By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip amped up their defensive pressure to turn a seven point lead after a quarter to a 21 point lead by halftime and never looked back to pick up a 63-35 win over Barrington. The win marked the third straight for the Warriors.
The Warriors built a 9-0 lead over the first five minutes of the game but Barrington — who was a state finalist in Rhode Island last season — battled back to get within four. KP senior Ben Smith drained a three shortly before the buzzer to push the lead back to seven.
In the second quarter, the Warriors amped up their pressure in their 2-2-1 press and then in their 2-3 zone. The Warriors also cleaned up their own misses to create separation.
Freshman Kyle Layman started the run, grabbing a defensive rebound and then taking a pass from Seth Sullivan. Smith drained another three, Goodwin added back to back field goals, Layman made a putback plus the harm, Goodwin drained a three, Layman converted another offensive rebound, and Pharoah Davis drove to the basket to complete a 19-0 run.
“I thought we got some opportunities in their zone that we didn’t really cash in on and I thought we were getting the ball where it needed to go but I think we were being a little impatient in that first quarter,” King Philip head coach Matt Coute said. “Eventually we let the offense come to us. I think the key in that second quarter was we ended up pushing the ball more in transition. We wanted to take advantage of our athleticism and strength. I told the guys to be more aggressive in the 2-2-1 in terms of trapping and getting in the passing lanes. We were able to get some easy ones to kind of push the lead and make them play on their heels.”
In the second quarter, the Warriors shot 60% from the field, hitting nine of their 15 field goal attempts.
“A lot of that was what type of three’s we are taking and a couple baskets in transition instead of a lot of contested shots in the half court which was happening some in the first quarter.”
King Philip’s 2-2-1 – dubbed an “opportunistic” zone by Coute — wasn’t the biggest reason for the Eagles’ 15 first half turnovers, but it was key in terms of keeping the pace where KP wanted it. The Eagles didn’t get any fast break points in the first half.
“It started with Sharon, we’ve been playing an opportunistic 2-2-1 is what I call it,” Coute said. “When the traps present themselves we take it but it’s more of a time management 2-2-1, trying to keep it a possession game rather than an up and down game. We want the pace to be at where we want. We’re not a team that will score 70 or 80 points so we want to keep the pace at our level against teams that want to run.”
“[The zone] has helped a lot too. Over the last couple of games we’ve shot a better percentage. Ben Smith has been a big lift for us hitting some outside shots, [Noah] Goodwin is playing better and [Pharoah] Davis is finishing better in transition. When that all happens, it gives everyone else more confidence. When we get into the 2-3 zone, we’re extending it too and it helps with Kyle Layman in the middle because he alters the game, he alters a lot of shots. He takes that high post spot so we don’t have to collapse.”
The Warriors won the third quarter 13-8 and by the fourth quarter, Coute was able to rest his starters. In the final quarter, Tom Sullivan (five rebounds) and RJ McCarthy each had four points while Matt Lehoullier, Will Weir and Smith each added points. JJ Tibbetts added a pair of assists and Ryan Ackles came away with a steal.
Goodwin finished with a game-high 17 points while Layman had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks and Smith had nine points and four rebounds.
King Philip (3-6, 2-5) is back in action on Tuesday night, taking a trip to Canton for a 6:30 tip off.
“It will be nice to go to Canton and get a win. I know Canton is hungry, they have scouted us a couple times. We know they are hungry for their first league win, it’s at Canton so we know we’re going to get their best. And they’re well coached too.”
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
By Lance Reynolds, HockomockSports.com Contributor
MANSFIELD, Mass. – One thing is clear with this year’s edition of the Mansfield High boys basketball team: In order to reach the successes of past years, the team is going to need everyone to step up, and contribute.
On Friday night, the Hornets received just that en route to their second victory of the season with a 70-36 win over King Philip.
Without any surefire superstars on the roster such as last year’s Mike Boen and Ryan Boulter, the Hornets are going to depend on Phil Vigeant (team-high 15 points), Sam Goldberg (14 points, seven rebounds), Matt Ehrlich (10 points), Mike’s little brother Max Boen (seven points), and Christian Weber (seven points) to provide the scoring punch.
Friday night was an example of what the team will expect throughout the season as the five combined to score 53 of the team’s 70 points.
