD. The greatest feeling in the world.”

North coach Don Johnson said, “I thought Tommy Reynolds had him and then the kid makes a good catch. The coverage wasn’t bad; we were there, so it was one of those kind of games. I knew it was going to come down to one play here or there, whichever team would make those plays and they made more than we did tonight.”

King Philip put the game away with a drive to make Lee proud. The Warriors moved 75 yards on 15 plays and ran out the remainder of the clock in the third quarter and the first three minutes of the fourth. Lydon found tight end Brett Mazur for a third down conversion, DeLuca (10 carries, 69 yards) ran the “Wildcat” three times for 25 yards, and Garrity finished the drive with a 12-yard rush up the middle.

“What they do, they do very well,” said Johnson. “They’re not fancy. They just pound it and come right at you. I thought the quarterback did a really nice job, so you couldn’t just sell out on the run.”

The Warriors were also dominating on defense. KP allowed only five first downs in the game and sacked Peterson four times. Junior Evan Rice, whose father played with Lee at Walpole High, had three of those sacks and two other hits that forced incomplete passes. Peterson (9-16, 59 yards) hooked up with Kyle McCarthy several times in the second half, but could not get the ball down field. Andrew Dittrich picked off a deep throw with a minute left to seal the win.

“That was part of the reason we didn’t get much going on offense,” said Johnson of the pressure. “In part that was good defense, but we had some breakdowns inside too.”

Lee saved special praise for DeLuca. He said, “You see what John DeLuca is for this team. How much of a competitor he is, what a winner he is, so you’re going to take a kid like that and ask him to move you’ve got to think highly of the kid coming in. It says a lot about John and how much he wants to win.”

The KP bench was all smiles as it ran through a tunnel of cheerleaders and fans on the way to the locker room. Lydon admitted that the Warriors felt under-appreciated coming into the season. He explained, “North is a great team, ranked in the top five to start the season…I guess we just brought it. It’s a great feeling and definitely a lot of confidence going forward.”

Lee added, “I didn’t know if we had it anymore. There’s new rules and football’s changing…they’re trying to make it something I don’t want to be a part of and then they come out tonight and they play it’s the way it’s supposed to be played.”

North Attleboro will travel to Bishop Feehan next week, while King Philip will get another cross-division test when it hosts Foxboro.

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Football: 2016 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2016 Kelley-Rex Football Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Kelley-Rex Football Preview

Attleboro

2015 Record: 7-4
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Strachan

Key/Returning Players: Cam Furtado, Jr., QB/DB; Tyler McGovern, Sr., QB; Andrew Gingras, Sr., OL/DL; Sam Corrado, Sr., RB/LB

Outlook:
Attleboro has developed as a program under head coach Mike Strachan and continues to be one of the teams contend with for the Kelley-Rex title even with a number of new faces on the roster heading into this fall. Even with the loss of standout lineman Kyle Murphy, the Bombardiers will have size on both sides of the ball and use that to control the line of scrimmage.

Offensively, senior quarterback Tyler McGovern returns after an injury knocked him out of the starting lineup midway through last season. He gives Attleboro the chance to look downfield, while junior Cam Furtado stepped in at QB last year and proved to be a dynamic athlete who opened up defenses with his legs.

The offense will flow behind senior lineman Andrew Gingras. At 6’5 and 285 pounds, Gingras will be counted on to open holes for senior running back Sam Corrado and also provide a stout run stopper on defense. Corrado will also provide help at linebacker and on special teams.

“The 2016 Bombardiers are a young team with many players that will be competing for time both offensively and defensively,” said Strachan, who is confident that despite the youth on the roster that Attleboro will be a team to watch this fall.

Franklin

2015 Record: 2-9
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Eian Bain

Key/Returning Players:
Jacob Wolowacki, Sr., RB; Packie Watson, Sr., WR/DB; Joey Blasie, Sr., WR/DB; John Fenton, Sr., OL/DL; Jake Noviello, Jr., QB; Jake Lyons, Sr., RB/DB; Brad Jarosz, Sr., FB/DL; Nick Gordon, So., QB/DB; Khyler Colella, Sr., RB/LB

Outlook:
There is a lot of energy in the Franklin camp over the past couple of weeks, as new head coach Eian Bain takes over from longtime coach Brad Sidwell and looks to give the Panthers a boost after three straight one-win seasons in the Kelley-Rex division. Bain said that he expects there to be a “different vibe” from the team this season.

