Taunton, 58 @ Attleboro, 60 – Final – Attleboro’s Spencer Sherck made a huge defensive play and Hayden Crowley sank two free throws both with under 10 seconds left as the Bombardiers held on a late run from Taunton for the win. Attleboro led by as much as 12 points early in the fourth quarter and again at 56-44 with 2:18 left to play following a three-pointer from Michael Beverly before Taunton’s full court pressure sped the game up and got the Tigers a 9-0 run in 50 seconds of action, capped by a deep three from Troy Santos to make it 56-53. A steal and layup from Chris Volcy got the visitors within a point before Attleboro freshman Connor Houle hit a pair from the line to make it 58-55. Santos used a nice move to get to the line again and hit another two with 41.1 seconds to go. Taunton got another stop but so did Attleboro as Sherck stepped stepped in and took a charge with 7.8 seconds to go. Crowley sank two free throws to extend Attleboro’s lead and the Bombardiers were able to hold on for the win. Beverly tied a career-high with 19 points to lead the Bombardiers while Jaiden Outland added 12 points. Crowley finished with 8 points while Houle, Neo Franco, and Justin Hanahran each had 7 points. Santos dropped a game-high 22 points, half of them coming in the fourth quarter. Tyson Carter added a career-high 17 points and Chris Perault finished with 10 points.
Oliver Ames, 45 @ Canton, 47 – Final – Canton scored the go-ahead bucket off a broken play with just seconds seconds to go and held on as OA’s attempt at a game-winner was off the mark to secure a hard-fought league win and season sweep of the Tigers. Oliver Ames staked a two-point lead after a quarter (13-11) and a four-point advantage at halftime (27-23) but the Bulldogs held the visitors to single digits in the third and pulled even (34-34) going into the fourth quarter. With just under 20 seconds to go, Oliver Ames nearly intercepted a pass but the deflection bounced to Canton sophomore Anthony Diletizia and he alertly fired a bounce pass to Jeremiah Predin and he kissed one off the glass to put Canton up 47-45 with 12.2 seconds to play. Zaza Francoeur had a big block on OA’s first look and then the Tigers launched a three at the buzzer but it was off the mark. Jamaal McConnell had a team-high 13 points for Canton, Caden Mirliani added 12 points and Predin and Francoeur each finished with 8 points. OA sophomore Cole Craffey had a game-high 16 points and freshman Soren Lolonga added 12 points in the win.
Stoughton, 59 @ Foxboro, 76 – Final – Foxboro erupted for 22 points in the opening quarter and never looked back, scoring a season sweep of Stoughton with a wire-to-wire win on Friday. Seniors Sam Golub (13 points) and Ryan LeClair (9 points) each hit a pair of threes inside the opening eight minutes while classmate Alex Penders added another and a total of eight of his game-high 28 points as the Warriors jumped ahead 22-15. Senior Andrew Finn added another triple in the second while junior Ryan Cotter and sophomore Ryan Kelley both had a pair of baskets to help Foxboro extend its lead to 39-26 at halftime. Penders kept it going with 10 more points in the third and sophomore Nolan Gordon took his turn with all seven of his points in the frame for a 56-42 lead going into the fourth. Stoughton’s Jayden Costa-Haywood had a team-high 18 points while sophomore Matt Greenspoon chipped in with 12 points.
North Attleboro, 49 @ Franklin, 67 – Final – Franklin sank four of its 11 three-pointers in the opening eight minutes to stake an early lead and the Panthers never looked back in a big win over visiting North Attleboro. Andrew O’Neill hit a pair, Justin Allen had one of his four triples, and Nick Scala tossed another in to take a 16-7 lead after one, and the Panthers never surrendered that lead. Bradley Herndon got going in the second with six of his 11 points and junior Sean O’Leary had a third of his 12 points in the second as Franklin took a 31-15 lead into the locker room. Allen had a team-high 14 points, O’Neill and O’Leary finished at 12 points apiece, and Herndon had 11 points. North senior Jack Munley and sophomore Jonnie Obuchowski each had nine points.
Milford, 82 @ King Philip, 66 – Final – Milford had an offensive outburst on the road to earn its fifth straight win, pouring in 26 points in the second quarter and 27 more in the third quarter en route to beating King Philip. Senior Wyatt Zagami, who had a season-high 18 points, was a huge spark for the offense, draining a trio of three-pointers in the second quarter to jump start the Hawks’ offense. Milford built a 14-11 lead after a quarter but really turned it on in the second with Zagami and sophomore Andrew Rivera, who had a career-high 28 points, each hit three three-pointers, and sophomores Jack Buckley and Luca Testa each added points as Milford ended up with a 40-30 lead going into halftime. The break couldn’t cool the red-hot Hawks as Rivera added nine more in the third, freshman CJ Farrell got going with nine of his 18 points in the frame, and Testa, Zagami, Nick Aruajo, and Tyler Ballard all hit shots from the floor to the tune of 27 points and a 67-47 advantage going into the fourth. Senior Will Laplante led KP with 20 points, sophomore Jack Assini added 13 points, and sophomore Tommy Kilroy chipped in with 11 points.
Attleboro, 69 @ Taunton, 40 – Final – Attleboro stormed out of the gates, bombing away from three, and jumped out to a 43-13 lead by halftime, ensuring that the Bombardiers will head into Tuesday’s showdown with Franklin down just a game in the Kelley-Rex standings. The visitors had no problem finding the range in the Rabouin Field House, knocking down 10 three-pointers as a team. Sarah Maher got Attleboro off to a strong start with seven of her nine points coming in the first, while Kayla Goldrick added five and Vanessa Ellis and Lily Routhier (eight points) scored four apiece to open up a 26-7 lead after one. Rylie Camacho buried three from beyond the arc in the second, while Molly Moore and Goldrick both knocked down shots from the outside, as Attleboro’s lead grew to 30. Moore would hit a pair from three in the third and scored eight of her 11 points in the quarter, as Attleboro didn’t let off the gas. Moore, Goldrick, Ellis, and Camacho all finished with 11 for the Bombardiers. Eighth grader Rayah Horton scored a career-high 13 points for the Tigers, including seven in the fourth. Cali Melo also scored seven of her 13 points over the final eight minutes and Skylar McCrohan added six points for the hosts.
Foxboro, 79 @ Stoughton, 26 – Final – Kailey Sullivan continued her hot streak, scoring a game-high 25 points, including four three-pointers. It’s the third straight game that Sullivan has scored at least 23 points (with one game of 31). Camryn Collins and Addie Ruter also reached double digits, scoring 15 points apiece. Nine different Warriors got on the score sheet. Stoughton was led by Kirsten McKay with 10 points, five boards, and two steals.