“You’re graduating two of the best ever (Boen and Boulter). I think collectively the team can get there, and I think individuals can have nights because they’re capable. To compare anyone to those two is a hard feat,” Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan said.
“I think long-term guys on the team will contribute, and get better each night. I think our team can be equally as good but it will be just a different good. We’ve got some guys that can play. Tonight, we put it together and scored in space.”
Mansfield started out red hot in the opening minutes of the first frame and never looked back. Before the Warriors scored their first points of the game at the 3:44 mark, the Hornets were already up by nine off of three three-pointers from Goldberg, which was his first of his career, Ehrlich, and Boen.
KP’s RJ McCarthy cut the Mansfield lead to four at 9-5, which was the closest the Warriors would find themselves for the rest of the game. The Hornets closed the quarter with five unanswered points and a 14-5 lead.
Vigeant and Ehrlich generated most of Mansfield’s offense in the second as the two juniors combined to score 14 of the team’s 20 points in the quarter. Vigeant saw himself shoot 3-5 from deep and Ehrlich added a three of his own to go along with a two-pointer.
Goldberg chipped in with three rebounds while junior Evan Christo recorded four boards in the quarter. The Hornet defense stymied KP to just nine points letting Mansfield walk into halftime with a 20 point lead at 34-14.
“I thought we did a good job of utilizing different guys in different points of the game. I knew something was going to be right when Goldberg hit the first three of the game, and I thought it was going to be a long night for the Warriors if he starts hitting three’s,” Vaughan said.
“That might be his first career three for us. He has really worked on it, and he has come a long way with it. I just thought overall we got contributions from a lot of different guy tonight, and I think that’s what’s going to make this team go.”
Missing from action was Hornet senior Nick Baskin who will provide a nice addition to the Mansfield roster with his scoring ability. Vaughan mentioned that Baskin is targeted to return within the next week and half against Bridgewater-Raynham.
“He adds us a lot of depth. He gives us a little more flexibility, moves some guys around, gets guys back in a little more natural position,” Vaughan said of what Baskin brings to the team.
”It just adds one more guy that can make plays, and holds each other accountable. Right now, that’s what we’re getting. If we can change guys around, and if you take a play off on defense, we can sub another guy in and get the same contribution.”
Mansfield (2-0) will look to keep its hot start to the season going when they travel to Canton on Monday night. KP (0-2) will look to pick up its first victory of the season when it travels to Milford on the same night.
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It was only Friday morning when Attleboro knew that it was going to have to make a change at quarterback. An injury sidelined starter Tyler McGovern, who was on crutches on the sidelines that night, forcing sophomore Cameron Furtado to take over under center for the Bombardiers.
Rather than be overwhelmed by the moment, Furtado provided a spark for an offense that had been struggling to score points and was shutout last week by rival North Attleboro.
The Bombardiers scored on each of their first two possessions and jumped out to a three-score lead by halftime to get back to .500 on the season with a 25-15 win over King Philip in a game that had to be moved to Tozier-Cassidy Field because of maintenance on the new track at KP.
“It was a good win for us,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “Cam did a great job managing the game, the defense hunkered down when we needed to, and special teams did a good job.”
Furtado made an instant impact for the Bombardiers. After just missing the fingertips of senior wideout Alex Silva throwing deep on the first play of the game, he scampered 41 yards on a keeper to the KP 40. The next play he swung the ball to the outside and Brendan Nunes did the rest for a 40-yard touchdown.
After a KP put, Attleboro put together a 10-play, 74-yard drive to extend the lead. Furtado (13 carries, 110 yards) was the key with five carries for 32 yards and he also picked out Alex Silva down the sideline for 36 yards. Furtado, known as a runner, completed 5-9 passes for 127 yards on the night.
Strachan said, “He’s an athlete and you know he’s only a sophomore for us and he made a lot of great plays.”
He added, “The big difference between this week and other weeks is that we made plays.”
McGovern is a drop back passer and it was clear at the start that the KP defense had a hard time adjusting to the very different look that Furtado brought to the Attleboro offense.
KP coach Brian Lee said, “We’ve seen that ‘Wildcat’ package from them, but then when they went to exclusive to it…a lot of things we’d been practicing got thrown out and I think it caught our guys off a little.”
The Warriors, as they have all season, struggled to finish drives. Junior quarterback John DeLuca hit Leo Munafo for 32 yards and moved KP into the red zone, but the Attleboro defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs.
