Tag: High School Football

It’s All About The Next Kick For Somerville’s Alcaraz Valens

Lucca Alcaraz Valens is both a kicker and punter for the Somerville High School football team. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports)

By Matt Noonan

Lucca Alcaraz Valens will tell you he likes kicking more than punting.

His head coach, David Pereira, would agree with that assessment. Yet, he would also add that his senior placekicker, who does indeed punt for Somerville High School, “takes great pride” in competing for the Highlanders.

“He’s a really big part of our team,” said Pereira.

Kicking field goals and punting footballs was never a thought for Alcaraz Valens, who played soccer since he was four years old. He was a striker for most of his life before transitioning to cornerback as a freshman in high school.

Alcaraz Valens was often seen kicking the soccer ball forward – or, as he would say, “I had to kick the ball down the field a lot.”

Directing a soccer ball toward an opponent’s cage seemed to be enough experience needed to give him the confidence to try out for the Highlanders’ football team last school year.

He really wanted to play football and was eager to step forward when the prior coaching staff asked if any of the student-athletes that had arrived for preseason practices were interested in being the squad’s kicker. “I went over and kicked, and I became the kicker,” said Alcaraz Valens. “That’s how it went.”

Alcaraz Valens’ successful tryout did not translate to immediate success as his initial PAT (point after attempt) against North Quincy last September did not go through the uprights. Instead, it went directly into the crossbar.

“I’ve never wanted to have that feeling again,” he explained.

The missed PAT was the motivation for Alcaraz Valens, who would get more chances to erase memories of his initial kick throughout the 2021 season. But once his team’s season concluded, he was determined to improve.  

Alcaraz Valens spent the offseason seeking out football fields that weren’t covered in snow or ice to practice his kicks. He also sought out some much-needed advice from Tad Beuchert, a former placekicker for Assumption College that currently coaches kickers and punters at Endicott College.

Beuchert helped Alcaraz Valens a lot, but the same could be said for both current and past collegiate kickers he worked out with this winter and spring that provided him the necessary feedback to improve his form and mechanics that he has continued to share on Twitter and YouTube.

Alcaraz Valens still posts kicking content to social media with one post resulting in a few chuckles. It’s a video from last week’s contest with Malden that sees him catching a snap with one hand before punting the ball away.

“It wasn’t intentional,” he said, “but it looked pretty cool.”

Pereira can’t help but smile when hearing Alcaraz Valens’ analysis of the punt. Perhaps he agrees that it was cool?

Alcaraz Valens has yet to record a PAT this fall. Additionally, he has not registered a single field goal but believes it will happen one of these days.  He says the longest field goal he can make without a tee is 47-yards, but anyone that follows the Somerville native on social media knows he can boot a 55-yard field goal with some assistance.

Pereira would love to provide his kicker with an opportunity to show off his leg – maybe this Friday against Medford?

“I would love to get him some more field goal opportunities if we can,” he said. “He would love to kick more.”

But excluding his kicking duties, the first-year head coach credits his placer kicker for both his leadership and communication when it comes to special teams.

“He talks to everybody. He keeps them involved, he communicates well, and I think that’s where I have really seen him grow,” said Pereira.

While kicking is certainly on the mind of Alcaraz Valens, one thing is for sure, he wants to help his team win. Somerville has yet to crack the win column this fall and is hopeful to do so on Friday when the Highlanders host Medford, which is also seeking its first win.

Maybe Friday’s contest with the Mustangs would be an ideal time for Alcaraz Valens to kick the game-winning field goal or PAT?

Said Pereira, “Lucca deserves his chance to get out there” and kick a field goal for us.

Noontime’s High School Notebook: Revisiting Walpole’s Win Over Wellesley

Walpole quarterback Corey Kilroy led the Timberwolves on back-to-back scoring drives in the fourth quarter. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan

For two weeks, the Walpole High School football team seemed unstoppable.

The Timberwolves cruised past Framingham, 56-0, in their season-opener before clinching their first win over Natick in eight years one week later.

On Saturday, Walpole’s early-season momentum was tested, but the Timberwolves prevailed, despite yielding not one, but three touchdowns for the first time this season.  

Walpole erased Wellesley’s nine-point lead after three quarters by scoring a pair of touchdowns in the final session to secure a hard-fought 27-23 victory.

“(It’s) the first time this year (our team has) been down, fighting adversity,” explained Walpole coach Chris Sullivan.

“(Our team) showed me no signs of getting down. They were just hungry … just super proud of these guys. They never gave up.”

Indeed, the Timberwolves did not give up.

They received a major boost from quarterback Corey Kilroy, who led the Blue and Orange on back-to-back scoring drives during the final frame that saw Jamal Abdal-Khallaq and Logan Keyes reach the end zone.

Additionally, Walpole’s defense made some key plays, beginning with a third down stop by Sean O’Brien that set up Keyes’ go-ahead score. Andrew Falzone secured the win by intercepting Wellesley quarterback Vincent Ferrara on the ensuing possession.

Falzone’s interception ignited a celebration on the Walpole sidelines, along with a sigh of relief by many players and coaches that watched the offense execute back-to-back kneel downs.