Franklin, 66 @ North Attleboro, 48 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Katie Peterson scored a career-high 28 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out three assists to lead Franklin to the road win that keeps the Panthers atop the Kelley-Rex by a game heading into Tuesday’s showdown with second-place Attleboro. Peterson got the visitors off to a strong start, burying a pair of threes and scoring 10 points in the first. Bridget Leo and Chloe Fales also knocked down threes for Franklin, which took a 24-8 lead after one. Peterson hit her third three and had four points in the second to help the Panthers extend the lead by two, 35-17, going into the locker room. After scoring only 17 points total in the first meeting, North found another gear offensively in the third. Despite Peterson scoring another eight points, North cut the lead by a couple, scoring 18 in the quarter. Maryellen Charette had five points and Ava McKeon, Sam Faria, and Ella McLaughlin each drilled threes for the Rocketeers. Peterson added six more in the fourth, including a drive midway through the quarter to set her new high mark. Sam Sweeney matched Peterson with five in the final eight minutes. Caelyn Leonard scored 11 (going 6-of-7 from the line), Bridget Leo added nine points and four assists, and Chloe Fales had six (all in the first). Sweeney and Charette each scored 10 and McLaughlin had nine, while McKeon and Katie Corsetti both finished with eight points for North.
Sharon, 47 @ Mansfield, 81 – Final – Natalya Gill scored a career-high 21 points, knocking down seven three-pointers, and the Hornets set a new program-high for points in a game. This is the second time this season that Mansfield has scored 80 or more points in a game. Gill and Abby Wager each scored six points in the first to help the Hornets take a 14-8 lead. The Mansfield offense found a second gear in the second quarter, as the Hornets scored 25 points. Gill continued her hot shooting with three from beyond the arc, Wager chipped in with seven more, and Ella Palanza (eight points) scored four. The Eagles were hanging around behind Jasmine Davis, who scored 14 of her game-high 23 in the first half. The third quarter was nearly even, with the Hornets adding one point to their lead. Davis added another seven points and Rachael Hager, who missed much of the season with injury, scored five points. Mansfield ensured there would be no comeback with 25 points in the fourth quarter. Gill hit another couple of threes and Bridget Hanley scored four of her eight points to help put the game away. Hager added another five and finished with 10 for the Eagles, while Eva Poulton had six. Wager scored 20 points in the win.
Foxboro, 42 @ Attleboro, 48 – Final – Foxboro hit a three with six minutes to go to create an eight point lead but Attleboro closed out the game on 16-2 run to snag the win. Michael Beverly (nine points) hit a tough layup and Connor Houle followed with a three-pointer. Spencer Sherck’s lone field goal of the game was a big one as he sank a triple to bring the Bombardiers even at 40-40, and after another defensive stop, Beverly hit a contested elbow jumper to put Attleboro ahead. Following a Foxboro miss, Hayden Crowley used a pump fake to buy some space and rattled home a three to make it 45-40 with three minutes to go. Foxboro’s Alex Penders (22 points) turned a turnover into a layup to make it a one-possession game, but the Warriors couldn’t crack Attleboro’s defense again. Jaiden Outland (15 points) beat the shot clock with a mid-range jumper with just 20 seconds left in the game to push it to 47-42. Foxboro led 13-12 after a quarter before Attleboro rallied for a 27-22 halftime lead. The Warriors held the hosts to just two points in the third to take a 34-29 lead into the fourth.
Canton, 52 @ Franklin, 57 – Final – The Bulldogs battled hard on the road and kept pace with top-ranked Franklin but the Panthers ultimately hung on for a hard-fought win. Canton came to play from the jump, building a 14-12 lead after a quarter but Franklin fought back in the second including five points from sophomore Caden Sullivan, who was making his season debut. Junior Sean O’Leary got it going in the second half for the Panthers, scoring 14 of his team-high 18 points after the break. Carrying a 39-35 lead into the fourth, Bradley Herndon and Justin Allen hit key threes to keep Franklin ahead. Ben Harvey added 10 points for Franklin. Jamaal McConnell had a team-high 15 points for the Bulldogs, Zaza Francoeur added 13 points, and Matt Chafin finished with 10 points.
Sharon, 76 @ King Philip, 68 – Final – King Philip cut the deficit down to three in the fourth quarter but Sharon never surrendered its lead and picked up an important win on the road. KP had a lead after the first quarter (17-14) and at halftime (34-33) but the Eagles pulled ahead in the third. Dante James scored nine of his 16 points in the third and Nate Katznelson added eight of his 21 points in the frame as Sharon swapped a one-point halftime deficit into a 56-50 lead going into the fourth. Tyler Goodman scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth and the Eagles went 8-for-9 from the line (15-for-18 for the game) to keep the lead. Jacob McLoughlin added 14 points for the visitors and Matt Baur chipped in with 12 points. Will Laplante went 11-for-14 from the free throw line and finished with a team-high 19 points, Tommy Martorano added 14 points, and Grant Kinney chipped in with 13 points.
Mansfield, 71 @ Milford, 52 – Final – Mansfield set the tone with a 21-point first quarter and increased its lead throughout the next three quarters to land a road win at Milford. The Hornets created a six-point lead after one (21-15) and extended it by double digits at halftime (33-23). Mansfield finished with 13 three-pointers and had five players score in double figures. Caden Colby hit four of those threes and had a team-high 14 points along with four boards and three assists while Eddie McCoy (12 points, nine assists, three steals), Davon Sanders (11 points, four assists), Chris Hill (11 points, six rebounds) and JT Veiking (10 points) each connected on two threes.
Oliver Ames, 38 @ North Attleboro, 30 – Final – North Attleboro opened the fourth quarter with a 13-2 run to get within a point but a big three from OA sophomore Cole Craffey (13 points) with just over two minutes left kept the Tigers ahead for good. Givany Carney scored six of his 11 points in the fourth, Jonnie Obuchkowski hit a three, and both Ryan Bannon and Derek Maceda chipped in with two points as the Rocketeers closed a 29-17 deficit at the start of the final quarter down to 31-30. Craffey’s three restored a two-possession lead for the Tigers. Craffey hit two free throws with a minute to go to extend the lead to 36-30. Freshman Soren Lolonga led OA with 14 points.
Stoughton, 46 @ Taunton, 81 – Final – Taunton built a double-digit lead in the second quarter and then dominated the second half to run away with a 81-46 win over visiting Stoughton. After a 21-point first quarter, Taunton established a 36-25 lead at halftime. The Tigers kept the pressure on in the third with 21 more points but turned up their aggressiveness on defense, forcing five turnovers and holding the Knights to a total of seven points to extend the advantage to 57-32, ending the frame with a 9-0 surge. Freshman Jakari Innocent had a strong game on both ends, finishing with a team-high 18 pooints, 10 rebounds, six steals, three assists, and two blocks. Chris Perault (17 points), Alivensky Morriseau (13 points, five rebounds), and Chris Volcy (12 points, 15 rebounds, three steals) all finished in double-digits for Taunton while Troy Santos chipped in with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals. Stoughton senior Jayden Costa-Haywood scored the Knights’ first 21 points and finished with a game-high 26 points.
