MANSFIELD, Mass. – Even the parents were out of their seats, creeping closer to the mat, and counting down the final seconds of the night’s final match. Mansfield junior Noah Jellenik laid flat on his stomach, holding off Franklin’s Riley Downing and waiting for the final horn to sound.
As the ref waved his hand to signal the end of the match, Jellenik, who is in his first year as a wrestler, rolled onto his knees and threw his hands in the air in triumph. On three edges of the mat, his teammates, coaches, and Mansfield alumni hugged, cheered, and celebrated, as the Hornets moved one giant step closer to securing the program’s first ever Hockomock dual meet title.
Although Downing won the 285-pound match 6-2, Jellenik had accomplished his only goal, which was to avoid a pin. With the Panthers only earning three points in the final match of the hotly-contested dual meet, Mansfield held on for a 30-27 victory.
“Do not get on my back,” Jellenik said with a laugh when asked about his strategy going into the match. Trying to reflect on how he felt after securing the win, he said, “Wow, it’s kind of surreal right now. I’ve known these guys almost my whole life, at school and around town, and I’ve known the dedication they’ve put into the sport and to just be here for them and to support them is a hell of an honor.”
Mansfield coach Mark DiSanto said, “He showed so much heart tonight. Noah dug down deep and he pulled it out for us tonight. He was supposed to come out last year but during football season he tore his ACL. He watched last year. He went from manager to winning us the Hock.”
Downing nearly ended the celebration before it started. He was within an inch, maybe less, of earning a pin and pulling out a tie for his team, but Jellenik wriggled free enough to get back on his stomach and run out the clock.
“It would’ve been kind of a fitting ending considered how close it was,” said Franklin coach Carmine Colace. “This was a great dual meet. I’m proud of the kids. It’s like, what more could we do to change the outcome? Not much considering how we wrestled. They wrestled great, we wrestled great, and it was a lot of fun.”
It was a match that featured strong performances even in defeats, as the teams combined for only three pins and kept things tight throughout the match – Franklin’s 9-0 lead was the largest of the entire dual meet.
“That was a complete team effort, every weight class…We couldn’t have asked for more,” DiSanto said. “Every kid fought. I don’t even know what to say. That’s an unbelievable Franklin team there and they took us to the limit but we stepped up tonight.”
Drew DiFilipo got things started in strong fashion for the Panthers with a 15-0 win to earn five points at 106 pounds and Jake Carlucci earned another four points with a 12-0 win at 113 pounds. Although Franklin got nine quick points, both Stefan Wells and Noah Price were able to avoid the pin in each match.
Mansfield got on the board at 120 pounds when Max Farley earned a pin with 45 seconds left in the second period. At 126, it was Franklin’s turn to battle and avoid the maximum points. Antonios Seavastos, who had been originally scheduled to wrestle at 120, got two points in the first period and that was the only scoring in his match with Alex Fracassa to tie the meet at 9-9.
“Bumping [Sevastos] up to 126 was a good move,” Colace said. “Even though it was only a three-point match, our kid has won a lot of matches this year, so it was a good strategy on their part.”
The Panthers got the lead back at 132 with Jordan Carlucci earning their only pin of the night, ending his match just 17 seconds into the second period. Kenny Sauer earned a 9-1 win at 138 and put Franklin ahead by 10 points. Will Stratton got three points back for the Hornets at 145 with a take down seconds into his match, which he held onto for a 2-0 win.
DiSanto continued to make adjustments to his lineup to try and get his team the best possible match-ups. It really became a math problem, calculating how many points the Hornets would need from every match to get the team win. At 152, Ciaran Connolly stepped in and moved the regular rotation up a weight class. Connolly not only put in a solid performance but he also snagged a 4-1 win that moved Mansfield back within four.
“We go through every single matchup multiple times and how we can do it differently,” DiSanto explained. “We have a lot of talented kids behind our good kids, so we just tried to maximize our points by getting those other kids in. Tonight, Ciaran, we needed to get him in there and he came through.”
C.J. Glaropoulos won 4-2 in a hard-fought match against Caleb MacLean at 160 to make it 19-18 and his brother George followed with an equally tough win, 6-2, against Dom Sackley (who nearly caught Glaropoulos on his back in the first period) to give the hosts their first lead of the night. That lead extended to eight points when Jayden Curley took to the mat. The dominant senior had no problems jumping up a weight, as he got a pin just 37 seconds into his match.
“I attack every single second of the match that I can,” said Curley about his approach to the match. “I really don’t like to let up. Every match I go into with the same mentality, which is to score points and put people on their back.”
