FRANKLIN, Mass. – An early turnover gave Franklin the ball in Mansfield territory and the Panthers gained a couple of first downs before kicking a field goal to grab the lead. Then the Hornets took control with their defense, not allowing the Panthers another first down until inside five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Using a three down linemen look, Mansfield consistently got into the backfield without needing to blitz and, with a little assist from Mother Nature, disrupted Franklin’s typically potent passing attack on Friday night at Pisini Stadium. The Hornets scored 26 straight points to take control and rolled to a 39-9 victory that keeps them unbeaten in league play and alone atop the division standings.
“We’ve got a very, very good defense,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “They’re as athletic a team as we’re going to play but fortunately we’re pretty loaded in the secondary, but it’s a combination of us playing great ‘D’ and terrible weather conditions for them.
“We can run to the ball, we can cover, we can pressure, you throw in the conditions on top of that and it’s going to be hard for anyone to move the ball against us.”
The Panthers came in knowing that they still had a chance at possibly sharing the league title and the energy on the sideline was palpable. It got even louder when Jack Nally picked off Jack Moussette’s third-down pass on the opening series of the game and gave Franklin the ball at the Mansfield 37.
A 15-yard run by Owen Palmieri got the offense going and then a pair of completions from Thomas Gasbarro (18-30, 125 yards) to Jake Davis (seven catches, 92 yards) got Franklin down to the seven-yard-line. After going nowhere on three plays, Franklin got on the board with a 24-yard Parker Cheuvront kick.
It would be Franklin’s only possession of the half with the wind at its back.
Mansfield’s running attack was better suited for the blustery conditions and the Hornets used Michael DeBolt, Vinnie Holmes, Cincere Gill, and Anthony Comer on the opening drive to get into Franklin territory. A personal foul against the Panthers got the ball as far as the 18, but the Hornets went backwards and had to settle for a 41-yard kick by DeBolt to tie the game early in the second quarter.
The teams traded punts and Mansfield made its field position advantage pay off. Starting at its own 49, Mansfield would use five plays to grab the lead for good. Nick Marciano lined up at quarterback on the drive to give a different look and, on third and 12, he took a direct snap and found a seam on the left side of the line, racing 35 yards for the go-ahead score.
Marciano would also contribute to the game’s turning point. He hustled to down a Gill punt, pinning Franklin back at its own one. The snap flew over the head of Gasbarro and out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 12-3 Mansfield lead.
After the kick-off, the Hornets started again in great position, at the Franklin 36. Moussette had a pair of completions to Danny Rapoza and one to Joe Cappalletti to get down to the 23. DeBolt took a sweep 10 more yards and, after a spike to stop the clock, Moussette hit Gill in the front corner of the end zone for a 13-yard strike.
Redding said, “It went to a two-score game and then the throw to Cincere when we weren’t even supposed to throw to, Jack saw the one-on-one and took advantage of it. We did a lot of good things keeping them at a healthy distance to keep the lead.”
Mansfield added to its lead in the third quarter, again making good starting field position pay off. The Hornets needed only four plays to score from the Franklin 29, with Holmes (nine carries, 55 yards) finding a hole on the left side and bursting through for a 21-yard touchdown run.
The Franklin passing attack was finding it hard to get going, mostly due to the pressure put on Gasbarro by TJ Guy, Chris Graham, and the Hornets’ defensive line. Mansfield was getting into the backfield and not giving the Panthers time to look downfield, while being able to keep plenty back in coverage in case the ball did get out.
“I don’t think he ever felt comfortable,” Redding explained. “Even when we didn’t bring people, our three guys were getting enough pressure to make him throw a little early. We funneled in six guys in those three spots to stay fresh.”
Franklin coach Eian Bain said, “We had planned to try and get the ball out quick, but it was kind of a tough spot going into the wind. We tried to run the football. I think we only had the first possession and didn’t have the ball with the wind until the fourth quarter.”
A glimmer of hope came with three minutes left in the third. Gasbarro hooked up with Davis on a 41-yard completion, the receiver juggling it before hauling it in and getting to the Mansfield 35. The same combo connected again a few plays later for a 20-yard touchdown.
Momentum was fleeting. Holmes burst through the line to block the extra point and then Gill took the ensuing kick-off 84 yards right up the middle of the field for a back-breaking touchdown.
“We still had our chances,” Bain said, “but we just couldn’t get out of our end of the field tonight and I think that was what was pretty frustrating.”
Ethan Thevenot tacked on a late touchdown for the Hornets with a 65-yard run to extend the final margin.
The Hornets were coming off a big win against King Philip last week, but Redding wasn’t afraid of a letdown from his team. He said, “There was no way we could have a letdown. Our guys knew how good Franklin was, so I think it was maybe best game we could’ve had after KP because we knew they were next in line and we had to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Mansfield (4-1, 3-0) will look to solidify its position atop the Kelley-Rex division and clinch at least a share of back-to-back league crowns when it hosts Oliver Ames on Friday. Franklin (3-2, 1-2) will try to solidify its position in the Div. 1 South bracket when it travels to Attleboro next Saturday.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Graduation hit both teams’ offense hard. One team lost its all-star, dual-threat quarterback, and the other lost the bulk of its starting receivers, but on Thursday night at Pisini Field both Franklin and Milford showed that they have plenty of firepower remaining.
The two teams combined for 61 points, including 40 in the second half alone, and more than 600 yards through the air. In the end, the Panthers had just enough to hold off the Hawks and pull out a 34-27 victory in the season opener for both programs.
Franklin quarterback Thomas Gasbarro completed 70 percent of his passes (21-of-30) and threw for 293 yard and three touchdowns, while Milford senior Colby Pires completed 57 percent of his throws (12-of-21) for 325 yards and three scores of his own.
It didn’t take the hosts long to get into sync. On its first possession, starting at the Milford 46, Gasbarro hit Jack Nally for an eight-yard completion and then on the second play from scrimmage hit Jake Davis in stride down the far sideline. The senior receiver dove from several yards out and just snuck inside the pylon for a 7-0 lead.
“They’ve got a great connection,” Franklin coach Eian Bain said of Gasbarro and Davis. “Jake is such a terrific athlete and I think that shows in lacrosse and football. Tommy is just a grinder. I don’t think I’ve seen a tougher performance out of a QB. Milford was real creative with their pressures and their scheme defensively. Tommy stood in and he was getting hit on some of those throws.”
Milford’s defense came through with a big stand on Franklin’s next possession. Luke Rosa sacked Gasbarro on fourth and one from the Hawks 29. Milford got the ball and took only five plays to go downfield and tie it. Pires connected with Carter Scudo (four catches for 151 yards) on a 39-yard completion to get to the Franklin 15 and Rosa (16 carries, 87 yards) punched it from there.
On its first drive of the second quarter, Franklin regained the advantage. Gasbarro spread the ball around on the possession, hitting Ben Greco, Owen Palmieri, and Davis. It was Nally that got into the end zone, as Gasbarro threaded the needle on a pass to the front stick, getting the ball just over the corner to make it 14-7.
The Franklin defense held onto the lead with a pair of red zone stops. First, the Panthers were able to cut Pires a yard short on fourth and 11 from the 21 and then, following a punt that gave Milford the ball back in great field position, the Hawks got as close as the six only for Austin Jordan to end the half with a sack of Pires.
Franklin nearly extended its lead on the first drive of the third quarter, but Maxwell Martin made a great play to rip the ball out of the hands of Matt Lazarek for an interception in the end zone. Milford moved the ball out to midfield but there was controversy as the ball came loose on a jet sweep and Franklin recovered. The Hawks claimed it was a pass, not a hand-off, but the officials ruled it a fumble and the Panthers took over.
