Team: Mansfield Football
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.”
King Philip, 30 @ Franklin, 45 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this meet. Despite having to forfeit three weight classes and starting the match down 12-0, Franklin rolled to a win that clinches the outright league dual meet title. It is the third Kelley-Rex title in the last four years for the Panthers. Drew DiFillipo started the comeback at 120 with a 10-2 win that cut the KP lead to 12-4. Devin Bramson got the hosts within two with a first round pin at 126 pounds and then a forfeit at 132 put the Panthers ahead 16-12. Jackson Kelley wasted little time putting the Warriors in front with a first round pin, but Alex Fracassa put Franklin ahead for good with a 10-2 win at 145. Following a KP forfeit at 152, Dom Sackley added six more points with a first round pin. At 170, Liam Cogavin jumped ahead 7-2 after two periods, but Cole Ricci battled back in the third with a takedown cutting the lead to three and then forcing Cogavin to hold on for the win and three points. Dylan Nawn put Franklin ahead 41-18 with a second round pin at 182, but Shawn Conniff answered back with a first round pin at 195. It was Conniff’s 130th career win and his 100th career pin. He is now two wins shy of the program record. Matt Walker closed out the meet with a 13-2 win at 220 before another forfeit at 285.
Hockomock League Dive Championships, 4:00 (@ Massasoit)
Boys Indoor Track
Oliver Ames, 61 vs. Attleboro, 39 – Final – Oliver Ames took first and second in three events and had six more first place finishes, including one relay, to earn a win over Attleboro. Junior Kyle Sarney clocked in at a league-best 9:44.64 to win the 2 Mile and sophomore Owen McMorrow (10:01.38) was second (third best in the Hock), senior Rory McLaughlin (4:40.07) and junior Nathan Reservitz (4:46.44) took first and second in the 1 Mile, and sophomore Ashton Hart (6.92) and junior Jaiden Daly (6.93) were the top two finishers in the 55M to lead OA. Hart also won the long jump (19-07.75), junior Ryan Petrillo was a double-winner, taking first in the high jump (5-10.00) and 55M hurdles (8.41), junior Jimmy Keane won the 1000M (2:49.88) and senior Ryan Hilliard crossed first in the 300M (37.87). Attleboro junior Nathan Seybert won the 600M (1:29.47) with classmate Joey Soucy taking second (1:32.81), and junior Ethan Crosby won the shot put (46-02.00).
Milford, 46 vs. Canton, 54 – Final – Canton swept both the 55M dash and the 300M race, taking first in three other events to earn a win over Milford. Jonathan Chery had another stellar showing, winning both the 55M (league-best 6.61) and the 300M (36.87). Junior Sainvil (6.76) and Cam Sanchez (6.87) took second and third, respectively in the 55M dash while Zachary Goldstein (37.12) and Andrew Butler (40.03) did the same in the 300M. Sophomore Kyle Downing won the 2 Mile (10:36.77), junior Deyontai Dennis took first in the high jump (5-10.00), and senior Nate Quan won the long jump (18-03.75). Milford senior Max Manor was a double winner, taking first in both the 1000M (2:52.70) and the 1 Mile (4:52.56).
Foxboro, 34 vs. North Attleboro, 65 – Final – The Red Rocketeers registered sweeps in both the shot put and the high jump on their way to a win over Foxboro. Emmett Ruote took first in the shot put with a toss of 43-08.25 while Joseph Beckett (39-10.00) and Jack Perriello (37-03.50) were second and third, respectively. Nick Taylor (5-08.00) took first in the high jump with Colby Feid (5-06.00) and Isa Siddiq (5-02.00) following. Kyle Robinson was a double-winner for the Big Red, crossing first in each the 1 Mile (4:59.14) and the 2 Mile (10:40.98) while Jack MacLaughlin earned a first place finish at 1:32.66 in the 600M. Foxboro’s Adam Connolly won both the 55M (7.06) and 300M (37.71), Ryan Proulx crossed first in the 1000M (league-best 2:40.43), Ali Nasri won the 55M hurdles (8.52), and Tyler Hagan set a new PR in a win at the long jump (19-00.00).
Franklin, 63 vs. King Philip, 36 – Final – Senior Jacob Cummings and junior Shane Bissanti each took home a pair of individual wins and the Panthers won three more events, plus both relays, to earn a win over King Philip. Cummings won both the long jump (19-09.25) and the 300M (37.98) while Bissanti crossed first in the 55M hurdles (9.44) and won the high jump (5-04.00). Alec Hanley (1:27.53) and Camden Harrington (1:27.95) went 1-2 in the 600M while Griffin Sieczkiewicz (10:47.01) and Joseph Zercie (10:49.74) did the same in the 2 Mile race. KP’s Mike Griffin and Franklin’s Tyler Brogan put on another show in the 1 Mile Race with Griffin (4:18.22) edging out Brogan (school-record 4:18.95), with KP’s Michael Norberg (4:24.56) taking third, the three clocking in the best three times among Hock runners on the night.
Stoughton, 52 vs. Sharon, 48 – Final – Stoughton won one of two relays and got key points from each the shot put, high jump, and long jump to edge out Sharon in a battle of unbeatens and win the Davenport division title. The Black Knights took first and second in both the high jump (Elisha Claude, 6-06.00 and Nathaniel Peters, 5-10.00) and the long jump (Claude, 21-06.25 and David Peters (21-02.25) while taking first and third in the shot put (Mark Edge, 46-11.25 and Jaden McCall, 39-07.00) to earn a close win. David Peters also won the 300M (36.40, PR) and the 55M hurdles (7.40, PR), Nathaniel Peters took first in the 600M (1:24.47), and Anthony Pizzano earned key points with a second place finish in the 55M hurdles (8.00). Sharon’s Patrick McManus won the 55M (6.70, PR), juniors Jordan Saks (2:48.33, PR) and Mark Starovoytov (2:48.79) took first and second in the 1000M, Starovoytov (4:58.73), Siddarth Reddy (5:00.98), and Bradley Weiss (5:02.67) swept the 1 Mile, and the Eagles swept the 2 Mile with Reddy (10:44.52) taking first, James Kong (10:59.69) crossing second, and Weiss (11:20.40) taking third.
Mansfield, 78 vs. Taunton, 22 – Final – The Hornets took first in all but one event to cruise to a win over Taunton and the 2020 Kelley-Rex division championship. Senior Andrew Williams continued his dominance, taking first in the 55M hurdles (8.36), the high jump (6-00.00), and the long jump (20-06.75). Mansfield swept the long jump with Jake Wall (20-02.50) and Joe Cappelletti (19-04.75) rounding out the top three as well as the 55M hurdles as Dylan Buchanan (8.61) and Chris Verros (9.03, PR) took second and third. Wall took first in the 55M dash (6.91, PR), Jack Rivard won the 300M (36.89), Peter Oldow placed first in the 600M (1:29.12), Mike Mullahy clocked in at 2:43.66 to win the 1000M, sophomore Chris Leonard set a new PR at 4:55.79 to win the 1 Mile (by 0:00.01 over Taunton’s Nolan Tavares), and Nico Holmes won the shot put (41-06.00). Taunton junior Ty Cali ran a PR in the 2 Mile, taking first in 9:56.61.