Franklin, 47 @ Canton, 41 – Final – Franklin avoided a big upset on Tuesday and moved into a first-place tie with Attleboro ahead of Friday’s showdown. Canton jumped out to a 14-9 lead after one. Mercia Kolokithas buried a pair of threes and Emily McCabe had one in the first to help the Bulldogs grab the early advantage. The Panthers were able to cut the deficit to one before halftime, but managed only 18 points in the opening 16 minutes. Franklin would grab a one-point lead in the third. Katie Peterson scored six of Franklin’s 12 points to make it 30-29 going to the fourth. In the final eight minutes, Franklin’s offense finally clicked and the Panthers scored 17 points. Peterson added four more, finishing with a team-high 17, and Chloe Fales added five of her 10 points. Samya DaSilva scored four of her five points in the fourth to help keep Canton close. The Bulldogs finished with eight three-pointers as a team. Kolokithas made five of them and she scored a team-high 17. Emily McCabe chipped in with seven points. Bridget Leo added seven for the Panthers.
King Philip, 48 @ Sharon, 38 – Final – Jasmine Davis scored 17 points for the Eagles and Eva Poulton added 10.
Milford, 30 @ Mansfield, 56 – Final – The Hornets got off to a slow start offensively, but a 16-2 second quarter helped Mansfield open up a double-digit lead at halftime. Abby Wager was the top scorer for the Hornets with 15 points, including six in the third quarter as Mansfield broke the game open. Kara Santos added 14 points, scoring six of Mansfield’s 10 in the first and six of the 13 in the fourth. Rose Maher and Bridget Hanley each chipped in with five points apiece. Milford was led by Aliza Syed, who scored 10 points and knocked down a pair of threes. Erin Michelson scored five in the loss.
North Attleboro, 32 @ Oliver Ames, 60 – Final – OA won back-to-back games for the first time this season, scoring 20 points in the first quarter to grab a lead that it never relinquished. Kaydance Derba (eight rebounds) scored eight points in the first, with Avery Gamble (10 rebounds and five steals) and Sarah Hilliard adding six apiece for the Tigers. Leading 31-16 at the break, the Tigers came out of the locker room intent on putting the game away. OA scored 23 points in the third, with Gamble scoring 12 of her game-high 18 and fellow freshman Kamryn Derba (five assists) scoring nine of her 11 in the quarter. The Derba sisters each scored 11 points and each nailed a trio of three-pointers. Hilliard would finish up with 10 points. Annie Reilly came off the bench to give the Tigers a spark on the defensive end, grabbing six boards and four steals. North battled to the end, holding OA to only six points in the fourth. Ava McKeon (six points) returned from injury to give North a spark on both ends of the floor. Sam Sweeney added eight points for the visitors.
Attleboro, 68 @ Bishop Feehan, 67 – Final (2 OT) – Attleboro senior Jaiden Outland sank a pair of free throws with just two seconds left in the game to help the Bombardiers complete a comeback win over Bishop Feehan. The Bombardiers stormed back in the fourth quarter, erasing a 13-point deficit at the start of the period with 24 points that included four three-pointers, including one with 30 seconds left from Hayden Crowley (career-high 19 points) to tie the game at 55-55. Crowley and Spencer Sherck hit back-to-back threes in the first overtime but the Shamrocks climbed back in it to force a second overtime. With Feehan leading by one, Attleboro got the ball to Outland (14 points), who faked a three to draw the defense, and then drew contact going up for a layup to get to the line. He sank both to give Attleboro the win. Junior Neo Franco added 18 points for the Bombardiers, scoring 11 in the fourth quarter and overtime periods.
Mansfield, 61 @ Natick, 52 – Final – Mansfield had a strong end to the third quarter and went on to dominate the fourth quarter to rally for a win over Natick. Davon Sanders hit a three just before the buzzer at the end of the third to get the Hornets within two, and Mansfield opened the fourth with a 7-0 run and held Natick scoreless for over four minutes to start the frame. With just two minutes to go, the Hornets turned a 47-45 deficit at the start of the fourth to a 58-50 lead. Junior Eddie MccCoy hit a trio of threes and poured in a career-high 23 points, adding seven rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals to lead the way for Mansfield. Trevor Foley added 12 points — all coming in the second half — as well as five boards, four assists, four steals, and a pair of blocks, and Sanders finished with 11 points and three steals.
Stoughton, 46 vs. Waltham, 37 – Final – Freshman Kirsten McKay and sophomore Leah McCarty combined for 29 points and Stoughton picked up its first win under head coach Eric Adams. McKay led the way with 15 points, while McCarty added 14 points and three rebounds. Raina Tat chipped in with eight points and pulled down six boards. Katrina Varnum continued to be strong in the paint, snatching 12 rebounds and blocking four shots in the win.
Boys Indoor Track
Sharon, 45 @ Oliver Ames, 55 – Final
Foxboro, 20 @ Mansfield, 76 – Final – Mansfield took first in all but one event, including relays, and had two of the top three in eight events to run away with a win over Foxboro. The Hornets got key points by finishing 1-2 in the 2 Mile (Sam Taylor, Kiernan Hoff), the 55M dash (Myles Brown, Sirius Li), the 1000M (Marco Geminiani, Sean Higgins), the 600M (Troy Penney, Kyle Dickinson), and the 600M (Grady Sullivan, Matt Breitenstein). Evan Rawlings added a win in the high jump (5-02.00) and the 55M hurdles (8.30), Evan Thevenot won the long jump (19-04.25), and Talon Johnson won the 1 Mile race in 4:49.98. Foxboro’s Joe Flanagan took first in the shot put with an impressive throw of 47-00.00, second best in the Hock on the night.
Stoughton, 79 @ Canton, 21 – Final
Attleboro, 58 @ North Attleboro, 42 – Final
Milford, 21 @ Taunton, 79 – Final
Franklin, 54 @ King Philip, 46 – Final
Girls Indoor Track
Sharon, 32 @ Oliver Ames, 66 – Final – Oliver Ames earned nine points from each the shot put and the 1 Mile race by taking the top three spots in each event on its way to a win over Sharon. Katie Sobieraj (5:13.48) crossed first in the 1 Mile with a league-best time by over 20 seconds with Hailey Goldman (fifth best time in the league) and Madeline Stewart rounding out the sweep. Catie Wilson continued her success in the shot put, landing a toss of 26-11.75 with Bridget Hughes and Nicole Brooks taking second and third, respectively. Adama Lamin-Bangura (high jump, 4-02.00), Amelia Andre (long jump, 15-07.00 and 300M, 45.37), Iole Apostoli (2 Mile, 13:24.13), Taegen Hodges (1000M, 3:15.10), and Jenna Gilman (600M, 1:43.95) also won for OA. Sharon’s Maude Kilmer won the 55M hurdles in 9.06.