It became a bigger decision eight plays later when the Panthers punched it in for a two-score lead. Again, it was Gasbarro to Davis (eight catches, 166 yards), matching the receiver’s jersey number with a 23-yard strike. Although the extra point was no good after a low snap, the Panthers led 20-7.
That margin lasted about two minutes. On third and eight from his own 16, Pires found Scudo, who broke free of a tackle and got 28 yards. Then Pires slipped a pass to Dan Farrell over the middle and he found a seam for a 56-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Fourteen seconds later, the stunned home crowd was right back on its feet.
On the ensuing kick, senior Cole Lakatos, a transfer from Maryland, stepped up to grab the bouncing ball at the 27, found a hole on the left side, and raced 73 yards for his first Franklin touchdown. “Lakatos is brand new, but he’s a football dude and football dudes can play,” said Bain.
While a special teams score could’ve been a beak breaker, the Hawks refused to go away quietly. A 10-play, 78-yard drive got them back within one score. Rosa set up the eventual score with a 22-yard burst down to the Franklin 15. Three plays and one penalty later, on third and 21, Pires threw one up for Scudo on the near sideline and the junior managed to come down with it just in bounds to make it 27-20.
“He’s electric,” Milford coach Anthony Vizakis said of Scudo. “He’s got the speed, he’s got the hands, and we’re really excited to see what he’s going to do.”
When asked if he was surprised at how quickly Pires has gelled with a new set of receivers, Vizakis replied, “They’ve been working all summer. He’s got those guys in the morning working and they’re doing extra stuff after practice, so it didn’t really surprise me. I think we’re only going to get better from here.”
The game settled down for a couple minutes as the teams managed to go just about eight minutes without getting into the end zone. Franklin appeared to put the game away with a 11-play, 71-yard drive that chewed up several minutes off the clock. Sophomore Mack Gulla opened his account for the Panthers when he burst through the line for a four-yard score.
Gasbarro showed off his ability to make plays on the run, keeping a couple of plays alive, taking hits, and managing to find open receivers to keep the drive alive.
“We try to work the scramble drill when we can, but a lot of that is just natural,” said Bain. “He did one that he found Jake Davis near the end there and I’m thinking we’re getting the sack and maybe we’re calling something safe on the next call and punting the ball.”
It seemed like the game was finally out of reach, but appearances can be deceiving. Milford came right back down the field, going 80 yards in only two plays, to make it a one-score game again and give themselves a shot at an onside kick. Pires connected with Scudo for 58 yards to get things started and then with Matt Varteresian for 22 and the score.
“Our kids don’t quit,” said Vizakis. “They play right to the end. We’re training them to play 48 minutes of football now and they played every single play. I’m really proud of the way that they played.”
Franklin managed to collect the onside kick with two minutes left, run out the clock, and finally take a breath.
The Panthers (1-0) will travel to Andover next Saturday, while Milford (0-1) will host Attleboro.
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.”
Attleboro, 8 @ Bishop Feehan, 9 – Final – Attleboro junior Camden Fitzpatrick had a day to remember at the plate but the Bombardiers fell just short on the road at Bishop Feehan. Fitzpatrick went 3-for-4, hitting a grand slam, a solo home run, and an RBI single for Attleboro.
Canton, 3 @ Milford, 7 – Final – Milford scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead and tacked on two runs in each the fifth and sixth innings to beat visiting Canton. Colby Pires was strong on the mound, tossing a complete game with three runs allowed and two strikeouts. Matt Shaver went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored while Justin Applebee had two hits, an RBI, and a run scored for the Hawks.
Taunton, 3 @ Mansfield, 8 – Final – Mansfield broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the third, exploding for six runs and then tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth to earn a win over visiting Taunton. The Tigers plated two runs in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 6-2 before Mansfield answered with two runs of its own to make it 8-2. Kyle Moran (two RBI, run), Eric Longley (RBI, two runs), and Jake Gerraughty (run, RBI) each had two hits to pace the Hornets’ offense. John Carney earned the win on the mound, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks, striking out seven in five innings of work. Matt Scibilia allowed an unearned run on two hits and a walk in two innings of relief. Taunton junior Nic Notarangelo went 2-for-3 with two runs scored while sophomore Danny MacDougall went 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Attleboro, 2 vs. Bishop Feehan, 6 – Final
Milford, 13 @ Canton, 12 – Final – Milford senior Lucy Creedon came through in the clutch with the bases, delivering a two-run single in the top of the seventh to give the Hawks a win on the road in a close, back-and-forth contest with Canton. The Bulldogs built an early 6-0 lead, and led 8-3 after three innings before Milford’s offense roared to life with an eight-run fifth inning to take an 11-8 lead. Canton responded with a four-run sixth inning to go ahead 12-11 before Creedon put the visitors in front for good in the seventh. Milford freshman Gianna Cacciola went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored, hitting a home run that sparked the Hawks’ big fifth inning. Freshman Olivia Morelli went 4-for-4 with three runs and a two-run double for Milford. “Our girls never gave up, they never quit, ” said Milford head coach Steve DiVitto.
Oliver Ames, 7 @ Whitman-Hanson, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Colleen Larson had a game to remember, earning the win in the circle and hitting a home run to pace the Tigers to a win on the road. Larson struck out five in a complete game effort and smacked a three-run home run in the seventh inning to give OA the cushion it needed for the win. OA scored in the seven, third, and fifth innings to build a 4-2 lead. Grace Simone (two runs, RBI), Kayla Georgeu (run, RBI), Katie Abreu (two runs) and Abbi Holmes each had two hits for OA.
Taunton, 9 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 3 – Final – Taunton scored three runs in the first, tacked on four more in the fifth, and plated two more insurance runs in the sixth to sweep the season series with Dighton-Rehoboth. Kelsey White improved to 12-1 on the season, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts. White helped her own cause with outstanding defense and drove in three runs offensively. Abbie McDonough went 3-for-3 with an RBI and stolen base while McKenzie McAloon (RBI, SB), Alexa White (two runs), Payton Ceglarski, Jaime Brown, Ava Venturelli (RBI), and Tayah DaCosta (RBI) each had a hit for the Tigers.
Sharon, 2 @ Stoughton, 4 – Final – In a game continued from Monday, Stoughton scored two runs in the final innings to grab a win over visiting Sharon. The Eagles held a 2-1 lead on Monday before freshman Sydney Menz (3-for-3) singled, took third on a bunt single from Karly Estremera, and scored on an RBI from Jordan Lyons. On Tuesday, Menz was the catalyst for the Black Knights again, smacking a one-out triple to right and scoring on a bunt single from Estremera. Lyons grabbed her second RBI by knocking in Estremera with a single. Nicole Baker grabbed her 12th win of the season, stirking out seven with four hits allowed.
Attleboro vs. Bishop Feehan, 5:15
Franklin, 15 @ Canton, 7 – Final – Franklin raced out to a 5-0 lead after a quarter but Canton chipped away to get within two (9-7) early in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers scored the final six goals to pull away and secure a perfect record in Hockomock League action. Jake Davis had three goals and three assists for Franklin while Owen Palmieri scored five goals, Ben Greco had a goal and four assists, and Jacob Alexander (who had a strong day at the faceoff X) added two goals. Griffin Roach (assist) and Andrew Canto each had three goals for Canton while Tommy Vaughan had one goal and two assists. LSM Nick Mackay had his best all-around game of the season and won some key faceoffs for the Bulldogs.
