MANSFIELD, Mass. – With under eight seconds remaining in the second quarter of Friday night’s rivalry game at Alumni Field, Mansfield faced a third down from the one-yard-line. The Hornets had traveled 61 yards in 45 seconds, now they just had to punch it in. North Attleboro senior Jack Munley had other ideas and stopped Rocco Scarpellini short of the end zone.
Having started the first overtime period with a touchdown, North’s defense had the chance to repeat its earlier trick, stop the Hornets from the one, and clinch a second consecutive impressive road victory. Mansfield QB Connor Curtis tried to keep it himself, looking for a hole in the middle of the line, but was swallowed up by white shirts.
For the second time in the game, North’s defense made a stand, this time sealing a 27-21 win, avenging last year’s double-overtime defeat to the Hornets at Community Field. It was North’s first win at Mansfield since 2015.
“Whether you get the ball first or second, you’ve got to stop them and it came down to that at the end,” said first-year North coach Mike Strachan. “I’m just really proud of my football team, they fought. To beat Mansfield at Mansfield, with this great team, and this great tradition they have here, I’m really proud of my guys.”
Mansfield coach Mike Redding admitted that he will be second-guessing his call on that final play for a while.
“It’s a heartbreaker,” he explained. “I’ll go over this for 10 years on any call that would’ve worked.
“We’re trying to come up with a little bit of a counter to kind of get them overflowing, get Connor back, he’s great off the fake finding the seam to run. Once we get to the one or two, they’ve just got 11 big, strong bodies up front and we’re young up front and we just can’t quite get movement to punch it in.”
The Hornets started the game on top. Aidan Gleavy made a nice read on a screen pass to force a three-and-out. After Munley sacked Conner Zukowski, Mansfield was able to convert third and long with Zukowski (18-of-28, 300 yards) throwing a 20-yard strike to Trevor Foley (five catches, 134 yards) on the near sideline. CJ Bell followed with a nice grab on the far sideline, hauling in a 29-yard reception.
After Zukowski and Foley combined again for another 17 yards, Scarpellini punched it in from a yard out to make it 7-0.
In the second quarter, Kyle Murphy sacked North quarterback Chase Frisoli to force a punt from the three. Mansfield started at the North 30-yard-line but a holding call stalled the drive. North took over possession and took the momentum.
On third and short from the North 42, Frisoli (12-of-22, 180 yards) looked deep down the sideline to Jovany Rivera (six catches, 123 yards). The 41-yard completion put the Rocketeers in the red zone for the first time. Eight yards and three plays later, facing fourth and two Strachan elected to go for it. Greg Berthiaume wouldn’t be stopped, dragging a would-be tackler with him for a nine-yard, game-tying score.
The North defense followed up that score by forcing a three-and-out. A short punt gifted the visitors the ball at the 26 and North took advantage. A timeout before Austin Clemente attempted a 46-yard field goal led to a change of plan, with North electing to go for it and Frisoli finding Rivera for 21 yards to the eight. On the next snap Berthiaume caught a pass in the flat and dove for the pylon to put Big Red in front.
Mansfield only had 53 seconds on the clock but wasted no time racing up field. Zukowski hit Drew Sacco for 15 yards and Bell for 17. He then fired a 30-yard pass to Foley to get the Hornets down to the two. After a false start, Nolan Bordieri took a sweep for six yards but just short of the end zone. An incompletion and Munley’s big stop, left the Hornets down 14-7 at the break.
Strachan said, “I think we were physical up front. I thought we were very physical and controlled the line of scrimmage.”
North added to its lead on its first possession of the third. Frisoli’s quick release to Rivera down the sideline for 25 yards got them into Mansfield territory and a perfectly executed play action left sophomore Ryan Bannon all alone in the secondary for a 26-yard touchdown.
The Hornets were struggling to get the ground game working but Zukowski was having a lot of success through the air. On the first snap of the next drive, he looked down field for Foley, who made a great adjustment to the flight of the ball and pulled in a 47-yard catch. On the next play, Foley out-jumped the defensive back in the back of the end zone, snatching a 20-yard touchdown.
Down seven in the fourth quarter, Mansfield got the ball back at its own 11. A first down got it out to the 23 and Zukowski again looked down the sideline, this time to Brandon Jackman, who made a great catch for 37 yards. Zukowski appeared to get a cramp at the end of the play and had to come to the sideline. Curtis jumped in and immediately broke away for a 40-yard touchdown run that tied the game with under six minutes remaining.
“We let them go up 14 and then we kind of woke up and started playing clean,” Redding said. “Zuk started throwing the ball well, we spread them out. We really started playing great from when they scored to go up 14 until overtime. We showed a lot of heart.”
North had one more chance to win it in regulation. A 10-play drive to the Mansfield 19 gave Clemente a chance from 36 yards out, but his kick was wide left with just 20 seconds to play.
The visitors had the ball first in OT. On first down, Frisoli flipped a pass over the shoulder of Aidan Conrad in the flat and he walked in with the go-ahead score. Ryan DeGirolamo was in tight coverage to breakup the two-point conversion try, leaving North up six.
Mansfield had four plays to try and tie it. Zukowski looked for Foley on each of the first two plays, with Rivera doing a good job in coverage on the second. On third down, Zukowski hit Sacco in the flat and he showed patience to pick a hole but North converged at the goal line to keep him a yard short.
Curtis came in for the final play, trying to force his way through North’s defensive line, but Zachary Gallagher, Bannon, Berthiaume, and others were on hand to keep the Hornets just short and add another exciting chapter to this historic rivalry.
Final (OT): North Attleboro 27, Mansfield 21, for the second time tonight North is able to stop the Hornets at the one, Rocketeers walk away with the victory #hockomockpic.twitter.com/CNaDkFs9Zf
“We practiced all week in the goal line, what to do, we practiced our new formations, and I really think we just executed it like we’re supposed to,” Berthiaume explained. “When you don’t make mistakes, you win football games.”
Strachan said, “We go to work each week, we talk about that, we say we put the money in the bank and the payout is on Friday nights. This was a big check mark for us and it was a really big test for our team. We’re going to try and enjoy this one, but I’m just really happy with our football team.”
Following a bye week, North Attleboro (2-0) will have its home, and Kelley-Rex, opener when the Rocketeers host currently unbeaten Franklin. Mansfield (1-1) will head out on the road for the first time next Friday, traveling to Worcester to face Doherty.
Attleboro, 35 @ Durfee, 6 – Final 1Q: (A) Matt Harvie 41-yard pass to Adrian Rivera, Ethan Lako 2pt rush good; (A) M. Harvie 5-yard pass to Malachi Jefferson, Josue Salguero XP good.
2Q: (A) M. Harvie 25-yard pass to Ayden Ramirez, J. Salguero XP good; (A) Brody McKenna 30-yard interception return, XP failed.
3Q: (A) M. Harvie 59-yard pass to Andre Turner, J. Salguero XP good.
4Q: (D) Durfee 4-yard rush, XP failed.
Canton, 30 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 7 – Final
Foxboro, 7 vs. Holliston, 33 – Final
Franklin, 32 @ Wachusett, 22 – Final 1Q: (W) McGeary 3-yard rush, XP good; (F) Jase Lyons 65-yard pass to Luke Davis, Garrett Portesi XP good.
2Q: (W) Wachusett touchdown, XP good; (F) G. Portesi 30-yard field goal. (F) J. Lyons 60-yard pass to L. Davis, XP failed.
3Q: (F) J. Lyons 35-yard pass to L. Davis, XP failed; (F) G. Portesi field goal.
4Q: (W) McDonald rush, McGeary 2pt rush; (F) Mike Davide 4-yard rush, G. Portesi XP good.
BC High, 0 @ King Philip, 35 – Final 1Q: (KP) Rudy Gately 10-yard rush, Matt Kelley XP good; (KP) R. Gately 19-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good,
2Q: (KP) Tom McLeish 6-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good; (KP) Aiden Astorino 4-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good.
3Q: No scoring.
4Q: (KP) Kyle Abbott 1-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good.
Mansfield, 35 vs. St. John’s Shrewsbury, 6 – Final 1Q: (M) CJ Bell 32-yard pass to Trevor Foley, Travis Hennessey XP good; (M) Rocco Scarpellini 1-yard rush, T. Hennessey XP good; (M) Conner Zukowski 9-yard pass to Ryan DeGirolamo, T. Hennessey XP good.
2Q: No scoring.
3Q: (M) R. Scarpellini 4-yard rush, T. Hennessey XP good.
4Q: (M) T. Hennessey 15-yard rush, T. Hennessey XP good.
Milford, 42 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1Q: (M) Nate Scudo 5-yard rush, Nicholas Araujo XP good; (M) Evan Cornelius 13-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good.
2Q: (M) E. Cornelius 1-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good.
3Q: (M) N. Araujo 12-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good.
4Q: (M) E. Cornelius 9-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good; (M) Owen Callahan 17-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good.
North Attleboro, 28 @ Bishop Feehan, 6 – Final 1Q: (NA) Nathan Shultz 27-yard rush, Austin Clemente XP good; (NA) N. Shultz 41-yard rush, A. Clemente XP good.
2Q: (BF) Nick Yanchuk 82-yard rush, XP no good.
3Q: (NA) Greg Berthiaume 22-yard rush, A. Clemente XP good.
4Q: (NA) Chase Frisoli 1-yard rush, A. Clemente XP good.
Oliver Ames, 41 vs. Brookline, 12 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1Q: (OA) Chad Silva 8-yard rush, Nick Ferrini XP good.
2Q: (OA) C. Silva 24-yard rush, N. Ferrini XP good; (OA) Wayne Casey 56-yard pass to Andrew Whiteside, XP blocked.
3Q: (OA) W. Casey 12-yard rush, N. Ferrini XP good; (B) Joshua Karp 53-yard pass to Andrew Bamberg, XP failed; (OA) Harold Smith 18-yard rush, N. Ferrini XP good.
4Q: (B) J. Karp 4-yard pass to Caetano Drinkwater, 2pt pass failed; (OA) CJ Crocker 19-yard rush, N. Ferrini XP good.
Stoughton, 28 vs. Norwood, 13 – Final 1Q: (S) Jarred Daughtry 14-yard pass to James Currier, XP good; (S) Alex Huynh 45-yard interception return, XP failed.
2Q: (S) Liam Pearl 3-yard rush, Alex Huynh 2pt rush good.
3Q: (N) Jack Dwyer 4-yard rush, XP good; (N) J. Dwyer 13-yard rush, XP failed.
4Q: (S) L. Pearl 1-yard rush, XP failed.
Taunton, 33 @ New Bedford, 7 – Final 1Q: (T) Jacob Leonard 34-yard pass to Dmitrius Shearrion, Elias Foreman XP good; (T) Elijah Prophete 62-yard fumble return, XP failed.
2Q: (T) J. Leonard 61-yard pass to Jose Touron, Abby Doherty XP good; (NB) Amari Harris 5-yard pass to Darrin Godine, Brent Sharples XP good; (T) Malachi Johnson 86-yard kickoff return, A. Doherty XP good.
