High School: Week 9 Preview

Here we go, playoff time in the MIAA, as we’ve got some terrific matchups on tap. First-round matchups across the state, and there will be some good ones.

The NEPSAC season is heating up, too, with some games that will affect bowl participation.

Let’s get to it.

Brockton at Methuen — In Division 1, this looks to be one of the games of the weekend. Brockton is the No. 9 seed, and will travel to No. 8 Methuen. This has the looks of a good, old-fashioned shootout. Brockton will feature wide receiver-turned-quarterback Cam Monteiro, and the Rangers will have quarterback Drew Eason. Both could put up big points.

Wachusett at Xaverian — In D1, Wachusett at the beginning of the season looked like a possible best team in Central Mass. But the Mountaineers took losses to Franklin and Leominster to give up that title for now. Wachusett has one of the best quarterbacks in the state in Tucker McDonald. Xaverian has a pretty complete team, and running back Michael Oates has had a big year.

Leominster at Reading — This may be the game of the weekend is D2. LEominster has been a bit of a surprise in Central Mass., as the Blue Devils are the No. 11 seed to Reading’s No. 6. Reading is unbeaten and has defeated some good teams along the way. The Rockets will have the best quarterback on the field in James Murphy.

Bishop Feehan at Peabody — This D2 showdown features a bit of a contrast in styles. Feehan, the No. 14 seed, wants to get in the I formation and pound the ball behind running back Nick Yanchuk and a big offensive line. Peabody, behind quarterback Shea Lynch and a dangerous crew of receivers, will attack with a vertical pass game.

Westfield at Billerica — Before the season, we lined up Westfield as possibly the second-beat team in Western Mass. to, of course, Springfield Central. That did not hold up, but Westfield is still a strong team that has a chance to make a run in the D3 playoffs. Billerica is the No. 7 seed and is having an undefeated season.

East Longmeadow at Middleboro — East Longmeadow has been one of the real surprises out of Western Mass. Mike Morrisino has done an excellent job of getting the Spartans to compete at a high level. Middleboro has a chance to make a run in D4 here. The Sachems own a good win over Rockland this season.

Melrose at Holliston — The No. 13 Melrose at the No. 4 Holliston game here is quite interesting and quietly one of the better games of the weekend. Holliston has only lost to Milton, and Melrose had a solid season coming out of the Middlesex League. Holliston may be the favorite, but Melrose is capable of winning this.

Swampscott at Hudson — Swampscott is one of the most dangerous No. 16 seeds in the history of this tournament. The Big Blue have won the last two D5 state titles, and could go on a run if they beat Hudson. Hudson is the top seed and owns a win over a good Maynard team that beat Chelmsford to start the season.

East Bridgewater at Abington — Most years, this game would be fit for a semifinal. As it is this year. No. 7 Abington hosts No. 10 East Bridgewater. These teams played earlier this year, with Abington taking a 28-8 win over East Bridgewater. The Vikings are always dangerous, though, and beat West Bridgewater and Norwell this season.

Mashpee at St. Bernard’s — This might be one of the better first round matchups for any recent small school game. Mashpee went 5-2 this season and comes in as a truly dangerous No. 14 seed in D7. St. Bernard’s is back as one of the best smaller programs in the state. The team’s only loss this season was to a very good Stoneham team.

West Bridgewater at Wahconah — Another very fun D7 game is this tilt between No. 9 West Bridgewater and No. 8 Wahconah. West Bridgewater is good every year, and checks in at 6-2. Wahconah has only lost to bigger programs out west like Northampton and East Longmeadow, and owns a win over West Springfield.

Taconic at Oxford — One of the best matchups in D8 is this one between No. 14 Taconic and No. 3 Oxford. Oxford is one of the favorites to win D8, and has only one loss, to D7 No. 1 seed West Boylston. Taconic owns a win over South Hadley, and has only lost to teams like East Longmeadow, Wahconah, Pittsfield, and Chicopee.

Lawrence Academy at Governor’s Academy — Both of these teams are squarely in the mix for NEPSAC bowl berths. Lawrence has had an excellent season, and only has one loss to St. Sebastian’s. Governor’s has rode running back Matt Shaw to a resurgent season, and has a running game unlike any other in the ISL.

This article has 1 Comment

Comments are closed.