Foxboro, 28 @ Mansfield, 68 – Final – Mansfield picked up nine points from a sweep of the shot put and took first in eight other events to earn a win over rival Foxboro. Caitlin Garrahy took first in the shot put, landing a throw of 32-03.75 with Julianna Machado and Joselyn Saba taking second and third, respectively. Chloe Guthrie and Elyssa Buchanan were both double winners for the Hornets, with Guthrie taking first in both the long jump (16-07.00) and the 55m dash (7.52) while Buchanan won the high jump (4-06.00) and the 55M hurdles (9.60).
Stoughton, 60 @ Canton, 40 – Final – Stoughton’s Shayla Ford and Belleya Franck each won a pair of events to propel the Black Knights to a win over Canton. Ford crossed first in the 50M dash (7.62) as well as the 300M (42.06), and Franck earned first in the 55M hurdles (9.89) and the high jump (4-06.00). Other winners for Stoughton include Sivannah Marcy (long jump, 14-08.50), Simarah McPherson (shot put, 29-06.50), Elaine McCarty (1000M, 3:34.07), and Julie Richardson (600M, 1:51.60). Canton’s Nora Giannacopoulos (1 Mile, 6:08.14) and Johanna Bouwmeester (2 Mile, 14:14.06) each came in first in their event.
Attleboro, 47 @ North Attleboro, 53 – Final
Milford, 43 @ Taunton, 57 – Final – Taunton swept the 1000M, took the top two spots in two more events, and swept the relays to secure a win over Milford. Braelyn Nichols took first in the 1000M (3:34.79) with Kiley Quinlan and Jakhi Nicholson rounding out the top three. Caelyn O’Leary won the 600M in 1:46.93 while Phylicia Dias took second, and in the 300M, Ava Uhl (46.00) and Emersyn DePonte went 1-2.
Attleboro has consistently been in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division in recent years, and if the Bombardiers are going to be there again this year, they will have to do so with a lot of new players to the varsity level.
Not only did the Bombardiers graduate a sizable senior class, but the majority of them were also key pieces in longtime head coach Mark Houle’s lineup and rotation. Add in the transfer of promising 6’5-forward Trevor White, and Attleboro has very few pieces left from last year. But that’s not to say Attleboro is without talent. Junior Neo Franco is coming off a very successful first year with the team, earning HockomockSports All-Underclassmen Team honors. Jaiden Outland saw more and more minutes as the season went on and he showed what he’s capable of with a career-high 18 points in Attleboro’s win over Durfee in late February last year; he could be poised for a big year. Senior Michael Beverly is the third returner for the Bombardiers after picking up some minutes last year while newcomer senior Justin Hanrahan could be a key piece right away.
Another reason for optimism is that most of the new faces in the lineup this year played for the Bombardiers’ JV squad last season, which posted an impressive 19-2 record. Seniors Spencer Sherck, Zyeem Charles, Nathan Hodson, and Michael Alfonso will provide key leadership for Houle this year. Junior Max Crawford will join sophomores Dante Monestime, Hayden Crowley, and Brady Erwin as potential contributors for the Bombardiers.
“We need to continue our commitment to be a highly competitive defensive team, our communication, and understanding of defensive concepts is a priority and is a reason we were one of the top defensive teams in the league last year,” Houle said.
2021-2022 Record: 9-11 Coach: Eric MacKinnon
Canton surprised a lot of people on the outside of the program with a nine-win season that certainly was good enough for a playoff spot, but the Bulldogs have put that seeding drama in the rearview mirror and are now focused on surprising people again this year.
In order to do so, the Bulldogs will need new players to step up as second-year head coach Eric MacKinnon only has one returning starter from last year. Matt Chafin emerged as a top perimeter option, averaging 8.8 points per game last year (reaching double figures in just under half of the games). Although he isn’t returning from last year’s lineup, Julius Hicks provides a big boost for MacKinnon and Bulldogs, coming back after missing all of last season with an injury. Hicks would have certainly been in the rotation last year and will be a vital piece this year. Junior Zaza Francoeur is an athletic wing player that can impact the game on both ends of the floor for the Bulldogs.
Defense emerged as one of Canton’s strengths a season ago as the Bulldogs bought into MacKinnon’s game plan. Canton allowed the least amount of points against in the Davenport division at 50.6, and they will look to replicate that again this year.
“With our personnel and style of play we have the ability to score from the perimeter and play inside-out at times,” MacKinnon said. “Our length and athleticism should allow us to get out in transition.”
Foxboro is one of the few teams in the league that has more familiar faces returning than not, and after only missing out on the Davenport title by one game last year, the Warriors are aiming to compete with defending champs Sharon and division newcomer Mansfield for the top spot this season.
The Warriors boast one of the better senior classes, anchored by HockomockSports First Team selection Alex Penders. Penders, a 6-foot-5 forward who averaged 16.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last year and recently committed to play at Ithaca next year, is joined by classmates Sam Golub, Ryan LeClair, and Andrew Finn. Golub and LeClair played a lot of minutes for head coach Jon Gibbs last season and both improved as the season went on. Having three experienced players will certainly give the Warriors an advantage, especially on the defensive side of the ball where Gibbs always has his teams prepared.
Penders can score in a variety of ways and will be a matchup problem for most teams in the league. Golub is a proven shooter that can get hot at any time while LeClair is a pesky defender, and as seen by his performance on the road at Stoughton last year, is a capable scorer. Penders will certainly be the focus of the offense but he’s a very unselfish player and Foxboro should have a good balance in the scoring column. While the Warriors have a strong senior class, they’re still a relatively young team. With only two juniors, the rest of the roster is filled by six sophomores and two freshmen. Junior Ryan Cotter and sophomores Ryan Kelley and Nolan Gordon will be names to keep an eye on.
“This is a very hard-working and coachable group that is improving on a daily basis,” Gibbs said. “We have a very exciting blend of experienced veterans and newcomers who are hungry to contribute. If we can defend and rebound at a high level, the potential is there for a very successful season.”
2021-2022 Record: 21-4 Coach: CJ Neely
Entering the past two seasons, there was a lot of unknown for the Panthers after graduating a large senior class each year. It’s the opposite this year as Franklin graduated just three players and has the majority of last year’s squad that went 21-4 back in the fold.
After a third-place finish in the Kelley-Rex last season, Franklin could be the team to beat this go around. Junior Sean O’Leary highlights a talented and experienced group of long, athletic players. O’Leary, a 6-foot-4 forward that can score from anywhere on the court and was named to the HockomockSports All-Underclassmen Team last year, will be one of the top players in the league this year. Junior Andrew O’Neill (8.8 points per game) is another returner and head coach CJ Neely will lean on a small but talented senior class that features Ben Harvey (HockomockSports All-Defensive Team), Justin Allen, Geino Scaringello, and Hayden Morandi.
Juniors Hansy Jacques, Bradley Herndon, and Andrew Benoit were all on the team last year and could see increased minutes this season. There will be more opportunities on offense for players to step up with the graduation of Sean Vinson (12.8 ppg) and last year’s leading scorer and HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Henry Digirogio (16.1 ppg) has opted not to play this year. And promising sophomore Caden Sullivan, who likely would have been in the rotation, will miss significant time due to injury.
