Last week, KP held North Attleboro to only two first downs following the Rocketeers’ opening drive. On Friday night at Jack Martinelli Field, KP gave up 94 passing yards in the opening half against Foxboro but then after the break held the hosts to just 20 yards of offense (11 of those with seconds remaining) and intercepted three passes.
One of those interceptions came on the first possession of the second half and led to a KP touchdown that opened a two-score lead and was decisive in a 20-10 victory.
“We gave up some things and they had some wrinkles that we weren’t ready for and we had to make some adjustments,” said KP coach Brian Lee. “It got to the point that we thought, if we don’t make any more mistakes on ‘O’ and give them the short field then I think we’re going to be okay.”
KP’s offense scored three touchdowns in the second half of the opener against North and that momentum appeared to carry over to week two. The Warriors marched 68 yards on 10 plays on their opening drive to grab the lead. Senior Robert Jarest (4-10, 64 yards) hit Alex Behling on a 37-yard completion to get down to the Foxboro 20-yard-line. Jarest capped the drive with a four-yard keeper for a 6-0 advantage.
Jack Norberg ended the first Foxboro drive with a big sack of Shayne Kerrigan, but TJ Perry got the ball right back for the hosts when he read Jarest’s eyes as the QB rolled out and picked off the pass. Perry returned it to the KP two. Two plays later, Kerrigan punched it in from a yard out and Foxboro grabbed a 7-6 lead.
Foxboro struggled offensively last week against Norton, but things were clicking for the Warriors early on Friday night. Kerrigan (7-18, 94 yards) was causing problems with his ability to make throws on the run. He found Luis Sulham for a 17-yard completion and Ryan Hughes for 23 yards. On third down from the KP eight, Sam Callanan pressured Kerrigan and forced an incompletion.
Despite a low snap, Tyler James managed to split the arms of several KP players and split the uprights on a 25-yard field goal.
Needing a response, KP’s offense put together an eight-play, 58-yard drive that gave it a lead that the Warriors wouldn’t relinquish. Ryan Halliday (23 carries, 87 yards) got the ball four times on the drive, for 25 yards, and then Jarest hit Drew Danson for 15 yards down to the Foxboro five. Jarest (12 carries, 57 yards) kept it himself for his second touchdown of the night.
The hosts didn’t go quietly. Tommy Sharkey returned the ensuing kick out to the 35. On third down, Kerrigan connected with Sulham for 14 yards into KP territory. Two more completions got the ball down to the KP 35. Halliday and Callanan sacked Kerrigan and a spike gave Foxboro fourth and eight from the KP 38 with only eight seconds left in the half.
Kerrigan looked underneath the deep coverage to find Brian Derba down the far sideline. The play went for 23 yards and Derba went out of bounds with one second on the clock. James had a chance to tie the game heading into the break, but KP blocked the kick.
“We had a shot to tie it before the half and it shouldn’t have made an emotional difference but maybe it did,” said Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli. “We improved on a few things offensively in the first half but they dominated the second half.”
Foxboro got the ball to start the second half, but on third and 13 Kerrigan was picked off by Nick Viscusi. After completing 6-of-10 passes in the first half, Kerrigan would complete only 1-of-8 after the break for zero yards. Two plays after the interception, Halliday burst through the line and ran over a couple of defensive backs to score a 15-yard TD.
Lee said, “I think when happened we all felt, okay we’ve got the short field and we can execute. There’s plenty of good things there, but as I said to the guys we have a long way to go.”
KP started to control the line of scrimmage. Pat Zarba stuffed Bobby Yerardi as Foxboro was forced to punt. The visitors would put together a 12-play drive, including a pair of fourth down conversions, and marched to the Foxboro seven, but KP was unable to add to its lead. Sean Ferguson made a big stop on third down to keep KP out of the end zone.
“That was a good football game, a lot of good hitting in there, good plays either way,” said Martinelli. “We just couldn’t muster enough in the second half, gave them the short field, and that kind of spelled the difference.”
Three snaps later, Jack Collentro ended any momentum from that defensive stand when he picked off a deflected pass over the middle. Charlie Grant would add the third interception of the half with seconds remaining, as KP clamped down and Foxboro never got past its own 30-yard-line in the second half.
“We’re still working the kinks out with some of our offensive stuff but I think the upside is still there,” said Lee. “We just need to get better at executing and of course their kids had something to do with that.”
King Philip (2-0) will have a week off before opening league play at Franklin. Foxboro (1-1) will also have next week off and opens Davenport play the week later at North Attleboro.
Canton, 35 vs. Bellingham, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 60-yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good; (C) Johnny Hagan 31-yard pass to David Allen, O. Lehane XP good; (C) K. Fitzgerald 8-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (C) Gersom Rivera 48-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) Ben Guerini 12-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
King Philip, 20 @ Foxboro, 10 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (KP) Robert Jarest 4-yard rush, XP no good; (F) Shayne Kerrigan 1-yard rush, Tyler James XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) T. James 25-yard field goal; R. Jarest 5-yard rush, Dylan Conti XP good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 15-yard rush, D. Conti XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Mansfield, 16 @ LaSalle HS (OH), 38 – Final 1st Quarter: (LS) Zach Branam 38-yard pass to Jake Seibert, J. Seibert XP good; (M) Cincere Gill 87-yard rush, Michael DeBolt XP good; (LS) Gi’Bran Payne 50-yard rush, J. Seibert XP good.
2nd Quarter: (LS) Z. Branam 7-yard pass to J. Seibert, J. Seibert XP good; (LS) J. Seibert 35-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (LS) Z. Branam 30-yard pass to J. Seibert, J. Seibert XP good; (M) Matt Boen 32-yard pass to Danny Rapoza, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (LS) Cameron Porter 2-yard rush, J. Seibert XP good; (M) M. DeBolt 25-yard field goal.
Sharon, 0 vs. Ashland, 21 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (A) Dominic Cavanagh 5-yard pass to Kevin Russell, XP good.