Girls Indoor Track
Oliver Ames, 47 vs. Attleboro, 53 – Final – Attleboro swept the 55M hurdles and took first and second in both the 300M and 1 Mile races to earn its first win of the season. Junior Meghan Panzer set a new PR, clocking in at 9.68 to win the 55M hurdles with sophomore Angela Cooney (10.00, PR) and junior Eleanor Graber (11.18) taking second and third, respectively. Junior Diana Blouin clocked in at 5:43.55 to win the 1 Mile while classmate Kelly Neuendorf took second in 5:51.96. Junior Cassondra Stuger crossed first in the 300M (43.49) and senior Jessica Matheson took second, setting a new PR (47.30). Neuendorf also earned key points by winning the 2 Mile (12:11.48) while Stuger took second in the 55M dash (7.97). Oliver Ames’ Madison Perry won a pair of events, taking first in the 55M dash (7.76) and the long jump (14-11.00).
Milford, 68 vs. Canton, 30 – Final – The Scarlet Hawks swept the 300M race and took first place in seven more races plus one relay to pick up a win over Canton. Sophomore Sarah Flanagan clocked in at 43.30 to take first place with classmate Maren Halpin (46.92) and senior Juliana France (48.09) crossing next. Flanagan also won the 55M dash (league-best 7.48), Sara Comisky won both the 1000M (3:34.36) and the 1 Mile (6:04.03), Kerry O’Connor placed first in both the long jump (16-02.25) and the 600M (1:40.58), Sarah Brogioli was a double-winner with first place finishes in each the 55M hurdles (9.27) and high jump (4-08.00), and freshman Sydney Kalil took first in the 2 Mile (13.29.57). Milford’s 4×400 relay team of O’Connor, Bella Gonzalez, Flanagan, and Halpin broke the school record by seven seconds, clocking in at 4:10.57. Canton’s Bronwyn Mahoney won the shot put (33-10.00) while the 4×200 team of Mia Walsh, Morgan Quinn, Leah Murphy, and Kiley Hanlon won in 1:57.59.
Foxboro, 25 vs. North Attleboro, 66 – Final – By sweeping both the high jump and 55M hurdles, and taking first and second in each the shot put and long jump, North Attleboro earned a win over Foxboro. Olivia Etienvre won the high jump with a leap of 5-02.00 with Ari Preacher (4-10.00) and Cassidy Becker (4-10.00) rounding out the top three while the same three swept the 55M hurdles in the same order, Etienvre winning in 9.07. Etienvre (16-06.50) and Becker (15-11.50) went 1-2 in the long jump while Alivia Byrne (30-01.00) and Arianna Newth (27-01.00) did the same in the shot put. Foxboro junior Emma Dahl took first in the 600M (1:45.67, PR) and freshman Emilia Lacy won the 1 Mile (6:03.88, PR).
Franklin, 42 vs. King Philip, 58 – Final – Franklin swept a pair of events but King Philip showed off its depth, taking wins in both relays and six other events to get the win. Junior Sofia DelVecchio won the 55M dash (7.66), junior Allison Beltramini took first in the 300M (45.03), juniors Isabelle Crocker (3:18.29) and Charlotte Majer (3:19.87) went first and second in the 1000M, sophomore Maya Evans won the 2 Mile (12:32.69), junior Milan Simmons (9.42) and senior Victoria Priestley (9.53) went 1-2 in the 55M hurdles, and seniors Sarah Vigevani (30-01.00) and Bailee Ziolkowski (29-10.00) took the top two spots in the shot put. Franklin swept the long jump with sophomore Jillian Fenerty (14-11.00) taking first and sophomore Ava Fraulo (14-10.50) and junior Katelyn Guidi (14-03.00) following as well as the 600M race, won by senior Samantha Powderly (1:45.84) and Sydney Hawkins (1:48.31) and Riley Fitzpatrick (1:50.06) rounding out the top three.
Stoughton, 40 vs. Sharon, 60 – Final – Sharon won eight events plus one relay to earn a win over Stoughton and clinch the Davenport division crown. Elizabeth Lee and Jada Johnson each won a pair of events for the Eagles, with Lee taking first in the 55M hurdles (8.65) and the 300M (44.95) while Johnson won both the high jump (5-02.00) and the long jump (17-04.75). Other winners for Sharon included Wendy Wooden in the 55M dash (7.78), Carolyn Bayha in the 600M (1:50.13), Daphne Theiler in the 1000M (3:12.79), and Taylor Saks in the 1 Mile (5:38.70). Stoughton picked up wins from freshman Elaine McCarty in the 2 Mile (13:52.97, PR) and senior Chinazo Odunze in the shot put (30-09.00).
Mansfield, 36 vs. Taunton, 63 – Final – The Tigers used a sweep in the 300M, took first and second in three other events, and won both relays to earn a win over Mansfield and force a three-way tie for the Kelley-Rex division title with the Hornets and KP. Junior Morgan Zakrzewski (44.08) won the 300M while Kerla Sylvestre (44.38) and Abieyowa Olaye (45.72) rounded out the top three. Junior Olivia Dias won the 600M in 1:43.04 while Nia Mainer-Smith (1:43.91) took second, Braelyn Nichos won the 1000M in 3:17.15 while Tatyana Mainer-Smith (3:18.05) took second, and Jaylin Couto took first in the shot put (28-07.50) with Olyvia Mendonca (28-05.00) taking second for the Tigers. Taunton also got wins from Amanda Labrecque in the 55M hurdles (9.28), Julia Labrecque in the high jump (5-00.00), and Victoria Gravel in the long jump (16-01.25). Mansfield swept the 1 Mile race with Tessa Lancaster clocking in at 5:38.07 for first, and Grace Doyle (5:51.15) and Celia Puleo (5:51.40) following behind. Jessica Alestock won the 2 Mile (12:46.14) and Gabrielle Devlin took first in the 55M dash (7.84, PR)
Canton, 121.3 @ Oliver Ames, 137.4 – Final
Stoughton, 2 @ Boston Latin, 5 – Final
Taunton, 88 @ Mansfield, 79 – Final
Taunton, 93 @ Mansfield, 70 – Final
Boys Indoor Track
Franklin, 51 vs. Attleboro, 49 – Final
North Attleboro, 53 vs. Canton, 41 – Final – For Canton, Jonathan Chery led the way with a pair first place finishes for the Bulldogs. Chery finished first in the 55M dash (6.58) and the 300M (36.74), which were the top times in the entire league for the meet. Nate Quan won the long jump (19′ 1.5″), Elias Jabbour took first in the 1000M (2:58.39), and Kyle Downing won the 2 Mile race (10:56.61) for the Bulldogs.