3Q: (T) Anthony Petijohn 48-yard interception return, XP failed.
4Q: Not played.
Sharon, 27 @ Weston, 14 – Final
Attleboro, 2 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Attleboro scored the first and last goals of the game, the latter coming with less than 10 minutes to play to help the Bombardiers secure a tie and a point on the road. Luke Hagopian bagged a brace on his birthday, finishing off an assist from Esvin Morales in the 74th minute to bring the Bombardiers back level. Hagopian opened the scoring in the 16th minute off an assist from Steve Etienne. Mansfield leveled the game less than 10 minutes later on a blast from distance from Aiden Steele. Mansfield took the lead in the 34th minute as Grady Sullivan buried a rebound off a shot from Steele. For Mansfield, Matty Sullivan, Derek McGrath, Aiden Jones, Brendan Flynn, and Kyle Johnson all played well defensively.
Milford, 4 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Milford scored a pair of goals in each half to pick up a pair of points on the road at Foxboro. The Hawks converted a pair of crosses to establish the lead, starting with a finish from Eduardo Santana on a service from Saverio Fulgitini. Milford double its lead when Kaua Pereira scored off a cross from Nick Ribero. In the second half, Pereira set up Arthur Tome to make it 3-0 and then Santana fed John Borges for a finish to make it 4-0.
Franklin 1, @ Oliver Ames, 5 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Oliver Ames raced out to a three-goal lead by halftime and then tacked on two goals inside the final 15 minutes to secure a 5-1 win over Franklin in its season opener. Five different players scored for the Tigers, starting with a goal just over five minutes into the game. Sophomore Luke Churchill lifted a ball over the top of the defense and junior Ryan Linhares ran onto it and calmly chipped the oncoming keeper on the bounce. Less than 10 minutes later, sophomore Casey Milliken played in a through ball to junior Ryan Carney and he finished low to the far post. OA made it 3-0 in the 35th minute as Hector Bucio was first to a corner from Linhares, hitting a low one-timer into the back of the net from inside the area. Franklin had a strong start to the second half and played equal to the hosts. The Panthers pulled one back in the 47th minute after good pressure from juniors Andrew O’Neill and Hansy Jacques ended up in a combination between the two and the latter smashed a low left-footed shot off the far post and in. After some more even play, OA cashed in on a Franklin turnover. Andrew Martins took down a failed clearance connected with Milliken, who fired a cross/shot that was spilled in the area and Mirray Dasilva was first to the loose ball and fired it in. Michael MacAdam came up with a turnover at midfield and quickly hit a counter pass up to Milliken that drew Franklin goalie Griffin Tolonen well off his line. Tolonen got the ball but it deflected right to Martins, who passed one into the back of the net.
King Philip, 1 @ Stoughton, 2 – Final
Mansfield, 2 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Mansfield opened league play with a solid road win. Kara Santos put the Hornets in front, finishing a corner by freshman Olivia Dunham, who recorded her first varsity point. Meghan McCann doubled the lead when she ran onto a through ball from Lauren Signoriello and finished the breakaway. Olivia Salisbury made three saves to get the clean sheet.
Canton, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Canton scored a pair of second half goals to break things open and secure a win in the season opener. The Bulldogs opened the scoring midway through the first half on a goal by Emily McCabe. North started the second half on the front foot, but Canton regrouped and in the 60th minute freshman Georgia Campbell got her first varsity goal to make it 2-0. Emma Cahill sealed the win with a goal in the final minute. Mekahala Costello, freshman Alyssa Wong, and Tess Giglio recorded assists. Canton coach Idris Senyonjo praised Wong and Campbell for giving Canton a needed energy boost in the second half. Maddie Ferrin made six saves for the Rocketeers.
Foxboro, 2 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Neve Taylor scored a pair of unassisted goals and Allie Sougaris made a huge save in the closing minute to secure a hard-fought win for the Warriors. The game was scoreless at halftime and it was the home team that broke the deadlock when Paige Caldon finished off a pass from Dani Atherton. Foxboro responded almost immediately, as Taylor equalized. With about 18 minutes to play, Taylor struck again for what turned out to be the game-winner. Atherton had a chance to steal a point with nearly the final kick of the game, but Sougaris made a brilliant save on the breakaway to keep the Warriors in front. Freshman Kaliegh Tourtellot had a strong game in goal for the Hawks, filling in for injured Chloe Murdock.
Stoughton, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – KP took 32 shots on Friday but only managed a pair of goals, pulling out a tough home win in its league opener. Ella Pisani’s through ball set up Dani Lomuscio for a goal early in the first half. In the second half, Dani Gresham’s corner kick went off a defender to double the lead.
North Attleboro, 4 @ Canton, 5 – Final – Canton scored three goals in the third quarter and then held off a fourth quarter comeback bid from North Attleboro to secure a 5-4 win. The Bulldogs built a 2-0 lead in the second quarter but Julia Puccio scored a pair of goals, including one off a Kelsey Thompson corner with 31 seconds left in the half to bring the Big Red level. Canton extended its lead to 5-2 with a big third quarter but Puccio scored two more times in the fourth to make it a one-goal game. Puccio netted a deflected shot with 9:05 left in the game and then scored off a pass from Madison Folan with 3:54 left to make it 5-4. Canton had five different goal scorers, including one goal and two assists from freshman Carolyn Schiavo.
King Philip, 3 vs. Walpole, 0 – Final – King Philip continued its strong start to the season with a dominating 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-8) sweep over Walpole. Sami Shore led the offense with seven kills, Ahunna James added six kills and a pair of aces, Emily Sawyer registered four kills, two aces, and two blocks, and sophomore Madison Asprelli landed four aces in the win.
Canton, 1 vs. North Quincy, 3 – Final – Canton jumped ahead in the match with a win in the first set but North Quincy bounced back with three straight to claim victory, 3-1. For Canton, Jess Wright had an outstanding performance with 14 kills and a pair of aces.
Outlook: After experiencing some growing pains against a tough schedule last season, the Bulldogs boast a good number of returning players looking to have a bounce-back year in 2022.
Canton has key pieces in key spots on the field and has a total of 22 seniors on the roster. The defense will be filled with veterans including a talented group of linebackers that include seniors Jack Flaherty (captain) and Hayden Rose along with junior captain Owen Lane. While the linebackers are likely to be the heart of the defense, the Bulldogs also have some key experience – and some noticeable size – on the defensive line with seniors Julian Prentice (captain) and Jack Digirolamo. In the secondary, Charlie Cox and Josh Richards will man the safety positions to anchor the secondary unit.
The Bulldogs have a familiar face back at quarterback in Lane, an athletic lefty that can make plays with both his feet and his arm. As just a sophomore a year ago, Lane gained valuable experience and will be looking to build on a solid campaign. He will work behind a somewhat inexperienced line that is anchored by senior captain Matt Lesser at center with Nathan Levis and sophomore Luke Richard at guard, and junior Giovanni Disasio and sophomore Luke Laguerre at tackle. Senior Godson Ofonagoro has transferred in and will be in the mix at running back along with James Robbins, Cole Ouellette, and Michael Sayers.
Canton opens the season on the road at Dighton-Rehoboth but then hosts back-to-back non-league games as the Bulldogs look to build some momentum before their first meeting with Mansfield since 2012.
Foxboro narrowly missed out on a trip to Gillette last year, falling in the Div. 5 state semifinal. The reigning Davenport division champions will have to replace the production of league MVP Dylan Gordon, but the Warriors have a host of younger players ready to step into bigger roles this season and will be excited about adding league title drama to their Thanksgiving Day rivalry with Mansfield.
Even graduating its starting tailback and quarterback, Foxboro will have a lot of depth in the skill positions this season with several underclassmen showing that they are ready to contribute right away. Sophomore Mike Marcucella will take over under center and will have plenty of options in the backfield and at receiver. Junior Lincoln Moore has the strength and quickness to be a dynamic runner along with junior Brandon Mazenkas-O’Grady, senior Jaiquann Williams, and sophomore Ben Angelini. Senior Payton France will be an option at wideout, junior Tony Sulham adds speed wherever he lines up, and sophomore Nolan Gordon will be a big target on the outside. The offensive line is loaded with size this season. Senior Andrew Finn will be the leader of a group that includes junior Nate Urman and sophomore Jonathan Balde. Sam Carpenter is one of the league’s top kickers and gives Foxboro the chance for points every possession.
Defense has always been a focal point for the Warriors and they have plenty of experience returning to be a strong group. As one offense, Foxboro will have plenty of size up front. Finn and Mazenkas-O’Grady are constant threats from the ends with Urman and Balde helping out in the interior. Moore was a standout linebacker as a sophomore and he leads a group that includes Williams and Angelini. Sulham is a lockdown corner and Gordon, Francis, and Marcucella will all add depth in the secondary.
“If the players and coaches are patient and are mindful that you never pick up where you left off, assuming nothing, this can be a good football team, characterized by senior strength and tremendous underclass talent,” said Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli.
It usually doesn’t take Mansfield long to rebuild and the Hornets come into the new season with an experienced core of returning players, particularly in the skill positions, that is poised to challenge not only for the program’s first Davenport division title but also to make a deep run in the state tournament. With nearly all of its production back from last year, Mansfield will be counting on that year of experience to be ready for a tough schedule meant to prepare the Hornets for the playoffs.
The Mansfield offense should have plenty of balance to it this season. Senior Conner Zukowski will be back under center for the Hornets and he has a host of weapons to take advantage of in both the passing and ground games. Seniors Drew Sacco and Rocco Scarpellini will be in the backfield this season and both are dynamic runners who can grind yards or break big plays. Juniors Brian Butler and Nolan Bordieri could also be added to the mix. Junior Connor Curtis will give another option as a running QB. Junior Trevor Foley emerged as one of the top receivers in the league last season and junior CJ Bell, Bordieri, and junior Brandon Jackman give the Hornets a lot of depth on the outside, while senior Ryan DeGirolamo gives Zukowski a big target at tight end. The line should also be deep this season, led by seniors Jephte Jean and Colton Johnson and newcomers senior Dexter Harris, and juniors Aidan Gleavy, Matt Tryon, and Jason Riley.
Experience is a strength on the other side of the ball as well. Foley and Bell give Mansfield playmakers in the secondary that will cause havoc with opposition passing attacks. Bordieri and Jackman will add to that defensive back group. Jean was an imposing force on the defensive line and he will be helped by Gleavy and Harris. DeGirolamo gives the Hornets a threat from his defensive end position and Riley could step into that role on the other side. Scarpellini and senior Caden Colby will return at linebacker.
“Depth and experience at offensive skill positions with the return of about 95 percent of the team’s production from last year,” Mansfield head coach Mike Redding said of his team’s strength. “Defensive group is also experienced with the secondary returning three of the four starters and two of the three linebackers, so good experience there as well.”