“The preseason has been very competitive at practice,” Neely said. “We have a great group of guys who really care for each other. While we do have a good amount of returning players, there is a lot of playing time up for grabs and it will be a daily challenge for guys to earn roles. I have been most impressed with how committed and focused the players have been each day on the court and in film sessions to always look for ways to improve as a group. It will be fun to watch them grow and compete all year.”
2021-2022 Record: 6-16 Head Coach: Dave DeStefano
King Philip brings back a good portion of its roster and is looking to book a spot in the tournament and contend for the Kelley-Rex division title.
The Warriors are one of the few teams in the league that brings back their leading scorer from a year ago in Will Laplante, a seasoned veteran that has averaged over 16 points per year in each of the last two seasons. Laplante is joined by senior Grant Kinney, who had some breakout games last year, and Tommy Martorano, who showed that at his best (a career-high 36 points) that he can score with the best players in the league. That trio is three of KP’s top five scorers from a year ago. Senior Colin Peck, a 6-foot-2 forward, will likely see an expanded role after playing some valuable minutes last year.
Juniors Tommy McLeish and Trevor Clyde, both 6-foot-3 forwards, have made a big jump from last year and will be key pieces for head coach Dave DeStefano this year. New additions Danny Silveria and Peter Cataldo, both juniors, look to factor in as key defensive pieces for the Warriors. Sophomore Tommy Kilroy didn’t see a ton of minutes early on last year but his role expanded as the season went on, scoring in double figures against Mansfield and in a win over Xaverian. Fellow sophomores Brandon Nicastro, Drew Laplante, and Jack Assini will all looking to contribute this season as well.
“The boys have really committed this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The limited practices so far have been really competitive. It’s no secret that our defense has to drastically improve to be competitive in the league. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops. On offense, we are looking to have a balanced attack and create great scoring opportunities as a team.”
2021-2022 Record: 21-5 Coach: Mike Vaughan
Mansfield had its incredible streak of nine straight Kelley-Rex division titles come to an end last season, and now the Hornets start a new chapter as they begin their first season in the Davenport. Expectations remain sky-high for the Hornets, who are an immediate favorite for the division crown.
The Hornets have two of their best scorers back from last year in senior Chris Hill (12.5 ppg) and junior Trevor Foley (8.2 ppg), but Mansfield did graduate its leading scorer in Matty Hyland and lost five of its top seven scorers. That means there’s a lot of opportunity for new faces to step up. Hill has probably played more varsity minutes than anyone else in the league and he can compete at a high-level night in and night out. Foley really emerged as a top player by the end of the season, averaging over 16 points per game in March.
Senior Caden Colby was part of the rotation last year and will see a bigger role this year while classmate JT Veiking is a 6-foot-5 forward that can score on the perimeter or down low. Senior Michael Creedon rounds out the senior class and can provide a spark with increased minutes this year. Junior Eddie McCoy is poised for a breakout year, an athletic wing player that can attack the rim and cause problems for opposing defenses. Juniors Brandon Jackman and Davon Sanders should see time in the Mansfield backcourt this year.
“This season will be our tallest team in my tenure, it will be fun to see what different things we can do on the defensive end,” Vaughan said. “Offensively we should have plenty of power to put points on the board but the big question mark will be how quickly we can find our max compete level.”
2021-2022 Record: 2-21 Coach: Paul Seaver
Milford had an entirely new team last season and was the youngest team in the league. With just four seniors gone from last year, the Hawks are still a young team but head coach Paul Seaver believes his group learned a lot last year and is trending in the right direction.
The Scarlet Hawks have three of the top four scorers from last season back in the fold, including junior Jake Soares (8.0 ppg), sophomore Andrew Rivera (7.8 ppg), and senior Wyatt Zagami (7.1 ppg). Zagami, who can really fill it up when he’s on a hot streak, is joined by classmates Guy Saintyl, Jacob Ligor, and Joe Buckley to round out a small senior class for the Hawks. Soares was probably Milford’s most consistent player for the first two months before an injury ended his season early, and Rivera showed some glimpses of high-level play throughout the year.
Having a year of experience will be key, especially as a lot of other Hock teams are featuring a lot of first-year varsity players. Sophomore Luca Testa is another young player that saw a lot of minutes for the Hawks last year and will be a key piece during this campaign. Sophomore Gus Coutinho is a dangerous shooter and freshman CJ Farrell could be an impact player right away as well.
“Last season we were very young and very inexperienced,” Seaver said. “We learned how to compete while playing a tough schedule. Now with double digits returnees, we not only aim to improve on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball – we aim to improve in all aspects. Our goals and expectations will be what we make them and what we do with the opportunities that are given to us. I have a great crop of kids who are committed, hard-working individuals who continue to climb the ladder and do things the right way.”
2021-2022 Record: 5-15 Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
North Attleboro battled through an up-and-down season last year that featured some impressive wins — like a double-digit victory over Foxboro and a sweep of Stoughton — as well as some tough losses, like to Foxboro in overtime and to rival Attleboro by just three points. The Rocketeers graduated their two leading scorers from a year ago but return the majority of a roster that was playing their first varsity minutes last year.
Besides its four seniors last year, the rest of the Rocketeers were brand new to the varsity level. That means this year’s group will feature a bit more experience, albeit North is still on the young side. Givany Carney is North’s most experienced player and will be one of the go-to options on the offensive end of the court. Carney is a crafty player that does well getting to the rim with a good combination of speed and size. Senior Jack Munley is a tone-setter and can change the momentum of a game with his effort while senior Derek Maceda showed glimpses last season as a potential go-to guy offensively, both on the perimeter and attacking the basket.
Sophomores Ryan Bannon and Chase Frisoli both played some valuable minutes as freshmen and should see increased roles this year. Bannon is a solid defender and can be a contributor on the offensive end while Frisoli is a high-IQ player with range. Junior Chris Hanewich is another player that head coach Sean Mulkerrins is relying on to contribute on both ends of the floor. With some good experience, North will be looking to establish itself as one of the hardest-working teams in the league, which starts on the defensive end.
“We have a roster of kids who are working hard to improve and learn our system,” Mulkerrins said. “Our practices have been very competitive. We are very focused on building and maintaining our team culture so we are prepared to compete against the talented basketball programs in the Hockomock League.”
2021-2022 Record: 10-12 Coach: Oliver Vil
Oliver Ames is going to have a new look this year under second-year head coach Oliver Vil. The Tigers lost the majority of the team that won a preliminary playoff game last season and missed out on the Davenport division title by just a game.