Franklin’s Dylan Nawn was also pushed back a weight class and he jumped in at 195 and won 19-4 to cut the lead to 27-24 with just two matches left. Ethan Nirenberg put the Hornets on the brink of the win when he got a 3-0 win at 220, after keeping Matt Walker from escaping in the second and then getting an escape and a fall in the third period.
It was 30-24 heading into the final match. Jellenik was cheered on by the raucous Mansfield home crowd and led 2-1 heading into the third period, while keeping his distance from Downing. He started the third period on the bottom and Downing nearly took advantage and turned that into a decisive pin, pushing Jellenik to the brink, but the ref’s hand stayed up in the air.
“That was amazing,” Curley said about Jellenik’s match. “That was just the heart we needed.”
He added, “It means everything in the world. Obviously, we still have other matches left in the Hock but this was the big dog that we had to take down. Even in individual matches, it all comes from how we work in the room.”
Mansfield (14-4, 2-0) still have two dual meets remaining in the league season, including a tricky one against King Philip, but this was the meet that everyone was focused on. A win next Wednesday against Taunton will secure at least a share of the first league title in program history.
Franklin (13-3, 2-1) will be back on the mat on Saturday at Chicopee before facing KP net week.
North Attleboro, 48 @ Attleboro, 37 – Final – North Attleboro made it three straight wins and earned a season split with the Bombardiers behind 11 points from Amanda Kaiser and 10 points from Eliza Dion. Attleboro was led by Nyah Thomas’ 14 points.
Foxboro, 3 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Foxboro’s Ronnie MacLellan and Brendan Tully each scored once and had an assist, and Kirk Leach scored once as the Warriors built a 3-1 lead in the second period but Franklin scored a pair of third period goals to salvage a point. Zac Falvey scored in the first for Franklin but the Panthers trailed 2-1 after one. Junior Kyle Hedvig scored with 12:38 to go to bring the Panthers within one and senior Joey Lizotte netted a shorthanded breakaway with six minutes left to knot the score 3-3.
Stoughton, 0 @ Canton, 9 – Final – Canton senior Maggie Malloy scored her 50th career goal as the Bulldogs skated to a Hockomock League win over Stoughton.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ Cape Cod, 3 – Final – Mansfield/Oliver Ames scored three times in the final period to earn a victory on the road against Cape Cod. Trailing 2-1 left in the period, the Warriors scored two straight to take their first lead of the game before Cape Cod struck for a power play goal with 2:45 to play to tie the game. MOA answered with 1:29 left to earn the full two points. MOA freshman Skyler Sharfman scored the game-winning goal and also had an assist in the win. Mackenzi Fraser scored twice, Ella Waryas and Emma Garland each scored once, Izzy Shanteler had two assists, and Emma Pereira had one helper. Jess Widdop made 15 saves in net.
Canton, 18 @ Foxboro, 58 – Final
Franklin, 73 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Franklin’s Jake Carlucci (113), Alex Fracassa (126), Ken Sauer (138), Tommy Zogby (145), Caleb MacLean (160), Dominic Sackley (170), Dylan Nawn (182), Ben Jacoby (195), and Riley Downing (285) each earned pinfall victories for the Panthers. Taunton’s Tyler Lima earned a 5-2 win at 120.
Mansfield, 45 @ Oliver Ames, 22 – Final – For Oliver Ames, Nick McGovern and Nelson Malone earned victories via pinfall while John Dobbin won by major decision.
Milford, 28 @ Sharon, 35 – Final
Stoughton, 16 @ North Attleboro, 63 – Final – North Attleboro went on the road and picked up a division win over Stoughton behind eight pinfall victories. Michael Burns (145), Michael Edmunds (152), Montrel Jackson (160), Matt Warsofsky (170), Liam Rizk (182), Alex Warsofsky (195), John Kummer (220), and Mateusz Kudra (220) each won via pin. Stoughton’s John Santos (113) and Ethan Freedman (132) won by pin while CJ Carpenter (106) won by major decision (14-4).
Canton @ Mansfield, 8:00
Taunton, 132.2 @ Franklin, 133.3 – Final – Franklin freshman Kate Rudolph stepped up to take second overall in the All Around, helping the Panthers edge Taunton. With top gymnast Mia Lizotte sidelined with an injury, Rudolph stepped up to earn a 34.1 in All Around, which was second against Taunton and first against Medway. Rudolph earned a 9.1 on vault, 8.0 on bars, 8.4 on beam, and 8.6 on floor. Emma Owens added an 8.5 on the vault, 8.3 on the bars, and 8.7 on the floor.
Foxboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames took the lead with a goal in the first period and then tacked on two more in the second to record a shutout win over visiting Foxboro. Senior Max Ward scored a shorthanded goal to put the Tigers ahead and Brett Williams scored twice in the second period to pace OA. Freshman Bryan Kearns had three assists and junior goalie Owen Connor made nine saves for the shutout.
Stoughton, 1 @ King Philip, 10 – Final
Franklin, 4 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Franklin scored twice in each the first and second periods to earn two points on the road against Taunton. Colin Hedvig and Matt Holmes scored in the first period for the Panthers while Shane McCaffrey and Scott Elliott tallied goals in the second period.
Canton, 5 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 5 – Final – In a back-and-forth battle, Canton sophomore Maria Femia scored with 1:15 left in the contest to help the Bulldogs earn a draw. The Bulldogs held a 2-1 lead after one period after Lindsay McManus and Lauren Fitzpatrick scored two early goals. Alex Ledin got the Warriors on the board in the first. Katie Trerice extended the lead to 3-1 but Emma Pereira and Lily O’Brien answered for MOA to knot the game at 3-3. Canton’s Maggie Malloy scored with two seconds left in the second to give the visitors a 4-3 advantage heading into the final frame. Mackenzi Fraser scored twice in the third to put MOA ahead but Femia’s late goal secured a point for both teams. Skyler Sharfman had three assists for MOA.
Stoughton, 3 @ Franklin, 8 – Final – Franklin sophomore Katelyn Brown scored a hat trick, senior Lindsey Maloof scored once, and senior Tori MacLeod had three assists to lead the Panthers to a win. Senior Gianna Cornetta made 13 saves, including one on a penalty shot, to earn the win.
King Philip, 3 vs. Ursuline Academy, 0 – Final
Peckham Tournament (Canton, King Philip, Mansfield, Sharon, Stoughton) – Sharon’s depth paid off as the Eagles took second place with 155.5 points despite not having an individual champion on the day. The Eagles had three grapplers take third, four finish third and one take fourth overall. Tyler Cashton (152), Huguens Pierre (138), and Alex Bolt (220) finished second while Vinay Chinnam (126), Max Pozner (145), Jon Wald (182), and Andrew Ableman (160) earned third place finishes. Mansfield had four individual champions and eight total grapplers come in fourth or better but was one point shy of the Eagles, earning 154.5 points for third place. Jayden Curley (170), George Glaropoulos (160), CJ Glaropoulos (152), and Antonios Sevastos (120) each won their respective brackets, Ethan Nirenberg (182) was second, and Max Farley (113), and Ciaran Connolley (152) finished third. King Philip earned 134 points for sixth overall behind individual champions Mohammad Lofti (145) and Luke Fitch (182). Shawn Conniff (195) added a second place finish and Noah Riedel (132) and Jackson Kelley (138) earned third place finishes. Stoughton was seventh overall with 96.5 points, highlighted by CJ Carpenter’s win at 106 and John Santos’ second place finish at 113. Host Canton had 96 points, good for eighth place with Jordan Neundorf (160) and Harry Carter (126) earning second place finishes.
Chelmsford Tournament (Foxboro), 9:00
Natick Red Hawk Duals (Franklin) – Franklin dominated the day, winning five dual meets to earn first place at the Red Hawk Duals at Natick High. The Panthers beat Lincoln-Sudbury (63-9), Merrimack (75-4), Mt. Hope (51-17), Wellesley (60-6), and Natick (63-12). Franklin’s Alex Fracassa, Jordan Carlucci, Ken Sauer, Caleb MacLean, Dominic Sackley, and Riley Downing all went undefeated on the day.
North Attleboro Super Quad (North Attleboro) – The Rocketeers split the day, picking up a pair of wins but also dropping two matches. Big Red knocked off LaSalle Academy (45-22) and Bridgewater-Raynham (57-17) but suffered setbacks to St. John’s Prep (44-21) and Plymouth South (39-28). North Attleboro’s Montrel Jackson (160, two pins), John Kummer (220, pin), and Mateusz Kudra (285, four pins) each went 4-0 for the Rocketeers. Ethan Smith (120) won two matches by fall, one by decision, and one by forfeit to also go unbeaten on the day.