KP had a chance after a very short Attleboro punt, but Sean Donnelly recovered a fumble by DeLuca to end the drive at the Bombardiers 23. On the next KP possession, DeLuca was intercepted by Ethan Dubeau at the Warriors 34.
“Normally our turnovers are completely flipped,” said Lee. “I don’t think we had an interception all year and we are not used to fumbling but we put the ball on the ground three times last week and I think maybe three times tonight. It’s disheartening.”
The Bombardiers took advantage of the turnover to add to the lead before halftime. After an incomplete pass and a seven-yard carry by John Burns, Furtado hooked up with Silva on a deep slant for a 27-yard score. The conversion was no good for the second time and Attleboro went into the locker room leading 19-0.
“We broke tackles, Cam made plays, and it was really important to get off the right way for us,” Strachan remarked. “Then we came back out and went right back down the field after they had scored, so we answered them.”
KP came out of the break and put together a time-consuming march down the field. Starting from its own 33, KP used 17 plays and 9:53 off the clock but again it stalled inside the Attleboro 10. DeLuca (17-29, 158 yards) was unable to hit R.J. McCarthy on fourth and goal from the five to give the ball back to the Bombardiers.
The defense forced a three and out and got the ball back at the Attleboro 32. Finally, KP was able to capitalize. DeLuca hit Munafo for 11 yards and had a 15-yard scramble before junior Giovanni Fernandez capped the drive with a three-yard dive that made it 19-7.
Attleboro responded on its next drive. The Bombardiers went 61 yards in eight plays to restore the three-score lead. Furtado again found Silva on the big play of the drive, a 27-yard pass to the near sideline that got the ball down to the 23. Nunes punched it in from five yards out for his first rushing TD of the game.
KP was not finished. The Warriors went on another long drive, this time using 11 plays but less than two minutes. DeLuca was 7-8 on the drive and also had three carries for 22 yards. He hit McCarthy for a 10-yard TD and scrambled to find Munafo for the two-point conversion to make it 25-15 with 51 seconds left.
Strachan said, “I was worried about it because they can make plays. Their quarterback is a special kid and he’s a hard runner. We were a little too loose and we’ll learn from that.”
The Warriors recovered the onside kick, which DeLuca seemed frustrated by when he first hit it but somehow the ball slowly edged past the 10 yards necessary for KP to jump on it. Kyle Murphy and Owen McKenna effectively ended the game with a 12-yard sack of DeLuca, who ended the game with a pair of bombs that dropped incomplete.
“And up front physically, very overwhelming that size, those trap blocks and how they get on you,” explained Lee. “They’ve got some dudes over there. I think that’s probably the most talented team we faced.”
Attleboro (3-3, 2-2) will try to continue building its resume for the postseason next week when it hosts Franklin. KP (2-4, 2-2) still has a good chance of making the playoffs and can bolster that with a win against Taunton in the final game of the regular season.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
Today’s games are listed below.
Game of the Week – Football
Stoughton, 14 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final
1st Quarter: (S) Izon Swain-Price 19 yard rush, Jake Gibb XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (S) Ryan Sullivan 2 yard rush, J. Gibb XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
King Philip, 15 @ Attleboro, 25 – Final
1st Quarter: (A) Cam Furtado 40-yard pass to Brendan Nunes, Owen McKenna XP good; (A) Furtado 2-yard rush, XP blocked.
2nd Quarter: (A) Furtado 27-yard pass to Alex Silva, 2-point conversion no good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (KP) Giovanni Fernandez 3-yard rush, Zach Boari XP good; (A) Nunes 5-yard rush, XP blocked; (KP) John DeLuca 10-yard pass to R.J. McCarthy, DeLuca to Leo Munafo for 2-point conversion.
Canton, 40 @ Oliver Ames, 14 – Final
1st Quarter: (C) Jake Ragusa 5 yard rush, XP no good; (C) Joe Bires 22 yard rush, XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) J. Bires 1 yard rush, Woanyen Mahn 2pt rush; (C) Dennis Ross 1 yard rush; XP good.
3rd Quarter: (C) W. Mahn 35 yard rush, 2pt fail; (OA) Charlie Ryan 1 yard rush, 2pt fail.