The Panthers have a lot of experience coming back this season starting in the backfield with quarterbacks Jake Noviello (junior) and Alex Cregg (senior), who both saw action last season. Whoever is starting will have a host of experienced receivers to look for with Eddie Scannapieco, Packie Watson, and Joey Blasie on the outside and 6’5 Connor Peterson at tight end. The bulk of the offense will run through senior tailback Jacob Wolowacki, who emerged last year as a go-to back with three touchdown runs.

Defensively, Franklin has a lot of talent returning in the back seven led by senior safety Jake Lyons, who will also help out as a running back on offense. The secondary also includes Kyle McInery and Nick Gordon with Justin O’Callahan, Bruce Johnson and Khyler Colella manning the linebacker positions. Brad Jarosz will add size to the defensive end position.

Bain said, “It has been an uptempo, high energy camp in Franklin. Players have answered the bell every step of the way to learn both new offensive and defensive systems. While still a work in progress, the team is making strides every day.”

King Philip

2015 Record: 5-6
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Brian Lee

Key/Returning Players:
John DeLuca, Sr., QB; Sean Garrity, Sr., RB/DB; Brett Mazur, Sr., TE/LB; Alex Olsen, Sr., FB/LB; Giovanni Fernandez, Sr., RB/LB; Daniel Loewen, Sr., OL/DL; Michael Sullivan, Sr., OL/DL; Paul Macrina, Sr., OL/DL; Michael Mello, Sr., WR/DB

Outlook:
King Philip got off to a rough start last season, but managed to turn things around with a dramatic victory at Mansfield and won three out of four to get back into the postseason. The Warriors could be inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball in 2015, but with experienced skill position players coming back KP could be ready to challenge for the league title.

It begins in the backfield with senior quarterback John DeLuca, who is ready for his third year as the starter and is one of the toughest signal callers in the league. This season, DeLuca will have a number of weapons to help put points on the board. Senior running back Sean Garrity will add speed to the edge for the Warriors, while his classmate Giovanni Fernandez is a power back to add another dimension inside the red zone. Senior Michael Mello returns to add experience to the receiving corps.

The strength of the Warriors under head coach Brian Lee has been defense and line play and this season should be no different. Seniors Paul Macrina, Michael Sullivan, and Daniel Loewen will be major factors on both sides of the ball. Senior Alex Olsen has the potential to be the defensive MVP this year taking over the role of graduated linebacker Cory Lombardo. Fernandez and fellow senior Brett Mazur will add strength to the linebacker position as well.

Mansfield

2015 Record: 5-6
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal
Coach: Michael Redding

Key/Returning Players:
Hunter Ferreira, Jr., WR/DB; Ben Budwey, Sr., WR; Brian Lynch, Sr., RB; Nick Graham, Sr., RB/DB; Anthony DeGirolamo, Sr., QB; AJ Gibbs, Sr., OL/DL; Colin Gibbons, Sr., OL/DL; Travis Sjoberg, Sr., LB; Andrew Ducharme, Sr., OL/DL; Nick Krouskos, Sr., RB/LB; Diogo DeSousa, Sr., K

Outlook:
Mansfield’s defense held teams to 15 or fewer points in all but two games last year. Only St. John’s Prep and Marshfield (two teams ranked in the top five in the state when they faced the Hornets) were able to get any rhythm going offensively against the Hornets. Despite strength on that side of the ball, Mansfield struggled to find consistency on offense and ended up one point short of a share of the Kelley-Rex division title.