2nd Quarter: (A) D. Cavanagh 4-yard pass to K. Russell, XP good; (A) D. Cavanagh 8-yard rush, XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Stoughton, 47 @ Medford, 6 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Clayton Rahaman 32-yard pass to Christian Ais, Anthony Girolamo XP good; (S) Christopher Ais 41-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good; (S) Savion Scott 1-yard rush, XP failed; (S) Christopher Ais 7-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
2nd Quarter: (S) Christian Georges 5-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) Gerrard Theodore 31-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Medford 30-yard pass, XP blocked; (S) Jonah Ly 65-yard interception return, no XP attempt.
Taunton, 24 @ Durfee, 21 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ Attleboro, 6 – Final– Attleboro’s Joey Soucy netted a first half hat trick to lead the Bombardiers to a big win at home. Michael Russo had a goal and an assist in the win while freshman Esvin Morales netted his first career goal.
Canton, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the contest and added two goals in a 10-minute span in the second half to knock off visiting Canton. Lucas Moura put the Panthers ahead on an assist from Ben Moccia in the 7th minute. Trevor O’Neill doubled the lead for the hosts in the 54th minute on an assist from Jacob Cummings. Junior Ethan Cain capped the scoring five minutes later with a goal in the 59th minute.
Foxboro, 0 @ Taunton, 0 – Final
Milford, 2 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – Milford scored once in each half to earn two points on the road at King Philip. Lucas Da Silva played Leo Coelho in behind the defense, and Coelho used a curling left foot shot from atop the 18-yard box, knocking his shot off the far post and in. KP tied the game in the 51st minute as Colin Wesley connected with Caleb Casseta-Waxman. Casseta-Waxman’s deflected service fell in behind the defense and junior Tadhg Keller nodded the loose ball over the keeper to tie the game. The Hawks found the winner in the 70th minute when Pedro Araujo tracked down a ball from Jordan Borges. Araujo cut inside onto his left foot and sent a dipping shot off the far post and in for the game-winner.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames junior Colin Milliken converted a penalty kick in the first half to help the Tigers secure a shutout win over the visiting Rocketeers. Drew Nickla made four saves to record his third shutout of the season. Matt Nikiciuk had a strong game in the midfield for OA while Matt Nosalek, Jon Freeman, Harry Ahearn, and Brady deVos anchored the defense.
Attleboro, 7 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Briley Harnois scored three goals and added an assist and Isabella Salviati had a goal and two assists, as the Bombardiers scored five goals in the second half to pull out the win. Harnois opened the scoring in the third minute, but the Black Knights responded with three straight goals to grab the lead. Katherine Dennehy brought Attleboro back within one before the break. The Bombardiers grabbed the lead for good with three goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Harnois scored from Salviati and then the combo switched places to make it 4-3 before Harnois completed her hat trick in the 49th minute. Ashley Macia and Cassondra Stuger each scored to put the game away for the visitors. Attleboro coach Steve Santos said, “Totally different second half. We settled the ball down, had some good combinations and made some great runs.” Stoughton’s Shayla Ford, Mackenzie Manning, and Ashley Camilo each scored once for Stoughton.
Taunton, 0 @ Foxboro, 9 – Final – Four different Foxboro players scored in the opening half to build a 4-0 lead by the break, and the Warriors added five more in the second half for the win. Sophomore Kailee McCabe had a hat trick to lead the offense while Jordyn Collins had two goals and an assist. Olivia Nicholson, Caroline Rongione, Reagan Buckley, and Katelyn Mollica all scored once for Foxboro while Alyssa VandenBoom had an assist.
King Philip, 5 @ Milford, 1 – Final – The Warriors and Hawks traded early goals but King Philip scored four unanswered to get the win. Avery Snead (on a cross from Chloe Layne) put KP up under two minutes in before Milford’s Ashleigh Starks scored off a corner kick from Maddie Boyle to make it 1-1. Jenny Montville scored twice in a four-minute span, one set up by Layne and the other by Snead, to give KP a 3-1 lead at halftime. Layne scored her first of the contest on a through ball from Ally Stanton, and Stanton scored in the final 10 minutes off a corner from Makayla Griffin. KP’s defensive core of Olivia Berry, Paige Varvarigos, Taryn Greenberg, Grace Lawler, and Griffin had a strong showing.
Oliver Ames, 4 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The Tigers scored three goals in the first half to take control of the game and stayed unbeaten on the season. Erin Holmberg scored from Camryn O’Connor to put OA ahead inside the opening 10 minutes and then Lauren Sellmayer scored twice off of Holmberg corners to put the Tigers well ahead before halftime. North starting goalie Regan Fein made a pair of diving saves to keep North within three goals. O’Connor scored OA’s fourth goal on a rebound after North back-up keeper Caitlin Echeverri made a stop on Holmberg. The Rocketeers got on the board with a nice move in the closing minutes. Alex Moulson found space on the right and her low cross was side-footed in by Olivia Wills. Summer Doherty and Lydia Hershey played well in the back for North while Lily Adams and Caroline Ferrin had strong showings in the midfield.
Foxboro, 2 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Stoughton goalie Kayla Laboy made an incredible 30 saves but Foxboro was able to earn the win on the road. Jenny Gallagher scored her first goal and Jaime Notarangelo added another for the Warriors.
Sharon, 0 @ Canton, 7 – Final
North Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – King Philip earned a 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-20) sweep of North Attleboro in a non-league contest. The Warriors had a strong day at the service line as Emma Brooks (nine digs) notches seven aces, Lily Carlow (six digs, two kills) added six aces, and Ali McNamara had four aces. Nicole Coughlan slammed down a team-high 11 kills while Catherine Waldeck added 10 kills.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames took care of business at home with a 3-0 (25-8, 25-19, 25-16) sweep of visiting Bridgewater-Raynham. Junior Jordan Bennett had a strong all-around game with five kills and two blocks. Allie Kemp finished with 35 assists and eight aces, and Jordan Bossed added 15 kills and four aces.