Stoughton, 84 vs. Foxboro, 16 – Final
King Philip, 23 vs. Mansfield, 77 – Final – Mansfield swept four events and took first in both relay events to earn a big win over the Warriors. The Hornets 4×200 team of DaSean Peters-Wolfe, Joe Cappelletti, Chris Verros, and Jack Rivard crossed first in 1:35.75 while the 4×400 team of Stephen Saba, Thomas Giudicianni, Caden Riley, and Peter Oldow won in 3:43.99. Rivard was first in the 300M in 37.02 followed by Verros (38.79) and Raffi Marzella (39.16) and the Hornets took the top three spots in the 100M with Mike Mullahy (2:43) taking first, Oldow following (2:48) in second, and Chris Leonard (2:53) crossing third. Mansfield’s Andrew Williams was a triple winner, taking first in each the long jump (21’0″), 55M hurdles (8.30), and the high jump (6’0″). Jake Wall (20’5) and Cappelletti (19’7″) took second and third, respectively, in the long jump while Dylan Buchanan (8.80) and Ryan Munroe (9.64) did the same in the 55M hurdles. Cappelletti won the 55M dash (6.88), Owen Mullahy took first in the 1 Mile with a PR of 4:37, and Nico Holmes won the shot put with a toss of 43′.
Taunton vs. Oliver Ames, 4:30
Milford, 50 vs. Sharon, 50 – Final
Girls Indoor Track
Franklin, 75 vs. Attleboro, 25 – Final – For Attleboro, Kelly Neuendorf took first in the 1 Mile and qualified for divisionals in the process. Neuendorf set a new PR with a qualifying time of 5:32.26 to take first for the Bombardiers. Kamsi Igbobi also had a first place finish for Attleboro, landing a throw of _ in the shot put. Cassondra Stuger had a pair of second place finishes (600M in 1:51.58, 55M in 7.96), Madison Ellis placed second in the 1000M (3:26.98) in her first time running the event, and Kimberly Esteban took second in the 2 Mile (13:03.31).
North Attleboro, 64 vs. Canton, 34 – Final – Canton’s Bronwyn Mahoney set a new PR in the shot put by 11 inches, taking first in the event with the league’s best toss of the night. Mahoney set a new PR with a throw of 34’5″. Erika Boone won the 2 Mile race and took second in the 1 Mile race, and Canton’s 4×200 team of Mia Walsh, Kiley Hanlon, Jayda Taylor, and Gabby Heriveaux finished first.
Canton, 39 @ Franklin, 66 – Final – Franklin denied the visitors a basket in the opening quarter to build a 16-point lead and never looked back, running away with a league win over Canton. The Panthers took a 37-9 advantage in the halftime break with seven players scoring in between the first two quarters and 11 total for the game. Senior Steven Karayan hit three three-pointers while classmate Chris Edgehill sank a pair, combining for half of the Panthers’ 10 three-pointers in the game and tying with a game-high 13 points apiece. Matt Lazarek added 10 points for Franklin while sophomore Lanse Dorcelus paced Canton wight eight points.
North Attleboro, 49 @ Oliver Ames, 59 – Final – Oliver Ames held a double-digit lead in the first half but had to erase a double-digit deficit in the second half to earn a win over the Rocketeers. The Tigers lead 14-4 after eight minutes of play but the Rocketeers answered with 14 points in the second quarter and exploded for 24 points in the third, stretching their lead to as much as 14 in the frame. The Tigers’ clamped down defensively, allowing just seven fourth quarter points while going off for 26 points of their own to get the win. OA junior Amari Brown hit big three and had five of his game-high 19 points in the final quarter while senior Evan Craig scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth. Ryan Burkett added half of his 12 points in the fourth for OA. North Attleboro junior Edan Kelley connected on a pair of triples in North’s big third quarter on his way to a team-high 12 points.
Sharon, 48 @ Mansfield, 73 – Final – For nearly three quarters, the Eagles hung around with state powerhouse Mansfield. Sharon cut the deficit to 46-40 in the second half but the Hornets dominated the final 12 minutes, using a dominant 21-8 fourth quarter to pull away. Junior Matt Boen led the charge for the hosts, scoring a game-high 18 points along with 10 rebounds and three steals, helping Mansfield take a 36-23 lead at halftime. Junior TJ Guy added 15 points and six rebounds in the win while senior Sam Stevens netted 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Sharon sophomore John Baez scored all of his team-high 12 points in the second half, including a pair of third-quarter three-pointers to help the Eagles earn a 17-16 edge in the frame. Alex Burton finished with 11 points for the Eagles.
Milford, 60 @ King Philip, 57 – Final – Milford led from start to finish, jumping ahead by as much as 18-points before fending off a second half surge from the host Warriors. Junior Ben Blanchard exploded for a career-high 28 points to pace the visitors, who led 17-13 after one and 33-25 at the halftime break. Blanchard hit a pair of threes and finished with 10 points in the third quarter to help the Hawks build and keep its lead. Junior Jordan Darling, who scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half, drained an important three in the fourth quarter to keep KP at bay. KP senior Andrew McKinney scored 16 of his team-high 20 points after the halftime break, including nine in the third quarter to help the Warriors get back into the game. Senior Alex Fritz hit a trio of second half three-pointers, including one with just 0.6 seconds left to cut Milford’s six point lead in half.
Attleboro, 44 @ Stoughton, 49 – Final – Stoughton used a strong defensive effort and three players in double digits to pick up a second straight win on home court. Aliyah Wright led the way with 14, while Lexi Baptista added 12, and Shyanne Trinh finished with 10.
Franklin, 61 @ Canton, 34 – Final – Sophomore Olivia Quinn scored 22 points to lead the Panthers on the road, her second straight game of at least 20 points. Ali Brigham added 16 for Franklin. Fay and Sydney Gallery scored 15 points apiece for the Bulldogs.
Oliver Ames, 59 @ North Attleboro, 34 – Final – OA used a big second quarter to get separation on North, outscoring the Rocketeers 23-9 to build a 16-point lead at halftime and a 24-point lead heading into the fourth. Caroline Peper scored 12 to pace OA in the win. The Tigers also got nine points from Hailey Bourne and eight each from Caroline Flynn and Kelsey Yelle. North coach Nikki Correia gave her team credit for battling to the end, but the Tigers were too tough in transition. Regan Fein scored 13 for North and Amanda Kaiser added eight.
King Philip, 77 @ Milford, 46 – Final – The Warriors bounced back against Milford by making 12 threes as a team. Faith Roy and Courtney Keswick each scored 13 in the win, while Brianna James and Emma Glaser each scored 11 points. Freshman Emily Sawyer scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked six shots for her first career double-double. The Hawks had three players in double digits. Jillian Michelson was the top scorer with 12, while Brooke and Carly Ferreira each had 10 in the loss.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 9@ Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final – The Warriors exploded for five goals in the second period to skate to a win over Bishop Feehan, who is in their first year at the varsity level. Freshman Reese Pereira scored a pair of second period goals for MOA.