4th Quarter: (C) Joe Mulkay 45 yard rush, XP fail; (OA) Kyle Gagliardi 60 yard rush, Leandro Moro 2pt rush.
Mansfield, 24 @ Franklin, 3 – Final
1st Quarter: (M) Anthony DeGirolamo 12 yard pass to Mike Arnold, Diogo DeSousa XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Nick Yelle 33 yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (M) D. DeSousa 16 yard field goal.
4th Quarter: (M) Connor Finerty 16 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good; (M) Nick Graham 80 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good.
Taunton, 20 @ North Attleboro, 44 – Final
1st Quarter: (NA) Nick Morrison 58 yard rush, Connor Flynn XP; (NA) C. Flynn 7 yard rush, 2pt fail.
2nd Quarter: (NA) C. Flynn 24 yard field goal; (NA) N. Morrison 6 yard rush, C. Flynn XP; Nick Rajotte 3 yard rush, Connor MacIver XP; (T) Collin Hunter 34 yard pass to Adam McLaughlin, 2pt fail.
3rd Quarter: (T) C. Hunter 33 yard pass to A. McLaughlin, C. Hunter 2pt pass to A. McLaughlin; (NA) N. Morrison 55 yard fumble return, C. Flynn XP.
4th Quarter: (T) C. Hunter 8 yard pass to Michael Fernandez, 2pt fail; (NA) N. Morrison 50 yard rush, C. Flynn XP.
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Hatim Brahimi broke open a scoreless game with a goal in the 52nd minute for the Panthers. He then assisted on a goal by Kevin Hall, who added a second in the final minutes of the game.
Canton,1 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Anthony Barreira put the home team up in the first but Canton’s Sam Papakonstantino leveled the match before the break.
Mansfield, 0 @ King Philip, 0 – Final – In a battle of two of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex, neither side was able to find the back of the net. Mansfield coach Steve Sheridan credited goalie Michael Kirejczyk with a strong game in net for the Hornets.
Sharon, 1 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Sharon’s Oliver Hu scored the lone goal of the game with just over 10 minutes to play, converting a pass from Lucas Allaria in the 70th minute. Mike Da Silva made five saves in net for the Scarlet Hawks.
Taunton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – Gareth King scored a pair of goals inside a five minute span, lifting the Rocketeers to their first win of the season. Taunton took the lead in the second half but just 15 seconds later King finished off a through ball from Gabe Pinhancos. Three minutes after that, Kevin Aguilar set up King for the game winner.
Stoughton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Keegan Nutt, junior Thomas McCormick and senior Chris Romero all scored goals in the first half as the Tigers built a 3-0 lead at the break. Sophomore Matt Alvarado set up classmate Cam Vella for the lone goal of the second half. Max Bamford, Nathaniel Cardoza and Vella each had assists.
Franklin, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Alexis Stowell netted a pair of goals, Emily Foley scored a goal and had an assist and Emily Spath and Abigail Gipson each scored once. Jess Kroushl, Halle Atkinson, Victoria Stowell and Meghan Dieterle each had an assist.
Foxboro, 0 @ Canton, 1 – Final – Canton’s Sarah Collins scored an unassisted goal for the lone strike of the game to lift the Bulldogs to a win.
King Philip, 1 @ Mansfield, 9 – Final – Mansfield’s offensive exploded for nine goals, led by a hat trick from junior Hannah Reiter. Alle Bezeau scored a pair of goals, Emma Oldow had two goals and an assist, Jen Kemp scored once and had an assist, Bryn Anderson netted a goal and Emma Goulet and Jackie Carchedi each notched a pair of assists.
Milford, 2 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Kristen Franzini netted both of Milford’s goals while Emily Duquette had a strong game in goal with nine saves for the Scarlet Hawks.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Taunton scored first in the opening half but Haley Guertin, off an assist from sister Grace Guertin, leveled the score just over 10 minutes into the second half.
Oliver Ames, 7 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Francesca Calabraro had a hat trick and added an assist for the Tigers. Jackie Mills added two goals and an assist and Lauren Wright and Annabella Walsh each scored goals. Delaney Benton chipped in with three assists.
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin’s Caroline Maguire had seven aces and added four kills and a pair of blocks to lead the Panthers. Maddy Kuzio had four aces and a pair of digs and Lauren McGrath had 10 assists and three aces for Franklin.