Taunton, 3 vs. Durfee, 0 – Final – Taunton’s defense had a strong day to help the Tigers break into the win column with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-21) win over visiting Durfee. Fabiana Pereira had 16 digs, Kailara Andrade added 10 digs, and Shea Pimental finished with eight digs in the win. Hailey Sullivan, Mikayla Cleary, Alyssa Turcotte, and Ella Dunderdale each had seven kills to pace the offense.
Attleboro, 177 @ King Philip, 153 – Final
North Attleboro, 180 @ Franklin, 154 – Final – Franklin junior Jack Paterson concluded the week with his fourth medalist round, this time shooting a team-low 36 to capture co-medalist honors. Quinten Faro also fired a 36 for the Panthers, who got a 39 out of Pat Dolan and a 43 from Brian Sandham. Jillian Barend shot a team-low 43 for the Rocketeers while Jake Gaskin carded a round of 44.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – Everything started perfectly for North Attleboro on Friday night at Macktaz Field. A play-action deep strike on the first play of the game and an opening drive that marched 80 yards, used up more than half of the first quarter, and ended with a touchdown for sophomore quarterback Tyler DeMattio, who was making his first varsity start under center.
It was a statement of intent from the defending Davenport division co-champions. Of course, a team doesn’t get to three straight Super Bowls by being derailed from one touchdown. King Philip allowed four first downs on that opening drive. It allowed only two more first downs for the remainder of the game, and both of those were on penalties.
The Warriors turned the game on its head with two touchdowns either side of halftime and then put it away with two scores within 30 seconds of each other in the fourth quarter, pulling out a 25-7 victory.
“It looked like, ‘oh boy,’ on that first drive, but we’ve got some great coaches,” said KP coach Brian Lee. “We were able to settle down and he (defensive coordinator Matt Wassell) was able to recover and make some adjustment and stop them.”
DeMattio (2-of-9, 36 yards; 18 carries, 60 yards) made quite the impression on his first varsity snap as QB, faking a hand-off and dropping a dime into the arms of Ethan Friberg for a 33-yard gain. He then showed off his ability to make plays with his legs, running a zone read offense and moving North up the field. He finished off the 10-play, 80-yard drive with a nine-yard keeper to grab a 7-0 lead.
Since Lee took over the KP program, it has become known for its straightforward approach to offense. A lot of power I-formation and running backs that expect to get the ball 30-plus times a game. But on Friday, the Warriors showed far more variation with the ball, allowing senior quarterback Robert Jarest to move around in the pocket (8-of-15, 151 yards) and to call his own number on the ground (seven carries, 64 yards).
“Give them credit, they’ve got some new wrinkles in their offense over there,” said North coach Don Johnson. “There wasn’t the I-formation, smash-mouth football.”
Lee explained, “They’re bigger and more physical than us. I’d love to be the biggest, baddest kid on the block all the time, but just running it in there was not going to work for us.”
While senior Ryan Halliday (24 carries, 122 yards) still got his fair share of touches, the Warriors were able to get the ball away from the strong North Attleboro defensive line and attack North’s less experienced secondary on the edges.
It was a strategy that worked well in the opening half, as KP consistently took advantage of good starting field position and moved the ball deep into North territory. The Warriors just couldn’t finish a drive, three times having a possession stall in the red zone.
The first ended on a Jarest fumble inside the North 10. The next possession also ended at the 10, after Colby Feid denied a touchdown with a solid pass breakup and then Montrel Jackson pressured Jarest into throwing the ball away on fourth down. The third drive ended when Halliday came up inches short on a fourth and two carry.
With the clock winding down to just a minute left in the half, KP finally struck. John Kummer sacked Jarest back at the KP 46, but on the next play there was a breakdown in coverage on the far sideline allowing Alex Behling to run free and Jarest was on the mark for a 54-yard score. The extra point was no good, so North kept a lead, but the Warriors went into the break with the momentum.
“It was huge,” Jarest said. “He was wide open and when we went in the crowd was just pumped. That’s our base is the fans and then Coach Lee got us into it. Everyone was way more calm and everyone was like, okay we can go win this thing.”
The Warriors got the ball coming out of halftime and looked a different team, dominating the line of scrimmage. Jarest had a 33-yard keeper to get KP into North territory, but after Russell Dunlap tackled Halliday for a loss the Warriors faced fourth and long. Another breakdown in the secondary allowed KP to avoid another stalled drive, as Behling again was left wide open for a 20-yard score and a 12-7 lead.
“We’re trying new things,” Jarest said about the offense. “I don’t know if that’s how it’s going to be all season, but it looked good tonight and hopefully we can stay consistent.”
KP’s defense was manhandling North and not allowing DeMattio to find any seams to run into and the Rocketeers were unable to get anything going. Being pinned back in their own half was also causing issues because it limited how adventurous North could be with the ball.
“I thought they took over the line of scrimmage in the second half and throughout the game we had some unforced errors on defense,” said Johnson. “We gave them a couple of easy ones and I think that was the result of some young guys being out there for the first time. It’s just going to take us a little time.”
After a good Brian Wassersug punt return put KP in business at the North 39, KP broke the game wide open. Jarest hit Wassersug, who was too quick for the middle linebacker, down the middle for a 36-yard gain. Three carries later and Halliday punched in his first score of the night.
On North’s next play from scrimmage, DeMattio was hit as he threw and the pass was picked off by Sam Callanan. A delay of game penalty backed KP up five yards, but then Halliday found a crease on the left side and burst through for a 27-yard TD to put the game out of reach.
“It kind of smacked of that Mansfield game from a couple years ago,” Lee reflected. “We couldn’t get anything going, but we got a freebie (before halftime), bought us life, came back out and settled down.