Franklin, 96 @ Canton, 74 – Final
Stoughton @ Foxboro, 7:00
King Philip, 45 @ Taunton, 48 – Final
Oliver Ames @ Mansfield, 6:00
Franklin, 90 @ Canton, 78 – Final
Stoughton @ Foxboro, 7:00
King Philip, 48 @ Taunton, 40 – Final
Oliver Ames @ Mansfield, 6:00
Boys Indoor Track
Taunton, 47 vs. Attleboro, 53 – Final
Canton, 22 vs. Stoughton, 78 – Final – Canton sophomore Kyle Downing was a double-winner but Stoughton swept the top three spots in six events on its way to a big win. Downing clocked in at 5:05.68 to win the 1 Mile race with junior Jack Hernon (5:05.84) right behind for second place. Downing also won the 2 Mile race in 11:14.16 for the Bulldogs. Junior Jonathan Chery added a second place finish in the 55M dash (6.89) and third in the 300M (38.42), placing top six in the entire league in both events.
Foxboro, 31 vs. Sharon, 65 – Final
Milford, 50 vs. North Attleboro, 49 – Final
Franklin, 29 vs. Mansfield, 71 – Final – Mansfield swept three events, including two won by Andrew Williams, to earn a win over Franklin. The Hornets took the top three spots in the 55M dash, the 55M hurdles, and the long jump with Williams taking first in both the hurdles (8.47) and the long jump (19-11.00). Sophomore Dylan Buchanan (8.80) and sophomore Jake Wall (8.98) completed sweep in the hurdles while senior Joe Cappelletti (19-00.00) and junior Stephen Saba (16-11.25) were second and third, respectively, in the long jump. Williams also took first in the high jump, with a league-meet best leap of 6-04.00. Cappelletti won the 55M dash in 6.94 with Wall taking second (6.96) and senior Ethan Thevenot (7.16) rounding out the top three. Other winners for Mansfield included senior Jack Rivard (300M, 38.02), senior Mike Mullahy (2 Mile, 10:22.44), and junior Nico Holmes (shot put, 42-09.25).
King Philip, 37 vs. Oliver Ames, 62 – Final
Girls Indoor Track
Taunton, 68 vs. Attleboro, 31 – Final – Attleboro earned a sweep in the 1 Mile race but the Tigers took the overall win on Friday night. Junior Kelly Neuendorf (5:38.50) pace the Bombardiers in the 1 Mile race with classmate Kimberley Esteban (5:49.88) taking second and sophomore Madison Ellis (5:54.03) crossing third. Attleboro junior Cassondra Stuger won the 300M in 43.70 and was second in the 55M dash (7.76) while junior Kamsi Igbobi won the shot put (31-04.75) and took second in the long jump (14-00.00) for the Bombardiers.
Canton, 34 vs. Stoughton, 62 – Final – Canton senior Bronwyn Mahoney continued to shine at the shot put, taking first with a league-meet best toss but the Bulldogs suffered a loss to Stoughton. Mahoney had the best throw of her career, a PR at 33-06.25 to take first place. Senior Kayla Wong won a pair of events for Canton, taking first in both the 1 Mile (6:09.83) and the 2 Mile (13:43.25) while sophomore Gabby Herivaux set a new PR in the 300M, crossing first in 46.77.
Foxboro, 37 vs. Sharon, 63 – Final
Milford, 36 vs. North Attleboro, 64 – Final
Franklin, 41 vs. Mansfield, 59 – Final
King Philip, 62 vs. Oliver Ames, 38 – Final
North Attleboro, 138.35 @ Franklin, 133.20 – Final – Franklin sophomore Kate Rudolph was the top Panther in all four events and won the All Around but the Rocketeers picked up a close win in the meet. Rudolph was first in the All Around, edging out North’s Lindsay Robinson (34.95) and Megan Collins (34.1). Rudolph scored a 9.0 on the vault, an 8.25 on bars, an 8.9 on the beam, and an 8.95 on the floor.
Franklin results: Vault – K. Rudolph 9.0, Lexi Lupien 8.9, Maia Keohane 8.3, Maddie McGuire 8.1; Bars – K. Rudolph 8.25, EMma Nelson 8.1, Caroline Woelfel 7.8, Ashley Hamman 7.8; Beam – K. Rudolph 8.9, L. Lupien 8.1, A. Hammann 8.05, E. Nelson 7.9; Floor – K. Rudolph 8.95, C. Woelfel 8.9, A. Hammann 8.1, L. Lupien 8.05.
NATICK, Mass. – As the celebrations took place all around him at Natick’s Memorial Field, Mansfield coach Mike Redding was able to smile and joke about the old adage that an ugly win is so much better than a beautiful loss. That counts double this time of the year.
The Hornets racked up nearly 100 yards in penalties, had three first half drives stall inside the red zone, and didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter of Friday night’s Div. 2 South title game, but still walked away with a 22-3 road win against top seed, and previously unbeaten, Natick.
It was the defense that carried Mansfield to its first Super Bowl since 2013. The Hornets allowed only 45 rushing yards, six yards passing, had three sacks, and held Natick to only two first downs on the night. Both first downs came on one drive in the first half, and one came by way of a penalty.
“As sophomores they lost in the semis, lost last year in the finals, this year we get there and win it, so every year they just go a step further,” Mansfield coach Mike Redding said of his senior class. “They’ve overcome a lot of stuff, injuries, and it’s a great group and it will be a lot of fun taking them to Gillette. I told them they’ve been through a lot but it’s all worth it when you walk down the ramp at Gillette Stadium.”
Senior running back and linebacker Vinnie Holmes (18 carries, 131 yards) added, “This just means the world to everyone. We’ve just worked so hard for this. Winter, spring, in the weight room, we just knew that this was our goal. We wanted to get to Gillette and that’s exactly what we did.”
On its second possession of the game, Mansfield started to move the ball. Jack Moussette (6-of-11, 64 yards) hit Cincere Gill for a perfectly executed 16-yard completion to the near sideline on third down to jumpstart the drive. Gill (seven carries, 41 yards) then weaved his way for 17 to the far sideline and Michael DeBolt (six carries, 41 yards) added 10 more to the Natick 14.
A chop block penalty backed the Hornets up and, despite a completion and a draw play to Holmes making it a manageable third and four, the Natick defense held firm. DeBolt booted the Hornets into the lead with a 26-yard kick.
The hosts answered right back. Natick started at its own 40 and two plays later were given a boost on a 15-yard penalty to reach the Mansfield 37. Two five-yard runs, including one by quarterback Will Lederman, who had missed the last four games with a knee injury and wasn’t expected to start the final, and an offsides call made it first and five at the 22.