Outlook: Buoyed by a productive offseason, Oliver Ames is looking to get back into the heart of the division title race this season. The Tigers have a strong nucleus of players back and are hoping a strong line – both offensively and defensively – will pave the way for success this season.
Three of the Tigers’ five captains call the offensive line home so OA will lean heavily on that unit to pave the way for the offense. Columbia University-commit Jaden Hinton has transformed into one of the best two-way linemen in not only the Hock but in the state. He will be joined by fellow captains Chris Young and John Carey, as well as classmate Luis Fernandes. The unit will be in charge of creating holes for four-year starter and captain Chad Silva. After handling lead blocking duties last year, Silva will likely be the feature back for the Tigers and has a great combination of power and speed.
Senior captain Wayne Casey will start under center and will be tasked with controlling the offense. He will work with Robert Jenkins, Jaden Graham, and Bronson Burnham as weapons on offense.
Silva is back for another year at linebacker and is a big-time playmaker on that side of the ball. Seniors Jack Morley and Jordan Young round out an experienced group while Hinton will work with Young, Fernandes, and classmate Donovan Howard along the defensive line. Seniors Jack Perron and Nick Ferrini will play in the secondary alongside Jenkins and Graham.
“I am thrilled about the work our older guys have put in this offseason and really think it should help them pay off,” said OA head coach Ed DeWitt. “We really want to continue to improve week to week and play with more consistency than we did last year.”
Sharon is continuing its independent schedule this fall and, with 13 returning starters, the Eagles will have plenty of experience. Depth continues to be a challenge for the program, but there is room for development, and head coach Dave Morse is hoping that a very young roster will continue to develop this season.
Junior quarterback Liam Conway will lead an offense that is going to try and add more balance this season. Senior Kyle Samuels and junior Jacob McLoughlin will be the primary targets in the passing game. Juniors Gabe Korn and Duncan Seaman will be in the backfield and will give the Eagles a couple of threats in the running game. Senior fullback Joden Chanel will try and lead the way in the running game and senior lineman Dan Davis will be there to open holes.
Defensively, Sharon wants to be more aggressive. Korn and Seaman will lead the linebacking corps and add playmaking on the defensive side of the ball. Davis will be an impact player on the line and Chanel will give Sharon speed on the edge. In the secondary, Samuels will be one of the top cover guys, while junior Elijah Wisdom will be a ball hawk at free safety.
“Hoping to continue to develop and turn that into winning football games,” Morse said. “We are still very young because of the lack of seniors but it is my job to get all of our players up to speed at the varsity level.”
Editor’s note: Sharon is competing a non-league schedule this season.
Outlook: Stoughton finished in the middle of the pack in the Davenport division after an injury-plagued season last year. The Black Knights reached the state tournament and kept it close before falling in the first round, and ended the season with a win over rival Canton on Thanksgiving to finish at 5-6.
Between the graduating seniors and the players returning from injury, there will be plenty of new playmakers for the Black Knights this season. One familiar face will be the one under center as junior Jarred Daughtry is back at quarterback after getting a lot of reps a season ago. Daughtry showed that he can make plays with his arm but he’s very athletic and will be someone opposing defenses have to keep an eye out for.
Running the Wing-T, Daughtry will have senior Tagh Swiezewski and juniors Liam Pearl and Alex Huynh – both of who got off to promising sophomore campaigns before injuries. All three will be involved in blocking and running, and also key pieces in the Stoughton passing game. Junior James Currier has emerged as a top option as a receiver as well.
Stoughton has been known for its tough defenses over the years under longtime head coach Greg Burke, and the Black Knights will be looking to continue that tradition this year. Stoughton gave up over 23 points per game last, which was unusually high for a program that has kept teams under 20 for at least the six seasons prior to that. An athletic secondary will feature Swierziewski, Daughtry, Huynh, and Currier. Timmy Chung returns as one of the starting linebackers alongside Pearl and Beder, while Laz, Noel, and Thomas will all be two-way linemen.
“We need to stay healthy and improve on the line,” said Burke. “We need younger players to play and to improve every week.”
Stoughton, 3 @ Foxboro, 7 – Final – Foxboro erased an early three-run deficit by scoring seven unanswered runs in a win over visiting Stoughton. A bases-clearing triple from Anthony Girolamo brought Brad Franey, Anthony Tilton, and Sean Farley home as the Black Knights staked a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Louis Carangelo answered with a two-run single and Jack Watts followed with a two-run double in the next at-bat as Foxboro pushed across four runs in the bottom of the second to take a lead that it never relinquished. Foxboro added a run in the bottom of the third (Tyler Prescott), the bottom of the fifth (Tom Marcucella RBI single), and in the bottom of the sixth (Carangelo RBI single). Sean O’Leary tossed a complete game to get the win for the Warriors, including six shutout innings after giving up three in the first. O’Leary allowed just four hits and one walk, striking out 10.
Attleboro, 16 @ Stoughton, 5 – Final
Foxboro, 4 vs. Newton South, 2 – Final – Foxboro fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first but rallied for four unanswered runs to get the win over Newton South. Peyton Feldman had a pair of hits and a pair of runs for the Warriors while Allie Willis added two hits and two RBI in the win. Emma Callahan got the win in the circle, striking out six.
Attleboro, 6 @ North Attleboro, 14 – Final
Foxboro, 16 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Tom Sharkey found the back of the net five times to pace the Foxboro offense in a win on the road over Oliver Ames. Lincoln Moore added four goals and an assist, Conor Noone added a hat trick and one helper, and Jack Avery, Finn Stapleton, and Tony Sulham each scored once for the Warriors. Ben Reardon, Wyatt Fritchman, and Ryan Jaco each scored twice for Oliver Ames.
King Philip, 14 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – KP showed no signs of rust after an 11-day break, jumping out to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter and extending the advantage to 9-1 at half to earn the road win. Kip Bishop and Sean Crowther each scored four goals and Ben Riggs chipped in with three tallies to lead the Warriors. Mansfield had four different goal scorers, Drew Sacco, Andrew Burnham, Dash Munson, and Grady Sullivan. James Boldy (KP) and Ryan DeGirolamo (Mansfield) each played well in goal.
Sharon, 17 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Sharon exploded for 17 goals with eight different players finding the back of the net on the road at Milford. Brady Daylor and Ryan Brown led the charge with four goals apiece while Jacob Kaufman, Matt Mahoney, and Sam Rothbaum each added two in the win. Ben Shocket and Matt Harshfield rounded out the scoring for the Eagles with a goal apiece.
North Attleboro, 15 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final
Canton, 15 @ Taunton, 2 – Final – Canton had 11 different players find the back of the net in a big win on the road at Taunton. Shannon McGrann (three goals, one assist), Ella Yeaton (two goals, two assists), and Allie McCabe (one goal, three assists) paced the Bulldogs with four points apiece. Maia Mahoney scored her first career goal in the win. Taunton received goals from Sarah Clark and Maddison Szala.
Oliver Ames, 2 @ Foxboro, 18 – Final – Buoyed by a balanced attack, Foxboro claimed a big win at home over visiting Oliver Ames. Paige Curran had a team-high seven points, leading the charge with five goals and two assists. Mya Waryas (two assists), Mary Collins (assist), and Kate Collins each added three goals in the win for the Warriors. Audrey Campbell made four saves in net for Foxboro.
Mansfield, 4 @ King Philip, 18 – Final – Julia Marsden and Lily Brown each hit the 100-point plateau for their careers as King Philip rolled to a big win over Mansfield. Marsden and Brown each scored twice and had an assist to hit the milestone. Haley Izydorzcak scored six goals to pace the KP offense against the Hornets.
Milford, 17 @ Sharon, 12 – Final – Milford scored 11 goals in the opening half and added onto that lead in the second half to claim its third road win of the season. Aislinn Bennett continued her torrid start to the season, adding eight goals to pace the Scarlet Hawks offense. Fiona Jordan, Erin Michelson, Emily Croteau, and Carley Haley each added a pair of goals while Jill Araujo added one in the win. Freshman Esther Fernandes was called up from JV to make her varsity debut, getting the win in net. Anna Hertzel had a hat trick, while Athena Merck, Bailey Garte, and Keira Ledyard each scored twice for the Eagles. Lauren McLaughlin added one for Sharon and Tess Letendre made 10 saves in the loss.
Taunton, 0 @ Attleboro, 5 – Final – Kyle Neuendorf made the switch to first singles and earned a three-set win to highlight Attleboro’s sweep of visiting Taunton. Neuendorf dropped the first set but rallied to get the win, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Ethan Johnson also had a three-set win (6-4, 4-6, 6-1) at second singles while Arnov Sodhani added a 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. Tyler Rocchio and Evan Sousa emerged with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (10-8) win at first doubles for the Bombardiers, and Luke Hinton and Brady Rosen grabbed a 6-2, 6-3 win at second doubles.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Canton, 4 – Final – A sweep of singles action plus one more win in doubles gave Canton a 4-1 win over visiting North Attleboro. Sophomore Max Kupferman earned a 6-0, 6-2 win at first singles, senior Suraj Ramanathan added a 6-2, 6-1 win at second singles, and freshman Justin Ngan completed the singles sweep with a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 10-8 win at third singles. The team of senior Kevin Moltenbrey and Max LaRose added a 6-3, 6-4 second doubles win. North Attleboro’s Griffin Rodden and Arnav Raghuvanshi prevailed with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win at first doubles.
Sharon, 5 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final
King Philip, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – King Philip won all five matches, all in straight sets to take down Milford on the road. Brady Jannell didn’t drop a set in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles, Jonathan Cohen earned a 6-0, 6-2 win at second singles, and Jackson Hom secured a 6-1, 6-0 third singles victory. Adam Gougie and Connor Sachleben teamed up for a 6-1, 6-2 win at first doubles while Leo Manning and Arjun Rullo added a 6-1, 6-0 win at second doubles for KP.
Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Sophomore Nick Westerbeke won at first singles (6-2, 6-3) while Raphael Vache and Kylash Ganesh both won in straight sets as Oliver Ames defended home court against Stoughton. The freshman duo of Alex Efrimedas and Patrick Dolan added a 6-4, 6-3 win at second doubles for the Tigers.
Attleboro, 4 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Attleboro grabbed a pair of wins in singles play and a pair of wins from doubles action to secure a 4-1 win on the road. Senior Ella Lynch-Bartek rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 10-0 win at first singles while sophomore Maddie Fuscaldo didn’t drop a get in a 6-0, 6-0 second singles win. The senior tandem of Saharla Yusuf and Tina Lam prevailed 6-4, 6-2 at first doubles while sophomores Kyra Johnson and Presley Biller took a 6-2, 6-0 decision at second doubles. Taunton sophomore Ava Alves earned a 6-2, 6-1 win at third singles.
Canton, 2 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – North Attleboro took all three singles matches to secure a 3-2 win over visiting Canton. Lauren Hunt was victorious at first singles (6-3, 6-1), Grace Noreck added a 6-1, 6-1 second singles win, and Kyna Shah prevailed 6-3, 6-4 at third singles. Canton won both doubles matches with Olivia Dunham and Grace Powers winning 6-3, 6-4 at first singles, and Olivia Maloney and Allie Wong adding a 6-3, 6-3 win at second doubles.