Sandwich Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames picked up a win over Sandwich (42-37) but suffered a setback to Hingham (45-33) to finish 1-1 on the day. Senior Dean Pacini earned his 100th career win at the meet.
Quincy Quad (Taunton) – Taunton went 3-0 on the day, picking up wins over Durfee (54-18), Bellingham (60-24), and host Quincy (39-30). Xavier Sandoval (132, pin), Jackson Mandeville (138), Christian Balmain (152, three pins), and Devin Wilson (220, two pins) each went 3-0 on the day to pace the Tigers. Brandon Mendes (106), Candido Santos (160, pin), and Avery Justa (195, two pins) each had a pair of wins.
Injuries hampered Attleboro right from the start of the 2017 season, but the 2018 Bombardiers are healthy and hoping for a big turnaround this fall to compete with the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division and make a return to the postseason.
The graduation of quarterback Cam Furtado is a significant loss on offense, but the Bombardiers will hand the ball to junior Jason Weir, who has a big arm and a lot of potential at the QB position. Size and strength won’t be a problem for Weir, who played defensive end as a sophomore. Seniors Justin Cote and Alex Rodriguez will be the primary backs for Attleboro this year and give the Bombardiers dynamic weapons out of the backfield. The offensive line is bolstered by 6-foot-6, 290-pound junior Qualeem Charles and 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior Nick Evans. At 6-foot-3, junior Nolan Jaeger will be a weapon at receiver along with senior Josh Therrien and sophomore tight end Michael Strachan.
Evans battled injuries at the start of last season, but he is one of the top defensive linemen in the league and is drawing Div. I college offers. Attleboro will be a tough team to run against this season with Evans on the end and Charles (who is also getting DI looks) and 6-foot-3, 365-pound senior Eddie Porreca on the inside. Strachan and junior Isaac Gudiel will be starting at inside linebacker, while senior Desmond Woodson will be starting on the outside. Therrien is capable of making plays downfield at his free safety position and will be the leader of the secondary.
“I am looking forward to the 2018 season,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “We have a strong senior class and we have strong leadership on our football team. Our team worked out hard in the off-season and I am looking forward to that hard work paying off this season.”
Third-year head coach Eian Bain is optimistic about the 2018 season, and the long list of players returning with plenty of experience is a big reason why. The Panthers have over a dozen players back that started or saw significant time on offense and the same goes for the defense, include a very seasoned secondary.
Franklin must replace three-year starter Jake Noviello at quarterback but Bain is confident that a healthy competition between senior Nick Gordon and junior Thomas Gasbarro will result in a strong option starting under center for the opening week. While Franklin has to replace its quarterback, they return a ton of skill players on offense including senior tight end Sean Leonard, who hauled in a league-best eight touchdown passes last season. Ryan Driscoll (five touchdowns), Jack Nally, Will Davis, and Jake Davis will fill out the receiving corps while Sean Hofferty and Owen Palmieri man the backfield. Seniors Riley Downing and Liam Arsenault are experienced and will anchor the offensive line.
Junior Evan Wertz will be a key piece in the middle of the Panthers’ defense after having a breakout campaign last year with nearly 100 tackles from his linebacker spot. Senior Spencer Briggs and sophomore Alex Honor will also see time at linebacker while Downing is joined by Jack Jarosz, Dom Natale, and Keenan Bassma on the defensive line. The Panthers boast a seasoned secondary with Nolan McLaney and Driscoll both back, along with Palmieri, Jake Davis, and both Gasbarro and Gordon.
“We have experience on both sides of the ball,” Bain said. “It is a cohesive group that has been working hard together for our first two years and they are eager to the turn the corner with our program.”
The target on King Philip’s back is bigger than ever as the Warriors pulled off a second straight undefeated season and another state championship.
So how will head coach Brian Lee get this year’s team to focus on 2018 and not the past two seasons?
“The work and preparation have been the same but now it’s up to this season class to leave their legacy,” Lee said. “The previous two classes had their moments, now it’s up to these seniors to make their own moment. This team will go as far as these seniors lead them.”
The seniors will have plenty of opportunities to make their mark because King Philip doesn’t have a returning starter on offense. The Warriors need to replace quarterback Brendan Lydon, who didn’t lose a game as a starter. Junior Robbie Jarest looks poised to take over under center this season. While it isn’t a lot of experience, Jarest took over in the second half of the state final after Lydon got hurt and helped the Warriors finish off Lincoln-Sudbury. The toughest shoes to fill will be those of Shane Frommer, who will go down as one of the best players in KP history.