King Philip (1-0) will continue its non-league schedule next week at Foxboro. North Attleboro (0-1) will have a week off before a short trip to rival Bishop Feehan.
Game of the Week – Football
North Attleboro, 7 @ King Philip, 25 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 9-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (KP) Robbie Jarest 54-yard pass to Alex Behling, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) R. Jarest 20-yard pass to A. Behling, Conversion no good.
4th Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 3-yard rush, Conversion no good; (KP) R. Halliday 27-yard rush, Dylan Conti XP good.
Canton, 28 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 7 yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good; (C) Johnny Hagan 37 yard pass to David Allen, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (C) K. Fitzgerald 20 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
4th Quarter: (C) Gersom Rivera 4 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (DR) Jared Ramos 1 yard rush, Adam Peirera XP good.
Mansfield, 31 vs. BC High, 10 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Cincere Gill 29 yard rush, Michael DeBolt XP good; (BCH) Cormac Kennelly 25 yard field goal good.
2nd Quarter: (M) M. DeBolt 26 yard field goal good.
3rd Quarter: (M) C. Gill 64 yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Jack Moussette 48 yard pass to M. DeBolt, M. DeBolt XP good; (BCH) Bobby Wiesenhahn 34 yard pass to Louis Timmins, C. Kennelly XP good; (M) M. DeBolt 79 yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good.
Sharon, 14 vs. Nauset, 33 – Final
Taunton, 13 vs. New Bedford, 24 – Final
Mansfield, 0 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Foxboro senior Dylan Barreira converted a penalty kick in the first half for the goal of the game.
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro’s James Sales scored on a penalty kick in the 5th minute to give the Rocketeers two points in their season opener. Taunton’s Colton Madeira, Riley Rebello, and Shane Froio played well defensively in front of Nolan Melo (seven saves).
Oliver Ames, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Junior Colin Milliken picked up where he left off last season, scoring twice and adding one assist to lead the Tigers to a win on the road. Senior Nick Farley netted his first career goal and assist in the win for the Tigers, who also got goals from Jimmy Keane and freshman Hector Bucio. Ben Cohen and Dillon Cupples each had assists.
Canton, 2 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – Briley Harnois scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with nine minutes left to play, helping Attleboro start the season with a victory. Kat Dennehy scored the first goal for the Bombardiers. Ashley Macia played well in goal, according to head coach Steve Santos, who called the win a “great team effort.”
Foxboro, 2 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Jordyn Collins scored a second half brace to lift the Warriors to a win in the battle of last season’s league champions. Foxboro dominated the ball throughout the game, holding the Hornets without a shot on goal. Collins hit the post in the first half, but opened the scoring 12 minutes after the break when she was played through by sophomore Jordan Carman. In the final minutes, Collins wrapped up the points when Lizzy Davis hit a free kick from inside her own half that was allowed to bounce just outside the Mansfield penalty area. Collins outran two defenders and slipped a shot inside the post.
Milford, 1 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Despite Milford controlling large portions of the game and pressured the Panthers, goals by Sydney St. Marie and Stella Regan (assisted by Carly Alston) lifted the hosts to a win in the season opener.
Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 9 – Final
North Attleboro, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Alex Moulson scored twice and assisted on the other two goals to lead the Rocketeers to a division win. Moulson opened the scoring in the 12th minute on a free kick and then she doubled the lead on an assist by Ari Rice. Abi Slaney scored a second half goal off a Moulson corner and the Olivia Wills followed suit minutes later. Regan Fein held a clean sheet for 70 minutes and Caitlin Echeverri finished the final 10 minutes. North coach Bill Wallace said that Lily Cameron, Steph McKenna, and Alex Hardy were strong in North’s transition game and Lydia Hershey and Collette Petit were strong in the back line.
Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Stoughton scored first but Oliver Ames knotted the score before halftime and scored six straight to get the win. Freshman Jenna Gilman scored four goals for the Tigers while Erin Holmberg (assist) scored twice. Allison Evin, Katie Gibson, Catie Wilson, and Cam O’Connor each had an assist for OA. Stoughton freshman Shayla Ford put the Black Knights ahead before OA cashed in with a flurry of goals before half. Freshman Emma Tremblay had a strong game defensively for Stoughton, Mackenzie Manning was strong in center mid, and senior Briana Buckley played well in net.
Canton, 1 @ Norwood, 2 – Final
North Attleboro, 171 @ Foxboro, 169 – Final – Foxboro’s Dylan Quinn carded six pars, finishing with a team-low round of 41 to lead the Warriors to a close win over North. Matt Fosella (four pars) added a 42 while Noah Hicks (two pars) and Matt Lathrop (three pars) both shot 43. North Attleboro’s Jillian Barend was the match medalist, shooting a low round of 40.
Attleboro got off to a strong start to the 2018 season, jumping out to a 4-1 record with its only loss coming against eventual D2 South champ King Philip, and allowing only five points per game. But a last-minute loss in a shootout against Mansfield and a fourth quarter comeback by Franklin the following week sparked a six-game losing streak to close out the season. The Bombardiers come into 2019 looking to turn that around and use its experience to make a run at the Kelley-Rex title.
Offensively, the Bombardiers will be led by senior quarterback Jason Weir. At a bruising 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Weir is a punishing runner and has a big arm to make plays downfield in the passing game. Junior Justin Daniels will be the starting tailback with senior Isaac Guidel and a big offensive line trying to open holes for the running game, led by senior Qualeem Charles (6-foot-5 and 325 pounds), who has a host of colleges recruiting him. Senior Ethan Cameron will provide a weapon on the outside, while junior Michael Strachan offers another threat over the middle from his tight end position.
Charles will dominate the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball as well, but the strength of the Attleboro defense will be its experienced linebacker corps. Strachan, a three-year starter who is getting looks from some Div. I colleges, will be joined by Guidel and senior Nolan Jaeger. Weir will play strong safety, after two seasons at defensive end, and will be counted on to step in to help stop the run. Cameron will be at free safety and giving the cornerbacks help over the middle. Attleboro has a large contingent of sophomores who could step in to contribute right away, including Alvin Harrison, Chris Leonardo, Adam Pearlstein, and Freddy Wheaton.