Not only will the lineup feature new faces, but it will also feature a lot of new faces as the Tigers have a deep group this year. Senior captains Chris Elias and Ari Spiliakos are two returners that will be leaders for the team both on and off the court. Senior Nick Asiaf is a capable ball handler and can attack the rim while seniors Nick Rhodes and Jaden Graham provide key depth. Sophomore Cole Craffey played some meaningful minutes a year ago and will be one of the Tigers’ go-to options offensively this year. He’s very confident with the ball and can score inside and out.
With seven of their top eight scorers from a season ago gone, there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up. Freshman Solen Lolonga was in the starting lineup for the Tigers’ season-opening win over Southeastern and had a strong showing with 19 points. Vil also has a deep junior class that features Jake Willard, Daniel Casey, Andrew Sullivan, and David Rodgers, who all played in the win.
“Our strength this season on offense will be our ability to move the ball and create shots for one another,” Vil said. “We will have the same defense approach as last season, forcing our opponents into taking difficult shots and limiting transition offensive baskets. We now have minimal room for careless mistakes to compete in an already difficult conference. I am extremely excited to battle a plethora of well-coached disinclined teams every night we step on the floor to play a game this season.”
2021-2022 Record: 12-9 (Davenport division champions) Coach: Andrew Ferguson
Sharon won its first Davenport division title in eight seasons last year and with its top three scoring options back in the mix this year, the Eagles will be in contention to repeat that feat again this year.
Senior Matt Baur and juniors Jacob McLoughlin and Nate Katznelson give Sharon one of the top trios of players in the league. Baur, who earned HockomockSports First Team honors last year after averaging 15.1 points and 6 rebounds a game, is the heart and soul of the team. He leads by example both on and off the court and is the engine of the team. He doesn’t have to fill up the scoring column to have a big impact on the game. Both Katznelson and McLoughlin emerged as top players in their first season and will be vital pieces this year.
Senior captains Jack Bates and Tyler Goodman both came off the bench as key pieces for head coach Andrew Ferguson last year and will see increased responsibility this year. Bates is a pesky defender and a good floor general while Goodman can provide a spark with his shooting. Senior Dante James, an athletic wing player, comes over from Mansfield and should give the Eagles a big boost with their depth. Juniors Ryan Brown, Anthony Piron, and Cam Sherman provide backcourt depth while juniors Zach Wise, Jaden Segal, and sophomore Sam Letendre provide physicality to the Eagles’ frontcourt.
“With a small senior class, this team is blending experience with youth and has already begun to form a tight bond both on and off the court. Our practices have been super competitive and we look forward to competing against a very strong schedule.”
2021-2022 Record: 9-11 Coach: Evan Taylor
Last season, Stoughton entered the final stretch of league games right in the mix for the Davenport division title but ended up on the outside looking in finishing in a tie for fourth and just missing out on the postseason. With just a few returners back in the mix, the Knights will be looking for a new group of players to lead them into the tournament and contend for the division crown.
Stoughton has two major challenges to address this year, one on each side of the ball. The Black Knights lost their three top scorers from last year with Connor Andrews (19.9 ppg) and Cash Mathurin (5.9 ppg) graduating, and Rayan Sablon (18.3 ppg) transferring out. Head coach Evan Taylor will lean heavily on his four returning players to try and fill that void. Senior Jayden Costa Haywood played some meaningful minutes a season ago and has taken a big leap and the Knights will look for him to provide an offensive punch. Junior Liam Pearl (5.2 ppg) also worked his way into the rotation and made some key shots in clutch moments, including at Foxboro and at home against Canton. Sophomore Matthew Greenspoon (5.6 ppg) is the top scorer back from last year and will look to build on a strong debut season as a freshman.
The other challenge for Stoughton will be on the defensive end as the Knights look to make a drastic improvement after allowing over 60 points per game last year. On top of the returners, Taylor is looking for senior Tagh Swierzewski and junior Jarred Daughtry to make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball. Other newcomers include senior Obioma Dike, juniors Elijah Connor, and Nathan Figaro, sophomore Mykel Thomas, and freshmen Anthony Alessi and Aiden Rideout.
“Defense has been the main focus at the start of this season,” Taylor said. “Our goal is to be a top three defense in the league with a lot of great on-ball defenders and high IQ players on the
2020-2021 Record: 19-3 (Kelley-Rex division champions) Coach: Charlie Dacey
This season will mark a new chapter in the storied history of Taunton basketball. After back-to-back Kelley-Rex championships, including the program’s first outright title a year ago, the Tigers will have a lot of new faces in the lineup this year.
The biggest challenge will be replacing the production from one of the best trios in the Hock in recent history in Player of the Year Trent Santos, Faisal Mass, and Tristan Herry, who combined for just under 75% of the team’s scoring last year. One of the familiar faces returning to the starting group is junior Troy Santos, who has the most career points of anyone on the roster. Santos showed some flashes last year but will have a lot more looks this year. Seniors Chris Volcy and Alvinsky Morisseau, and junior Tyson Carter are also returners from last year and figure to see increased minutes this season.
Senior Chris Perault could be the biggest addition for the Tigers, a player that can score both from the perimeter and attacking the basket. Santos will factor in as one of the top shooters both on the team and in the league while Volcy has really improved from last year and could be a top scoring option for the Tigers. Longtime head coach Charlie Dacey is looking for Dimari Brown and Travis Johnson to provide a spark on the low block, plus some more faces to step up off of the bench.
“This year’s Taunton team will be very different from last year. This edition will be faster without a singular scorer, points can come from a variety of styles,” Dacey said. “Speed and aggressive defense will be the key to Taunton’s success this year.”
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro got the ball to start the second half of Friday night’s non-league game at Tozier-Cassidy Field with the score knotted at 7-7. When the Bombardiers took the field again for their second possession of the third quarter, they did so with a two-score advantage.
The Bombardiers blocked back-to-back punts for touchdowns to open up a 14-point lead and never looked back. Matt Harvie tossed three second-half touchdown passes, two of them to Aidan Pantages, and Attleboro rolled to a 42-19 victory over Stoughton.
“It’s great as you’re calling an offense to sit on the sidelines and watch the defense score,” first-year Attleboro coach Jim Winters said. “It certainly takes a weight off of you. We’ve got a lot of athletes, we put them out there, and they made plays.”
Attleboro’s first drive of the game was a turnover on downs at the Stoughton 35. Two plays later, the Black Knights struck first. Jared Daughtry looked out to his left for a receiver but, with everyone covered, he turned to his right and hit Tagh Swierzewski in the flat. The senior running back burst past the Attleboro secondary, racing down the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown.
Pantages had a big day on special teams as well as at receiver. He returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards out to midfield. After a long injury delay, Attleboro went to work offensively. Harvie (10-of-17, 216 yards) looked downfield on third and nine, finding Cole McKenna in one-on-one coverage for a 38-yard gain. After a 10-yard gain by Adrian Rivera (16 carries, 77 yards), Harvie punched it in with a one-yard sneak to tie things at 7-7.