Holmes stuffed a play for a three-yard loss and a pair of incomplete passes forced Natick into a 41-yard field goal by Sam Waltzman to tie the game. It was as close to the end zone as the Redhawks would get all night.
Mansfield again marched into the red zone in the second quarter but an illegal push call backed them off the goal line and a hold backed them up to the 13. In the end, DeBolt was forced to come on and get Mansfield three more with a 21-yard kick.
Natick fumbled the ensuing kick and Mansfield appeared to recover it, but the officials ruled that the ball went out of bounds first. Lederman nearly hit Nick Ofodile on a bomb on the first play but it was dropped. Nico Holmes and TJ Guy stuffed the next play for no gain and on third down Everett Knowlton pressured Lederman into an incompletion.
Vinnie Holmes broke free for the first time on a 53-yard run to get the Hornets to the 32. After a nine-yard pass from Mousette to Danny Rapoza, Mansfield had first and 10 at the 17. Moussette tried two passes to the corner but both fell incomplete and DeBolt came out again to kick a 28-yard field goal and make it 9-3 at the half.
“We moved the ball but just couldn’t finish,” Redding explained. “They’ve got some big dudes and once we got in the red zone, they know we’re not going to throw and it just got tough and then we shoot ourselves in the foot with all the penalties. It felt like at the half we should’ve been up 14, 17-3.”
On the opening drive of the second half, Mansfield was struck by a controversial penalty on Gill. The junior running back was ruled out for the rest of the night, but Redding saw the ejection as adding even more fuel to his team’s second half push.
“I thought it was unwarranted,” he said, “but it rallied the troops for sure and emotionally everybody stepped up and everybody got more physical. Backs were running hard and it was like, this is our game and we’re going to take it.”
Late in the third quarter, Mansfield appeared to convert a third and 14 on a screen pass to Holmes only to have it called back on a penalty. On the next play, Mousette connected with Nick Marciano for a sliding, 15-yard grab. Facing fourth and one, Marciano gained eight on a draw play to keep things moving. Marciano (nine carries, 41 yards) got the call again at the three, running the wildcat and finding a hole on the right side for a touchdown.
“We couldn’t punch one in, settled for three field goals,” said Holmes about Mansfield offense. “In the locker room we were just saying we need to punch this next one in. We need to punch it in and that puts us in a good position to win.”
Chris Graham sacked Lederman to start the next drive and then he and Holmes pressured the quarterback into an incompletion for a three-and-out. Mansfield’s offensive line and running game seemed to have worn down the Natick defense. Holmes and Marciano combined for nine plays and 53 yards, with Holmes breaking an 11-yard rush, to make it 22-3 with just 4:45 to play.
“Defense played great all night,” said Holmes. “Everyone just played their hearts out, played with enthusiasm. It was a great game.”
The Hornets continued to make plays defensively. Graham got his second sack of the night, then combined with Nico Holmes to stuff Natick running back Jalyn Aponte for no gain. On third down, Nick Bertolino stepped up from his cornerback position to make a big hit and a fake punt came up short.
“Oh my God, it’s crazy,” said Graham following the trophy celebration. “It’s great to be able to go back to Gillette. We wanted it so bad, we’ve been working so hard, trying so hard. Every morning in the summer we were up early in the weight room.”
He added, “When we got into the locker room on Monday, we had a note taped on the locker that a Natick player said we weren’t going to score one point on them. That their defense was too god. Well, we came out 22-3.”
Mansfield (9-1) will take on North champion Lincoln-Sudbury in the D2 Super Bowl at Gillette the weekend of Dec. 7. The date and time of the state title game has not been set.
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.
“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.
“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.
King Philip, 26 @ Franklin, 14 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (KP) Robbie Jarest 25-yard pass to Brian Wassersug, Dylan Conti XP good; (F) Thomas Gasbarro 53-yard pass to Cole Lakatos, Parker Cheuvront XP good.
2nd Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 1-yard rush, D. Conti XP good; (KP) R. Jarest 11-yard pass to Andrew McKinney, XP blocked.
3rd Quarter: (F) Mack Gulla 1-yard rush, P. Cheuvront XP good.
4th Quarter: (KP) R. Halliday 11-yard rush, 2pt pass failed.
Taunton, 6 @ Mansfield, 31 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Michael DeBolt 3-yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good; (M) Nick Marciano 58-yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good; M. DeBolt 9-yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) M. DeBolt 35-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (M) Nico Holmes 7-yard rush; M. DeBolt XP good; (T) Josh Lopes 1-yard rush, XP no good.
Milford, 41 @ Sharon, 7 – Final
Foxboro, 1 @ Attleboro, 7 – Final – Attleboro erupted for three goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half, and added on three more in the second half to earn a big win. The Bombardiers and Warriors were knotted at 1-1 entering the final 10 before Attleboro scored in quick succession. Michael Russo scored four goals in the win.
North Attleboro, 2 @ Franklin, 0 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ King Philip, 6 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game – Six different Warriors found the back of the net as KP picked up two points at home on Friday afternoon. Ajae Olsen opened the scoring in the 18th minute, finishing off a shot from distance into the bottom corner. Owen Teixeira and Evan McEvoy added first half strikes for KP, who led 3-0 at half. Colin Wesley (penalty kick), Connor O’Neill, and Caleb Casseta-Waxman each scored in the second half.
Milford, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Milford scored twice in each half to earn two points on the road over the Tigers. Jordan Borges banged in a shot from distance off the bottom of the crossbar to make it 1-0 in 27th minute, and Dan Santos put the Hawks ahead 2-0 just five minutes later off an assist from Pedro Araujo. Araujo converted a penalty kick in the second half to make it 3-0, and Joao Pedro Da Silva capped the scoring for Milford off an assist from freshman Gabriel Godoy. Leo Oliveira and Kevin Gomes combined for the shutout in net while Carlos Terrinha and Leo Coelho had strong games defensively for Milford.
Attleboro, 0 @ Foxboro, 8 – Final
Mansfield, 1 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Canton scored a pair of goals in a three-minute span in the second half to earn a win at home over Mansfield. Freshman Emily McCabe knotted the score before junior Olivia Rodman bagged the game-winning goal to give the Bulldogs two points.
Franklin, 2 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The Panthers scored twice on first half set pieces to secure the victory. Sabrina Addi’s long free kick was flicked on from the edge of the box by Erin Quaile midway through the half, catching the keeper off her line for the opening goal. Addi scored the second on a corner kick that bounced around in the North box. She finally latched onto the loose ball and lifted it into the back of the net. Lydia Hershey, Colette Petit, and Taylor Ward played well defensively for the Rocketeers, while Alex Moulson played a solid all-around game in midfield.