Milford, 1 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Canton swept all three singles matches and grabbed another win in doubles to beat Milford. Freshman Suraj Ramanathan picked up a 6-0, 7-5 win at first singles, sophomore Minh Duong earned a 7-6 (7-0), 6-0 win at second singles, and sophomore Ethan Nguyen secured a 6-2, 7-5 win at third singles for the Bulldogs. The team of senior Tyler Duffy and junior Justin Luk emerged with a 7-5, 6-4 win at first doubles. Milford’s Ben Johnson and Dylan Wang earned a 6-2, 6-3 win at second doubled.
North Attleboro, 4 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro went on the road and swept all three singles matches and added a fourth win at second doubles to beat the Warriors. Jonah Manso (first singles) and Sam Gallagher (third singles), both sophomores, won 6-0, 6-0 while junior Alex Pfeffer secured a 6-1, 6-1 win at second singles. The team of Saketh Uppuluri and Justin Strom picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at second doubles. Foxboro’s Brian Gardner and Justin Neale won 6-2, 6-3 at first doubles.
King Philip, 4 @ Xaverian, 1 – Final – King Philip went on the road and knocked off Xaverian in a non-league showdown. Marco DiStefano won 6-1, 6-2 at first singles, Nick Putney won by the same score at second singles, and Jack Cannon completed the singles sweep with a 6-1, 6-0 result at third singles. KP’s first doubles team of Nate Ihley and Zak Ryan earned a 6-0, 6-1 win.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Brockton, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames completed a season sweep of the Boxers with a 3-2 win on the road. The Tigers won all three singles matches to beat Brockton. Senior captain Henry Simone battled to a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) win at first singles, freshman Kylash Ganesh won 6-4, 6-4 at second singles, and junior Yusaf Hameed prevailed 6-4, 6-3 at third singles.
Sharon, 3 @ Bishop Feehan, 2 – Final – Sharon junior Alberto Olivei prevailed in a tiebreak to win the second set, his match, and the entire match on the road at Bishop Feehan. Olivei won 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) at second singles while freshman Rueman Bhattacharyya picked up a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of senior Max Brody and freshman Max Chen won 6-2, 6-0 at first doubles.
Taunton, 4 @ New Bedford, 1 – Final – For the third straight season, the Taunton boys tennis team is headed to the state tournament. The Tigers qualified by beating New Bedford, sweeping all three singles matches and getting one more win in doubles action. Brett Beaulieu (first singles), Dylan Kullas (third singles), and the team of Barrett Hodgson and Tyler Goddard (second doubles) each won 6-0, 6-0 while Charlie Fiske picked up a 6-3, 6-0 win at second singles.
Franklin, 3 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Franklin swept doubles action and earned one more point with a victory in singles action to beat Attleboro. Krissy Stoyonova earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles, the team of Brynn Jacobs and Ashvika Boopathy won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 at first doubles, and Vagmi Kantheti and Tessa Cacioppo teamed up for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at second doubles. Attleboro’s Ella Lynch-Bartek won 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 at first singles and Bri Aronne picked up a 6-4, 6-0 win at second singles.
Canton, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – The Bulldogs won all five matches in straight sets to knock off Milford on the road. Rachel Kupferman (first singles) and Natalie Keppler (second singles) each won 6-0, 6-0 while Sarah Hernandez pulled out a 6-2, 6-1 decision at third singles. The team of Nyah Claiborne and Rose Hazam earned a 6-3, 6-1 win at first doubles while Lily Hazam and Kiara Cerruti won 6-0, 6-0 at second doubles.
Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Brockton, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames won both doubles matches but suffered two three-set heartbreakers in singles action and another very tight two-set match at third singles. The team of Eva Belanger and Morgan Vasiliou won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles while Erika Mekler and Kathryn McCarthy secured a 6-3, 6-3 at second doubles.
Sharon, 5 vs. Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final – Sharon defended home court with a dominant win over Bishop Feehan, winning four of the five matches in straight sets. Nupur Shukla (first singles) and Valeria Barajas (second singles) each won 6-0, 6-0 and Charlie Martinez picked up a 6-1, 6-2 win at third singles. The team of Sophia Fein and Sachi Bhasin won 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 at first doubles while Jessie Tarnoff and Lauren Glass earned a 6-3, 6-2 win at second doubles.
Taunton, 5 vs. New Bedford, 0 – Final – Taunton fended off visiting New Bedford, winning all five matches in straight sets. Jillian Pagliuca (first singles) and Jocelyn Pagliuca (third singles) each won 6-0, 6-0 while McKenzie Lucie earned a 6-1, 6-4 decision at second singles. The team of Sam Martin and Brianna Fevrier picked up a 6-2, 7-5 win at first doubles with Ogechi Ariguzo and Kayla Parrett teaming up for a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles.
King Philip, 3 vs. Norwood, 0 – Final – After nearly two weeks since their last game, King Philip returned to action with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-13) sweep over Norwood. Cam Corey dished out 30 assists and had six digs, Kyle Desrochers added 13 service points (one ace), and six digs, and Max Armour chipped in with eight service points and four aces. Eric Altobello paced the offense with 11 kills and two digs, Jimmy Peterson added seven kills and a block, and Mike O’Brien finished with five kills.
Milford, 3 vs. Bellingham, 0 – Final – Milford’s Matt Dague had a team-high five kills while Gabe Brandao added four and the Hawks earned a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-4, 25-10) over Bellingham. Nuno Mestre dished out 13 assists in the win.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Franklin boys lacrosse team knew it was going to get its toughest test from a league opponent when King Philip visited Pisini Field on Monday afternoon.
But it was even tougher than they anticipated.
The Panthers had cruised through its league schedule to this point, racking up seven wins and outscoring Hockomock foes 140-14. On the other side, King Philip raced out to a 10-0 record overall before suffering back-to-back losses to Canton and Grafton — both by one goal — before the clash against the Panthers.
King Philip came out strong, taking the first lead of the game and going in front again in the second quarter. The Warriors limited Franklin to just four goals in the first half, trailing by two at the break.
But Franklin found its footing in the second half, using timely goals in both the third and fourth quarters, and dominated possession en route to an 11-5 victory. The win clinches at least a share of a seventh straight Kelley-Rex division title for the Panthers.
“[King Philip] played well, I didn’t anticipate that they were going to be as good as they are and they surprised me, and they surprised us,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “We didn’t anticipate them to give us the game they did. They were very aggressive, they did a nice job. They are a quality team for sure.”
A slashing call — just one of two penalties called in the game — on the Panthers gave King Philip an early man-up opportunity and the Warriors cashed in. Junior Kevin Riggs found himself in some space and ripped a shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
But the lead lasted just a minute as the Panthers responded on its next possession. Senior Nitin Chaudhury gained some space and fired a right-handed shot into the back of the net to make it 1-1. KP’s defensive group of Wes Bishop, Luke D’Amico, and Garrett Maxwell did a nice job of preventing the Panthers from getting any other chances in the first half, limiting Franklin to three shots in the first.
Franklin had a couple of looks on goal in the opening minutes but couldn’t solve KP goalie Andrew McKinney (11 saves), who made back-to-back stops on good shots from Owen Palmieri.
Sophomore Sam Mattson took advantage of McKinney’s stops, using a rocket of a shot to put the Warriors up 2-1 with 7:35 left in the second quarter.
Franklin senior Jacob Alexander gave the Panthers a boost, winning the ensuing faceoff and racing down and bouncing in a shot that made it 2-2. Alexander won the next draw as well, leading to a goal from sophomore Owen Kielty on a nice feed from Ben Greco.