Foxboro, 3 @ Sharon, 2 – Final – Foxboro won all three singles matches in straight sets to earn a key division win over rival Sharon. Athena Li continued to roll at first singles, securing a 6-0, 6-0 win while Hailey Kornbluth added a 6-0, 6-2 win at second singles, and Analise Jia earned a 6-4, 6-4 win at third singles for the Warriors.
Milford, 1 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – The Warriors took two wins from both singles and doubles play to defend home court against visiting Milford. Sophomore Shea Mellman moved up to first singles and won 6-0, 6-1 while senior Sammie Taylor emerged from a hard-fought match at second singles with a 6-4, 6-1 win, a match that longtime head coach Bob Goldberg called Taylor’s best match in her three years of playing. The first doubles team of junior Lauren Casper and senior Resha Ajoy added a 6-0, 6-1 win while senior Palina Yakamovich and junior Priya Riar secured a 6-1, 6-1 second doubles victory. Milford’s Serena Borges claimed a 6-3, 6-1 win at third singles.
Oliver Ames, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames took all five matches, including three without dropping a set, to take down Stoughton on the road. Hannah Farber (first singles), Elizabeth O’Brien (third singles), and the team of Morgan Vasiliou and Caroline Peper (first doubles) all won 6-0, 6-0. Mia Corradini added a 6-4, 6-1 win at second singles for the Tigers, and Marina Mierzwinski and Olivia Querzoli secured a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles.
Taunton, 0 @ North Quincy, 3 – Final – Ty Ekstrom had nine assists and two kills but Taunton fell 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-19) on the road at North Quincy. Josue Andrade (front row) and Owen Kelly (back row) both played well for the Tigers.
2021 Record: 3-11 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Kevin Patton
Attleboro had some growing pains during the 2021 campaign, but has a good chunk of the roster back in the fold for 2022 and will try to take the next step forward as a program.
The Bombardiers will have a strong foundation on the defensive end of the field. Captain Fred Wheaton is back for another year to anchor the defense and he’s joined by fellow returners Bobby Sawyer and John Wheaton to give Attleboro a solid veteran nucleus to try and shut down some of the top offenses in the league. Attleboro also has sophomore Harry Wheaton back in net after gaining valuable experience in the cage in 2021.
Having last year’s top scorer in Carter Shelton back in the fold will give the Bombardiers a good start in the attack. Shelton scored 30 goals and had 15 assists, finishing 12th in the Hock in scoring. Captain Keigan Conley is also back to bolster the attack, coming off a 22 goal, 10 assist campaign a year ago. Freshman Nathan Conroy is also in the mix already in the attack.
Attleboro’s midfield will be anchored by captain Ryan Betts along with Chad Beaupin and Seth LaPlace. The Bombardiers also expect contributions from Cole McKenna, Patrick McAvoy, and Spencer Scherck.
“We have a lot of returning guys that picked up valuable varsity experience last season,” said Attleboro head coach Kevin Patton. “We are looking forward to a strong season in 2022.”
2021 Record: 14-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal Coach: Ryan Quinn
Canton split its two games with Foxboro to win a share of the Davenport title in 2021, just the third league title in program history and were an overtime goal away from reaching the Div. 2 South final. The Bulldogs have a lot of experience in the attack and the midfield this season with the goal of putting in another challenge for the league crown and putting together another state tournament push.
The Bulldogs had a dynamic attack last spring and the league’s leading scorer Sam Carlino headlines a strong group this season as well. Junior Jeff Chaput joins Carlino in the attack and the midfield group is filled with experience from last season. Sophomore Brendan Tourgee, juniors AJ Thomas and Chris Hamilton, senior Eddie Gillis, and Charlie Vaughn will all give Canton playmaking at the middie position.
Defensively, Canton will definitely miss graduated goalie Dylan Coyne but the Bulldogs have a talented group of poles that should be tough to score against this season. Senior Sean Connolly will lead that defensive group alongside sophomores Luke Darling and Colin Blake.
“I am really excited about this upcoming season,” said second-year coach Ryan Quinn. “Our student-athletes have been working hard to build on our success from last season, but are very aware that everything we achieve is based upon the work we put in this year, every day. We are led by a small, but strong senior class, and have depth across all four grades levels. This group is a very coachable group and we are very excited to begin”
2021 Record: 11-4 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central/East Quarterfinal Coach: Matt Noone
After graduating just two seniors from last year’s team, Foxboro is back with a strong lineup that will look to reclaim the Davenport title that it shared with Canton in 2021. The Warriors will have depth up and down the field with the goal of not only returning to the top of the division but also being ready for a deep run in the statewide tournament.
Foxboro’s attack is all back from last season. The Warriors finished third in goals scored in the league in 2021 and a year’s worth of experience should make them even more dynamic. Junior Conor Noone was the league’s third-leading scorer last season and he will lead the line again alongside sophomore Lincoln Moore, coming off a breakout rookie campaign, and senior Jack Avery. Senior Tommy Sharkey was an all-star middie last season and he will be joined by junior Finn Stapleton and sophomore Tony Sulham, another player who made a strong varsity debut as a freshman.
Depth should be a strength for the Warriors, who return their second midfield group as well, including sophomores Sully Kenneally, Ryan Cotter, and Ian Foley. Foxboro’s defense is returning as a group too. Seniors Dylan Kerrigan and Ben Ricketts are the leaders at the back and will be joined by classmate Mark Jansen. Senior Matt Grace will start at LSM with sophomore Jack Sullivan backing him up. Sophomore Adam Addeche is back in goal, backed up by classmate Nate Urman, and freshman midfielder John Sacchetti and defender James Dee Gaffney are newcomers with potential.
“The Warriors graduated two seniors and return the core of their team,” said Foxboro coach Matt Noone. “Everyone is a year older with varsity experience which will help us in our 2022 push.”
2021 Record: 18-1 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Final Coach: Lou Verrochi
After reaching the program’s first sectional final in 2021, Franklin brings a typically strong lineup of experienced players who will be aiming to make a run in the new statewide tournament. The Panthers have loaded up their regular season schedule to prepare for the rigors of the tournament with state powers Medfield, Lincoln-Sudbury, and St. John’s Prep among the teams that Franklin will challenge itself against to be ready to shoot for silverware this spring.
Franklin’s attack scored more than 300 goals in 19 games last season and should be just as dynamic this year with junior All-American Luke Davis joined by classmate Jayden Consigli, who were both in the top five in scoring in the league in 2021. Junior Tyler Sacchetti will be the third member of the attacking crew. Sophomore Drew Hansen and Ed O’Brien and junior John Walshe will make up the first midfield. Junior Justin Alexander was one of the best face-off middies in the state last year and the Panthers will be counting on him to control possessions again this season.
Senior Kyle Palmieri will lead the defensive group, which should once again be a challenge for the opposition to score against. Junior Ben Harvey and senior Billy Gardner will also be key players at close defense. Sophomore goalie Matt Corvi will step into the cage this spring and has the potential to be a standout.
2022 Hockomock Boys Lacrosse Preview
“Once again, we will have a very competitive team this spring with a very tough schedule,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi.
2021 Record: 9-5 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Hal Bean
With more than a dozen players back in the fold from last year, King Philip is looking to take another step forward after posting a 9-5 record last year.
The Warriors have key pieces in the lineup all over the field, starting with senior goalie James Boldy. Boldy had a great campaign a season ago and will be among the top goalies in the league this year. He will work with fellow senior captain Will Weiblen and senior Shaun Fitzpatrick as the anchors of the King Philip defense.
There is a strong core of midfielders back in the mix this year, starting with returning faceoff specialist Thomas Brewster. He will be joined by a very experienced group that features seniors Ben Riggs, Sean McCarthy, Andrew Longobardi, Nolan Feyler,
Brayden Thompson, John Campbell, and Ian Hill, along with sophomore standout Noah Minkwitz. Riggs (31 points last year) will be one of the most dangerous two-way players in the league but KP has a lot of depth in the position.
Offensively, King Philip has Sean Crowther back in the fold, who was just one of six Hock players to reach the 40-goal mark on the season. He’s joined by Kip Bishop and Colin Lightbody, who both registered 19 points a year ago, as well as Colin Gillis and sophomore Donovan DeVellis.
“King Philip boys lacrosse expects to compete in every game and anticipates a productive season and playoff run,” said KP head coach Hal Bean “We all are looking forward to a fun season!”
2021 Record: 6-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
With a handful of young faces fighting for spots in the lineup, Mansfield is hoping to pick up valuable experience early and make a late charge for a spot in the state tournament.
The Hornets do have some experience on the defensive side of the ball with Ryan DeGirolamo starting in the cage and senior captains Zander Holmes and Mark DiGirolamo patrolling the space in front of him. Mansfield has a handful of young poles that will be in the mix including Liam Barry, Patrick Gormley, Nolan Bordieri, and James DeGirolamo.
The group of upperclassmen will make up the majority of the field with senior Dash Munson joining a trio of talented juniors in Grady Sullivan, Drew Sacco, and Cody Gordon. The Hornets have a lot of young players looking to find spots in the midfield and lineup and general, and new names that could contribute early on include Aidan Steele, Jake Feinberg, and Liam Steele.
2022 Hockomock Boys Lacrosse Preview
In the attack, senior Jack Roberts will be accompanied by a pair of sophomores in Tommy Smith and Andrew Burnham.
2021 Record: 2-11 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Austin Costa
Under the guidance of new head coach Austin Costa, the Scarlet Hawks are aiming to show improvement throughout the season and set the program on an upward trajectory.
There is a strong mix of veteran leadership and new faces eager to find a spot in the lineup for Costa and the Scarlet Hawks this season. Senior captain Eric Landry is set to be the leader on the defensive end, and his experience will be key as Milford tries to fend off some lethal offenses. Landry will be joined by Brian Goncalves and junior Nick Casilli, both returners for the Scarlet Hawks. Defensive experience will be key as the Hawks turn to Alex McGuire for his varsity debut in the cage.
Offensively, look for veterans Jacob Ligor and Eric Farrell to be major contributors for the Scarlet Hawks. Both have a good amount of experience playing at this level and know what it takes to compete in the Hockomock League. Other returners for Milford include Kyle Donelan, Shawn O’Donnell, and Ronn Swineford while freshmen Alex Maietta and Jayden Martins have impressed early on and could be key contributors right away.
2021 Record: 7-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central/East Quarterfinal Coach: Kevin Young
North Attleboro finished in a tie for third in the Davenport division last year and had an impressive playoff win over Belmont before being beaten by sectional finalist Medfield. The Rocketeers only graduated two players from last season’s team, so Big Red comes into the spring with big expectations of competing for a first league title since 2017 and being a threat in the state tournament.