Canton, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Canton got the sweep on the road 25-15, 25-14, 28-26 and clinched its sixth straight Davenport Division title and ninth straight Hockomock League title overall, dating back to before the division split. Olivia Devoe had yet another strong game on defense with 15 digs while Elizabeth Hamilton dominated offensively with 20 kills and three aces, also chipping in with 19 digs. Canton head coach Pat Cawley praised the efforts of Kaitlin McCarthy, Emma Gobbi and Emma Murphy for their strong play at the net. Cawley also noted great defensive efforts from Julia Panico, Cassie Loftus and Maria Mackie.
Mansfield, 3 @ King Philip, 0 – Final – Mansfield picked up the sweep on the road, 25-15, 25-22, 25-23. Jess Haradon had 18 digs and 11 service points for the Hornets while Cathryn Heavey had 35 assists and 10 service points. Sarah Mullahy had seven kills, seven blocks, and nine service points while Alli Belanger added eight digs and nine service points. For King Philip, Josie Rowean had 13 kills, Amelia Murphy added five kills, Emma Lopez had three kills and Micaela Murray finished with 10 digs.
Sharon, 1 @ Milford, 3 – Final
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Stoughton’s Bridgette Whalen had 10 digs and five kills in the loss.
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip took over at its own 28 yard line with 4:59 remaining in a tied game. The Warriors, still searching for their first win of the season, had only six first downs in the game and just two since halftime.
Despite having little to no success offensively for nearly 40 minutes, KP marched 72 yards on 13 plays and with just two seconds left on the clock junior fullback Alex Olsen punched it in from a yard out on fourth and goal. John DeLuca added a two-point conversion and the Warriors emerged with a 15-7 victory over Mansfield on the new (and soaked) turf at Macktaz Field.
“So proud of them,” said KP coach Brian Lee. “You have to be opportunistic and when we had a chance the kids made plays.”
He added, “We had a very good week of practice; we felt very confident coming in. We were confident that if we could get lined up, which isn’t always easy, that we’d be alright.”
The drive started, as would be expected from the Warriors, on the ground. Two carries from junior Giovanni Fernandez (15 carries, 73 yards) pushed KP to the 41. Then KP caught Mansfield with a perfectly executed screen to Sean Garrity for 17 yards into Hornets territory.
The drive nearly ended three plays later when Fernandez had the ball pop out on a third down run, but KP managed to recover. On fourth down, DeLuca (6-15, 76 yards) hit R.J. McCarthy on a slant to just get past the marker for a first down. On the next play, DeLuca looked downfield for Leo Munafo, who somehow pulled the ball down from behind his head for a 24-yard completion.
“Leo catching it and it looked like the [David] Tyree catch but we’ll take it,” said Lee with a giant grin. “When they needed to make plays, they did.”
Two DeLuca keepers later and KP was at the two yard line. Olsen got one yard closer on third down and the teams let the clock run all the way down to just eight seconds before the Warriors called timeout and decided on one last play.
“You come down and you don’t want to just leave it out there,” exolained Lee about not going for a field goal. “There’s a lot of things…could have a bobbled snap or something like that. So, if we could pound it in that’s what we wanted to do, but certainly I thought of a field goal there.”
He joked, “I wasn’t going to throw it there, that’s for sure.”
Olsen got across the line for the touchdown that sent the KP sidelines into hysterics. A Mansfield penalty after the play pushed the Warriors closer, so they went for two and DeLuca added the conversion on a keeper.
The two teams combined for seven first downs and eight punts in an opening half dominated by the defenses. Connor Finerty and Nick Martin were everywhere for the Hornets to plug the gaps and stop the Warriors running game, while Joe Bukuras broke up several attempts to get the ball out to Munafo.
The young KP defense, with four sophomores seeing regular playing time, counted on seniors Cory Lombardo and Michael Riggs to stop Mansfield’s backs from getting to the edge. KP held Brian Lynch to 33 yards on nine carries and Nick Graham to 25 yards on seven carries.
It would be those two players that would combine to get the Hornets on the board in the second quarter, but it took a trick play to open up the Warriors. Lynch took a pitch to the right and stopped to look downfield where he found his classmate Graham streaking up the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown.
The score stayed the same as the half entered its final minute, but with 43 seconds left Riggs sacked Mansfield quarterback Anthony DeGirolamo and forced a fumble that was recovered by Fernandez at the Hornets 15.