King Philip nearly tied it when Chris Longobardi won the face off, sprinted into the offensive zone and got off an open shot but Franklin goalie Will Davis (five saves) got just enough on it to keep the lead.
Palmieri converted a low shot while being pressured to put the Panthers up 4-2 heading into the half.
A faceoff win from Alexander led to a goal from Will Harvey (from Greco) to extend Franklin’s lead a minute into the second half. Mattson answered with a blast to make it a two-goal game but Franklin scored the final two goals of the third quarter.
First, senior Ben Kolb battled his way through traffic and finished in close to make it 6-3. A minute after Andrew Sajdak had his shot clank off the crossbar, Franklin tacked on another when Jake Davis snuck a tough angle shot under the bar to put the Panthers ahead 7-3 heading into the fourth.
“We started to move the ball a little bit more,” Verrochi said of second half adjustments. “We looked at certain matchups and found ones we felt we could go to goal on. I think we started doing that better and our off ball movement was better in the second half.
“If you’re beating your man, and you draw a slide, whoever’s man slid you gotta follow the slide with the stick lock and loaded, and I think we did a good job with that.”
King Philip was limited to just the one shot from Mattson in the quarter. McKinney made seven saves in the frame but the Panthers made it difficult for the Warriors to clear the zone.
“Andrew McKinney in goal was phenomenal, he really saw the ball well,” said KP head coach Hal Bean. “Those guys were shooting fast and he was on the ball, he was tracking well.
“[Franklin] slides very quickly, probably the fastest we’ve seen. So once our guy broke free from his man, there was someone else on us right away. And to try and get that third guy open was difficult.”
KP had the first possession of the fourth but Pat Morrison and Liam Arsenault combined to force a turnover and Franklin cashed in in transition as sophomore Matt Lazzaro found Greco open in front for an easy finish.
The Warriors pulled one back at the midway point of the fourth as Mattson drew multiple defenders before finding senior Colin DeVellis cutting in front for a close-range finish.
Davis answered less than a minute later on a feed from Greco but Longobardi scored nine seconds later, winning the faceoff and going straight to goal to make it 9-5.
Davis tallied twice more in the final four minutes to make it 11-5.
“[McKinney] played well, he made some nice saves,” Verrochi said. “We have some excellent shooters, some kids that can really shoot the ball.
We rode really tough, and we’ve been doing that all year long. The kids have really bought into that and they are making it tough [for opponents].”
While Franklin clinches another league title, King Philip dropped its third straight contest. But with all three coming against top competition and the Warriors playing well in all three, Bean believes these games will pay off down the road.
“We’re very positive right now,” Bean said. “We are enjoying how we’re playing, they are a tight-knit group. We got pizza after the loss at Grafton. They are upbeat right now. They understand they are playing good lacrosse. They are playing as a team, they work hard, so I expect a lot more wins coming up.”
Franklin boys lacrosse (8-0 Hockomock, 12-1) is back in action on Wednesday when it host Foxboro. King Philip (7-2, 10-3) is at Milford on the same day.
North Attleboro, 5 @ Attleboro, 6 – Final – Attleboro rallied with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to grab the lead and then held on for a non-league win over North. Alvaro Espinal started the rally when he was hit by a pitch and then came around to score on a Mason Houle double. Lorenzo Wilson plated Houle with a single, followed by a base hit from Robert Furtado. With two outs, Eoin Kelleher singled to bring in both runners and put Attleboro in front. Kelleher (seven strikeouts) also grabbed the win on the mound, retiring the final 10 batters he faced after giving up five runs, all in the fourth inning. North took advantage of a walk, two errors, and a catcher’s interference to put together thr fourth-inning rally, with Kyle Bolger providing the big hit on a bases-clearing double.
King Philip, 4 @ Canton, 3 – Final – King Philip earned its third win in the past four games, holding on for a one-run win on the road. The Bulldogs led 3-0 through four innings but the Warriors went ahead with four runs in the top of the fifth inning. David Morganelli went the distance on the hill, striking out three and allowing six hits, one walk, and just one earned run to pick up the win. Zach Zarba and Tim Crowley each had a pair of hits and each drove in a run for the Warriors, while Robbie Jarest had a hit and an RBI. Conor Cooke and Chris Sawyer each had two hits for KP. Canton’s Matt Pigeon went 3-for-3 and senior Paul Corcoran had an RBI for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 9 vs. Milton, 11 – Final – Foxboro jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning, and then scored three runs in the sixth to tie the game but Milton prevailed in the championship game of the third annual Steven J. Sullivan tournament. Senior Brian Duncan had a team-high three hits and a run scored, Anthony Mollica (three walks, triple, two runs, two RBI), Kyle McGinnis (two walks, two RBI, run, triple) and Adam Lanctot (run, RBI) each had two hits for the Warrior.
Mansfield, 6 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Mansfield held just a one-run lead through five innings of play before plating four in the sixth and one in the seventh to pull away from the Scarlet Hawks. Jake Gerraughty shined on the mound, allowing just one hit while talking two and striking out three in a complete game effort. Offensively, Dan Saraceno went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored while Sam Nugent (run), Gerraughty (run), and Mike Hargadon (run, RBI) each had two hits for Mansfield. Milford starter Colby Pires scattered five hits and three walks with just one earned run over five innings of work.
Sharon, 1 @ Weymouth, 5 – Final
Attleboro, 1 @ North Attleboro, 10 – Final – Bella Erti struck out eight and walked none to earn the non-league win against Attleboro. Emily Nardelli powered the North offense with three hits, including a double and a two-run homer. Abby Gallagher had a pair of hits, including a solo homer, and Ashley Cangiano and Belle Clarkin also added two hits for the Rocketeers, who used a six-run sixth inning to break the game wide open. Annabelle Hebard, Katy Daby, and Emma Bailey each drove in runs for North. Attleboro’s run came on a solo homer by Makenzie Killough. Jenna Gittle also went 2-for-3 for the Bombardiers.
Canton, 2 @ King Philip, 15 – Final (5 Inn.) – King Philip’s offense came alive, belting out 14 hits in a win over visiting Canton. Meg Gorman led the way, hitting two home runs and a total of three hits, knocking in four runs. Kara McWhinnie added a home run and a double, and Faith Turinese, Paige Berdos and Reagan Simeone each had a pair of hits for the Warriors. Turinese was strong in the circle, allowing only three hits striking out eight and no walks in five innings. Liz Bickett and Steph Trendell each had solo homers for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 16 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final (5 Inn.) – Foxboro scored five runs in the top of the first and never looked back, taking control of the game with an eight-run third. Nicole Theriault had a big day with three hits and three runs scored for the Warriors. Chelsea Gibbons and Camryn Willis also scored three times in the win, while Alexandra Willis had a pair of hits and a pair of runs. Morgan Sylvestre scored twice and Maria Dunn drove in a pair. Grace Simone (RBI), Kayla Georgeu, Abbi Holmes (run) and Kalei Clark (two runs) each had hits for OA. Clark scored 2 runs, Holmes scored a run. Emma Varella added two RBI for the Tigers.
Stoughton, 1 @ Franklin, 13 – Final (5 inn.) – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Franklin got off to a strong start, scoring five runs in the first inning and four more in the second to beat Stoughton. Junior Sarah Jackson launched a two-run home run to highlight the Panthers’ big first inning. Ally Shea went 4-for-4 (courtesy runner Molly Collins scored three runs), Gabby Colace had three hits and two RBI, and Maddy White added two hits and two RBI. Jackie Cherry allowed just one run on two hits, walking two and striking out three in four innings of work to get the win. Nikki Coppola had a solo home run in the second inning for the Black Knights.