Attleboro coach Mike Strachan said, “We are looking forward to the season getting underway and with the leadership of our four captains we are looking to be explosive on offense and very physical defensively. The Hockomock League is one of the best leagues in the state with some great teams. We will have to play our very best each week if we are going to compete at a high level.”
Franklin nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the 2018 season when the Panthers forced perennial power Xaverian to double overtime in the Div. 1 South semifinal. It was a big step forward for the program and head coach Eian Bain hopes it will be a building block for even more success in 2019.
Offensively, the graduation of quarterback Nick Gordon will be a big loss for the Panthers but senior Thomas Gasbarro saw a lot of time under center last year and he will step in and take the starting job. Gasbarro will have plenty of weapons to choose from, as the Panthers have plenty of speedy, athletic players in the skill positions. Senior Jack Nally is a threat out of the backfield or split out wide and his classmate Jake Davis is a solid receiver over the middle or downfield. Senior Matt Lazarek is a potential target from the tight end position and Owen Palmieri is another dangerous ball carrier. Junior Parker Cheuvront emerged last season as one of the top kickers in the Hock and is another weapon that the Panthers can count on if a drive does stall.
The defense is an experienced group. Senior Evan Wertz has been one of the league’s tackle leaders for the past two seasons and he is the team’s top playmaker from his linebacker position. Nally, Davis, Palmieri, and senior Ben Greco give Franklin a tough secondary to throw against and all are capable of coming up with the big turnover to get the ball back in the hands of the offense. Luke Cunningham and Dom Natale will give the Panthers strength at the line of scrimmage.
“The challenge for this group is to continue to improve and build the program,” said Bain. “They need to add their own chapter and their own stamp on the program. We have the right people in the room. We need to play with the swagger and confidence of a contender, but be humble in our preparation. If we stay true to the process, we have great potential.”
Despite not winning the league title last year, the target on King Philip’s back continues to grow.
The Warriors might have missed out on the Kelley-Rex crown, but they won their third straight sectional title and made their this straight appearance in the state final, this time falling to North Andover (6-0). While this year’s senior class knows other than Super Bowl appearances, head coach Brian Lee says this group is focused on taking it one game, starting with the opener against North Attleboro. KP has a strong core of players back on the offensive side of the ball, including quarterback Robbie Jarest and running back Ryan Halliday. Both players had really strong junior seasons and should be the leaders of the group this year. The offensive line includes returners Nolan Gunning (left tackle), Sean Piller (center), and Pat Zarba (right guard) while Wyatt Manzi, Jack Collentro, and Griffin MacKay are in the mix to fill the remaining spots. Having an experienced line bodes well for the KP run game that will heavily feature Ryan Halliday plus fullback Shawn Conniff and halfbacks Sam Callanan and Crawford Cantave.
The Warriors’ defense has been one of the best units in the state in recent years, and while the expectations remain high for the group, there will be a lot of new faces. KP graduated its entire secondary so the Warriors are turning to senior Brian Wasserug and Cantave, a sophomore, to take on starting spots. Halliday and Callanan, both captains, will handle outside linebacker duties with Mike Malatesta in the mix for the middle spot. Gunning and Manzi will also see action on the defensive line alongside Conniff. Dillon Conti takes over kicking duties for the departed Cole Baker.
“These kids know how much work, how much effort it takes to get where we want to be,” Lee said. “But it’s all about going game by game, starting this week with a team [North Attleboro] that we have a ton of respect for.”
Looking at the long list of returning players, it is no surprise that expectations around Alumni Field are sky high this fall. Mansfield enters the season with experience at just about every position and with the bitter taste of last year’s South final loss to rival King Philip still stinging. Despite a rash of injuries that forced running back Aidan Sacco to play as an emergency quarterback for most of the season, Mansfield still won a league title and this year’s team may be even more talented, which has ramped up the hype and put the target squarely on the Hornets’ backs.
The line of scrimmage will be a strength for the Hornets on the offensive side of the ball, as they return four of five starters from last year’s unit that allowed the team to rush for more than 2,600 yards. Senior Jason Comeau and reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year TJ Guy will be two key cogs in the line, while senior Noah Jellenik and junior Jake McCoy are also back. Senior Andrew Cowles will step into the fifth spot. They will seek to protect senior quarterback Jack Moussette, who had a cameo under center last year before an injury forced him to miss the bulk of the season. The skill positions will be loaded with athletes. Cincere Gill had a breakout sophomore season at running back and senior Nick Marciano is back after an injury cut short his junior season. Senior Michael DeBolt was one of the top kickers in the league but also gives Mansfield another weapon on the edges, while senior Vinnie Holmes adds a bruising presence coming out of the backfield.
Holmes is the headliner on the defensive side of the ball. Along with fellow linebackers Marciano, DeBolt, and senior Joe Plath, Holmes will be expected to make big plays all over the field. The defensive line will be strong with three returning players: senior Chris Graham, McCoy, and Guy. Junior Nico Holmes will step in as the fourth man on the line. Much like on offense, speed will be a strength and the secondary is loaded with playmakers, including Gill, junior Matt Boen, and senior Makhi Baskin.
“We have a bunch of experience all over the field, but we really have to develop depth with the second team to handle a tough schedule and challenges every week,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “This is one of the fastest group of skill guys we’ve ever had and we could be explosive on offense. We lack a little size up front on defense, but we should be able to overcome that by flying around with pursuit to the ball with our speed.”
There was no question that 2018 was a tough season for the Tigers. Oliver Ames lost by a point in the season opener to Concord-Carlisle and didn’t earn its only win until the penultimate game against Durfee. The Tigers will hope to turn things around quickly with an infusion of young talent under new head coach Ed DeWitt.