Junior Ryan Halliday will be the feature back while Aidan Bender and Sam Callanan will be in the mix as well. Jack Webster and Jack Collentro will be keys to the offense from the fullback position. Senior Terrell Jacobs Bastons has some experience on both sides of the ball and will likely start at guard while classmate Josh Fice will fill in the other guard spot. Junior Nolan Gunning is likely to get a starting spot as well, either at center or tackle.
Defense has been a staple for the Warriors throughout their successful run over the last couple of years, and that’s what KP will count on again this season. The strength will come from the linebackers with Webster back in an outside spot and Max Armour returning in the middle. Jacobs Bastons will be a big presence in the middle of the defensive line while the secondary will have familiar faces back in Aidan Bender, Timmy Nault, and safety Luke D’Amico.
And as we saw in the state final, having a reliable kicker is priceless. Cole Baker, who booted the winning field goal in the final, is back for his third year. Not only will he be a big help on offense, his kickoffs will be a weapon for the defense.
Mansfield has finished second in the Kelley-Rex in each of the past three seasons and the Hornets will be counting on experience under center and depth at the skill positions to end King Philip’s two-year reign atop the division and return to the top of the league standings for the first time since 2013.
Senior Damani Scott will be the starter at quarterback for the second straight season and he will be backed up by the capable Jack Mousette, giving the Hornets plenty of experience and reliability from their signal caller. Scott will also have a ton of weapons to call on this year with a skill position group that head coach Mike Redding calls one of the best that Mansfield has had in a while. Khristian Conner and Aidan Sacco will be weapons in the passing game while junior Vinnie Holmes is back in the backfield. Juniors Makhi Baskin, Michael DeBolt (who was also an outstanding kicker last year), and Nick Marciano will provide depth in the slot/running back positions. Senior Daenin Walker and junior Jason Comeau will add experience to the offensive line.
Defensively, Holmes will return to the linebacking corps after setting a program record for tackles in a season as a sophomore. Seniors Chris Copponi and Philip Dinov also return and can play as linebackers or as defensive ends depending on matchups. The secondary will be strong for the Hornets this year with Conner and Sacco at the corners and Marciano and Baskin at the safety positions. The only new additions on the defense are Anthony Capece at noseguard and junior Joe Plath at linebacker.
Redding said, “We have an experienced, athletic, aggressive defense that should be tough to score on and we’re young on offense, but have a ton of depth and talent at skill positions. Just need to gain some experience up front with our new guys on OL and DL.”
The 2018 version of the Oliver Ames Tigers have already had to make an audible after star running back Anthony Berksza suffered a season-ending injury over summer. Berksza had a breakout year last season, rushing for over 1,100 yards and finished with 16 total touchdowns, 15 of those rushing.
With Berksza out, Oliver Ames will rely heavily on the rest of its returning starters to carry the load. Junior Cam Perron returns under center after taking over the starting job during the regular season last year. While Perron looks to find some of his options, he has an offensive line protecting him that has some experience but will be looking to form cohesiveness throughout the year. Dean Pacini, Shane Murphy, Billy Tat, Luke Thibeault, and Garrett Wood all return with experience playing on the line. One challenge will be finding someone to step up and be a leader of that group after the graduation of two-time all star Jack Mills.
Nathan Cabral takes over as the feature tailback and OA head coach Mike Holland is confident the junior can get the job done. Holland says Cabral runs hard and is a tough player. Perron will also have the likes of Shane Kilkelly, Jake Erlich, and Evan Craig to work with as targets.
The heart of the defense will be at the linebacker position. Both Pacini, Murphy, and Darnele Ryan return after starting there last year and Holland will count on both senior captains to lead the way for the Tigers. Sam Stevens is back in the secondary at the safety position but OA will need some new faces to emerge alongside him.
“We’re looking forward to the start of the season,” Holland said. “We have a great group across the board. We have some experienced players back and some talented players competing for jobs.”
Taunton started last season with a 3-0 record, one of the program’s best starts in years, but then lost five straight games, including a playoff game against BC High, the top seed in Div. 1 South. The Tigers turned it on again from that point, winning the final three games of the season, including an impressive win against Brockton, to finish with a winning record under second-year head coach Brad Sidwell.