KP took advantage of the short field. After a short run, DeLuca hit Munafo for 13 yards down to the Mansfield one and on the next play Fernandez burst through the middle to tie the game at 7-7.
The game went back and forth with winning field position in the windy, rainy conditions seeming to be the primary goal of both offenses. Mansfield gained the upper hand in the fourth quarter with KP pinned back several times, but could not turn territorial advantage into points.
In a close game, all it takes is one drive and that is exactly what KP put together on Friday.
“We have a very young team and we’re taking some time getting them back in it,” said Lee. “It’s tough when you’re used to having some success and you’re 0-3 and it gets harder to sell that hard work, but they’ve bought in.”
Lee was asked if he could remember the last time that KP had beaten Mansfield in back-to-back years. He laughed and responded, “I don’t know. I have no idea.”
“That program is unbelievable. We have so much respect for them and for Mike and what they do year-in, year-out and to go back-to-back…I can remember back in the day that I never thought it could happen.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2014 Record: 4-7
2014 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Strachan
Key/Returning Players: Kyle Murphy, Sr., OT/DT, 6-4, 275 lbs.; Brendan Nunes, Sr., WR/CB, 6-0, 175 lbs.; Tyler McGovern, Jr., QB, 6-3, 190 lbs.; John Burns, Sr., FB/OLB, 5-9, 165 lbs.; Alex Silva, Sr., TE/DE, 5-11, 185 lbs.
Outlook: The Bombardiers come into this season hoping to regain some of the magic of their 2013 run to the Div. 1 South final and doing it while replacing last year’s starting backfield and leading receiver. The reason for optimism in Attleboro is the return of senior lineman Kyle Murphy, who has emerged as a legit FBS prospect and one of the top players on the line in the state. Head coach Mike Strachan told ESPNBoston.com, “He’s got very good feet for a kid that big. We’re looking for some great things from him this season.”
In addition, junior quarterback Tyler McGovern is back under center for his second season, after splitting time with Ross Killion in 2014. McGovern has the size at 6-foot-3 and also has the arm to be a major weapon in the offense and try to make up for some of the lost production from the graduating running backs. McGovern’s growth at QB will be crucial for Attleboro. Strachan said, “He’s got a very quick release, and he’s worked on his feet all offseason. We need him to help get us back to that level we were at two years ago.”
Brendan Nunes is one of the receivers that Attleboro is hoping can turn into a primary target along with senior tight end Alex Silva, although there are question marks about who can become the No. 1 back to take pressure off McGovern and the passing game.
Defense should be a strength for the Bombardiers, who bring back almost all of last year’s starters. Murphy can dominate the line of scrimmage and forces double teams and game plans that can open space for his teammates. John Burns and the linebacking corps will be hoping to take advantage of that extra room to make plays.
2014 Record: 5-6
2014 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brad Sidwell
Key/Returning Players: Ben Riggs SR. 6-3, 300,OL/DL; Joe Giacolone SR 6-2, 270, OL/DL; Nick Yelle SR. 5-9, 180, LB/RB; Luke Gordon SR. 6-1, 175, WR/DB; Sam Harrell SR. 6-0, 180, WR/DB; Jake Lyons JR. 5-10, 190, RB/DB; Tyler Gomes JR. 6-1, 210, FB/DE; Brad Jarosz JR QB; Will O’Reilly SR. WR/DB; Eddie Scannapieco WR/DB
Outlook: The Panthers come into 2015 lacking varsity experience in a lot of places, but with more depth at the skill positions and improved play at the line of scrimmage that has head coach Brad Sidwell entering his 20th season with hopes of getting Franklin into the tournament after back-to-back 5-6 seasons. He said, “Not a lot of experience, but many have been progressing through the sub varsity programs.[We] will play physical football.”
The Panthers will be starting a new quarterback this season with junior Brad Jarosz expected to take over under center and he will have plenty of weapons to use in Franklin’s typically up-tempo offense. Nick Yelle will be in the backfield along with Jake Lyons, while Sam Harrell, Will O’Reilly, Luke Gordon and Eddie Scannapieco are all back on the outside. The offensive line is improved, according to Sidwell, although it may lack depth in case of injuries. Ben Riggs and Joe Giacolone are two-way linemen that can be dominant on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, Franklin will hope that the skill position players continue to develop into strong players in the secondary, while counting on junior defensive end Tyler Gomes to continue his emergence as a strong presence in the pass rush. Franklin will be counting on the opening games against Arlington and Milford to prepare it for the battles to come in the Kelley-Rex Division.