King Philip, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – King Philip scored four goals in the final 25 minutes of the game, turning a one-goal game into a big win on the road, earning head coach Gary Pichel the 200th victory of his career. Ally Stanton put KP ahead in the 27th minute on an assist from Chloe Layne, and the duo linked up again in the 57th minute to make it 2-0. Layne added a goal of her own seven minutes later (assist by Ava Tormey), Makayla Griffin blasted a shot from 30 yards out with six minutes left, and Maeve Lawlor (from Brianna Quirke) made it 5-0 in the 75th minute. Taylor Butler recorded her seventh shutout of the season.
Taunton, 0 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Milford freshman Dani Atherton factored into all three goals as the Hawks defended home field with a win over visiting Taunton. Atherton scored a pair of goals and assisted on the other, setting up Jillian Michelson for a goal.
Franklin @ Walpole – Postponed to Saturday 9/28 at 10:00.
King Philip, 1 vs. Algonquin, 2 – Final – The Warriors pushed the unbeaten T’Hawks to the limit, the visitors scoring the game-winning goal with just 64 seconds left to steal two points from KP. Makenzie Manning shined in net with 23 saves for KP, who earned a penalty corner with no time left and registered two shots on could before Algonquin (8-0-1) got the clear to end the game. Senior Sammy Robison, junior Grace Crocker, and senior Char Colella all played well for KP.
King Philip, 3 vs. Walpole, 0 – Final – King Philip defended home court with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-20) sweep over the visiting Rebels of Walpole High. The Warriors’ dynamic duo of Nicole Coughlan (13 kills, one ace) and Catherine Waldeck (11 kills, two blocks) continued to shine while Emma Brooks added four aces and three digs in the win.
Mansfield, 2 vs. Brockton, 3 – Final – Mansfield jumped out to a 2-0 lead but Brockton rallied to win three straight as the Hornets dropped a 2-3 (25-16, 25-19, 23-25, 16-25, 10-15) decision at home. It was the third time in the week that Mansfield played five sets. Sam Sternburg shined defensively with 19 digs while Steph Walker had nine assists and 10 service points.
Milford @ Hopedale, 5:00
Attleboro, 162 @ North Attleboro, 153 – Final – North Attleboro’s Jillian Barend sank a birdie on the sixth hole and finished with a medalist round of one-over 36 at the middle course of Heather Hill to lead the Rocketeers past rival Attleboro. Jake Gaskin was right behind Barend with a 37 while Sam Gallagher (39) and Brett Dusel (41) also scored for North. Brendan Raymond had a team-low 37 for Attleboro, Brian Houle added a 39, Jack Handy finished with a 42, and Ben Wood chipped in with a 44.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – All Cincere Gill wanted was a second chance, and he didn’t have to wait very long to get one.
On the first offensive series after seeing a potential touchdown pass slip through his hands, Gill took the first handoff 64 yards for a touchdown to give the Hornets a two-touchdown lead and sparked Mansfield to a 31-10 win over visiting BC High.
Locked in a tight game, senior quarterback Jack Moussette delivered a perfect pass over the top to Gill, who had beat two defenders. But instead of a long touchdown pass, the Hornets had to punt.
As it did all night, Mansfield’s defense came through on the ensuing drive by forcing a three and out and getting the Hornets the ball back at thrown 36-yard line. Hornet head coach Mike Redding gave Gill the chance to redeem himself, and the junior back turned on the jets to get around the right side and sprinted to the end zone.
“I told the guys to go pat him on the back, get him back into it,” Redding said after the drop. “And the next series, he pops the big run. That’s a sign of maturity…last year he might have struggled to get the confidence back. But he got the big touchdown the next drive. I like the way he responded, had the big run which I thought was the turning point of the second half. We were struggling [offensively] but getting stops. It was still 10-3 or a close ball game there so popping that long run gave us breathing room.
“With Cincere, if you make a mistake and don’t have a guy to slow him down, he gets momentum and it’s going to be tough to track him down.”
Gill finished with 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns while senior Michael DeBolt (148 all-purpose yards) accounted for 19 points for the Hornets, scoring two rushing touchdowns, kicking a field goal, and connecting on four extra points.
While the Hornets finished with 31 points, it wasn’t until the second half that the offense really clicked. On the opening drive and on fourth down, Gill scored on a 29 yard run with a major assist to Nico Holmes, who came up with a huge block to create some space.
Mansfield only had two more drives in the first half: a 14-play, 52-yard drive ended with a missed field goal. And just before the half, Mansfield settled for a buzzer-beating field goal despite strong starting field position.
Meanwhile, the defense came up with some big stops to prevent the Eagles from tying the game. BC High’s second drive of the game even had a first and goal at the Hornet 2-yard line but had to settle for a field goal. Junior Matt Boen had a sack on first down and a pass break up on second down. After a rushed throw on third down, Cormac Kennelly connected on a 25-yard field goal to make it 7-3.
Two series later, BC High went for it on 4th and 4 from their own 41-yard line but junior Jake McCoy came through with an 11-yard sack. That allowed the Hornets to grab a field goal as time expired and a 10-3 lead at half.
“The defense had a great preseason,” Redding said. “People have talked about our skill guys on offense but the defense has a lot of guys back. We’re not very big at all but we get after the ball, we’re good tacklers. I thought [the defense] held us together because we had some offensive struggles at times, some bad series. When we did that, the defense got us the ball back until we got into a rhythm. That’s big, getting stops when you’re struggling on offense.”
After Gill’s big run put the Hornets ahead 17-3, the flood gates seemed to open up a bit for Mansfield.
The Hornets needed just five plays to score on their next drive. Vinnie Holmes helped the Hornets move the chains early in the drive, but facing 3rd and 10, Moussette hit DeBolt on a screen and he went the rest of the way, scampering 48 yards for a touchdown with Danny Rapoza coming up with a key block downfield.
After BC High found the end zone for the first time, Mansfield needed just two plays to respond. DeBolt cut into some space along the left side and raced past the defense for a 79-yard touchdown.
“We are [a big play offense], we might get stuffed a play or two but if you can get Cincere or Mike in open space, you can go 60 yards in a hurry,” Redding said. “We might not be able to grind it out on a regular basis, but if the defense makes a mistake, we’re able to pop one. I thought the offensive line played well tonight against a really big, physical front. We threw well enough to keep them honest. I didn’t think we’d score 31 against them but we had a pretty good night offensively.”
Mansfield football (1-0) hits the road for an out of state clash in Ohio next week, taking on LaSalle on Friday night at 7:00.
Attleboro got off to a strong start to the 2018 season, jumping out to a 4-1 record with its only loss coming against eventual D2 South champ King Philip, and allowing only five points per game. But a last-minute loss in a shootout against Mansfield and a fourth quarter comeback by Franklin the following week sparked a six-game losing streak to close out the season. The Bombardiers come into 2019 looking to turn that around and use its experience to make a run at the Kelley-Rex title.