Experience will be a key for the Tigers this season, as Taunton tries to build on that playoff appearance and the momentum from a strong closing stretch. Senior Noah Leonard will be the starting quarterback for the third straight year and is now fluent in Sidwell’s offensive system. Leonard will have familiar targets in senior wideouts Brayden Merrill, Tryton Zavala, and Wesner Charles, while junior Cam Carroca looks to step in as a feature running back and junior Javon Franklin is a new target in the passing game. On the line, Taunton returns plenty of size in 6-foot-3, 337-pound tackle Christian Tourinho and his fellow senior Cam Correiro. Senior Ryan Williams will be the center, while junior Mason Frank, listed at 6-foot-2 and 274 pounds, will be back to battle at the line of scrimmage.
Size and athleticism will be strengths for Taunton on the defensive side of the ball as well. Tourinho, Correiro, and Frank can bottle up opposing running games and will be joined on the line by seniors Corey Pintabone and John Rockwood. Williams will lead the linebacking corps along with classmates Max Moitoso and Kyle Cuoto. Senior Prince Brown will be back at corner and senior Sebastien Celestin looks to step into the safety position.
“Taunton football is progressing forward,” said Sidwell. “Like all teams, we’d like to gain some confidence early in the season and carry it on. The Kelley-Rex division is challenging with great programs, coaching staffs, and communities. We are happy to be a part of it and want to represent Taunton High well by competing at the high standard set by the other league members.”
Foxboro, 69 @ Sharon, 28 – Final – Freshman Katelyn Mollica scored a game-high 20 points for the Warriors, who also got 15 points from Grace Tamulionis and 14 points from Ashley Sampson.
Oliver Ames, 50 @ Franklin, 56 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Kayla Raymond finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five blocks while junior All Scolnick added 11 points and collected three steals for the Tigers.
Mansfield, 42 @ Taunton, 36 – Final – Ann Maher scored a game-high 12 points, as the Hornets bounced back from an early deficit to earn the come from behind victory. Taunton jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the second quarter, led 22-14 at half, and 28-26 after three, but the Hornets scored 16 in the fourth for the win. Meg Hill had eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for Mansfield, while Lily Patneaude had 11 and Kelsey White had eight for the Tigers.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 1 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton’s Lauren Fitzpatrick scored a pair of goals and assisted on another to help the Bulldogs pick up a key division win over visiting MOA.
Franklin, 7 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Regan Paterson led the way for the Panthers with a pair of goals and freshman Gabby Colace picked up the shutout in goal. Jillian McLaughlin, Maddie Hinckley, Jordan Dwyer, Katelyn Brown, and Victoria Quinn also scored goals for Franklin.
King Philip, 2 vs. Dennis-Yarmouth, 4 – Final
Peckham Tournament (Canton, King Philip, Mansfield, Sharon) – Mansfield took first place at the annual Peckham Tournament hosted at Canton High School. The Hornets scored 193.5 points as a team while King Philip placed third with 137 points. Sharon (106.5) was sixth and Canton (98) took seventh. The Hornets had four individual winners with Antonios Sevastos (113), George Glaropoulos (152), Jayden Curley (160) and Vinnie Holmes (182) all taking first. Ciaran Connolly (145), CJ Glaropoulos (138) and Will Stratton (132) added second-place finishes for the Hornets. For King Philip, Jackson Kelley (126), Joseph Fruci (145) and Luke Fitch (170) all won their brackets while Jake Malatesta (160) and Shawn Conniff (182) garnered second place honors. Canton’s Eddie Marinilli (138) and Anis Chakir (132) rounded out the winners for the Hockomock teams. Sharon had eight grapplers finish inside the top four, led by third-place finishes from Justin Wells (285) and Will Stern (120).
Chelmsford Tournament (Foxboro) – Foxboro placed fifth overall as a team, finishing with 138 points. Host Chelmsford won the tournament with 204.5 points, followed by Nobles (165), Westford (162.5) and Framingham (156). Phil Dure (126) was the lone individual champion for the Warriors while Adam Lanctot (113) took third place and Dave Dow (160) earned a fourth-place finish.
Natick Duals (Franklin) – Franklin cruised through the Natick Duals tournament, winning all five of its matches, including the final round against the hosts. The Panthers beat Concord-Carlisle (73-6), Merrimack (62-12), Brookline (47-13), Hopkinton (72-9) and Natick (69-3) to earn the crown. Jake Carlucci, Kenny Sauer, Ian Bakalars, TJ Remillard, Brian Farrell, Seamus Cogavin, and Riley Downing all went undefeated on the day for Franklin.