This season, the Hornets offense could be a huge strength with a number of playmakers returning. Senior quarterback Anthony DeGirolamo will be the starter for the second season in a row and will have a strong backfield around him with senior Brian Lynch as the power back and Nick Graham giving Mansfield speed to the edges. DeGirolamo will be able to aim for junior Hunter Ferreira, who has emerged as one of the top receivers in the league, and senior Ben Budwey.

On defense, the front seven will once again be a strong feature for the Hornets. A.J. Gibbs, Colin Gibbons, and Andrew Ducharme add size and strength on both sides of the ball, while senior linebacker Travis Sjoberg is a leader with the potential for hitting triple digits in tackles this fall. Senior placekicker Diogo DeSousa is a weapon in special teams after being recognized at kicking camps over the summer.

“We are a senior team (30 seniors),” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding, “but we have some very talented juniors and sophomores that will help us win this year and give us some great depth”

Oliver Ames

2015 Record: 2-9
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mike Holland

Key/Returning Players:
Liston Funai, Sr., RB; Jack Mills, Sr., OL/DL; Travis Campbell, Sr., QB/LB; Kyle Gagliardi, Sr., QB/DB; Leandro Moro, Sr., TE/LB; Jay Fruci, Jr., LB; Noah Fitzgerald, Jr., DB; Michael Mulrean, Jr., DB

Outlook:
Oliver Ames head coach Mike Holland is entering his second season in charge of the Tigers and will also be managing the program’s first fall in the Kelley-Rex division. In the last three games of 2015, OA beat Norwell and North Quincy and battled Sharon in a three-point loss on Thanksgiving Day, building momentum heading into this season.

The Tigers are excited about the potential of the offense with two quarterbacks who can make plays with their feet or their arms. Kyle Gagliardi and Travis Campbell are in the mix to be the starter and Holland expressed confidence in both of his seniors. OA also has a strong running game with senior Liston Funai leading the way for a group of backs that provide the Tigers with toughness and the ability to find open space.

OA has a lot of experience returning on the defensive side of the ball. Jack Mills will be a force on both the offensive and defensive line, while Jay Fruci and Leandro Moro will provide a spark from the linebacker spot. The secondary has also been boosted by Noah Fitzgerald and Michael Mulrean. “[We] have an excellent group of seniors and younger guys,” said Holland. “Kids are working hard and putting in strong efforts in all phases.”

Taunton

2015 Record: 1-10
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brad Sidwell

Key/Returning Players:
Adam Mclaughlin, Sr., WR/DB; Andrew Welington, Sr., TE/LB; Collin Hunter, Jr., QB; Khoury Simmons, Sr., OL/DL; Jake Norberto, Sr., OL/DL; Khoury Simmons, Sr., OL/DL; Paul Corrao, Jr., OL/DL; Zakim Harrow, Sr., OL/DL; Sylvester English, Sr., OL/DL; Mike Fernandez, Sr., TE/LB; Brevan Walker, Sr., RB/DB

Outlook:
The Tigers have a new coaching staff this fall, but it will be one that is very familiar to fans of the Hockomock League. Brad Sidwell moved to Taunton after 20 years in charge of the Franklin program. Sidwell comes into his new position with plenty of experience in the league and an experienced roster that has 14 returning starters, but the Tigers enter 2016 without a Kelley-Rex win since 2012.

There is optimism in the camp this preseason because of the large number of returning players and because of the size that Taunton boasts on the front line. Senior Zakim Harrow checks in at 6’2 and 335 pounds, his classmate Sylvester English is 6’1 and 290 pounds and junior Paul Carrao is 6’3 and 270 pounds. Those players will open holes on both sides of the ball and create space for playmakers such as senior linebacker Mike Fernandez and senior running back Brevan Walker.

There is a battle for the quarterback position this season. Junior Collin Hunter threw 11 touchdown passes last fall but sophomore Noah Leonard has impressed in camp and could snag the starting spot for Friday night’s opener at New Bedford. Whoever is under center will have a couple of strong targets to aim for with senior receivers Adam McLaughlin and Sam Krajewski and senior tight end Andrew Wellington all back.

“We’re just looking for improvement everyday,” Sidwell said. “Hopefully with a little confidence we can get off to a good start.”