Stoughton was on the move on its next possession, with Daughtry (7-of-18, 149 yards) hitting Alex Huynh (four catches, 75 yards) for 21 to get to the Attleboro 29. The Black Knights converted on third and short to have first down at the 16, but Brody McKenna sacked Daughtry for a loss of eight and then snuffed out a screen to Swierzewski on third and long for a loss of six to force a turnover on downs.
Both teams were moving the ball and getting into the opposition half of the field, but neither converted those drives into more points before the break.
Attleboro got another good kickoff return, this time of 40 yards by Michael Huntington, and started at the Stoughton 45, but was forced into a three-and-out. Stoughton had little more success starting at its own eight and Liam Pearl dropped back to punt from the goal line. Cole McKenna got around the edge and blocked the kick, with lineman Isaiah Miranda recovering the loose ball and setting off a wild celebration on the Attleboro sideline.
The Black Knights struggled to move the ball on their next possession as well, with Aiden Hochwarter breaking up the third down pass to force another punt. Pearl’s kick was blocked again, this time by Rivera racing around the end. Hochwarter picked up the ball inside the 20 and tiptoed down the sideline for the score.
“It happened to us last week too,” Stoughton coach Greg Burke said. I thought we worked enough on it but we didn’t move the ball when we needed to. You’ve got to move the ball there. At 7-7, pretty good half, I thought we played well the first half. Those two were killers.”
Attleboro’s defense was fired up. Nathan Lally broke up a pass and the combination of Casey Victorio and Michael McGowan forced an errant throw on third down. The offense finally got back onto the field and promptly went to work. Harvie went deep to Brody McKenna for 33 yards to the Stoughton 37. Four plays later, Harvie went long again, for 26 yards and a score to Pantages.
Down 28-7, Stoughton needed a spark and Huynh tried to provide it with a 66-yard kickoff return all the way to the Attleboro 23. Two plays later, Daughtry eluded the pass rush and rolled to his right. Under pressure, he flung a pass to the end zone where Victor Belan made a nice play to haul it in for the 22-yard TD. The extra point was blocked.
The Bombardiers were clicking on all cylinders by this point. Rivera went for 12 yards on three carries to get a first down and then Harvie let it go downfield again. He found Cole McKenna on the sideline. The senior pulled it in and then pulled free of the attempted tackle for a 46-yard TD and a 35-13 lead.
“We had a lot of kids out but other kids stepped up,” Winters said. Attleboro was missing playmakers Anthony Salviati and Ayden Ramirez. “Other phases of the game helped us out and got us rolling a little bit. Coach Burke did a great job being able to take away our run game and we were able to hit some big passes. Matt Harvie reads the field well and we have a lot of weapons.”
McKenna was having himself a day and he picked off a Daughtry pass on the opening play of the fourth quarter, returning it to the 22. Three plays later, on third and six, Harvie lofted a pass to the back of the end zone. At first it appeared to be headed for Spencer Sherck, but Pantages was also in the area and he ended up coming out with the ball and the 18-yard TD. Josue Salguero made his sixth extra point of the night and it was 42-13.
Stoughton made sure to not go quietly. Huynh had another great kickoff return. He went 47 yards to give the Black Knights the ball at the Attleboro 40. On third and 11, Daughtry hit Huynh on a wheel route down the far sideline for a 41-yard score. The conversion attempt failed.
“I thought we played pretty well for a half, but halves don’t win football games,” Burke said. “We just didn’t get it done. They did what they had to do and special teams was everything.”
Asked if this win would help restore the team’s confidence after back-to-back, hard-fought losses to Milford and King Philip, Winters replied, “You feel good that you played hard and you competed with those top-notch teams, but by the same token this is nice to learn how to win again. We’ve got to take what we learned from the two losses because Franklin’s next.”
Attleboro (4-2) will return to league play next week with a trip to Pisini Field to face defending division champ Franklin. Stoughton (2-4) will be home next week for another non-league game against Newton North.
In a loaded Kelley-Rex division, Attleboro has largely been on the outside of the title race and the Bombardiers enter this season with an eye to the future, as they have a relatively inexperienced roster. First-year coach Jim Winters, who came from Silver Lake to replace Mike Strachan after his move to North Attleboro, will lean on a talented crew of skill position players and an aggressive mindset to be competitive with the league’s top teams.
Offensively, the Bombardiers have a lot of depth and athleticism at receiver. Senior Anthony Salviati is a dynamic playmaker who can line up in multiple positions, whether out wide or in the backfield. He was also the team’s kicker last year. Junior Matt Harvie gets the nod at quarterback to start the season after seeing time under center as a sophomore. His strong arm and ability to read the defense will be key. Senior Ayden Ramirez will be another threat on the outside and junior Adrian Rivera will be the team’s go-to back at the start of the season. Senior center Isaiah Miranda is the team’s only returning lineman, on either side of the ball, and his leadership is going to be critical to the offense’s success.
Athleticism is going to be important on defense as well. Salviati will bring his playmaking to the secondary as a safety. Winters called Ramirez one of the best corners that he has coached, while senior linebacker Ethan Lako is a ball hawk who led the team in interceptions last season. Senior safety Spencer Sherck is recovering from a preseason injury and the Bombardiers will be hoping to have his leadership back on the field as soon as possible. The defensive line remains a question mark with young players getting their first taste of varsity action this season.
“We should be fast and aggressive at the skill positions,” Winters said. About the challenges on the line, he added, “We will be very inexperienced and do not have the size of Attleboro teams of the past.”
Franklin was not only the best team in the Kelley-Rex division last year, winning its first league title since 2009, but also proved to be one of the top teams in the state. The Panthers were a win away from a spot in the Super Bowl, going toe-to-toe with Springfield Central in the state semifinal. This season, the Panthers will have to overcome the graduation of a lot of skill position players to keep the positive momentum that the program has shown over the past few seasons.
Last year’s offensive group was as good as any in the state and it showed. This season, Franklin will have a lot of new faces and a lot of versatile athletes that will be part of the game plan. Senior Jase Lyons will take over at quarterback and is a dual threat with his legs and his arm. Senior Luke Davis will be one of the primary targets out wide along with junior wideout Derek Dubriske and senior tight end Grayson Hunter. The graduation of Mack Gulla opens space for new running backs to step up. Juniors Mike Davide and Cody Howard are backs to watch out for this year. Senior Ben Papa will lead the offensive line with junior Ben Ryan and sophomore Leo Meuse adding depth and size. Senior Garrett Portesi will be back on kicking duties and gives Franklin a consistent source of points.
While the offense got a lot of attention last season, Franklin’s defense allowed fewer points than anyone else in the league. The secondary was one of the biggest strengths in 2021 and should be again this year. Senior Devine Johnson is a lockdown corner, while classmates Luke Sidwell, Bobby Padula, and Davis all are playmakers in the passing game. Junior Connor Klawson will add depth in that position. The linebacking group is led by senior Nick Quintina, who will make plays in the middle, and Howard will be a new face in that position. Senior Emmett Lackey will control the defensive line, while senior Jay Gulla is a constant threat on the edge and sophomore Julian Rampino gives another big athlete at defensive end.