On offense, the players will be learning a new system, but there is experience in the backfield to try and implement different schemes. Senior running back Nathan Cabral figures to see plenty of the ball again this year after his breakout junior season in which he ran for more than 1,100 yards. He will be joined by senior quarterback Cam Perron and senior running back Sam Stevens to give the Tigers a strong core. Seniors Harrison Webster and Adam Cann (who is coming off an injury) will give Perron weapons to utilize on the outside.
There will be a lot of new faces on the defensive side, as DeWitt can call on three or four returning starters and will need a number of players to provide contributions on both sides of the ball. The linebacking corps was particularly hit by graduations, although senior Tyler Campbell can provide some experience and leadership in that position and Cabral brings athleticism to the role. Max Anderson and Anthony DeCosta will be important at the line of scrimmage, while Stevens will step into the secondary along with senior corner Nick Gillis and junior corner Jadon Ricci.
“The competition in camp has been great,” DeWitt said. “The players have committed to the program and bought into the day to day work that we need to do. We are focusing on making sure we treat every day as an opportunity to improve and string together some positive momentum.”
The Tigers started last season with three straight wins and then finished with three wins in their final four games to end 2018 with a winning record. Taunton enters this fall with a relatively inexperienced roster, but one that is looking to continue the momentum in the program and try to push forward so it can challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division.
One of the biggest changes for the Tigers will be under center. Noah Leonard was the starter for three seasons, but junior Danny MacDougall will take over this year. MacDougall will also see time at receiver to try and take advantage of his athleticism. He will be joined in the backfield by classmates Bretton Heggs and Josh Lopes, who both got time at running back as sophomores. Juniors Kedrick Santos and Devante McPhail will be the primary weapons at receiver. Up front, the Tigers have decent size. Senior Mike Murray will be at center, senior Hussein Kassab at one tackle, junior Marquis Dalomba at the other tackle, and junior Jordan Manning at guard.
Similar to the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers lack experience on defense and are still learning the schemes, but physical scrimmages have helped prepare them for the season. Senior Woudanly Danger is a force at the line of scrimmage and will require attention from opponents and senior Jackson Wellman has been one of the team’s top tacklers from linebacker. Junior defensive end Deandre McPhail adds to the strength of the line. Senior Curt Marshall and MacDougall will be the safeties and senior Cam Carroca will be at corner.
“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and trying to get better and to be competitive in the league,” said Taunton coach Brad Sidwell. “We’re definitely inexperienced, but physically we have guys who can do it and we need to coach them up so they’ll be ready to go once the season gets started.”
Stoughton featured a strong sophomore class last season and twin brothers Christopher and Christian Ais were a big reason for that. Both are two-way players for the Black Knights and could be poised for breakout years. Christopher picked up a lot of experience in the backfield last year, seeing time at both wing and fullback. His combination of speed and power helped Stoughton pound the ball on the ground. He racked up 381 yards on the ground last year (7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns and should see an expanded role in the backfield this season. Christian also had a strong season and will continue his role as a wingback for Stoughton his season. He combined for over 300 yards between rushing and receiving and found the end zone once. Both will be vital pieces of Stoughton’s run game this year, which is consistently a strength for the Black Knights. Expect both players to have expanded roles this season.
Last fall, Oliver Ames senior running back Nathan Cabral had the unenviable task of taking over from Anthony Berksza, after a preseason injury ruled the Tigers’ leading rusher out for the year, but Cabral stepped right in and provided OA with the workhorse back it needed. He rushed for more than 1,100 yards last season and scored 10 touchdowns. Cabral also converted three two-point conversions and now comes into his senior season as the top offensive weapon for the Tigers. A shifty back with the speed to escape tackles and make big plays, Cabral will draw a lot of attention from opposing defenses and will be the primary weapon for new head coach Ed DeWitt. Like Berksza before him, the Tigers will be looking for a big season from Cabral to try and make a push at a playoff spot.
Mansfield junior Cincere Gill burst onto the scene last fall and became one of the top playmakers (on offense and defense) in the Hock. The big-play running back helped Mansfield bring home its first league title since 2013 and book a spot in the Div. 2 South final. He rushed for 535 yards in 2018, good for second-best on the team, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry. He also had 153 receiving yards. He was the team leader with 10 rushing touchdowns and also grew into one of the top ball hawks in the Mansfield secondary. This year, expectations will be even higher as Gill comes into the season as one of the primary weapons in a loaded Hornets backfield and his combination of speed, agility, and vision to spot an opening will make him a threat to go the distance on every play. Mansfield has plenty of talent at the running back position this season and that means Gill can stay fresh, allowing him to keep that breakaway speed when he gets the ball.
The versatility of Canton senior quarterback Johnny Hagan was one of the reasons that the Bulldogs surged to a share of the Davenport division title in 2018, their first league title since 1990, and to the Div. 5 South final. Hagan is a constant threat to the defense because he is capable of making big plays with his arm or his legs. His speed out of the pocket and the fearlessness he shows to take on tacklers downfield allows him to pick up crucial first downs and extend drives, but if teams crowd the box to try and contain the ground game Hagan can take advantage by hitting his receivers over the top. He was one of the league’s top dual threats last season and the Bulldogs will be counting on that production to continue as they try to repeat as league champions for the first time since they won a fifth straight title in 1981.
It never ceases to amaze that as one talented running back graduates, King Philip seems to find someone who can step right in to fill their shoes and produce. Senior Ryan Halliday was that guy last season, rushing for more than 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns, as the Warriors returned to Gillette Stadium to play in a third straight Super Bowl. Even with defenses crowding the line of scrimmage to try and stop the ground game, Halliday barreled his way to a big year, showing off the toughness it takes to get the ball almost every down. He demonstrated the speed to break free when he got into the second level and was more than willing to take and deliver hits. That was obvious on the other side of the ball too, where Halliday had five tackles for loss and a pair of sacks for the typically stout KP defense. As usual, KP will have a lot of new faces on offense this season but expect Halliday to continue getting the ball as often as possible and keeping hopes of a fourth straight South title alive.