Sidwell said, “Looking forward to working with this group, hard working and great attitude. Getting off to a good start and gaining confidence will be important.”
2014 Record: 10-1
2014 Finish: Reached D2 South final
Coach: Brian Lee
Key/Returning Players: John DeLuca, Jr. QB; Bill Dittrich, Sr. OL/DL; James Cooke, Sr. OL/DL; Cory Lombardo, Sr. LB; Nick Bernier Garzon, Sr. DL; Steven Eaton, Sr. RB; R.J. McCarthy, Sr. WR/DB, Giovanni Fernandez, Jr. RB
Outlook: King Philip is coming off its first outright league title and a trip to the Div. 2 South final where it gave eventual state champion Marshfield one of its toughest games of the season. The Warriors are a team based on ball control offense and hard-nosed defense and despite losing a strong core from last year’s squad, head coach Brian Lee will ensure that KP remains a tough team to play against even with a host of young players.
Quarterback John Deluca returns for his junior season, but without some of the weapons that were so prolific from last year including HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Mark Glebus and wideout Kyle Loewen. Senior running back Steven Eaton will take most of the carries and is hoping to develop some of the explosiveness that made Glebus such a weapon last year. Junior Gio Fernandez also saw some carries last year and is a load at running back, especially in short-yardage situations. Senior R.J. McCarthy is a player to watch at receiver.
The offensive and defensive lines remain a strength for KP with Bill Dittrich and James Cooke returning. Nick Bernier Garzon will also help out on the line, but the key to the defense is senior middle linebacker Cory Lombardo who will be the leader and continues the pattern of strong linebackers at KP.
If the offense can find a groove and the young players develop quickly, KP will have its sights set on a second straight Hockomock title. But, as Lee said, there are “a lot of rookies out there.”
2014 Record: 6-5
2014 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Redding
Key/Returning Players: Diogo Desousa, Jr. K/DE, 5-11, 182 lbs.; Connor Finerty, Sr. RB/LB, 5-11, 200 lbs.; Anthony DeGirolamo, Jr. QB/DB, 5-11, 165 lbs.; Ben Wisnieski, Sr. RB/DB, 5-10, 160 lbs.; Hunter Ferreira, Jr. WR/DB, 6-1, 185 lbs.; Brian Lynch, Jr. RB/DB, 5-8, 170 lbs.; Nick Krouskos, Jr. FB/LB, 5-9, 175 lbs.; Mike Arnold, Sr. TE/DE, 6-1, 205 lbs.; Josh Schafer, Jr. OL/DL, 6-2, 230 lbs.; Matt Kashtan, Sr. OG/NG, 5-8 195 lbs.; Joe Bukuras, Jr. RB/DB, 5-9, 160 lbs.; A.J. Gibbs, Jr. OL/DL, 5-11, 270 lbs.
Outlook: Mansfield enters the season with plenty of depth on both sides of the ball, as the Hornets try to regain the Kelley-Rex Division crown they lost to King Philip in an injury-plagued 2014 season. Head coach Mike Redding, entering his 28th year in charge, is expecting to learn quite a bit about his team with St. John’s Prep, Haverhill, KP, and Attleboro to start the season. Redding noted, “We will need to be hitting on all cylinders for those key games early.”
“Overall, we’re on the young side and a little undersized, but very talented at skill positions and we have very good overall team strength and good team chemistry and leadership,” said Redding.
Mansfield will be making a change under center with junior Anthony Girolamo taking over and his task will be made a little easier by the talented backfield of senior Connor Finerty and junior Brian Lynch, who is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign that saw him rush for eight touchdowns and more than 800 yards. In addition, the Hornets have talent on the edges with receivers Ben Budwey and Hunter Ferreira and athletic tight end Mike Arnold. Junior Josh Schafer will be a player to watch on the line.