The North attack should be an area of strength this season with seniors Matt Antonetti, Connor Ruppert, and Clayton Billingkoff all back up top. Antonetti led the team with 57 points in 2021. Juniors Jack Regan and Luke Ward have both had strong preseasons, while freshmen Ethan Gustafson and Brady Brackner could be poised for breakout debuts. Senior Jared Vacher will do his best to get as many possessions as possible for the North attack by winning draws.
North’s defense has plenty of experience as well. Senior Max Hobbs, Anthony Ferro, and James Brennan will get plenty of help from sophomore Connor Rajotte and junior LSM Julian House. The Rocketeers can also count on two experienced goalies with senior Ethan McGrath and junior JT Gallagher both back in the cage this spring.
“We know the Hockomock will be strong this year,” said North coach Kevin Young. “I am excited to watch this group compete and grow as a team.”
2021 Record: 3-11 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Ben Devlin
Oliver Ames coach Ben Devlin stepped down after last season, but he was convinced to come back this spring to lead a young Tigers team. Twenty-four of the 34 players in the program this year are either freshmen or sophomores, so OA will be counting on younger players to step up across the field and Devlin is excited about the promise he sees during the preseason.
Senior midfielder Wyatt Fritchman and junior attacker Ben Reardon will be the leaders on offense. Fritchman was second on the team in scoring last year and Reardon went on a run of nine goals in the final three games of his sophomore season. Senior Wes Tower is back to run things in the midfield and sophomores Ryan Jaco and Alex McAndrew have the potential to find the back of the net.
On the other end of the field, senior Cam Tower has been converted to LSM this season. The other poles will be led by junior Jake Manthous, who also was in charge of the face-offs last year, and sophomore Landon Grothe. Junior Noah Isleib returns in goal to keep things organized on defense and sophomore Ethan St. Jean will be his backup.
“Despite being much younger, we are looking to improve on last year’s results and continue building the program,” said Devlin. “We expect to have some growing pains early in the season, but look to improve as the younger players get experience and develop their game during the season. It’s never easy to rebuild in a talented league like the Hock. There aren’t any easy games as every team is talented and well-coached…but we are setting our sights on winning enough games to reach the postseason.”
2021 Record: 9-6 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Jon Shocket
Sharon has a solid core back from last year’s nine-win team but without any juniors on the squad, there will be a lot of young players in the lineup with most getting their first taste of varsity lacrosse.
With over a half dozen seniors on the roster, head coach Jon Shocket will lean heavily on their veteran leadership and experience as the new players get integrated into the lineup and acclimated with the speed of the high school game. The senior trio of Ben Shocket, Brady Daylor, and Ryan Zunenshine are this year’s captains.
The other seniors on the team include Jace Nestler, Matt Mahoney, James Lillenfeld, and Chance Hanah, and all four will be vital as the Eagles make a push for the postseason. There are four freshmen already in the lineup including Matt Powers in net, Jordan Burke at attack, and Zach Bernstein and Ben Goldberg at defense. Sophomores Gabe Korn, Ryan Brown, Jacob Kaufman, and Ronin Widland will also be in the mix for the Eagles.
“I hope to get a lot of growth from our team as we get more experience,” Shocket said.
2020-2021 Record: 1-8-0 Coach: Greg Chamberlain
Attleboro had a difficult 2020-21 season, as delays and big breaks early in the season led to three games in three days to close things out. The Bombardiers will be hoping that they can build off that experience and make a push to get back into the postseason mix with several underclassmen stepping in to supplement the returning corps.
The offense has depth to it this season and head coach Greg Chamberlain is expecting a lot of grit and effort in the attacking zone to create scoring chances. Senior Nate Parker will be the leader of the forward line but he will get help from juniors Colin Flynn and Mike Lachance, who have both had two seasons on varsity already. Freshmen Austin Bessette and Nate Conroy have impressed the coaches in the preseason and could be ready to contribute right away.
Defense could be a strong unit this season, as the Bombardiers have decent skaters and decent depth along the blue line. Senior Sean Marshall will be the key to that group, providing on-ice leadership. Sophomore Dane Holske had a good first season on varsity and can help out both in defense and at forward. Senior Nick Piazza is capable of being one of the top netminders in the league and will be back between the pipes for Attleboro this season.
“Biggest thing that is a positive for us is the guys wanna earn some respect and be tough to play against,” said Chamberlain. “We understand what we have but we think our schedule can help us gain some real confidence.”
2020-2021 Record: 11-0-1 Coach: Brian Shuman
The Davenport division has been ruled by Canton, which has won the title every season since the league split. The Bulldogs bring back a lot of returning players to hunt a 12th straight league title and defend the Div. 2 state title that they won back in 2019-20, but for many of the players, this will be their first season with a full slate of games.
Canton is known for its goalscoring, but the Bulldogs typically start from the defensive zone and this year should be no different. Senior Sean Connolly, the reigning league MVP, will be back at the blue line alongside classmate Ryan Doucette. Juniors James Young and Leo Owens should also see plenty of time on the ice with seniors Brennen Pecararo and Jay Kelleher slotting in at defense or at forward. The goalie job is up for grabs coming into the season with a three-way battle going on between senior Aiden French, junior Carson Eagles, and freshman Collin Davis.
As usual, the Bulldogs should be potent in front of the goal this winter. Senior Eamon Kelly, the team’s leading scorer last year, is back for his fourth season on varsity. Seniors Andrew Valkanas, Tommy Phaneuf, Sam Carlino, and Eddie Gillis will all chip in and junior Jeff Chaput could be poised for a big season after scoring 13 points last year.
“Solid team defense is the expectation as always this season, and we ask all positions to be important players all over the ice,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “Our forwards need to be able to shut down opponents and our defense must contribute to our offensive production to have a successful year.”
2020-2021 Record: 4-6-0 Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Just two years removed from one of the best seasons in program history, Foxboro comes into the winter with an experienced squad, featuring nine seniors, to try and make another push for a state tournament berth. Although the Warriors went 4-6 in the shortened 2020-21 season, four of those losses were against Franklin and Canton and the other two were to North Attleboro by a combined three goals, so there is potential for the Warriors to get back to their 2019-20 form.
The forward line should have plenty of firepower this season with the return of seniors Jack Watts, Matt Grace, and Ben Ricketts, who combined for 13 goals in 10 games last year. Fellow forwards Derek Axon and Steven Bridges will give Foxboro good leadership and depth in the forward line. The Warriors also got plenty of scoring from the blue line, with senior Tom Marcucella adding four goals and three assists last winter.
Improvements in the defensive zone (and not playing almost every game against the league’s top-scoring teams) will be expected this season. Marcucella is listed as a defenseman but has the versatility to line up in multiple positions and he will be helped on defense by classmates Dylan Pothier and Brady Callahan. Junior Alex Coviello and sophomore Sully Kenneally are also going to step into bigger roles on the blue line this season.
“I would say all nine of our seniors are going to be major contributors and that’s definitely a first for Foxboro hockey and it’s a good thing!” said Foxboro coach Mark Cedorchuk. “I would say we will be skilled and experienced.”
2020-2021 Record: 10-2-1 Coach: Anthony Sarno
This will be a new-look Franklin team that takes the ice this season, looking to win its 11th straight league title and make a deep run in the postseason. The Panthers graduated 16 seniors from last year’s team and only return seven players with significant varsity experience to try and manage a schedule loaded with some of the best teams in the state.
Senior forward Dylan Marchand is the key returning player in the forward line. The team’s leading scorer last year, the speedy center scored eight goals and nine assists in 13 games. Seniors Justin Magazu and Domenic Lampasona and juniors Ben Jarosz and Ryan Sicchio will also return to add more firepower to the attacking end of the ice. With 14 new players on the roster, there could be a lot of new names on the score sheet this winter.
Defensively, the Panthers will lean on experienced players like seniors Aidan Hunt and Jack MacKinnon to guide the younger players, as they take on the high-end talent that Franklin will face right from the start of the season. In goal, sophomore Cole Pouliot-Porter and freshman Jack O’Connor will both get chances between the pipes.
“I am optimistic with the youth we have and excited to watch us grow together,” said Franklin coach Anthony Sarno. “We will just have to weather the ebbs and flows, try to remain even-keeled, communicate, and trust each other as a team in order for us to grow and move forward as a complete unit.”
2020-2021 Record: 9-1-0 Coach: Paul Carlow
Last season, King Philip won a share of its first league title since 2006, picking up a rare win against rival Franklin in the process. With 12 returning players and a roster that has 16 upperclassmen, the Warriors will try to make more history by winning back-to-back titles for the first time in program history and also put together a run in the state tournament.
There are four players coming back this year that averaged a point per game in 2020-21. Three of those players are forwards. Seniors Shaun Fitzpatrick and Sean Crowther and junior James Boldy, who combined for 15 goals and 22 assists in 10 games last season. Senior Nolan Feyler will be a big boost, as the forward had a strong sophomore season but missed all of last year due to an injury. Senior Kevin Birenbaum is another of the nine seniors on the forward line.
Sophomore defenseman Brad Guden is the fourth Warrior who averaged a point per game last year. He broke into the lineup and scored 10 times and had 10 assists in his first varsity season. Seniors Nolan Jackson and Quin Garstka add leadership and experience at the blue line and sophomore Max Robison returns after an impressive rookie season. Senior Kyle Abbott will be back between the pipes for the Warriors.
“We have a tough schedule this season but we are looking to challenge for another Hockomock League title,” said KP coach Paul Carlow. We have great leadership from our seniors and a good mix of skill and speed with the younger players. I’m really looking forward to working with this group and build on last year’s success.”
2020-2021 Record: 5-6-0 Coach: Mike Balzarini
With its top six forwards all back from last year, there is optimism that Mansfield will consistently put the puck in the back of the net and in turn, challenge for the Kelley-Rex division title.
And another big positive for the Hornets is junior Chris Hormann back between the pipes with a solid amount of varsity experience now under his belt. That combination of experience in the offensive zone and in the crease is what Mansfield is hoping translates to success. The challenge will be getting a new mix of defensemen working together as the Hornets graduated the majority of that unit.
Leading scorer Mark DeGirolamo returns with a lot of varsity experience under his belt, coming off a season with eight goals and five assists. He’s joined by Dillon Benoit (7 goals, 5 assists), Kyle Oakley (2 goals, 5 assists), Doherty (2 goals, 3 assists), Liam Anastasia (6 goals, 5 assists), and Brayden Purtell (4 goals, 2 assists). As the stats suggest, the Hornets have a very even top two lines which means head coach Mike Balzarini can trust both units to get it done.
Looks for the line of Cullen Egan, Cody Gordon, and Connor Davey to provide energy and some offensive punch throughout the season. Balzarini is looking for some new faces to step up on the blue line. A mix of depth pieces are back, and the Hornets have converted some forwards to defensemen looking to solidify that unit. Patrick Gormley, Brendan Flynn, Will Cameron, Ryan DeGirolamo, and Ty Carroll are all in the mix to get some minutes.