Milford, 0 @ Mansfield, 18 – Final (5 Inn.) – Sarah Cahill allowed only one hit and struck out eight to earn the five-inning shutout for the Hornets. Mansfield jumped out to a 6-0 lead after one, tacked on a run in the second, four in the third, and then seven in the fourth, while pounding out 11 hits as a team. Megan Letendre and Ashlyn Conley each had a pair of hits and each drove in a pair of runs. Nine Mansfield batters had at least one hit in the game.
Sharon, 0 @ Taunton, 18 – Final (5 inn.) – Taunton scored eight runs in the first inning and never looked back in a while over visiting Sharon. Sophomore Hanna Aldrich paced the offense with a pair of home runs and five RBI, sophomore McKenzie McAloon added a pair of hits and two runs scored, sophomore Tayah DaCosta had two hits, scored three runs, and two RBI, junior Abbie McDonough had a double and two RBI, and sophomore Skylar Rheaume added a hit and an RBI. Alexa White earned her second win of the year, allowing just one hit in three innings of work while striking out six. Freshman Olyvia Mendonca did not allow a hit in two scoreless innings of relief.
Attleboro @ Bishop Feehan, 10:00
Foxboro, 7 vs. Marshfield, 5 – Final – After falling behind 4-1 at the end of the first quarter, Foxboro’s defense put a lock on the Ram attack. The Warriors shut Marshfield out in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 4-3 at halftime, and then allowed just one second half goal, scoring four of their own to get the victory in Chowda Cup action. The Warriors used a balanced attack with Pete Conley scoring twice and Charlie Baughan (assist), Aidan Stapleton (assist), Bobby Yerardi (assist), Shayne Kerrigan, and Nick Penders each scoring once. Foxboro coach Matt Noone said the Warrior defense played awesome in front of goalie Matt Tully (11 saves).
Franklin, 9 vs. St. John’s Prep, 10 – Final (2 OT) – Franklin had a lead and possession with under a minute to go but St. John’s Prep got the ball back after a save and scored with 16 seconds left and went on to win in double overtime. Owen Palmieri had three goals, Jake Davis added two goals and an assist, and Matt Lazzaro scored once and had two helpers. Will Davis made 17 saves in net for the Panthers while senior Jacob Alexander won 15-of-23 faceoffs.
King Philip, 9 @ North Attleboro, 7 – Final – Colin DeVellis scored four goals and recorded two assists to lead the Warriors to a non-league road win. KP also got two goals and an assist apiece from Andrew Sajdak and Sam Mattson. Robbie Tartaglia scored the other goal, Chris Longobardi won 12-of-17 face-offs, and Andrew McKinney made 12 saves for the Warriors.
Mansfield, 11 vs. Hanover, 10 – Final
Milford vs. Blackstone Valley Tech, 6:00
Oliver Ames, 16 @ Bellingham, 2 – Final – OA had seven different scorers, led by Hunter Costello’s five goals, to stay unbeaten through six games this season. Cullen Gallagher had a strong game defensively in his LSM role and also popped up with a pair of goals on the other end. The Tigers defense was led by Shane Murphy, Matt Saba, and Tyler Campbell, who held Bellingham to just two scores.
Sharon, 10 vs. Nipmuc, 8 – Final
Stoughton, 2 @ Dedham, 12 – Final
Attleboro, 6 vs. Bishop Feehan, 20 – Final
Canton, 13 vs. Quincy, 2 – Final
Foxboro, 9 @ Longmeadow, 16 – Final
Mansfield, 6 @ Hopkinton, 16 – Final – Mansfield fell behind early, trailing 9-1 at halftime, but battled back in a nearly even second half. Hornets coach Lauryn Wilkie said that the score didn’t reflect how well the Mansfield midfield and defense played against a good Hopkinton attack. Melissa Shanteler was highlighted for her marking of Hopkinton’s Lydia Rudden, holding the 200-goal scorer to just one for the game, and Wilkie said that Shealyn Sears also played well in the defense. Katie McCarthy made six saves for the Hornets who got three goals apiece from Katie Garvin and Lauren Whitman. Wilkie added, “The girls are really starting to hit their stride, we just need to find the net more.”
Sharon, 13 @ Oliver Ames, 9 – Final – It was a one-goal game at halftime, but the Eagles used a 7-4 second half to pull out the non-league road win and extend their win streak to five games. Emma Eberhardt scored six times for Sharon and also pulled down 15 draw controls. Mia Lappen scored three goals and Cass Barbera and Bridget McManus each tallied twice in the win. OA had five players score in the game, led by Olivia Piazza, who had four goals and three assists.
King Philip, 3 vs. Walpole, 15 – Final
Milford, 18 vs. Blackstone Valley Tech, 3 – Final – Milford took an early lead and never looked back, cruising to its third win of the season. Senior Sophia Bucal paced the offense with five goals while Emily Haley, Annie Flanagan, Riley Campbell and Elena Bon Tempo each scored three goals apiece. Senior Stella Amour scored her first career goal for the Hawks.
Milford, 1 vs. Hopedale, 4 – Final
Milford, 0 vs. Hopedale, 5 – Final
Attleboro @ North Attleboro, 2:00
King Philip, 0 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Milford earned a 3-0 sweep over King Philip in the first ever meeting between the programs, winning 25-19, 25-17, 25-18. Milford senior Joao Boaventura was terrific all around, pounding down 18 kills, adding six aces, and finishing with 12 digs. Josh Orellana added 28 assists for the Scarlet Hawks. Jimmy Peterson and Max Armour had three kills apiece for King Philip while Kyle Desrochers finished with 10 digs.
Attleboro, 3 @ Lowell, 5 – Final
Mansfield @ Franklin – Postponed to 4/14 at 11:00.
Franklin, 0 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 3 – Final
Franklin, 17 vs. Newton North, 8 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Owen Palmieri and Jake Davis each scored four goals and Matt Lazzaro had a hat trick, as the Panthers stayed unbeaten after their biggest test of the season so far. Will Davis made 13 saves in goal and Jacob Alexander (two goals) dominated the face-off ‘X’, winning 20-of-24 and losing only one of the 14 face-offs in the first half. Newton North scored a minute into the second quarter to close the gap to 5-4 but the Panthers rolled off an 11-2 run and scored 12 goals over the final 30 minutes of the game. Ben Greco fed Ben Kolb for a man-up goal to make it 6-4 and eight seconds later Alexander found Lazzaro for another goal. Kolb picked out Nitin Chaudhury with a great diagonal feed to add another score before half. Palmieri made it 9-4 early in the second with a goal while practically lying on the ground and the Panthers answered a Newton North goal by scoring twice in 11 seconds, first on a behind-the-back shot from Lazzaro and then Alexander went bar-down after another face-off win. Jake Davis and Palmieri added goals before the end of the third, both assisted by Greco, and Franklin had pulled away to lead 14-6 by the end of the third.
King Philip, 17 @ Framingham, 7 – Final – Caroline Klim scored four times and Dana Truini, Lily Brown, and Victoria Tormey all recorded hat tricks as the Warriors went on the road to pick up a non-league win against a potential playoff opponent. Truini added seven draw controls and Haley Izydorczak scored a pair of goals in the win.
Milford, 2 @ Minnechaug, 3 – Final
2018 Record: 5-13 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Patton
The Bombardiers will boast a relatively young group in 2019 but are still ready to compete in a difficult Hockomock League.