There were a lot of new faces that made a big impact last season and Taunton’s Danny MacDougall was one of them. He immediately became a reliable receiving option for quarterback Noah Leonard, and as the season went on, he seemed to come up with bigger and bigger catches. A three-sport athlete, MacDougall is always going to be one of the hardest-working players on the field. Despite not finding the end zone during his sophomore year, his production earned him an honorable mention selection for HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year. This season, MacDougall is expected to take over under center for Leonard and see time at quarterback. His ability to make plays carrying the ball should carry over to the QB position. But he’s also expected to see time back at receiver and we saw exactly he can do there last season. And with MacDougall expected to be a starter on defense as well, there’s a high probability we’ll see him making plays on both sides of the ball.
There has been a lot of attention to the right side of the North Attleboro offensive line over the past two seasons as Ryan Clemente emerged as one of the top guards in the league. But in that time, another terrific lineman emerged on the left side. Ethan Mottinger, who committed to play at UMass this past offseason, really came into his own during the 2018 season and is one of the best-returning linemen in the league and region this season. There were stretches in which Mottinger (6’6, 294) absolutely dominated at the line, helping spring runners for long gains. There is a lot of movement in the North Attleboro offense, and that includes for the linemen as well. His ability to get off the line and make a block can create big gaps. While he’s a strong blocker in the passing game, he really shines in the run game when he’s able to go at the defense. Don’t be surprised when the Rocketeers run to the left side of the field behind him when they need a big first down or are near the goal line.
Franklin senior Jack Nally showcased numerous talents last year to help the Panthers get to the Div. 1 South semifinal, and nearly pull off an upset of powerhouse Xaverian. He finished with 922 total yards, as a running back, receiver, and returner. He scored one touchdown on the ground, caught four scores, and had more than 350 yards in returns in 2018. He was also a dynamic part of the Franklin secondary. With his quickness and agility, and his ability to find the hole and hit it at speed, Nally gives Franklin versatility in its offense that the Panthers will be counting on after the graduation of several key skill position players. Nally has been a terrific athlete in multiple sports and the Panthers will be hoping that he can continue to bring the same level of success to the gridiron this fall and help them challenge for the division title.
Milford senior quarterback Colby Pires has been one of the most dynamic passers in the Hockomock League for the past two seasons, spearheading the Hawks offensive attack and helping them pull out six wins in their final seven games to finish with a winning record. In 2018, Pires threw for more than 2,300 yards and tossed 22 touchdowns, while continuing to be one of the league’s most accurate passers. His ability to find multiple targets allowed the spread offense to be effective and kept defenses from loading up on certain weapons. Pires is also mobile enough to stretch plays out and make accurate throws while on the run. Milford will be counting on Pires’ experience on varsity to help a relatively young team continue to grow and challenge the top teams in the Davenport.
There are not many quarterbacks in the league that also excel on the defensive line, but Attleboro senior Jason Weir offers the size and strength that few signal-callers can match. Weir enters his second year as the starter for the Bombardiers, after throwing for more than 1,100 yards and rushing for 600 yards a season ago. Weir accounted for 23 total touchdowns (10 through the air and 13 on the ground) and proved to be a difficult guy to bring down, whether in short-yardage situations or when he got into the open field. He is also a standout at defensive end, setting the edge for Attleboro’s big line. Despite the graduation of several key skill position players, the Bombardiers are counting on Weir to make big plays and keep them in line for a return to the postseason.
FOXBORO, Mass. – There were still many who expected North Andover, with its perfect record and high-powered offense, to be too much for King Philip in Friday night’s Div. 2 Super Bowl and the Warriors were going to struggle to stay with the Scarlet Knights.
You would think that at this point, after three straight trips to Gillette Stadium and 33 wins combined over the past three seasons, people would know better than to underestimate KP.
With 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Warriors got the ball back at their own 26 trailing just 6-0. Robert Jarest scrambled from one side of the field all the way back to his left and hit Tim Nault right on the sideline for a first down. On the next play the pair connected again for another 13 yards into North Andover territory. With the clock down to 11 seconds, Jarest found DDavid Morganelli in front of his own bench for 13 yards to the Knights 34.
With six seconds left on the clock, KP had one last chance to complete an unlikely three-peat. But, North Andover defensive back Michael Roche ruined the storybook ending by chasing down Jarest for a game-ending and title-winning sack that handed the Scarlet Knights their first Super Bowl title since 1994.
“They keep rallying back,” KP coach Brian Lee said of his team. He added that Roche impressed him on film in the build up to the game, calling him “a real dude,” and he was aware of the North Andover senior but couldn’t change the play at that moment. Lee said, “We were a little disjointed, not having another timeout to get it the way we wanted to and to realize he was on this side and we rolled out into him.”
There was certainly disappointment on the King Philip (9-3) side after the loss, having two long drives end just outside the red zone and having the lone North Andover touchdown come off the lone turnover for the Warriors, but Lee credited his players for beating all the expectations for the season.
Lee said, “They really weren’t supposed to be anything this year. To get back here with these guys and to play that way, I mean especially on ‘D’ to shut them down again, we play so well on ‘D’ on this field…”
He added, “It was just a great job competing by our guys. I’m so proud of them.”
KP got the ball first and put together exactly the type of drive that has become synonymous with the Warriors during Lee’s coaching tenure. Junior Ryan Halliday (29 carries, 97 yards) got the ball on all but one of the 12 plays and marched KP all the way to the North Andover 25. On fourth and four, the Warriors called for a fake field goal and Cole Baker found an open receiver on the far sideline but the ball couldn’t be pulled in.
Jack Webster leapt to bat down a third down pass attempt and end the Scarlet Knights first drive, but KP went three-and-out when it got the ball back.