Offensively, the Bombardiers will be led by senior quarterback Jason Weir. At a bruising 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Weir is a punishing runner and has a big arm to make plays downfield in the passing game. Junior Justin Daniels will be the starting tailback with senior Isaac Guidel and a big offensive line trying to open holes for the running game, led by senior Qualeem Charles (6-foot-5 and 325 pounds), who has a host of colleges recruiting him. Senior Ethan Cameron will provide a weapon on the outside, while junior Michael Strachan offers another threat over the middle from his tight end position.
Charles will dominate the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball as well, but the strength of the Attleboro defense will be its experienced linebacker corps. Strachan, a three-year starter who is getting looks from some Div. I colleges, will be joined by Guidel and senior Nolan Jaeger. Weir will play strong safety, after two seasons at defensive end, and will be counted on to step in to help stop the run. Cameron will be at free safety and giving the cornerbacks help over the middle. Attleboro has a large contingent of sophomores who could step in to contribute right away, including Alvin Harrison, Chris Leonardo, Adam Pearlstein, and Freddy Wheaton.
Attleboro coach Mike Strachan said, “We are looking forward to the season getting underway and with the leadership of our four captains we are looking to be explosive on offense and very physical defensively. The Hockomock League is one of the best leagues in the state with some great teams. We will have to play our very best each week if we are going to compete at a high level.”
Franklin nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the 2018 season when the Panthers forced perennial power Xaverian to double overtime in the Div. 1 South semifinal. It was a big step forward for the program and head coach Eian Bain hopes it will be a building block for even more success in 2019.
Offensively, the graduation of quarterback Nick Gordon will be a big loss for the Panthers but senior Thomas Gasbarro saw a lot of time under center last year and he will step in and take the starting job. Gasbarro will have plenty of weapons to choose from, as the Panthers have plenty of speedy, athletic players in the skill positions. Senior Jack Nally is a threat out of the backfield or split out wide and his classmate Jake Davis is a solid receiver over the middle or downfield. Senior Matt Lazarek is a potential target from the tight end position and Owen Palmieri is another dangerous ball carrier. Junior Parker Cheuvront emerged last season as one of the top kickers in the Hock and is another weapon that the Panthers can count on if a drive does stall.
The defense is an experienced group. Senior Evan Wertz has been one of the league’s tackle leaders for the past two seasons and he is the team’s top playmaker from his linebacker position. Nally, Davis, Palmieri, and senior Ben Greco give Franklin a tough secondary to throw against and all are capable of coming up with the big turnover to get the ball back in the hands of the offense. Luke Cunningham and Dom Natale will give the Panthers strength at the line of scrimmage.
“The challenge for this group is to continue to improve and build the program,” said Bain. “They need to add their own chapter and their own stamp on the program. We have the right people in the room. We need to play with the swagger and confidence of a contender, but be humble in our preparation. If we stay true to the process, we have great potential.”
Despite not winning the league title last year, the target on King Philip’s back continues to grow.
The Warriors might have missed out on the Kelley-Rex crown, but they won their third straight sectional title and made their this straight appearance in the state final, this time falling to North Andover (6-0). While this year’s senior class knows other than Super Bowl appearances, head coach Brian Lee says this group is focused on taking it one game, starting with the opener against North Attleboro. KP has a strong core of players back on the offensive side of the ball, including quarterback Robbie Jarest and running back Ryan Halliday. Both players had really strong junior seasons and should be the leaders of the group this year. The offensive line includes returners Nolan Gunning (left tackle), Sean Piller (center), and Pat Zarba (right guard) while Wyatt Manzi, Jack Collentro, and Griffin MacKay are in the mix to fill the remaining spots. Having an experienced line bodes well for the KP run game that will heavily feature Ryan Halliday plus fullback Shawn Conniff and halfbacks Sam Callanan and Crawford Cantave.
The Warriors’ defense has been one of the best units in the state in recent years, and while the expectations remain high for the group, there will be a lot of new faces. KP graduated its entire secondary so the Warriors are turning to senior Brian Wasserug and Cantave, a sophomore, to take on starting spots. Halliday and Callanan, both captains, will handle outside linebacker duties with Mike Malatesta in the mix for the middle spot. Gunning and Manzi will also see action on the defensive line alongside Conniff. Dillon Conti takes over kicking duties for the departed Cole Baker.
“These kids know how much work, how much effort it takes to get where we want to be,” Lee said. “But it’s all about going game by game, starting this week with a team [North Attleboro] that we have a ton of respect for.”
Looking at the long list of returning players, it is no surprise that expectations around Alumni Field are sky high this fall. Mansfield enters the season with experience at just about every position and with the bitter taste of last year’s South final loss to rival King Philip still stinging. Despite a rash of injuries that forced running back Aidan Sacco to play as an emergency quarterback for most of the season, Mansfield still won a league title and this year’s team may be even more talented, which has ramped up the hype and put the target squarely on the Hornets’ backs.
The line of scrimmage will be a strength for the Hornets on the offensive side of the ball, as they return four of five starters from last year’s unit that allowed the team to rush for more than 2,600 yards. Senior Jason Comeau and reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year TJ Guy will be two key cogs in the line, while senior Noah Jellenik and junior Jake McCoy are also back. Senior Andrew Cowles will step into the fifth spot. They will seek to protect senior quarterback Jack Moussette, who had a cameo under center last year before an injury forced him to miss the bulk of the season. The skill positions will be loaded with athletes. Cincere Gill had a breakout sophomore season at running back and senior Nick Marciano is back after an injury cut short his junior season. Senior Michael DeBolt was one of the top kickers in the league but also gives Mansfield another weapon on the edges, while senior Vinnie Holmes adds a bruising presence coming out of the backfield.
Holmes is the headliner on the defensive side of the ball. Along with fellow linebackers Marciano, DeBolt, and senior Joe Plath, Holmes will be expected to make big plays all over the field. The defensive line will be strong with three returning players: senior Chris Graham, McCoy, and Guy. Junior Nico Holmes will step in as the fourth man on the line. Much like on offense, speed will be a strength and the secondary is loaded with playmakers, including Gill, junior Matt Boen, and senior Makhi Baskin.
“We have a bunch of experience all over the field, but we really have to develop depth with the second team to handle a tough schedule and challenges every week,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “This is one of the fastest group of skill guys we’ve ever had and we could be explosive on offense. We lack a little size up front on defense, but we should be able to overcome that by flying around with pursuit to the ball with our speed.”
There was no question that 2018 was a tough season for the Tigers. Oliver Ames lost by a point in the season opener to Concord-Carlisle and didn’t earn its only win until the penultimate game against Durfee. The Tigers will hope to turn things around quickly with an infusion of young talent under new head coach Ed DeWitt.
On offense, the players will be learning a new system, but there is experience in the backfield to try and implement different schemes. Senior running back Nathan Cabral figures to see plenty of the ball again this year after his breakout junior season in which he ran for more than 1,100 yards. He will be joined by senior quarterback Cam Perron and senior running back Sam Stevens to give the Tigers a strong core. Seniors Harrison Webster and Adam Cann (who is coming off an injury) will give Perron weapons to utilize on the outside.