With a total of 14 underclassmen – eight sophomores and six freshmen – there will certainly be learning curves and some ups and downs throughout the year, but those new faces are hungry to improve throughout the season.
Attleboro’s strong suit will be in net as Hockomock League All-Star Trevor Koppy, a captain for this year’s team, returns to the cage. Koppy is one of the most experienced netminders in the league and the Bombardiers will be relying on him for his play plus his leadership as a captain. Attleboro will also rely on the leadership on and off the field by junior captain Tom Shipman, who will be a key piece in the midfield.
Shipman will be joined by senior Zach Thomas and sophomores Michael Strachan and Aidan Diggin in the midfield. All four have plenty of varsity experience so Attleboro will certainly rely on them to guide the way as the younger players are incorporated into the lineup. Sophomore Matthew Perry returns up front while junior Jack Handy is back defensively.
The Bombardiers are hoping junior Bryson Friess and freshman Fred Wheaton will make an impact defensively while freshmen Keigan Conley and Jack Lamothe will bolster the attack. Freshman Ryan Betts will also be apart of the midfield unit this season.
We are a young team…but they’re all ready to contribute quality minutes,” said Attleboro coach Kevin Patton, who switched from the girl’s team to the boys this Spring. “With Trevor Koppy and Tommy Shipman, our captains, they are prepared to lead the team to the next level. I’m looking forward to the future of the program!”
2018 Record: 10-8 2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals Coach: Bill Bendell
After missing out on the playoffs in 2017, Canton put together a memorable 2018 campaign that ended in the D2 South Sectional Semifinals. The Bulldogs are looking to replicate that success and make another deep tournament run again this year.
And with a good amount of players back from last year’s squad, there is a lot of optimism that tournament run can happen. Senior Griffin Roach, a HockomockSports.com Second Team selection, will pace the offense again this year. Roach had 30 goals and 17 assists last year and his competitiveness is contagious to those around him. Roach will be joined by classmate Dan Cohen, a Hockomock League honorable mention selection. Cohen is a dangerous player, scoring 24 goals in the regular season last year.
David Allen, Chris Lavoie, Brendan Clifford, and Matt Martin are great athletes and capable scorers as well, while Tommy Vaughan will look to make an impact with his playmaking ability. On defense, the Bulldogs will turn to Brendan Albert and Nick Mackay, who head coach Bill Bendell called two of the most underrated players in the Hockomock League. Both possess a boatload of experience at the varsity level and will anchor the Bulldog defensive group. George Kent and James Murphy will also be apart of Canton’s defense while Shane Marshall, Sam Walsh, Jack Albert, and Carson Campbell will all see time and make key contributions this seasons, Bendell said.
Sophomore Dylan Coyne will take over in net for the Bulldogs and has had a strong preseason so far. Bendell believes Coyne is poised for a breakout year. Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Ghostlaw, and Mackay will all be in the running to handle faceoff duties.
“We are very excited about our offensive and defensive potential,” Bendell said. “Our varsity depth is not what we would like it to be at this point, but a few players have shown flashes of potential that make us think we will be much deeper come Memorial Day.”
Foxboro will have a young squad with just five seniors this year but that doesn’t mean there will be a lack of experience from the defending Davenport division champions.
Senior Brendan Tully sets the example with his work ethic but is also one of the most dangerous players in the Hockomock League. A Providence College commit, Tully has tormented defenses for the past two seasons. He had 44 goals and 22 assists last year and will be one of Foxboro’s main weapons. Tully will be joined by Bobby Yerardi, who had over 40 points as a sophomore and has improved his game in the offseason. His ability to finish right or left makes life difficult for opponents.
The Warriors bring back junior Shayne Kerrigan for faceoffs. Kerrigan is one of the best in the area on the draw and puts Foxboro in good positions time after time; he will be a key piece in the midfield for the Warriors. Junior Pete Conley, Aiden Stapleton, and Charlie Baughan will make the up the attacking group for Foxboro this year.
Pat Stapleton is one of the most experienced players in the league as well as one of the top defensive players. He will anchor a defensive unit that has been one of the best in the region over the past couple of seasons. He will be joined by juniors Ronnie MacLellan and Will Morrison. All three players have the ability to move up to LSM when needed.
One question mark for the Warriors could be goalie, as Foxboro graduated Hockomock League MVP Jake Addeche. Head coach Matt Noone is confident in his options this season, with four players competing for the time in the cage. Freshman Matt Tully is beginning the season as the starter.
“I am really looking forward to this season as we are young but dangerous,” Noone said. “The best thing about this team is our depth, there is competition for every spot and they love to compete! What more can you ask for?”
Franklin has had a lot of success in recent years, and that trend looks like it will continue in 2019.
“The outlook for this season is very good,” said Franklin head coach Lou Verrochi. “It could be one of the best teams we’ve had at FHS.”
The reason for the high expectations is the amount of talent returning from last year’s Kelley-Rex team that reached the D1 South Quarterfinals. Although the Panthers graduated two-time All-American and two-time HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Eric Civetti and starting goalie Connor O’Rourke, Franklin has experience and talent back at each position.
It all will start with senior Jacob Alexander, who has been arguably the best faceoff man in the entire state over the past couple of seasons. Alexander’s ability to consistently win draws gives Franklin a huge advantage and sets the offense in motion. Patrick Morrison, a second-team All-American selection last season, will anchor the defensive unit for the Panthers this year along with Will Harvey, who was one of the most underrated players last year. Will Davis, who saw time in net some last year, is set to take over in the cage and could be one of the top netminders in the league.
The Franklin midfield will consist of Nitin Chaudhury – one of the hardest working athletes in any sport – along with Owen Palmieri and Ben Kolb, who has really impressed in scrimmages during the preseason. Franklin’s attack could be among the most dangerous in the league this year with three legitimate options. Jake Davis (32 goals, 23 assists), Matt Lazzaro (30 points), and Ben Greco are all unselfish but can also finish.
2018 Record: 9-10 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals Coach: Hal Bean
King Philip is hoping that a good amount of returning experience from last year’s team will result in a successful season and possibly a run through the D1 South bracket.
The Warriors have one of the most experienced attackmen in the league in Colin DeVellis, who has been one of the best finishers in each of the last two years. He finished fourth overall in points his sophomore year (22 goals, 36 assists) and again his junior year (45 goals, 29 assists) and is the top returning scorer back from last year. His ability to finish in close makes life tough for opponents but he’s also able to find teammates when the defense focuses on him. Andrew Sajdak and Sam Mattson will also be key pieces on the attack and the three showed good chemistry in their first game this year.
Wes Bishop, who is committed to play at UMass Boston, is a great leader that will anchor the defensive unit. He has a lot of varsity experience and is the type of player that leads by example. Luke D’Amico is another experienced defender that will stand out for KP this year. Tyler Bartlett, Aiden Bender, Chris Longobardi, and Garrett Maxwell give coach Hal Bean a large group of experienced players.
Junior Andrew McKinney is back in goal after splitting time in the cage last season.
2018 Record: 9-9 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
Mansfield has made the state tournament in each of the last four seasons and will be looking to make it five straight in 2019.
It all starts in the midfield with senior Aidan Sacco. Sacco, who played quarterback this past fall for the Hornet football team, is like the quarterback for the Hornet boys lacrosse team. A lot of the offense will run through Sacco because of his vision and ability to share the ball. He is also a key part of the Hornet defense. His ability to get back and track opponents while also causing turnovers and transitioning defense into offense will be key for Mansfield.
