Tag: Gillette Stadium

Thoughts & Observations From The First Two Weeks of Mass. High School Football

Arlington Catholic quarterback Isaiah Osgood threw one touchdown last Saturday in his team’s first Catholic Central Large (CCL) meeting of the 2021 season. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

Two weeks of Massachusetts high school football are in the books. And a third is set to begin this evening with a few games to watch, including Natick (2-0) at Milford (2-0) — the game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. kickoff. 

Before we officially begin the third week, allow me to share some thoughts and observations from the first two weeks.

  • This week, we’ll be making the trek to Medford (1-1) — the Mustangs will host their initial Greater Boston League (GBL) tilt of the 2021 season by welcoming Revere (1-1) to Hormel Stadium for a 6 p.m. 

    Both teams scored week two victories with Revere beating Chelsea while Medford outlasted Cambridge. Medford’s win over Cambridge was their first on their home turf in three seasons. 

    As of this morning, Medford and Revere are two of four teams in the GBL that boast a 1-1 record, however, the Patriots and Everett both own identical 1-0 marks in conference play. 

    Lynn English, Malden, and Somerville are seeking their first wins of the 2021 season — could that happen this week? 

  • Last Saturday, I had the chance to watch two Catholic Central Large (CCL) teams compete at Hormel Stadium with Bishop Fenwick scoring an impressive 48-7 win over Arlington Catholic

    The game was highlighted by an impressive ground attack that was led by Troy Irizarry, who scored three touchdowns. The Crusaders’ defense was also fun to watch — they certainly did not make things easy on a Cougars offense that registered just one score after recording 30 points one week earlier against Lowell Catholic

    Arlington Catholic quarterback Isaiah Osgood has tossed three touchdowns this season — his third occurred last Saturday against Bishop Fenwick on a long toss down the far sidelines to Andrew Sullo
  • While it was only one game, I certainly believe the Crusaders are going to be a team to watch this fall, despite graduating some key pieces from its Fall II squad earlier this spring. Bishop Fenwick graduated 18 seniors last spring, but one might not know that by the way, this team has played in the first two weeks. 

    Bishop Fenwick quarterback Steven Woods will continue to be a signal-caller to watch — the same could be said for Costa Beechin (wide receiver/defensive back), Chris Faraca (wide receiver/defensive line), and Troy Irizarry (running back/defensive end). 
  • Going back to Medford-Revere, here are a few players I am looking forward to watching on Friday: Dominick Terranova (Medford | QB), Alvin Legros (Medford | WR), Isiah Blake (Medford | RB), Osman Elkouram (Medford | LB), Augusto Gonsalves (Revere | DE), Wilmer Rodriguez (Revere | RB), Davi Barreto (Revere | RB), and Max Doucette (Revere | LB).

  • Kipp Academy Lynn Collegiate football coach Jim Rabbitt joined me this week on the Noontime Sports Podcast — you can hear the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, as well as on other platforms, too.

    Jim and I discussed a variety of topics, including his playing days at Framingham State, his path to becoming the head coach of the Panthers, and what he and his team learned from their 2019 campaign, which saw Kipp Academy fall short of advancing to its first-ever state championship at Gillette Stadium.

    This week, Kipp Academy, which has won its first two contests, will look to continue its early season momentum when they travel to Georgetown for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Royals enter the week three clash with a 1-1 record.

  • There are quite a few teams that boast a 2-0 record, but here are the squads — well, programs, to be exact — that I am interested in watching this week to see if they can pick up their third-straight win:

    East Bostons: The Jets soared past Brighton last Friday and appear to be the team to watch in the Boston City League.

    North Reading: The Hornets are averaging 47.5 points per game but will they be able to score six or seven touchdowns tomorrow against 2-0 Pentucket?

    St. Mary’s (Lynn): Keep your eyes on the Spartans tomorrow evening as they travel to Bishop Feehan for a battle of 2-0 squads.

    Malden Catholic: The Lancers have scored back-to-back wins to start their season against Gloucester and Weymouth, but face a tough test tomorrow against Scituate, which lost a heartbreaker last Friday to Duxbury.