“Last season was difficult for everyone so we’re excited for a more normal year,” Balzarini said. “We’re going to be quick and we have multiple lines that can be a factor for us. We’ve seen some success on offense in our scrimmages so scoring should be a strength, these kids are working well together.”
2020-2021 Record: 8-6-0 Coach: Kyle Heagney
North Attleboro returns 14 players from last year’s roster, including two of the league’s top three scorers, and the Rocketeers will be looking to use that experience under first-year coach Kyle Heagney (who formerly coached Norton and was a North assistant the past two seasons) to challenge Canton at the top of the Davenport division and to put together a playoff run.
Although the Rocketeers bring back senior forwards Nik Kojoain and Brady Sarro, who combined for 41 points in 14 games last year, North is a team built on hard work and team effort in the offensive zone, rather than on individual stars. Seniors Sam Clarke and Nick Longa and juniors Joe Quinn and Mark Ayvazyan will provide plenty of help in front of goal and all have plenty of experience at the varsity level.
North graduated only one of its defensemen from last year. Senior Austin Comery will be the leader for North at the blue line and he will be assisted by classmate Anthony Westcott. Sophomore Kyle Gruber is back in goal for North after an impressive debut season, where he was thrown in against some of the league’s top teams, including a first appearance against Canton.
“Our strength is that we are not a team of superstars,” said Heagney. “We are a team of hockey players that will win first in the locker room before the ice. We look forward to the season and having fun. These are memories that will live forever with our players.”
2020-2021 Record: 1-10-0 Coach: Mike Zucarelli
Oliver Ames has been in a rebuilding phase under head coach Mike Zucarelli. The Tigers won just once in the shortened 2020-21 season and head into this winter with a roster loaded with underclassmen. While this may be a difficult season, Zucarelli is excited for the potential on his team and the growth the program is making for the future.
Seniors Cam Tower and Eliot Cohen will be instrumental in shoring things up at the blue line. The two defensemen will need to provide leadership for the younger players and help limit the opposition scoring chances. Junior forwards Sean McCarthy and Jack Perron will hope to improve the team’s scoring punch as well, after OA was held to 10 goals in 11 games last year. Zucarelli is already seeing more confidence and better decision-making in the offensive zone and is hoping the team’s work rate will lead to more chances.
With seven sophomores on the roster, OA will rely on its youth movement to turn things around. After a lot of growth in the offseason (both physically and mentally), Zucarelli thinks that the septet is ready for the challenges of playing varsity hockey day-in, day-out. Winger Andrew Livingstone and center Matt Lawson will add to the team’s production in the offensive zone and defenseman Landon Grothe could be a standout in the defensive end of the ice. Junior Brandon Burke had a solid summer with his club team and will be the starting goalie for the Tigers this winter.
“If we continue to put in the effort I have seen both on and off the ice to start this year, I believe these young men have the opportunity to do something special,” Zuccarelli said.
2020-2021 Record: 0-6-1 Coach: Kris Metea
Taunton had a tough 2020-21 season, as the Tigers were only able to six games, and come into a winter of transition. The roster is going to be very young, with only nine upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) in the program, so there will be a lot of younger players getting their first taste of varsity action and others experiencing a full season for the first time.
The forward line has a lot of speed and the Tigers are going to rely on that energy to try and create scoring chances. Senior Nathan Fernandes is the most experienced forward returning and he will be joined up top by junior Connor McGrath.
Defensively, the Tigers will be an inexperienced group but there is potential and the desire to get better over the course of the season. Senior Ethan Ross will be the leader at the blue line and junior Colton Scheralis can add his experience there as well. Freshman Cameron Tomaszycki will be jumping between the pipes this season to get his first varsity action.
“We are happy to be back for a full year,” said Taunton coach Kris Metea. “Last season was full of delays, pauses, and feelings of frustrations that made for a very long, short, season. The lessons learned from last season has made the players within the program grateful for a return to a more normal season. We will plan to improve every day and be a better, more complete team by the end of the season.”
North Attleboro, 14 @ Attleboro, 6 – Final 1st Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 45-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (A) Adrian Rivera 5-yard rush, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 8-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
Canton, 14 @ Stoughton, 47 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (S) Jarred Daughtry 6-yard pass to Tagh Swierzewski, Jonah Ly XP good; Bahsor Mahn 70-yard rush, Hayden Rose XP good; (S) J. Ly 10-yard rush, XP failed; (S) Brady Clark 40-yard pass to Emmett Pearl, J. Ly XP good; (S) B. Clark 30-yard pass to E. Pearl, J. Ly XP good.; (S) Tyler Noel 2-yard fumble recovery, J. Ly XP good.; (C) Owen Lane rush, H. Rose XP good;
3rd Quarter: (S) Anthony Girolamo 12-yard rush, J. Ly XP good.
4th Quarter: (S) E. Pearl 50-yard interception return.
Foxboro, 21 @ Mansfield, 35 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Conner Zukowski 16-yard pass to Ryan DeGirolamo, James Gilleran XP good; (F) Sam Carpenter 29-yard field goal.
2nd Quarter: (F) S. Carpenter 43-yard field goal; (M) Drew Sacco 5-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good; (F) Dylan Gordon 15-yard rush, D. Gordon 2-point conversion rush.
3rd Quarter: (M) Rocco Scarpellini 5-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good; (M) C. Zukowski 1-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) C. Zukowski 8-yard pass to R. DeGirolamo, J. Gilleran XP good; (F) Tom Marcucella 73-yard pass to Rashaad Way, S. Carpenter XP good.
King Philip, 20 @ Franklin, 27 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (KP) Charlie Grant 5-yard pass to Drew Danson, Matthew Kelley XP good; (KP) C. Grant 1-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good; (F) Jared Arone 85-yard pass to Shane Kindred, XP blocked.
2nd Quarter: (F) J. Arone 17-yard pass to S. Kindred, Garrett Portesi XP good; (F) J. Arone 37-yard pass to S. Kindred, XP blocked.
3rd Quarter: (KP) Crawford Cantave 6-yard rush, 2pt pass failed; (F) Mack Gulla 5-yard rush, J. Arone 2pt rush.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Taunton, 28 @ Milford, 34 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (T) Jacob Leonard 25-yard pass to Trent Santos, Nathan Keenan XP good; (M) Tyler Lane 32-yard rush, Nicholas Araujo XP good.
2nd Quarter: (T) Faisal Mass 97-yard interception return, N. Keenan XP good; (M) Evan Cornelius 1-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good; (M) N. Araujo 41-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (M) E. Cornelius 3-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good; (M) N. Araujo 45-yard field goal; (T) J. Leonard 46-yard pass to T. Santos, N. Keenan XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Isaiah Pantalone 10-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good; (T) J. Leonard 31-yard pass to Jose Touron, N. Keenan XP good.
WRENTHAM, Mass. — King Philip senior Jonathan Joseph knew Friday night’s clash with rival Mansfield was going to be his final game played at Macktaz Field.
He wasn’t going to let it be a loss.
Joseph had a pair of fourth quarter interceptions that came on back-to-back drives inside the final five minutes to help #3 King Philip secure a 21-14 win over #6 Mansfield, the second time the Warriors beat the Hornets this season.
Despite the MIAA’s switch to a state-wide format, King Philip and Mansfield clashed for the fourth straight postseason. Since the 2017 season, the Warriors and Hornets have played a total of nine times with KP taking a 5-4 edge with the win on Friday night.
“You luck out and have a good game against them the first time and now we’re going to see them again and they’re going to be angry,” said
King Philip football
King Philip head coach Brian Lee. “If you kick a hornet’s nest, you know it’s going to come back at you. Mike [Redding] has been in too many big games, he always has his team ready.
“They were able to throw the ball and do some other things that they had trouble doing the first time, they were much improved and gave us everything we could handle. Right up to the end, blocking that field goal. It was a great battle but it would be nice to play someone else once in a while.”
King Philip football
King Philip scored on its first two drives of the game but then the offense stalled and the Warriors had four straight series spanning over the second, third, and fourth quarters all end in a punt. And it looked like another drive was in jeopardy as the Warriors were faced with 4th and 3 from the Mansfield 33-yard line.
The Warriors went for it on fourth down and senior quarterback Charlie Grant hit classmate Crawford Cantave along the right sideline for 30 yards. Two plays later, Rudy Gately (16 carries, 74 yards) burst up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown. Matthew Kelley’s third successful point after made it 21-14 with 4:32 to play.
Mansfield went to the air on the first play of the ensuing drive and it looked like the pass would fall incomplete when it went over the receivers’ head, but Joseph made an incredible diving catch to haul in the interception and get the Warriors the ball back.
“When he walks by, he’s not that big, not much there to look at but he’s a great kid and a captain for us,” Lee said of Joseph, who is listed on the roster at 5’9, 170-pounds. “He’s all heart. He’s been coming along getting better and better, working on his confidence. In the spring season, we yanked him a couple of times but he came back and responded the right way, just working hard to make himself a captain.”
King Philip football
KP moved the ball behind carries by Gately and Will Astorino but on third down, Caden Colby and Ryan Sullivan stopped the Warriors in the backfield. On top of that, an unsportsmanlike dead ball foul put the Warriors into 4th and 21 from the 28-yard line, likely changing the play call from a field goal (with the line of scrimmage at the 13) to a pass play.
Mansfield was hit with a pass interference call to erase KP’s 15-yard penalty, and then too many men moved the ball five more yards, but the Warriors were still looking at 4th and 1 and Lee elected to send Kelley and the field goal unit out.
The Hornets blocked the field goal, with Jean getting through the line and a paw on the ball. It bounced all the way to the 34-yard line where Mansfield took over with 1:35 to play, but no timeouts.
Conner Zukowski (13/22, 172 yards) hit Ryan DeGirolamo for an 11-yard screen to get the visitors near midfield but two plays later, Joseph intercepted a pass over the middle and clinched the win for KP.
“I didn’t want my last game here to end with a loss, that’s all I was thinking about the whole game,” Joseph said. “I wanted that first one so bad, I wanted the game to be over there. On the second one, I was just thinking just do it again. I trusted all my teammates out there.
“It’s hard to beat a team twice, we had to prepare for this. This game was tough, we had some ups and downs throughout the game. But we were prepared. We play them twice almost every year, it always seems to come down to the playoffs with them.”
The majority of offensive fireworks came early with the Warriors entering the end zone on its first two drives and Mansfield scoring one of its two touchdowns on its second drive of the game — all coming within the first 15 minutes of the contest.
Mansfield lined up to go for it on fourth down on its first drive of the game but the snap came before Zukowski was ready and KP ended up with ideal starting position at the Hornets’ 22-yard line.
A chop block only delayed the Warriors as Cantave gained 15-yards on the next play and Gately pounded it in from a yard out two plays later for an early 7-0 lead.
The Hornets orchestrated an immediate response, going 80 yards on just seven plays to knot the score. Drew Sacco (15 carries, 70 yards) and CJ Bell (102 total yards offensively) moved the sticks on back-to-back runs, and Zukowski found Bell for 37 yards later in the drive to move into the red zone. Two plays later, Sacco plowed his way up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown, and James Gilleran’s point after made it 7-7 with 30 seconds left in the opening quarter.