On offense, the Hornets have an experienced stick in the hands of Mike Reed, who will be relied on to lead the Hornets into the playoffs down the stretch. Connor Quirk will also be a key cog for Mansfield this year while Joe Plath, Sean Weber, and Will Nelson are going to be important pieces in the defensive unit.
The Hornets have a strong piece in Nico Holmes at the face-off X. Holmes picked up varsity experience at the position last year and he will look to give Mansfield extra possessions this year in their push for the state tournament.
Coleman O’Brien and Brian Rockwell are battling for the starting spot in the cage.
2018 Record: 6-11 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jacob Scordato
After increasing their win total from 2017 to 2018, the Scarlet Hawks will be looking to continue that trend in 2019.
With returning starters back in a lot of positions, second-year head coach Jacob Scordato is hopeful that Milford can make a run at a state tournament berth.
“Our Goal as a team is to make the playoffs, this program hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2012,” Scordato said. “But this group of extraordinary young men are highly motivated on achieving that goal.”
The Scarlet Hawks bring back their leading scorer in Brendan White, who had 45 points last season (31 goals, 14 assists). White is a strong, physical forward with a strong shot. His ability to finish through contact makes him one of the top attackmen in the league. In the midfield, junior captain Danny Farrell is back after a standout sophomore year. Farrell, an LSM, led the team last season with 64 ground balls.
Senior Ryan Pearl will anchor a defensive unit that is looking to improve on last season. Sophomore Evan Hazard had a standout freshman campaign between the pipes last year. He will be relied upon this season to help keep Milford in games as they make a push for the postseason.
2018 Record: 15-5 2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinals Coach: Kevin Young
After coming close to the Davenport title a year ago, the Rocketeers are ready to make another run at the division title and as well as a deep playoff run.
While the Rocketeers graduated some top talent in the league such as midfielders Jason McNeany and Max Fontes, defenseman Tommy Lockavitch, and attack Tommy Lindstrom, North Attleboro has talent and experience in every position. Juniors Nate D’Amico and Jake McNeany are back after splitting time last season and will be competing for minutes again this season.
Defensively, the Rocketeers bring back three starters from a unit that allowed a league-low 95 goals last year. Junior Brett Labonte had a terrific season and will be joined by classmate Will Yeomans and sophomore Tyler Sarro. Head coach Kevin Young said the trio is tough, vocal, active, and play very well together. In the midfield, senior captains Nick Ward and Ryan Boyle will be key pieces. Ward will also see time at attack while Boyle will be a defensive minded midfielder.
“Nick is a very smart, sneaky threat with great IQ and stick skills,” said North Attleboro coach Kevin Young. “Ryan is just a grinder that all coaches appreciate.”
Junior Dan Conroy takes over as the main faceoff guy and will be joined by Ryan Rajotte, Damien Curtis, Nick Morse, Jack Puccio, Cam Cornetta, and Joe Milosh in the midfield.
The attack will be spearheaded by junior Andy DeMattio, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year. DeMattio had a tremendous season, scoring 52 goals and adding 22 assists for a team-high 74 points. “He should be fun to watch as he’s picked up some size and speed,” Young said. DeMattio will be joined by junior Jack Connolly and freshman Matt Antonetti.
2018 Record: 14-7 2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals Coach: Ben Devlin
Coming off the best season in program history, Oliver Ames is aiming to have another successful year and hoping to replicate last year’s playoff push.
The Tigers reached the D2 South Sectional Semifinals last season and bring back five of the top seven scorers from a year ago. While the top two scorers — Eric LeBlanc and Owen Gallagher — and their 146 points graduated, there is a lot of optimism in the program because they have reloaded for this year.
Oliver Ames will be young on the attack with junior Sandro Masciarelli and sophomore Remi Creighton, but there is still experience in the position. Masciarelli had 25 goals last year while Creighton will see more minutes this year. The strength of the program will be in the midfield with the likes of senior captain Colin Bourne (30 goals), junior Shane Kilkelly (32 goals), junior Sam Stevens (23 goals), and junior Frankie Ireland (29 goals). That group was a big reason for OA’s memorable season last year and now have a year of experience playing together under their belts.
Defensively the Tigers are looking for senior captains Shane Murphy and Matt Saba to lead the way. Both players were apart of the defensive unit last year and have been a big reason for the program’s improvement over the past couple of seasons. Senior LSM Cullen Gallagher will be a key defensive midfielder while junior Tyler Campbell will likely factor into the Tiger defense this year. Junior Nick Gillis returns as the starting goalie while senior Steve Heino is an experienced backup.
“Our goal is to keep improving each day and keep building on last year’s success,” said OA head coach Ben Devlin. “The kids have bought into the program and are excited and enthusiastic about the season. We don’t expect anyone or two players to replace the production we graduated, but if all our returners can progress like they did last year, we should be in the mix for a tourney berth.”
2018 Record: 12-7 2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jon Shocket
Sharon has a strong mix of returners and new faces and is hoping that combination will result in a return trip to the state tournament.
The Eagles will have an experienced defensive group with all three starting defensemen back this year, and all three are seniors. Sam Spencer, Coleman Loftus, and Ronin McCabe are back to give the Eagles a formidable defensive group. Having an experienced defensive in front of new goalie, sophomore Adam Rabb, will help as the season gets underway.
Sophomore Drew Litner is back after a terrific freshman year. Litner can score but he is one of the most unselfish players in the league and does a terrific job finding teammates on the move. He was among the league leaders in assists last year, dishing out 28 helpers. Litner will be joined by senior Brandon Buckman and freshman Zack Waxman in the attacking group.
The midfield will also have a good amount of experience with seniors Daniel Lillenfeld and Mitchell Director leading the way. Nick Stamm and Rowan Barnes have impressed this preseason and should be apart of the group as well. Junior Max Posner could be poised for a breakout year while sophomore Cobe Jacobson and freshmen Brady Daylor and Jace Nestler will be in the mix too.
Returning LSM Tyler Freedman is back after a terrific rookie campaign and could be a top player for the Eagles while there are high hopes for freshman faceoff specialist Ben Shocket, who could be an X-factor for the Eagles.
2018 Record: 1-15 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Pat Healey
The Black Knights enter their third season as a varsity program and are looking to continue to grow as a program in a difficult league.
After being inexperienced last year, the Black Knights are hoping the lessons learned from last year will pay off this year. It starts with the four captains: Sean Doherty, Luke Bainton, Alex Wilson, and Nate Wilson. Doherty and Bainton will do a little bit of everything for the Black Knights and will be two of the top options offensively. Alex Wilson and Nate Wilson will anchor the defensive unit, bringing plenty of lacrosse experience to that group.
Stoughton is also looking for a big season out of junior Foster McLeod. McLeod has shown in the past the ability to beat defenders and create opportunities for others. Sophomores Max Huminik and Mike McLaughlin will also see increased roles after impressing during their rookie seasons in 2018.
Sophomore Thomas Ratcliffe, a Hockomock League honorable mention last year, returns in the cage and gives the Black Knights a steady presence between the pipes. Sophomore Marty Barrett returns as a long pole and will be a key piece of the Knights’ defense.
North Attleboro, 20 @ Attleboro, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (A) Justin Cote 2-yard run, Colby Briggs XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 85-yard pass to Ryan Gaumond, T. DeMattio XP good.
4th Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 7-yard run, T. DeMattio XP good; T. DeMattio 90-yard run, XP no good.