    And a few more: Billerica, Chelmsford, Lunenburg, Wakefield, Marblehead, North Quincy, Ashland, Norwood, Dover-Sherborn, Norton, and Cathedral.

Mac Jones Embraces Quarterback Competition

By Matt Noonan

Mac Jones knows starting jobs in the NFL are not handed out after three days of training camp. 

“We’re all competing for a job,” said Jones while speaking with members of the media after the New England Patriots’ third day of training camp concluded earlier this morning at Gillette Stadium

Jones has the potential — well, more the skillsets, to be exact — to be the team’s starting quarterback in week one. However, for the Jacksonville, Florida native to secure the starting gig, he will need to outperform Cam Newton, who is entering his second season with the Patriots after starting 15 games last fall. 

“Our goal is to win,” said Jones, who quarterbacked the University of Alabama to a national championship earlier this year against Ohio State. “I guess they’re going to obviously play the best player and that’s going to be whoever it may be, but I’m just here to work.”

Mac Jones spoke with members of the media on Friday, July 30 to discuss his first few days of training camp with the New England Patriots. (PHOTO COURTESY/Screenshot: New England Patriots YouTube Channel)

Competing for the top spot on the depth chart is nothing new to Jones, who has experienced numerous camp battles over the years at both The Bolles School and Alabama. He competed with two current NFL quarterbacks in Tuscaloosa for the starting role, including Tua Tagovailoa, whom he replaced down the stretch of the 2019 season when the current Miami Dolphins signal-caller suffered a season-ending injury against Mississippi State

His experience in both 2019, as well as last fall, should position him well to possibly snag the team’s starting role. But as the first-year signal-caller explained, “I’ve got to get better (because) I’m young and I know that, and I have to produce on the field and do exactly what I’m supposed to do on each play and fix every problem. So, if I can do that then things will work out.”  

Indeed, things could work out for Jones, who certainly has aspirations to lead the Patriots this fall. But as many believe (or think?), we’ll gain a better understanding of how Jones operates the offense when the team competes later this summer in a trio of preseason games, along with a pair of joint practices with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles

“Every day is a new day,” said Jones. “I’m going to have bad days and I’m going to have good days, and we’re all going to get better together. And when I’m in there, I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do, and everyone else is going to do what they’re supposed to do.”

Bill Belichick: We All Have A Long Way To Go

Bill Belichick says his focus heading into his team’s training camp this week is on football. (PHOTO COURTESY: CREDIT: EPA/JOHN CETRINO/People.com)

By Matt Noonan

Ahead of his team’s first training camp of the 2021 NFL season, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick met with the media this morning to discuss his team’s upcoming practices.

And as expected, the tenured coach did not have much to say.

“We all have a long way to go,” said Belichick.

Indeed, Belichick and the Patriots “have a long way to go” — the team produced just seven wins last season and missed the postseason for the first time since 2008. But many believe this year’s squad, specifically the defense, should be much better, thanks to some key offseason acquisitions that should help the Patriots contend for the top spot in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.

But as Belichick explained — and yes, it has been reported over the past few days (and weeks) — some members of the Patriots won’t be on the field tomorrow when camp begins at 9:45 a.m. And one of those players is cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was nowhere to be found during the team’s mandatory minicamp.

Gilmore, who signed a five-year, $65 million contract in 2017, wants a new deal. “I just want what I’m worth, however that plays out,” he said to Josina Anderson earlier this month.

Belichick didn’t budge when pressed about Gilmore’s contract. “I’m not going to talk about contracts and personal situations,” he said.

How Gilmore’s contract situation will play out remains a mystery, but for now, Belichick and his team will keep their focus on football going forward.

“From this point on, (I’m) focused on football and trying to get our team ready to go,” he said.

The team’s first practice will be open to the public — fans will also be able to see the team workout on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Fans can learn more about the team’s upcoming training camp by visiting the Patriots’ website.

New England will compete three times next month, including once at home when they open their preseason slate against the Washington Football Team on Thursday, August 12 with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

New Patriots Training Camp: Will Cam Newton Win The Starting Job?