On the North champion’s next drive, Jake McElroy started to get things going through the air, connecting with Gabriel DeSouza for 33 yards to the KP 32. Three plays later, on third and two, McElroy (10-16, 117 yards) appeared to have an open receiver but the ball slipped through his hands and Nault was on hand to pick it off.
The momentum from the interception lasted only two plays. Halliday was hit hard on a toss to the left and Darren Watson recovered the fumble at the KP seven. It took four plays before McElroy punched it in from one yard out, and it took a great second effort just to get the ball across the line. The extra point was blocked.
“That call was dumb,” Lee admitted. “That was my fault and it put the defense in a bad spot. Even so, fourth and one I thought we had them there. That call was the wrong call and put the defense in a bad way, but besides that they did everything they were supposed to do. I really think if we don’t make that mistake then we shut them out.”
North Andover started the second half with the ball, but Shawn Conniff ended the drive by busting into the backfield to stop Watson for a one-yard loss on third and one. KP got the ball at its own six and proceeded to grind out another long drive.
Halliday had been largely contained since the first possession but he broke runs of 17, 10, and 11 yards to get the Warriors going. A Jarest scramble turned into a 12-yard weaving run that got KP down to the North Andover 23. Facing fourth and 10, Jarest slipped as he rolled out and although he recovered his footing wasn’t able to hook up with Morganelli on a comeback route.
Again, the KP defense did its job to get the ball back quickly, including a big play by Morganelli busting up a screen pass for a seven-yard loss.
North Andover coach John Dubzinski said of the KP defense, “They were so good up front. They were good on the perimeter, they were good inside. They covered our receivers well, very well. They’re a good football team. We beat a good football team.”
After a pass was knocked away from Morganelli, the Warriors had fourth and eight from the Scarlet Knights 43. Lee elected to punt and Baker dropped one at the one-yard-line with 4:49 left to play.
McElroy was able to elude the KP blitz and hit Watson for a crucial 29-yard completion and then added a 17-yard pass to the KP 40. Watson jumped on a fumble for a four-yard loss and then Tyler Barrett sacked McElroy for a 10-yard loss that forced third and 24. The Warriors did their job and stopped the North Andover offense as it did all night, but it just wasn’t enough time for the offense to get on the board.
It says everything about this team that when KP got the ball back, there were plenty of people thinking that somehow the Warriors would be able to pull this out.
“A lot of things looked like they were going our way early and then we just stalled out on ‘O’ a couple times,” Lee said. “We were just a little short on a couple things tonight. Just a lot of little miscues on offense really prevented us from stealing this one.”
Below are the official 2018 Hockomock League Football All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Nick Gordon, Franklin
Ryan Clemente, North Attleboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Nick Evans, Attleboro
Justin Cote, Attleboro
Jason Weir, Attleboro
Michael Strachan, Attleboro
Nick Gordon, Franklin
Ryan Driscoll, Franklin
Jack Nally, Franklin
Terrell Jacobs-Baston, King Philip
Ryan Halliday, King Philip
Jack Webster, King Philip
David Morganelli, King Philip
Daenin Walker, Mansfield
TJ Guy, Mansfield
Aidan Sacco, Mansfield
Vinnie Holmes, Mansfield
Dean Pacini, Oliver Ames
Woudanly Danger, Taunton
Cory Pintabone, Taunton
Ben Seaman, Canton
Brendan Albert, Canton
Brian Campagna, Canton
Johnny Hagan, Canton
Anton George, Foxboro
Hunter Williams, Foxboro
Mike Sheehan, Foxboro
Brendan White, Milford
Colby Pires, Milford
Kevin Pyne, Milford
Brendan McHugh, North Attleboro
Nick Raneri, North Attleboro
Ryan Clemente, North Attleboro
Ryan Gaumond, North Attleboro
Chris Gong, Sharon
Alex Iverson, Stoughton
Evan Jackman , Stoughton
Malachi Green-Hightower, Stoughton
North Attleboro, 20 @ Attleboro, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (A) Justin Cote 2-yard run, Colby Briggs XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 85-yard pass to Ryan Gaumond, T. DeMattio XP good.
4th Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 7-yard run, T. DeMattio XP good; T. DeMattio 90-yard run, XP no good.
Stoughton, 28 @ Canton, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 30-yard pass to Kyle Fitzgerald, Owen Lehane XP good; (S) John Burke 1-yard rush, Josh Cocchi XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) Jeff Grier 66-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good; (S) J. Grier 18-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good.
4th Quarter: (S) J. Grier 72-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good.
King Philip, 23 @ Franklin, 16 – Final 1st Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 20-yard rush, Cole Baker 2pt pass to Sam Sesay; (F) Parker Chevrant 26-yard field goal;
2nd Quarter: (KP) Robbie Jarest 1-yard rush, R. Jarest 2pt rush.
3rd Quarter: (F) Nick Gordon 11-yard pass to Ryan Driscoll, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (KP) R. Halliday 14-yard rush, C. Baker XP good; (F) N. Gordon 75-yard pass to Owen Pamieri, P. Chevrant XP good.
Sharon, 21 @ Oliver Ames, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Aaron Strong 3-yard rush, Mitchell Director XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (S) A. Strong 5-yard rush, M. Director XP good.
4th Quarter: (OA) Billy Tat 2-yard rush, Cam Perron XP good; (S) A. Strong 1-yard rush, M. Director XP good.
Taunton, 34 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: (T) Noah Leonard 14-yard rush, 2pt rush failed; (T) N. Leonard 17-yard pass to Cory Pintabone, Danny MacDougall 2pt rush.
2nd Quarter: (T) N. Leonard 29-yard pass to Everett Ferreira, Coby Adams XP good.
3rd Quarter: (T) Tryton Zavala 6-yard rush, XP failed; (T) Damien Manning 5-yard rush, Ethan Tavares XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.