North Attleboro Quad (North Attleboro) – North Attleboro picked up four convincing victories at its own super quad and had five wrestlers go 4-0 on the day. Big Red notched wins over Bridgewater-Raynham (57-9), St. John’s Prep (54-17), Plymouth State (42-21) and LaSalle (48-25). Ethan Smith (106, three pins), Jake Direnzo (126, two pins), Adam Eberle (160, three pins), Chris Ferrigno (182, one pin) and Brad White (195, two wins) all had four wins for the Rocketeers.
Oliver Ames Quad (Oliver Ames, Hingham, Sandwich, Shepherd Hill) – Oliver Ames grabbed two wins at its own quad meet to improve to 11-2 overall. The Tigers earned wins over Sandwich (58-4) and Shepherd Hill (55-0) but fell to Hingham (38-30). Both Dean Pacini and Anthony Berksza went 3-0 on the day with a pair of pins.
The Bombardiers started the season 3-2, but closed with only one win in the final six games, including a pair of losses to league rival and eventual Super Bowl champion King Philip. Injuries piled up for Attleboro in 2016, but it gave a number of players the chance to gain valuable varsity experience and the Bombardiers have high hopes for improvement this fall.
Experience at the skill positions is one of the reasons for optimism at Attleboro. Senior Cam Furtado is slated to start the season at quarterback and has proven to be a dynamic playmaker. Classmate Elvin Sam emerged as a big play weapon last fall, whether in the backfield or split out wide, and tight end James Weir gives Attleboro an option in the middle of the field. Wideout Josh Therrien and running back Justin Cote could also play bigger roles with running back Marcus Blaise adding depth.
Attleboro also has a strong returning core on defense with Furtado, Sam, and Therrien in the secondary and Weir joining senior Nate Barboza and junior Jacob Weatherford at linebacker. Matt Corrado, Matt Jimenez, and Kyle Walsh will give the Bombardiers strength on both sides of the line and junior Nick Evans could be poised for a breakout year after moving from linebacker to defensive end. Sophomore Qualeem Charles is also a player to watch on the line.
“I am extremely excited about our senior group of players,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “We have some dynamic players in Cam Furtado and Elvin Sam and hopefully they can maximize their athletic talents. We have many returning starters from last season so we hope to build on that experience.”
The first season for the Panthers under new head coach Eian Bain was a struggle at times for a young roster that was adapting to new systems on both sides of the ball, but there is hope that the experience gained last fall will pay dividends in 2017. Franklin will have a number of returning players to count on this season.
Offensively, Franklin will have to find ways to make up for the production of graduated running back Jacob Wolowacki, who was a go-to weapon in the ground and passing games. Senior quarterback Jake Noviello will be counted on to lead the offensive unit after more than 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall. Junior wideout Sean Leonard started all 11 games last year and will be a tough matchup for defenses along with fellow receivers Jack Nally, Will Davis, and Evan Wendell and running back Sean Hofferty. Three-year starter Brian Kosicki will be the leader of the offensive line and tight end Patrick Morrison will be a weapon in the passing game.
On defense, the Panthers have depth in the secondary, including junior safety Nolan McLaney, who was second on the team in tackles last year. Junior Ryan Driscoll has speed on the corner and Bain called him the “focal point” of the defense. Nick Gordon will hold down the other corner spot. Senior defensive end Jackson Gilbert is coming back from injury that cut short his junior season and will add strength on the edge. Junior Riley Downing gives Franklin size and speed in the middle of the line.
“We are in year two of our process,” said Bain. “We are in a different place than we were a year ago…Fans should expect to see a better team in 2017. We have a roster full of experience and had great participation through the Franklin speed and conditioning program. In a league this good we have to bring our best every week.”
What will the Warriors do for an encore? King Philip won its third league title in the past five years, second outright Kelley-Rex title in the past three seasons, and completed an unbeaten season with a win over Reading in the Div. 1A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.
Despite losing a large and influential senior class, the Warriors are being picked by some to repeat at champs this fall. One reason for continued belief is the return of senior quarterback Brendan Lydon, who showed poise in the pocket and the ability to make accurate passes downfield in his first year under center in 2016. Yale-commit Shane Frommer is also back for his senior season and will be the feature back for the Warriors in a system that prides itself on pushing teams around on the ground. Beyond that, it will be up to a group of rookies to make an impact. KP will boast an entire new offensive line, anchored by senior Anthony Vahue, and all new receivers. Junior David Morganelli will be one of the options for Lydon.
The Warriors boast a bit more experience on the defensive side of the ball. Even though a good chunk of starters are gone, KP’s rotation last year allowed for players like Evan Rice (defensive end), Jack Webster (linebacker) and Dylan Leonard (safety) to see action. Frommer will be back opposite Webster while Vahue will also play on the defensive line. Andrew Dittrich returns as a starting corner back to anchor the secondary.