Stoughton, 28 @ Canton, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 30-yard pass to Kyle Fitzgerald, Owen Lehane XP good; (S) John Burke 1-yard rush, Josh Cocchi XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) Jeff Grier 66-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good; (S) J. Grier 18-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good.
4th Quarter: (S) J. Grier 72-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good.
King Philip, 23 @ Franklin, 16 – Final 1st Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 20-yard rush, Cole Baker 2pt pass to Sam Sesay; (F) Parker Chevrant 26-yard field goal;
2nd Quarter: (KP) Robbie Jarest 1-yard rush, R. Jarest 2pt rush.
3rd Quarter: (F) Nick Gordon 11-yard pass to Ryan Driscoll, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (KP) R. Halliday 14-yard rush, C. Baker XP good; (F) N. Gordon 75-yard pass to Owen Pamieri, P. Chevrant XP good.
Sharon, 21 @ Oliver Ames, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Aaron Strong 3-yard rush, Mitchell Director XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (S) A. Strong 5-yard rush, M. Director XP good.
4th Quarter: (OA) Billy Tat 2-yard rush, Cam Perron XP good; (S) A. Strong 1-yard rush, M. Director XP good.
Taunton, 34 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: (T) Noah Leonard 14-yard rush, 2pt rush failed; (T) N. Leonard 17-yard pass to Cory Pintabone, Danny MacDougall 2pt rush.
2nd Quarter: (T) N. Leonard 29-yard pass to Everett Ferreira, Coby Adams XP good.
3rd Quarter: (T) Tryton Zavala 6-yard rush, XP failed; (T) Damien Manning 5-yard rush, Ethan Tavares XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Throughout the regular season, the headlines have focused on Franklin’s high-power offense and all of the different skill guys it uses.
In the first round of the Division 1 South tournament, the Panthers’ defense took center stage.
#4 Franklin’s defense prevented #5 Brockton from getting in the end zone, adjusted to limit the Boxers’ run game, came away with three interceptions and anchored the Panthers to a 26-3 win.
After Brockton’s offense combined for 97 yards and three points on its first two drives of the game, the Panthers’ defense limited the Boxers to just 66 yards the rest of the way. Of Brockton’s final seven drives, three ended with interceptions, one with a safety, and two turnover on downs.
“Our defense has been pretty good all year in all of our wins,” said Franklin head coach Eian Bain. “It’s been pretty solid all year and in the second half, they won us that game. They put the nail in the coffin and sealed it for us.
“I love coaching and all that but the kids do all the work. From day one, they bought in. We’ve taken our bumps and we’ve grinded along the way but these guys earned everything they’ve gotten so far. I think we have great athletes but these guys have everything in their power to develop as people and as football players. That’s really shown this year.”
Brockton’s offense had its lone success of the first two drives of the game. After a good return, the Boxers offense quickly marched 47 yards — all on the ground — into the Franklin red zone on the first drive of the game. But the visitors couldn’t convert as Franklin’s Nolan McLaney and Austin Jordan combined for a tackle for loss on second down, and Brockton fumbled on third, meaning they had to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Carlens Jean.
It took Franklin just over two minutes to respond, finding the end zone in just six plays on its first drive of the game. Junior quarterback Nick Gordon (11/16, 178 yards, two touchdowns) converted a third down by finding junior Jake Davis up the seam for a 36-yard gain – the only stopping him from going the distance was his own momentum.
After two plays without a gain, Franklin converted another third down, this time Gordon finding a streaking Jack Nally up the middle for a 32-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead with 2:08 left in the first quarter.
The Boxers nearly struck back with an immediate response of their own. Brockton junior running back Ahmik Watterson broke free for a 50-yard scamper to get inside the Franklin 10-yard line. Another run from Watterson put the ball at the 1-yard line. Franklin’s defense came up with a key stop and Brockton was whistled for a dead fall foul, pushing them back to the 15-yard line.
Two plays later, Jean’s 25-yard field goal attempt was just wide left and Franklin’s offense took over.
“They had a pretty cool set early where they where they were unbalanced one way with a power-I going the opposite,” Bain said of Brockton’s early running success. “You have to adjust the front while also maintain some integrity on the back and be gap sound. Once we settled down we felt OK.”
The Panthers marched up field, going 74 yards to get into scoring territory at the Brockton 6-yard line. The drive was highlighted by a 27-yard catch from Sean Leonard and a terrific leaping 30-yard catch from Ryan Driscoll on third down. But Brockton’s defense was up to the task, not letting Franklin get any closer.
The Panthers settled for a 23-yard field goal from Parker Chevrant and a 10-7 advantage with 6:55 to play in the second quarter.
Although Brockton’s defense just had a big stop to get some momentum, Franklin’s defense stole it right back. On the third play of the ensuing drive, Brockton quarterback Michael Norman was intercepted by Driscoll near midfield and he returned it all the way into the red zone at the 18-yard line.
Four plays later, on fourth and 2 from the 10-yard line, Bain elected to go for it and Gordon linked up with Leonard, who just got his feet down, in the end zone for a 17-3 advantage with 4:29 left in the first half.
“Any game you can really boil it down to about a half dozen moments and for us, that stretch was certainly one of them,” Bain said. “We’ve put a lot of stock in our kids and we really trust them. We went up to the line with a dummy call, we weren’t going to run a play but Leonard is a three-year guy, Gordon has stepped in the clutch all year so we let them do their thing.”
Brockton started its drive inside its own 20-yard line and junior linebacker Evan Wertz made a big tackle on third down to force the Boxers to punt. But the snap sailed high on the punter, and by the time he was able to pick it up he stepped out of bounds in the back of the end zone while under pressure from McLaney, resulting in a safety and a 19-3 lead for the Panthers.
Franklin had a chance to add onto that lead before half, getting to the Brockton 30-yard line on the ensuing drive but a fumble ended the drive.
Brockton moved 30 yards to get into Franklin territory in the final minute of the first half but Owen Palmieri came away with an interception to send the teams into the locker rooms for half.
“For us, our strength is our back end, our strength is our athletes,” Bain said. “I think we have very good linemen but we’re always going to be outsized, that just the way it is here. But we’re fast and athletic, so we if we can get a team to play to our strengths, we’re in a better spot. We wanted to make them throw it some and get out of their comfort zone.”
The second half featured a battle of ground games trying to solve two strong defensive fronts. Brockton had 20 plays in the second half with a total of 29 yards.
Franklin’s offense didn’t fare much better as it tried to get its ground game going and keep the ball away from the Boxers. The Panthers offense had 30 plays for a total of 57 yards.
“We like we had some opportunities to run, that was what they were giving us,” Bain said of keeping the ball on the ground for the majority of plays in the second half. “We didn’t want to give them a short field or anything. They have the athletes to get back in the game in one strike. I don’t want to say we were conservative, we truly believe they were the right play calls but hopefully we can have some more success on the ground next week.
The big play of the second half came when Franklin’s defense once again thwarted the Boxers trying to throw the ball. Midway through the fourth quarter, a sack from senior Adam McMorrow forced the Boxers into a 3rd and 15 scenario inside their own 20 yard line.
Norman tried to link up with a receiver down field but McLaney stepped in front for the interception. The senior returned it 26 yards to the 1-yard line, setting the Panther offense up.
After being stuffed on the first two tries on QB sneaks, Gordon took the next snap in shotgun and pushed his way up the middle for a 26-3 lead with 5:39 to play.
Franklin football (6-2) advances to the D1 South Semifinal and will take on top-seeded Xaverian (6-1) on Friday night at 7:00 in Westwood. The Hawks beat BC High 17-0 in the opening round.