High School: Massachusetts High School Football Playoff Preview

William Watson and Springfield Central are looking to win their fourth straight Super Bowl

The MIAA unveiled the playoff brackets for all eight divisions and there are some intriguing first round match ups so without further ado, let’s break it all down.

Division 1

Favorites: Springfield Central is the clear favorite in my opinion but Andover, Central Catholic, Franklin St, John’s Prep, Brockton and Xaverian are also in the mix and more than good enough to get to Gillette.

We could potentially see rematches of last year’s sectional finals in D1 and that would be fantastic.

Brockton is playing as well as anyone and they are the one team that could throw a wrench in all of this.

Sleeper: If you are looking for a sleeper, Everett is that team. They got knocked out early last season and playing in the GBL hurt their ranking but the Tide are skilled and dangerous. A tough opening round match up at Taunton could be a good indication of just how good this team is.

Best 1st Round Match-Ups

Wachusett at Xaverian

Everett at Taunton

Brockton at Methuen

Final Four: Springfield Central, Franklin, St. John’s Prep, Central Catholic

Super Bowl Champ: Springfield Central

Division Two

Favorites: Despite not dominating teams of late, Catholic Memorial is still the clear cut favorite in Division II. Barring injury, they should win it all.

D2 is as deep as ever and while a couple of schools that are traditional playoff contenders failed to qualify, the usual suspects are in the mix. Milford, King Philip, Mansfield, Marshfield and Reading all have a shot to get to Gillette.

Newcomers such as Peabody, Leominster and Chelmsford are dangerous teams with high octane offenses that can win shootouts.

Sleeper: Peabody is a team that could upset an established favorite on their side. Shea Lynch and company have been good all season long and they have the offense to keep up with anyone in this division including CM.

Best 1st Round Match-Ups

Leominster at Reading

Wellesley at Mansfield

Bishop Feehan at Peabody

Final Four: CM, King Philip, Milford, Peabody

Super Bowl Champ: Catholic Memorial

Division 3

Favorites: Milton, North Attleboro and Billerica are among the favorites but there are a bunch of programs in D3 that are good enough to stun a top seed and advance.

One of those teams is Walpole who has a talented senior skill group that has proven to be tough to stop this season. Defending champion Marblehead has plenty of talent back and a coaching edge. The Magicians are more than capable of getting back to Gillette.

Plymouth South and Hanover acquitted themselves well in the Patriot League and have the necessary skill to make a deep playoff run. Stopping Casious Johnson is no easy task.

Wakefield and Westfield are two teams that will make some noise. Westfield especially has a chance to get people’s attention when they visit Billerica.

Sleeper: Wakefield has flown under the radar this season but they were undefeated for a reason. They are really good defensively and you know what they saw about defense this time of year.

Best 1st Round Match-Ups

Westfield at Billerica

Minnechaug at Milton

Somerset-Berkeley at Walpole

Final Four: Milton, Walpole, North Attleboro, Plymouth South

Super Bowl Champ: Milton

Division 4

Favorites: Duxbury is the prohibited favorite but this division has some good teams that could surprise. Defending champion Scituate is on the Dragons side so we could see a Super Bowl rematch at some point.

Grafton was once again one of the top teams in Central, Mass and they have a legit shot to get to Gillette. It is great having two of the best backs in the state in Tyson Thomas (Grafton) and Angelo LaRose (South Community School) on the same side of the bracket.

Holliston, Tewksbury and Foxboro are teams that are capable of making runs and knocking off a higher seed. Holliston especially. Quarterback T.J Kiley has been one of the best signal callers in the state.

Sleeper: Foxboro is playing well. Their defense has been especially good of late. The Warriors are young and a deep playoff run could set this team up for future success.

Best 1st Round Match-Ups

Melrose at Holliston

East Longmeadow at Middleboro

Marlboro at Tewksbury

Final Four: Duxbury, Holliston, Tewksbury, Foxboro

Super Bowl Champs: Duxbury

Division 5

Favorites: Hudson is the one seed and rightfully so. Despite that, they don’t have a signature win and they draw defending champion Swampscott in the first round.

North Reading has the most talent back and are poised to make a return trip to Gillette. Dover-Sherborn has played good defense all season long and they have the offense to win a shootout if need be. Shawsheen went undefeated and has a potent offense. They are more than capable of coming out of their region. Bishop Fenwick has the track record of success. Their only loss was to Bishop Feehan.

ORR and Fairhaven is a great first round match up. Both teams are good and can make a run if they win Friday night.

Sleeper: Maynard beat a good Chelmsford team week one and are a team that can score. They are averaging 36 points per game over their last four games.

Best 1st Round Match Ups

Watertown at Dover-Sherborn

Triton at Apponequet

Fairhaven at ORR

Final Four: North Reading, Shawsheen, Bishop Fenwick, Dover-Sherborn

Super Bowl Champs: North Reading

Division 6

Favorites: Stoneham and Rockland are the two favorites but this division is deep and there are plenty of schools in the middle of this bracket who could pull off upsets and advance. It won’t be easy however because these two programs are well coached and talented.

Blackstone Valley RVT is a team that has made runs in the past and made it to Gillette in 2019. The Beavers will always be a factor in this division. St. Mary’s returned a talented team this season and has one of the best players in D6 in David Brown. Abington hasn’t been as good as years past but Jim Kelliher and his staff have a ton of playoff experience.

Winthrop is another team to keep an eye on. Their only losses are to Stoneham, St. Mary’s and Peabody.

Sleeper: Bellingham is playing well and they have an explosive offense led by junior quarterback Dasha Domercant who is a good athlete and can make plays as a runner and passer.

Best 1st Round Match-Ups

Bellingham at Lynnfield

Oakmont Regional at Sandwich

East Bridgewater at Abington

Final Four: Stoneham, Blackstone RVT, Rockland, St. Mary’s

Super Bowl Champs: Rockland

Division 7

Favorites: Defending champion Cohasset will be the favorite but number one seed West Boylston and number three seed Saint Bernard’s are both programs that are equipped to make deep runs and can get to Gillette Stadium.

Amesbury is a talented team that beat North Reading earlier this season. Wahconah has championship pedigree and despite being “down” still went 6-2. Mashpee is another program that has been there and is a scary lower seed.

Millbury went undefeated and is a team that has flown under the radar. The Woolies are averaging 37 points per game.

Sleeper: West Bridgewater has been a good program in recent years and has the playoff experience necessary to make a run.

Best 1st Round Match-Ups

Mashpee at St. Bernard’s

Northbridge at Millbury

West Bridgewater at Wahconah

Final Four: Wahconah, Amesbury, Cohasset, St. Bernard’s

Super Bowl Champs: Cohasset

Division 8

Favorites: Hull has had a terrific season and if there was ever a year for them to win it, this is it. Lowell Catholic and Brighton are two teams that have the talent to match up with Hull and compete to get to Gillette.

Oxford finished 7-1 in Central, Mass and has the offense needed to make a playoff run. Manchester Essex also has a potent offense and can beat anyone on their side of the bracket if they are executing offensively.

Sleeper: Old Colony had a terrific season and won some tight games. This team is battle tested.

Best 1st Round Match-Ups

Quaboag Regional at Manchester-Essex

Murdock at Brighton

Ware at Old Colony

Final Four: Hull, Manchester-Essex, Lowell Catholic, Brighton

Super Bowl Champs: Hull

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