“We are taking this one day at a time,” said Franklin coach Eian Bain. “Last year was a whirlwind, and culmination of many years of hard work. It is important not to lose sight of the process that got us to such great accomplishments. It remains all about the process.”
Outlook: Last season was another banner year for the Warriors, reaching another Division 2 state final and took second in what was one of the most talented years in the Kelley-Rex division.
Certainly, the Warriors have plenty of holes to fill in due to graduation like at quarterback (Charlie Grant), running back (Crawford Cantave), Jonathan Joseph (defensive back), and on both the offensive and defensive line. But head coach Brian Lee has to like the weapons he does have back this season.
It starts with one of the best two-way players in the state in senior Rudy Gately, who will be a workhorse in the backfield and a reliable option at linebacker. He’s been making plays for KP for two years and that’s likely to continue again this year. He’ll be joined in the backfield by Will Astorino (full back) and Nathan Kearney, and they’ll work with junior Tommy McLeish (6’3), who takes over at quarterback. McLeish has weapons in Matt Kelley, who is not only one of the best kickers around but will also line up at receiver and defensive back, as well as Thomas Brewster.
The strength of the squad likely lies where it usually does: in the trenches. The Warriors are big up front on both sides of the ball and return two of the best linemen in the state in 6’6 265-pound Chris Sesay, who holds D1 offers from Eastern Michigan and Brown among others, and 6’0, 260-pound junior Sean King.
Defensively, Astorino will be one of the key pieces at linebacker while Sesay looks to be a force to reckon with on the defensive line.
“As far as strength and weaknesses go, we lost a lot of players from all different positions so we are just in the process of still figuring out what we are, who we are, and if we have all the right guys on the field and in the right spot,” Lee said. “Despite what we’ve lost, our goal is to be prepared and focused each week so that we can be competitive.”
Milford has come a long way in the past couple of seasons, earning wins over its Kelley-Rex division rivals, putting in a challenge for the league title, and making a run to the Div. 2 semifinals. The Hawks will try to continue building on that momentum this fall with the hope of a talented and experienced lineup bringing home a first Kelley-Rex title.
Senior quarterback Evan Cornelius is back to run the Milford offense after a strong junior campaign. Cornelius gives the Hawks a threat with either his strong arm or his ability to make plays with his legs and he helped Milford put together one of the league’s top offensive units last year. Senior wideout Isaiah Pantalone had a breakout junior season and emerged as one of the most dangerous receivers in the Hock. Junior Damien Carter can line up in multiple positions and classmate Nicholas Araujo can make an impact at receiver or as one of the league’s top kickers. Junior Keith Lee and senior Tyler Potter will be two of the top returning lineman and the Milford line got a huge boost by the transfer of Ryan O’Connor from Lawrence Academy.
Cornelius is just as impactful on the defensive side of the ball with his speed and size at defensive end. Lee, Potter, and O’Connor add strength to the interior of the Milford line. Araujo will be one of the key returning players at linebacker. Milford’s athleticism at receiver translates into a strong secondary as well. Carter and Pantalone are both playmakers on the edge and senior Jayden Archeval emerged as one of the top one-on-one cover guys in the league last year.
“We don’t have great numbers and will have to stay healthy,” Milford coach Dale Olson explained, “but have a talented group that has worked hard to rebuild this program.”
Outlook: The 2022 season marks a new chapter in the very rich history of North Attleboro football. Coming off a narrow loss in the Division 3 state championship, the Rocketeers have a brand new head coach along with a slew of new faces in new positions.
Mike Strachan is now at the helm of the Big Red. Strachan, who played for the Rocketeers in high school for legendary coach Ray Beaupre, had been the head coach of rival Attleboro since 2013 before switching in his Bombardier blue back to Rocketeer red.
He’ll have the tough task of finding replacements for a very talented senior class from last year, including star Tyler DeMattio – who played a handful of positions over the past four years, including quarterback, running back, linebacker, and kicker – as well as fellow league all star Tyler Bannon. But the cupboard is far from empty for Strachan, who is looking to uphold the high standards and tradition of North Attleboro football.
Sophomore Chase Frisoli returns at quarterback after an impressive freshman season. He will have a lot of new weapons to work with this year, and Strachan is leaning heavily on a big offensive line to not only protect Frisoli but set the tone with a strong running game. The line is anchored by Zack Gallagher (6’3, 280) and North will look to run behind him as well as Kaden Leary, Lucas Mattson, Jack Munley, Nolan McLoughlin, and Danny Locke. Nate Shultz will be the primary ball carrier and brings an explosive run game to the table.
“Nate will lead the defense at free safety [too],” Strachan said. “Nate brings breakaway speed to the offense and has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. In addition, Nate is a tremendously smart player and gives us the on-field leadership required to have a great team.”
On the defensive side, the Rocketeers will turn to veteran linebacker Greg Berthiaume, who lead the D3 finalists in tackles last year. With Berthiaume in the mix, North’s strength defensively will be its linebackers, with Ryan Bannon, Aidan Conrad, and Julian House also in the mix.
Outlook: Taunton took a step in the right direction during the 2022 season with five wins and a trip to the state tournament, but the Tigers went without a win in league play. With an experienced and talented group back in the fold this year, head coach Brad Sidwell and his Tigers will look to make a splash in the league and continue to move the program forward.
It will all start up front for Taunton because of a big and talented group of linemen that have a lot of varsity experience. The team’s three captains are all members of the offensive line: seniors Ryan MacDougall (center), Nathan LaPlante (guard), and William Guachichulca-Torres (tackle). They’ll be joined by senior Logan Frank (guard) and junior Bryan Joanis (tackle). All five register above 6’0 and have a lot of varsity experience under their belt.
Behind them will be returning quarterback Jake Leonard, who is in his third year as the starting quarterback for the Tigers. While Leonard lost some of his top targets from last year, he has some dangerous weapons at his disposal still, including Jose Touron (fresh off an impressive sophomore campaign), seniors Mckyen Gonsalves and Braden Mullen, and speedy junior Dmitrius Shearrion. After a promising start to last year was cut short due to injury, Bryan Batista is back in the mix at running back along with Etha Harris and Malachai Johnson.
Defensively, the Tigers boast an athletic secondary, a big defensive line, and a mix of veteran and new linebackers. Laplante will be among the most disruptive defensive linemen in the league and will be joined by Frank, Joanis, and senior Dom Kessel. MacDougall had a great year at linebacker last year and will be flanked by Harris, senior Tanner Brannon, junior Ryan Keenan, and sophomore Elijah Prophete.
“We have a solid nucleus of experienced players that have worked hard during the off-season,” Sidwell said. “As always, we look to play well, improve, and gain some momentum during our non-league battles to prepare us for the highly competitive Hockomock Kelley-Rex Division.”