Although there are a lot of new faces on this year’s roster and a lot of leadership missing from last season’s championship squad, head coach Brian Lee has instilled a toughness that permeates the program and expectations are that KP will have a decent chance at lifting a trophy again this fall.
“We don’t get any points for last year, we don’t get spotted a touchdown because we went undefeated last year,” Lee said. “When it comes to high school football, it’s about taking those rookies and getting them ready for varsity speed, they have to be able to handle the bright lights on Friday nights. If we can get them up to speed, we should be okay.”
The Hornets finished second in the Kelley-Rex division last year, with the only Hock loss coming by three points to league champ King Philip. Mansfield was stunned in a playoff thriller against Marshfield, but then bounced back to beat Div. 1 playoff teams Needham and Newton North and will enter 2017 with typically high expectations, as the Hornets look to win their first league title since 2013.
A strength for Mansfield this fall will be the experience it returns at the skill positions led by senior wideout Hunter Ferreira, who has emerged as one of the area’s top receivers. The backfield will once again be loaded for the Hornets, who will count on seniors Danny DeGirolamo and Joe Cox and juniors Khristian Conner and Aidan Sacco. New quarterback Damani Scott will try to make use of that talent and the 6-foot-3 junior has a big arm to make plays downfield.
Cox and Ferreira will add strength and speed to the linebacking corps, while seniors Mike Shannon and Jareme DiLorenzo will provide a pass rush at the defensive end positions. Conner, Sacco, and DeGirolamo will all return in the secondary. If there are questions for the Hornets, it will be at the line of scrimmage; senior Will Shield and junior Colbey Eason have returned and will be the players to build around on the offensive and defensive lines.
“After one week, we are happy with work ethic and development of linemen,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding, who is in his 30th season with the Hornets. “If we can get pieces of the puzzle sorted out up front on OL and DL, we’ll be a tough out. We have a very good collection of playmakers that can run and catch and we should score some points this year.”
The Tigers got off to a promising start to 2016, winning two of the opening three games including a dramatic one-point win over Franklin, but Oliver Ames struggled down the stretch against a difficult schedule. Now entering his third year, head coach Mike Holland is confident the program is heading in the right direction this fall.
According to Holland, the Tigers’ strength on the offensive side of the ball is the experience of playing in the system for several seasons and a greater understanding of the concepts. Senior Curtis Cann will lead the attack after taking over as the starting quarterback last season and he has several talented weapons on the outside in seniors Michael Mulrean and Noah Fitzgerald. Jay Fruci will be one of the returning players in the backfield, lining up behind a big offensive line.
Jack Mills will be a mainstay in the middle on both sides of the ball and is one of the top lineman in the league. He will be paired with fellow senior John-Michael Cole on the line, giving the Tigers depth in the trenches. Fitzgerald and Mulrean will also be important contributors in the secondary, while Fruci will bring athleticism to the linebacking corps. Holland wants his defensive scheme to take advantage of the team’s speed.
“Looking forward to the start of a new season. Our guys’ preparation and approach leading up to the season has been excellent,” Holland said. “We have guys with experience that need to play big, as well as some new guys that are in the mix to compete for spots.”
The Tigers narrowly missed out on a winning record in their first season under head coach Brad Sidwell and showed signs of improvement, including a narrow, three-point loss to Mansfield. In year two, Sidwell is hoping for even more and Taunton has potential on the roster to be a tough out in the league.
Losing wide receiver Adam McLaughlin to graduation will certainly impact the offensive attack, but junior quarterback Noah Leonard returns for his second season under center and will look to build on the experience he gained last fall. With a number of athletes at the skill positions, including senior Collin Hunter and junior Brayden Merrill at wideout and T.J. Mendes in the backfield, Taunton will use a number of formations and styles to cause matchup problems. Sidwell expects the passing game to be a major strength for the Tigers.
Defensively, Taunton will have a number of new faces, but has size and experience at the line of scrimmage. Seniors Paul Corrao and Zakim Harrow and junior Cam Correiro will all make a significant impact on the battle in the trenches. Senior Nuno Camara provides experience to the linebacking corps, while Merrill and Hunter will be important in the secondary.
“Moving into the second year, the players, coaches and fans are excited for the season but there is lots of work to be done,” Sidwell said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start and provide some confidence to gain momentum into the difficult Hockomock League season.”