Cam Newton enters the New England Patriots’ 2021 training camp as the favorite to start at quarterback. (PHOTO COURTESY: AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

By Matt Noonan

A brand new season of New England Patriots football is quickly approaching — are you ready for some football?

I am — I have been counting the days, weeks, and months since the Patriots concluded their 2020 campaign with a two-touchdown victory over the New York Jets in January at Gillette Stadium.

Like many, I am excited to see how some of the team’s offseason signings mesh with members of last year’s squad, including quarterback Cam Newton, who will enter the team’s 2021 training camp on Wednesday, July 28 as the favorite to be spotted under center in week one against the Miami Dolphins.

Newton did not have a great 2020 season — I think many know that or are aware of how he performed last fall. But coach Bill Belichick has acquired some solid pieces for the offense over the past few months, including tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Both players should certainly help Newton, as well as the offense, perform even better than they did last season — New England won just seven games in 2020 but had a chance to squeak out a few more victories had things gone their way down the stretch, especially against the Buffalo Bills in New York.

With a full year under his belt, along with some offseason practices (and meetings, of course), Newton enters training camp more prepared than he was last year, however, he certainly will be challenged by Mac Jones, who the Patriots selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in April.

Like Newton, Jones competed in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) — Jones played at Alabama while Newton competed at Auburn — and should be ready to take the reigns from the league’s most valuable player in 2015.

Jones led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in January — Alabama rolled past Ohio State, 52-24, in the College Football Playoff National Championship contest, which was held in Miami Gardens, Florida — and recorded career-highs in completions (311), passing yards (4,500), and touchdowns (41). And despite seeing limited action in 2018 and 2019, Jones should be able to translate his junior season’s success to the NFL this summer and fall.

Jones certainly has what it takes to challenge Newton for the starting quarterback spot — I am unsure if Jarrett Stidham is ready to slide up the depth chart considering he will begin his team’s camp Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham has competed in eight games since becoming a member of the Patriots organization, including five contests last season. The former Auburn signal-caller completed 22 of 44 passes for a career and season-high 250 yards and two touchdowns. He did, however, throw three interceptions compared to one in 2019.

Numerous talking heads, along with various analysts believe Mac Jones could be the starter in the opening week, but it will all depend on how he handles himself during in-game situations. As Patriots.com’s Mike Dussault explains, “Every throw of 11-on-11 work will be dissected ad nauseam, but the bottom line is whether or not Jones or Stidham do enough to dethrone Newton, and can Newton hold them off by taking significant strides in his second year in the offense.”

For now, my bet is Cam Newton will be the starter in the opening week, but I do think Patriots fans will see Mac Jones under center at some point this fall — maybe against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week four? I am not sure if week four is when Jones will be thrusted into the lineup, but we’ll certainly learn more about his readiness when the Patriots scrimmage the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles later this summer. Those inter-squad practices will help us identify which quarterback(s) is ready to lead the hometown team to hopefully a postseason appearance next January.

Cannons LC Score First PLL Win, Top Waterdogs, 13-7

Boston Cannons Helmet. (PHOTO CREDIT: Reed Smith’s Photography)

By NoontimeSports.com

Congrats are due to both coach Sean Quirk and the Cannons Lacrosse Club of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) as they scored their first-ever win on Sunday against the Waterdogs Lacrosse Club.

Sunday’s victory — a 13-7 win, which was highlighted by Lyle Thompson (four goals) and Andrew Kew (four goals) — took place at Gillette Stadium and was a part of the PLL’s opening weekend for its third season.

In addition to Thompson and Kew, the Cannons received two goals from Paul Rabil while Nick Marrocco earned his first win between the pipes with 11 saves.

The Cannons LC led the Waterdogs by four goals (5-1) after one quarter before securing a 9-2 advantage at halftime. The Waterdogs would outscore the Cannons, 5-4, during the final two sessions, but it was not enough to erase a seven-goal deficit at the break.

An original member of Major League Lacrosse, the Cannons rebranded from the Boston Cannons last December when the MLL merged with the PLL. Boston capped the final season of MLL with a championship win over the Denver Outlaws last July for its second title in franchise history.

For more on the Premier Lacrosse League, HOP HERE!