King Philip football
Then it was KP’s chance to respond as the Warriors answered with an 80-yard drive of its own, taking eight plays to find the end zone. Grant and Gately each had first down runs early on and Cantave carried for nine yards to get over midfield. Three plays later, Grant found Danny Clancy in single coverage over the middle and dropped a 37-yard touchdown pass in stride to go back in front, 14-7.
“You’re playing in the toughest league and then you have to go through it twice,” Lee said about a second encounter with Mansfield, and next up Milford. “I know there are other great teams and it’s nice when you’re playing someone that hasn’t seen you. I knew this would be a battle, they know us way too well so you knew it was going to be the game it was.”
Mansfield finally put together another lengthy drive to find the end zone. The Hornets marched 74 yards on 11 plays to level the game late in the third quarter. Early runs from Sacco and Bell moved the sticks to get the offense in a rhythm, and sophomore Trevor Foley (five catches, 71 yards) went up and stole a pass from the defensive back to haul in a 32-yard pass.
Despite a total of three false starts on the drive, Mansfield found its way into the end zone, and on 2nd and goal from the 10-yard line, Zukowski found Foley open in the corner to make it 14-14 with 1:25 to play.
Mansfield forced a three and out on KP’s next drive but the Hornets coughed up a fumble on their first play. It was one of three fourth quarter turnovers for the visitors.
“A lot of shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. “The snap in the first quarter hands them a touchdown, we lined up wrong on the fake punt and I thought we would have had great field position for a chance to take the lead. Then the turnovers in the second half killed us. We moved the ball pretty well but their secondary made some plays. I told them, it was a great effort, we played tough and so much better than the first game but we just continue to shoot ourselves in the foot at the worst time and in these games, it’s going to kill you.”
Mansfield’s defense stood tall after the fumble but its next drive stalled and after moving the sticks once, the Hornets had three incompletions and had to punt.
“I’m glad someone from the Hockomock is going to Gillette, I don’t know who to root for,” Redding said. “We have a heck of a league, I’m betting North is going to be in the Final Four [in Division 3], Franklin [Division 1] is going, and Foxboro [Division 4] could go. And we have two in Division 2. We’ve lost four games but it’s to Franklin, KP twice, and Milford — all of them are top four teams, maybe top two in their divisions in the state. So we’ve lost games but to the highest level of competition so I’m proud of the way we’ve battled all year.”
King Philip football
King Philip (8-1) will now take on another Kelley-Rex division foe in Milford in the D2 State Semifinal, with the date, time, and a neutral location still to be announced. The Warriors handed the Hawks their first loss of the season in mid-October on a last-second field goal from Kelley.
“Milford is definitely feeling it, they got a big win over Natick,” Lee said. “Coach [Olson] has done a great job with that program, turned them around, and made them a contender right off the bat. So it’s on.”
Attleboro struggled on the offensive side of the ball last year, scoring only 44 points in six games and not scoring a touchdown until the fifth game of the season. The Bombardiers will need to improve on that side of the ball to try and move up the standings and challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex. With eight returning starters on both sides of the ball, Attleboro can rely on an experienced roster to try and turn things around this fall.
It will be obvious where Attleboro’s strength lies. The Bombardiers run 6’3 285, 6’3 255, 6’2 285, and 6’3 305 at the guard and tackle positions. They are going to try and overpower teams. The leader of that group is senior Chris Leonardo, who is a force on both sides of the ball. Seniors Alvin Harrison, Jacob Struminski, and Isaac Pereira are a formidable front and junior Isaiah Miranda will be back at center. Experience and size are important, but the Bombardiers will need its array of running backs to take advantage. Seniors Ryan Betts, Freddy Wheaton, Keigan Conley, and Kaiden Murray will all get the chance to carry the ball. Junior Aiden Hochwarter returns under center after taking over midway through last year and he will have classmate Anthony Salviati to throw to out wide and senior tight end Christian Dame.
The Attleboro defense will also rely on its strength up front with Leonardo and Harrison controlling the middle. The linebackers have plenty of experience, with Dame, Wheaton, Betts, Conley, and senior Hayden Hegarty all coming back after seeing significant time last year. The secondary has a lot of athleticism. Junior Ethan Lako, Salviati, and Murray are all capable of making big plays and forcing turnovers.
“It is great to have some normalcy back this fall,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “We have eight returning starters on each side of the ball this season and we have great senior leadership. We are looking to a great fall season.”
All eyes are on Mansfield and King Philip as the favorites in the Kelley-Rex and that’s how coach Eian Bain likes it. The Panthers are certainly flying under the radar a bit but that might not last very long, especially after their success during the preseason has turned some heads.
Having a lot of familiar faces in key positions will be an early advantage for the Panthers, who have a strong non-league schedule that starts with Wachusett and features perennial state powerhouse Duxbury. Senior Jared Arone gained a lot of experience at quarterback during the Fall 2 season and could be poised for a big year with a full schedule on tap. Part of the reason why is because of all the weapons around him. Both Shane Kindred and Will Tracey developed a lot of chemistry with the QB in the abbreviated season and will be his main two targets this year.
And while the Panthers have developed a reputation for a pass-heavy offense, we saw a much more balanced approach during the spring and with senior running back Mack Gulla ready for a breakout season, it’s likely that balance continues. Gulla is a tough runner that will keep defenses honest; he isn’t just going to help set up the passing game, he’s a true threat to run all over defenses. It will all start up front and the Panthers have center Ethan Aeillo and tackle Jack Porkorny back in starting roles.
Senior Joe Tirrell and junior Luke Davis give the Panthers a veteran presence in the secondary. Franklin allowed over 20 points per game last season but will be looking to bring that number down some this year as they try and establish themselves as a contender in the division. Senior Jonathan Martins impressed last season and will be a key piece on the defensive line while the linebackers will be anchored by senior Cullen Pek.
“The Panthers return many familiar faces but face a tough task of replacing some key positions,” Bain said. “Many players have stepped up but there is still a lot to be answered before the home opener against Wachusett.”
King Philip has a strong core of returning players set to compete for the Kelley-Rex crown this Fall season but the Warriors are hoping to develop some depth along the way as they navigate through one of the state’s toughest schedules.
KP is still hurting from the Fall 2 season, when they lost six players to season-ending surgery, four of which were starters. With a quick turnaround to this season, the Warriors will still be without those players but there is still lots of excitement around those who will be on the field this year. Senior Charlie Grant returns as the starter at quarterback and has some weapons to utilize around them, starting with receivers Danny Clancy, Nick Viscusi, and Jonathan Joseph. All three have varsity experience and are seniors. Junior Rudy Gately and senior Crawford Cantave give the Warriors a thunder and lightning running back combination. Senior Drew Danson was set to be one of the top tight ends in the league but is out due to injury. Sophomore Thomas McLeish will also be in the mix to play at quarterback and Grant could see time at receiver.
Hunter Hastings and Chris Sesay are the returners on the offensive line and will start at the tackle positions while Dan Nineve will be the center and Amro Ismail and Sean King man the guard positions. It will be a lot of the same names on the other side of the ball with Hastings, King, and Sesay all playing both ways. Junior Nate Kearney will also be in the mix as a pass rusher.
The veteran group on defense will be the KP secondary, which features a lot of familiar faces. Both Cantave (safety) and Viscusi (corner) had really strong junior seasons and will lead the way alongside junior Thomas Brewster, senior Eli Reed, and Joseph, who has really impressed so far this preseason. There will be a little inexperience at linebacker but the Warriors have Gately back in the fold alongside senior Jake Sullivan and junior Will Astorino. Matt Kelley is back as the starting kicker.
“I love my team, great kids,” said KP head coach Brian Lee. “We just have to make sure ready to go every single week. It’s been kind of a burn, playing in the Spring. It feels like we’ve been going, going, going, but now we have to focus on staying healthy and getting through Thanksgiving. It’s been fun to be around them, they are good kids that work hard. Hopefully, we can turn that into being successful.”
Mansfield won the 2019 state title, is riding a 16-game win streak, hasn’t lost a game in league play since September 2017, and hasn’t lost an in-state game since a triple-OT thriller against Foxboro at Fenway to close out 2018, so the Hornets have earned the target that is on their backs this fall. Everyone will be aiming to be the first Hock team to hand the Hornets a loss and try to end a three-year run as the top team in the Kelley-Rex. Although there are some guys in new spots, especially at the skill positions, Mansfield returns 10 starters and several players who saw significant action off the bench last year.
The offense will be powered by an experienced line. Four of five starters return from last year with only junior center Colton Johnson added. Seniors Mark DeGirolamo, Joe Forte, and James Gilleran, and junior Jephte Jean are all back and should give the Hornets an edge up front. Junior Conner Zukowski will be the new starting quarterback and he will have several new weapons to call on. Juniors Drew Sacco and Rocco Scarpellini are new starters in the backfield, but both were called on plenty last season. Senior Dana Johnson and sophomore Trevor Foley will get the start out wide.
Defense has been Mansfield’s calling card during its run, as the Hornets allowed only 23 points in six games last year. DeGirolamo and classmate Braeden Veno are back on the defensive line along with Jean and senior Pedro Cruz. All three starting linebackers returned, as seniors Zander Holmes and James Fichera are paired with Scarpellini. Junior safety Ryan DeGirolamo is the only starter back in the secondary and will need to provide leadership for sophomores Foley and CJ Bell. Senior Jared Fraone will start at the other corner spot.
Mansfield coach Mike Redding is counting on a tough preseason, against state powers Everett and Central Catholic, to help the Hornets prepare. He is also excited about the new statewide playoff system that could pair Mansfield with a new set of tournament opponents as they seek to make it a three-peat in Div. 2.
Milford made a successful move into the Kelley-Rex last season. Under first-year coach Dale Olson, the Hawks earned a first-ever win over perennial league power King Philip and finished second in the division. This year, the Hawks will try to make another title challenge despite having several new faces stepping into important roles.
On offense, the Hawks will be transitioning from the pass-first offense that Brady Olson ran last year. Junior Evan Cornelius is a very different quarterback, who will bring a lot of size and strength to the position (which makes sense, since he also plays defensive end). Graduation took away a lot of dynamic playmakers from last year’s offense but seniors Tyler Lane, Angelo Romero, and Grant Scudo will give Milford a deep backfield and last year senior Jaden Agnew emerged as a major threat in the passing game.
The Hawks will be tough up front again this year on both sides of the ball. Seniors Alex McColl and Marco Monteiro are big and tough and will open holes on offense while clogging running lanes on the other side. Cornelius will add a threat on the edge defensively and the linebacking corps continues to be a factor, led by Lane and Romero. Scudo seeks out the ball at safety and is always a threat to force a turnover.
Olson admits that his team lacks experience at the skill positions, but he added, “Having three scrimmages will help prepare the first-year varsity kids to play week one.”