There will be a lot of new faces on the defensive side, as DeWitt can call on three or four returning starters and will need a number of players to provide contributions on both sides of the ball. The linebacking corps was particularly hit by graduations, although senior Tyler Campbell can provide some experience and leadership in that position and Cabral brings athleticism to the role. Max Anderson and Anthony DeCosta will be important at the line of scrimmage, while Stevens will step into the secondary along with senior corner Nick Gillis and junior corner Jadon Ricci.
“The competition in camp has been great,” DeWitt said. “The players have committed to the program and bought into the day to day work that we need to do. We are focusing on making sure we treat every day as an opportunity to improve and string together some positive momentum.”
The Tigers started last season with three straight wins and then finished with three wins in their final four games to end 2018 with a winning record. Taunton enters this fall with a relatively inexperienced roster, but one that is looking to continue the momentum in the program and try to push forward so it can challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division.
One of the biggest changes for the Tigers will be under center. Noah Leonard was the starter for three seasons, but junior Danny MacDougall will take over this year. MacDougall will also see time at receiver to try and take advantage of his athleticism. He will be joined in the backfield by classmates Bretton Heggs and Josh Lopes, who both got time at running back as sophomores. Juniors Kedrick Santos and Devante McPhail will be the primary weapons at receiver. Up front, the Tigers have decent size. Senior Mike Murray will be at center, senior Hussein Kassab at one tackle, junior Marquis Dalomba at the other tackle, and junior Jordan Manning at guard.
Similar to the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers lack experience on defense and are still learning the schemes, but physical scrimmages have helped prepare them for the season. Senior Woudanly Danger is a force at the line of scrimmage and will require attention from opponents and senior Jackson Wellman has been one of the team’s top tacklers from linebacker. Junior defensive end Deandre McPhail adds to the strength of the line. Senior Curt Marshall and MacDougall will be the safeties and senior Cam Carroca will be at corner.
“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and trying to get better and to be competitive in the league,” said Taunton coach Brad Sidwell. “We’re definitely inexperienced, but physically we have guys who can do it and we need to coach them up so they’ll be ready to go once the season gets started.”
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Franklin entered the postseason with just two losses (both in double overtime) and with its highest-ever seed (No. 2). The Panthers rolled through a perfect league campaign, going 10-0 in the Hockomock, while compiling both the league’s best attack and its stingiest defense.
So, all the pressure was definitely on the Panthers when they opened up the state tournament at Pisini Stadium on Tuesday night against division rival Mansfield. The Hornets were playing with house money, having won the final three games of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs and having lost to Franklin by 20 goals a month ago.
When Jake DiSangro scored with just under six minutes left to go in the opening quarter, cutting the Franklin lead to 2-1, the Hornets bench exploded and there was a fleeting moment where an upset seemed possible.
But, the Panthers responded with two goals in 29 seconds and rattled off seven straight goals to close out the quarter with a 9-1 lead. Franklin never looked back, going up by 14 at halftime, and, despite Mansfield scoring the game’s final five goals, comfortably advancing to the second round with a 19-8 victory.
The combination of junior attackers Jake Davis and Ben Greco and sophomore Matt Lazzaro proved especially potent again for the Panthers on Tuesday. Greco and Lazzaro are cousins and Verrochi said they refer to Davis as “the third cousin.” That familiarity was on display as they combined for 16 of the team’s 19 goals and added 11 assists as well.
“They’ve been playing together since they were young kids,” Verrochi said of his attacking trio. “They just really respect one another and they just do a real nice job moving the ball. It’s just fun to watch when they’re on.”
Davis got things going just about a minute into the game with a rip from the left side under the bar. Ninety seconds later, Greco found Lazzaro cutting through the middle and he went behind-the-back to double the early lead. DiSangro answered four minutes later with Mansfield’s first, managing to beat Franklin goalie Will Davis with a shot while being knocked to the ground.
That goal seemed to spring Franklin to life.
Jacob Alexander, the newly-selected league MVP, won the ensuing face-off and quickly got the ball to Greco, who fed Lazzaro for a goal. Mansfield’s momentum lasted all of eight seconds. Twenty-one seconds after that Greco to Lazzaro made it 4-1.
Lazzaro (seven goals and three assists) hit a cutting Davis (seven goals and two assists) not once, but twice to add to the advantage. Greco (two goals and six assists) took one himself, squeezing past the Mansfield defense and beating goalie Joe Plath (11 saves) from a tight angle. Owen Kielty took a hit but still got a lot on a shot from distance to make it 8-1 and then Nitin Chaudhury wound up in traffic for a ninth just before the end of the quarter.
“We tried to slow them down,” said Mansfield coach Tim Frias. “We implemented a zone a little bit to slow down the high-powered offense but they’re good. They’re No. 2 for a reason.”
Despite Mansfield’s switch to a zone defense, Franklin figured out ways to manufacture space and the ball movement continued to open up scoring chances.
“The kids solved the zone pretty well,” said Verrochi. “They were ball watching and we were fortunate to get some good, open looks. Ben Greco, he’s been doing it all year, our fast breaks, our unsettled situations, the kids just move the ball. This is probably the best ball movement from any team we’ve had.”
The Hornets started the second man-down, but managed to end the Panthers scoring run. Connor Quirk beat two Panthers on the far side trying to clear after a timeout and then he raced all the way on goal before tucking it away.
Chaudhury found Davis with his hands free for a rocket into the corner to get the hosts going again. Davis added a side-arm effort off a turnover and then assisted on Lazzaro’s fourth. With just under five minutes left in the half, Patrick Morrison scooped a ground ball in his defensive third and raced forward on the break to find Greco alone in front for his second. Eleven seconds later, Greco to Lazzaro worked again to make it 14-2.
Lazzaro scored his sixth and Tim Kolb got his first to put the Panthers up by 14 heading into the break. Nico Holmes won the face-off to start the third and powered towards goal, flicking a pass to Brady Kessler for the goal to make it 16-3. Davis added two more and Lazzaro one to push the lead to 19-3, Franklin’s largest of the game.
The Hornets didn’t stop at that point and they pushed to win the final 16 minutes of the game. Aidan Sacco got it started with a goal with 3:57 left in the third and, after a Holmes face-off win, Mansfield got a goal from Brian Rockwell.
Mansfield (8-9) would shut out Franklin in the fourth. Holmes got a goal straight from the face-off to start the quarter, Sacco assisted on a goal by Thomas Norton, and Holmes (two goals and two assists) completed his four-point night with a rocket from long-range.
“That’s all you can ask out of a team is play with pride,” said Frias. “In the second half it was the little things that you hope you take away and can build on that. Hopefully we will.”
Franklin (17-2) advances to take on No. 7 seed Natick on Thursday night.