Finerty headlines the defensive unit as the outside linebacker and leader on that side of the ball. He will be joined by Ferreira and Anthony Keefe on the outside with Nick Krouskos, Travis Sjoberg, and Nick Martin in the middle. The real strength of the defense could lie in the secondary with all four starters returning and plenty of depth behind them. Joe Bukuras and Connor Driscoll are the corners with Ben Budwey and Ben Wisnieski at safety. Special teams will also be strong with returning kicker Diogo DeSousa, who Redding calls “one of the best kickers” he has had in his time with the Hornets.
2014 Record: 8-3
2014 Finish: Reached D3 Southwest Quarterfinal
Coach: Don Johnson
Key/Returning Players: Connor Flynn, Sr. K/RB/LB; Nick Morrison, Sr. RB/LB; Bobby Mylod, Jr. RB/LB; Nick Rajotte, Jr. RB/DB; Brodey Barr, Sr. QB/DB; Kyle McCarthy, Jr. QB/DB; Ridge Olsen, Sr. WR/DB; Kyle Gaumond, Sr. WR/DB; Patrick Johnson, Sr. RB/WR/DB; Andy Katch, Sr. OL/DL; Joe Flaherty, Sr. OL; Brendan Nally, Jr. OL; Alex Dion, Sr. OL; Josh Morrison, Sr. OL/DL; Sam Morrison, Sr. OL/DL; Tom Reynolds, Jr. OL/DL; Davon Andrade, Sr. TE/DL
Outlook: After a stunning home loss to Medfield in the opening round of the Div. 3 Southwest playoffs last fall, North Attleboro returns a number of skill position players with hopes of making a run at the Kelley-Rex Division title.
The backfield is loaded with seniors Connor Flynn, who averaged 12.1 yards per carry until a wrist injury kept him out, and Nick Morrison providing steady hands and downhill running while being pushed by the explosive duo of juniors Nick Rajotte and Bobby Mylod, who combined for 13 touchdowns last season. Head coach Don Johnson said of his running backs, “All four backs are versatile and can play multiple positions.” On the outside, North boasts plenty of size at wideout with 6-foot-5 senior Ridge Olsen on one side and Kyle Gaumond on the other.
The biggest question mark is who will be getting the ball to those skill position players? There has been a three-way battle at quarterback during the preseason between senior Brodey Barr, who saw some time under center last year and was primarily a runner, athletic junior Kyle McCarthy, and sophomore Chad Peterson. Johnson explained, “We could use them all, but it might depend more upon how things shake out at other positions, particularly on defense. All three are competitive athletes that can help us in other spots.”
Defensively, North has loads of depth on the line if not loads of experience. Senior twins Josh and Sam Morrison will split time along with senior Davon Andrade and senior defensive tackle Andy Katch, The linebacking corps features Mylod in the middle with Flynn and Nick Morrison on the outside. In the secondary, Gaumond, Barr, Rajotte, Olsen, McCarthy, and Patrick Johnson will all be in the mix depending on match-ups.
2014 Record: 2-9
2014 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Chris Greding
Key/Returning Players: Brian Cherenfant, RB/DB; Jake Norberto, OL; Santiago Lopez, OL; Jason DaRosa, RB; Damion Theodule, DB; Matt Grey, LB; Jared Williams, DL; Tanner Costa, RB/DB; Lazare Joseph, RB; Adam McLaughlin, WR; Connor Briggs, OL; Nick Brown, DL; Sylvester English, DL; Zakeem Harrow, DL; John Chretien, LB; Breven Walker, DB; Amir Rehim, LB
Outlook: The Tigers are coming off a 2-9 season and will have a new quarterback under center, but head coach Chris Greding is counting on his depth on the line and at the skill positions and overall team speed to get Taunton in the mix in the division.
Senior Brain Cherenfant is one of the fastest players in the league and gives the Tigers a weapon both on offense and in special teams. He will be joined in the backfield by Jason DeRosa, Lazare Joseph and Coyle transfer Tanner Costa, giving Taunton a number of weapons. Adam McLaughlin will be a player to watch at wideout.
The line has also been strengthened with Jake Norberto and Santiago Lopez coming back on the offensive side of the ball and Jared Williams on defense. Connor Briggs will be another player to keep an eye on opening holes for the backs, while the defensive line is bolstered by Florida transfer Sylvester English, Texas transfer Nick Brown, and Boston transfer Zakeem Harrow. The linebacking corps includes Matt Grey and John Chretien, while Breven Walker, Cherenfant and Costa will all play bog roles in the secondary.