Taunton didn’t have the best record during the Fall 2 season but the opportunity to just get on the field and play was incredibly valuable for the Tigers. There are less than a dozen seniors (eight) on the roster for the Tigers this season so head coach Brad Sidwell will be looking for a strong class of juniors, as well as some sophomores, to make up the majority of the lineup this Fall.
A good chunk of those juniors were inserted into the starting lineup or played a large number of snaps just five months ago when the Tigers played six games. That allowed the Tigers to build some depth for the upcoming season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Junior Jake Leonard got a jump start to his career when he took over for an injured Danny MacDougall. That experience will be key as he begins his first full season as the starter under center. Leonard will have three veteran options to work with in senior captains Trent Santos and Nate Keenan — two receivers — and tight end Nick Lima. Senior Faisal Mass will be a big target as a tight end, also providing key blocking on the line, while seniors Jon Castillo (receiver), Jack Moitiso (offensive line) and Evan Perrota (running back) will be in the mix as well.
Junior Ryan MacDougall started on the offensive line last season and will be joined by classmates Nate Laplante, William Guachiculca-Torres, and Logan Frank while sophomore Bryan Joanis will also be in the mix so some playing time. Keenan could also get some carries out of the backfield while junior Bryan Batista could emerge as a go-to option carrying the ball. Juniors Tyler Wynn, Isaiah Williams, and McKyen Gonsalves are three names to watch as receiving options for Leonard.
Taunton has a lot of experience in its secondary with both Santos and Keenan playing on both sides of the ball, and that experience will be a big strength for the Tigers. There is also a lot of depth in the linebackers, starting with Lima, who uses his speed to attack the ball. He can also step out and play in coverage or drop back into a safety role if needed. Lima will be joined by Frank, MacDougall, and Perrota as linebackers. On the line, Laplante had a strong sophomore season and could be poised for a breakout year.
Taunton will prepare for the ever-challenging division slate with non-league games against New Bedford, Durfee, and Middleboro in its first three weeks. It also marks the first year of its new Thanksgiving rivalry with Milford.
“We’re excited to begin the season with this group after productive preseason practices and scrimmages,” said head coach Brad Sidwell. “Although we only have eight seniors, many of our players gained experience in the spring season. We need to improve through the non-league start of the season as the Hockomock Kelley-Rex is always a challenge for any of the teams involved.”
2019 Record: 4-14 2019 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Kevin Patton
Attleboro is a young program and, after the two-year break, also has a young roster, but the Bombardiers have a group of experienced players to lean on at both ends of the field to try and build on the four wins from 2019.
Senior Michael Strachan will lead the Attleboro attack and he’s joined up top by junior Keigan Conley, who played two years ago as a freshman, and sophomore Carter Shelton. In the midfield, senior Dan White and Matt Perry will be joined by junior Ryan Betts. Attleboro has a lot of depth in the midfield with juniors Chad Beaupin and Seth LaPlaca and senior Elijah Turner, who has transferred in from Xaverian. Junior Freddy Wheaton and senior goalie William Runey will be the leaders on the defensive side of the ball. Wheaton’s brother John and freshman Bobby Sawyer will also jump in on defense. Senior Jack Nagy and freshmen Ethan Lyons and Shane Evans will also see action in defense this season. Freshman Harry Wheaton will be the backup goalie this year.
2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview
“After missing last season due to pandemic, our team (like all others in the league) is young,” said Attleboro coach Kevin Patton. “However, we do have a lot of varsity experience on the team from returning players. This coupled with leadership from our captains has me excited for the season.”
2019 Record: 12-8 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal Interim Coach: Tommy Galvin
Canton came close to winning its third league title in program history in 2019, finishing just a game back of Foxboro, and now the Bulldogs return a veteran spine for the new coaching staff to build around. With a few exciting newcomers, especially in attack, Canton could be ready to challenge for its third title in the past eight seasons.
Experience will be key for the defensive unit. Senior goalie Dylan Coyne provides a big frame and a tough, physical presence in goal. In front of him, senior Jack Albert is a strong on-the-ball defender and freshman LSM Colin Blake should be able to step right in and make an impact. Canton is hoping to limit the transition game and use its strength to keep the opposition away from goal. Senior midfielder Jeff Fitzpatrick is strong on the faceoff ‘X’ and can jump into the attack. Junior Sam Carlino has been explosive through the first two games, with 12 goals already, and he leads a relatively young attacking crew. Sophomore attacker Jeff Chaput and freshman midfielder Brendan Tourgee should contribute to Canton’s offense right away.
“We have a mix of veteran players and new players and I am very excited to see what this group can accomplish this year,” said Canton interim coach Tommy Galvin. “We have great leadership and are a gritty team who plays until the final whistle.”
Foxboro is in search of a three-peat of Davenport division titles, but the Warriors will also be looking to the future with a relatively young and inexperienced roster. There are only three seniors on the roster this season, so underclassmen will be getting the chance to contribute right away at both ends of the field.
Senior Nick Penders has been on varsity since his freshman season and will be an important contributor both at the faceoff ‘X’ and in the attack. He will be joined in the midfield by classmate Max Biegel, whose athleticism makes him a factor on offense and defense. Junior Tommy Sharkey, sophomore Finn Stapleton, and freshman Tony Sulham will round out the midfield unit. At the back, senior Paul Andrews will add leadership once he returns from a football injury. Junior Jack Avery saw some time as a freshman and he’ll get help in the attack from sophomore Conor Noone and freshman Lincoln Moore. Juniors Dylan Kerrigan and Ben Ricketts will lead the defensive corps until Andrews returns and freshman Adam Addeche will continue a family legacy as he steps in at goal.
2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview
“Right now we are shaking a lot of rust off,” said Foxboro coach Matt Noone. “We are young, but we will be tough! I look forward to this young team as they grow and come together.”
Franklin has developed not only into a league power, having won the outright Kelley-Rex division title in each of the past five seasons, but is showing that it can compete with the top programs in the state. In 2019, the Panthers reached the South semifinal and lost by just one to perennial power Duxbury. This year’s team expects to be just as skilled and athletic as usual with sights set on another league crown.
The centerpiece of the Franklin attack will be senior Matt Lazzaro, an All-American in 2019, and he will be partnered up top by sophomore Luke Davis, whose brothers Will (goalie) and Jake (attacker) are both playing college, and sophomore Jayden Consigli, who moved from Northbridge. The midfield is loaded with athletes, including Owen Kielty, Joe Consigli, Tim Walsh, and Mike Griffin. Zach Harvey will lead the defensive unit along with Ben Harvey and Kyle Palmieri. Senior Jack Maguire will step in between the pipes with freshman Matt Corvi also ready to jump in and play goal when needed. Justin Alexander will be taking faceoffs, following in the footsteps of his brother Jacob who was the league MVP in 2019.
“We have a very competitive group of lacrosse athletes this year,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “We are looking forward to see what this group can do during our Hock schedule and hopefully advance in the state tournament.”
2019 Record: 8-10 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
Mansfield reached the postseason in 2019 only to have to face Franklin in the first round. With 10 seniors returning this spring, the Hornets will be hoping to lean on their experience to challenge the Panthers in the race for the Kelley-Rex division crown and get playing time for a large and talented sophomore class getting its first taste of varsity action.
The Hornets should have the speed to burn and plenty of aggressive play in the middle of the field with seniors Nico Holmes, Ethan Bruce, and Joe Gormley. Seniors Thomas Norton, Jake Quirk, and Dylan Morris will give Mansfield some versatility and dynamism in the attacking zone. Seniors Ben Johnston, Frankie Kennedy, and Ben Tatusko will be the leaders in the defensive corps. Sophomore Ryan DeGirolamo will step into the cage and anchor the defense.
“There are a number of key young players we look at to play an integral part in this year’s team,” said Mansfield coach Tim Frias. “Our strength will be speed and size.”
2019 Record: 10-8 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central/East Quarterfinal Coach: Kevin Young
North Attleboro finished a game out of first in 2019 and now two years later the Rocketeers will be looking to take that next step and snatch back the Davenport division title from Foxboro. North has a good blend of experience and new faces, strength in defense, and dynamic attackers to challenge for the league title this year.
2021 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview
Defense is going to be a key for the Rocketeers. Senior Tyler Sarro has been a starter since his freshman year and the St. Michael’s-commit is going to be the leader in the defensive end of the field. Senior LSM Sam Gugliotta will add more experience at the back, while Eric Hobbs and James Brennan look ready to step into bigger roles. In the attack, juniors Matt Antonetti, Connor Rupert, and Clayton Billingkoff will try to build on the experience they had as freshmen to shoulder the scoring load this season. Midfielder Jared Vacher is going to step in at the faceoff ‘X’ and North has a pair of new goalies, Ethan McGrath and JT Gallagher, who have had solid preseasons and look ready to compete at this level.
“COVID has hit all sports hard,” said North coach Kevin Young. “We are focusing on getting all players ready to step into any role. It will be a challenging year but, we’re glad to be back.”
2019 Record: 14-5 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Ben Devlin
Oliver Ames won 14 games in 2019 and finished tied with King Philip for second in the Kelley-Rex division, but two years later only one player from that team is back as the Tigers look to make noise in the Davenport. Despite its inexperience, the Tigers will be hoping that the underclassmen can step in and help OA challenge for a league title.
The lone player with varsity experience is senior attacker Remi Creighton. One of the league’s most creative players, Creighton had 60 points as a sophomore and will be the spearhead of OA’s attack. Seniors Doug Oliveira and Ross Carroll will also add to the offensive punch and sophomore attacker Ben Reardon will make his varsity debut this season. Juniors Wyatt Frichtman and Wes Tower will both step in after a year with JV in 2019. Senior Brendan Cross and Michael Branagan will be joined on defense by sophomore Jake Manthous and freshman LSM Landon Grothe. Sophomore Noah Isleib and junior Cam Tower will battle for the starting goalie spot.
“It’s tough to replace what OA lax graduated last year,” said OA coach Ben Devlin. “We now have a lot of kids that haven’t played together before and many who haven’t played a lacrosse game in over two years. We’ll be focused on getting these guys on the same page and working off some rust while incorporating a lot of young players.”
2019 Record: 7-11 2019 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Jon Shocket
Sharon has a team loaded with upperclassmen this season and, despite missing last spring, the Eagles are hoping that experience will carry them up the standings to challenge Foxboro at the top of the Davenport division.
The Eagles will be hoping to bolster the attack this season, led by senior Drew Litner, who played a part in more than half of the team’s goals as a sophomore. Junior Brady Daylor will be taking on a bigger role in the midfield this season and his classmate Ben Shocket could be ready for a breakout season on the faceoff ‘X’ after being third in the league in faceoff wins as a freshman. Defensively, senior Shea Letendre will be the vocal leader and senior Adam Rabb is back in goal to anchor things at that end of the field.
“We’re very excited about the upcoming season,” said Sharon coach Jon Shocket. “We have several returning starters with a majority of our team seniors and juniors.”