“At halftime, we flipped a switch (and) everyone started to pick up the energy,” said Kilroy, who tossed three touchdowns in the win. “We knew what we needed to do, so we started executing … we came back, play after play, drive after drive.”

Added Keyes, “Everyone did their job and executed.”

Saturday’s performance, especially down the stretch, was impressive. It was a team effort, which will be needed again this week when Walpole visits Milton on Friday evening.

Like Walpole, Milton has won its first three contests, beating Framingham, Scituate, and Holliston.

Milton’s opening day win against Scituate erased memories of last year’s season-opener, which saw the Sailors beat the Wildcats, 34-20. Scituate would go on to win the Division 4 state championship by edging Duxbury, 14-13.

Sullivan knows Milton presents many challenges but knows Walpole will be prepared.

“They are a dynamic team,” Sullivan said of Walpole’s week four opponent. “It’s going to be tough … but I think the kids are up for the challenge.”

Friday’s kickoff between Milton and Walpole is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Brooks Field Turf.

Staying within the Bay State Conference (BSC), Needham secured its first win of the season last Friday over Newton North.

Halfback Tate Hoffmeister rushed for 191 yards on 27 carries for two touchdowns, along with a pair of two-point conversions. Coach Doug Kopcso tweeted about the performance against the Tigers yesterday – he said, “Hoffmeister had himself a career night versus Newton North in Needham’s 22-6 victory.”  

Needham, which dropped its first two contests of the 2022 season to King Phillip and Natick, which attempt to capture its second contest of the season on Friday when they welcome Weymouth to Memorial Park at 7 p.m.

Weymouth, which began its season with back-to-back wins over Malden Catholic and Newton North, lost to Hingham yesterday by a score of 20-15.

The Wildcats’ five-point setback to the Harbormen was highlighted by a stifling defensive performance, including Jayce Mellish, who concluded the contest with a sack and fumble recovery.

Hingham will host Whitman-Hanson on Saturday – the Panthers enter the week four meeting with a record of 2-1.

Malden heads into the final week of September with a great deal of momentum after picking up its first Greater Boston League (GBL) win against Chelsea.

The Golden Tornadoes have won two of three contests thus far while averaging five touchdowns per game.

This week, Malden will attempt to cap the opening month of the season with a win against Somerville, a squad they edged last September by a score of 14-12.

Last season’s win over the Highlanders was the first for coach Witche Exilhomme, who is in his second season with the Golden Tornadoes.  

Finally, two teams fans of high school football should keep their eyes on, both this week and next month: Burlington and Quincy.

Burlington has won two of three contests this fall under first-year coach George Balian, who will lead his alma mater into their first Middlesex League contest this Friday against Watertown.

The Red Devils outlasted Cambridge on Friday before beating Westborough in their season-opener by a score of 19-0.

Watertown beat Burlington last season, 14-7.

Quincy edged Westwood last night, 48-46, thanks to a go-ahead and a game-winning touchdown pass from Andrew Novak.

Novak connected with Jacey Ham down the far sidelines for the game-winning score to provide Quincy with its third-straight win of the season.

Ham concluded the non-league clash with three catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns while Novak completed 6 of 11 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 100 yards on 12 carries.

Quincy beat Westwood last fall by two touchdowns.

The Presidents will be idle this weekend. They will welcome Hanover to Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday, October 7 for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Noontime’s Eastern Massachusetts High School Football Teams of the Week (Sept. 19, 2022)

An impressive rushing attack by the Weymouth High School football team helped the Wildcats score a 35-20 victory last Saturday over Newton North. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

Two weeks of Massachusetts high school football are in the books.

Beginning today – and yes, every Monday throughout the remainder of the 2022 season – we will be highlighting 10 Eastern Massachusetts high schools for our weekly Teams of the Week post (you can also see the team we highlight on our Instagram channel).

The goal of this weekly post is to provide various schools, communities, and programs with some additional publicity following their recent outing.

Noontime’s High School Football Teams of the Week (Sept. 19, 2022)

Billerica: The Indians are off to a 2-0 start, thanks to back-to-back wins over Lowell (38-0) and Westford Academy (32-14). Quarterback JT Green will be the player to watch this week when the Green and White welcome Wilmington (0-2) to campus on Friday.

Brighton: Coach Randolph Abraham’s squad has produced 104 points through two contests, thanks to quarterback Sahmir Morales, who will be a player to watch this week when the Bengals welcome O’Bryant High School (0-1) to Daly Field.

Hanover: After dropping their season-opener to Duxbury, Hanover bounced back last Friday with a 42-6 victory over Plymouth North. Numerous Hawks reached the end zone, including wide receivers Joe Curran and Dave Quinlan, who combined for 11 catches for 179 yards and four touchdowns. Quinlan also fished with two tackles for a loss and one interception. This week, Hanover will visit Stoughton (1-1).

Holliston: One week after scoring a big opening day win against Foxborough, the Panthers scored another impressive victory by beating Medway, 48-0. Quarterback TJ Kiley highlighted the Red and White’s second win with five touchdowns, including two on the ground. This week, Holliston will visit Milton (2-0), which beat the Panthers last season by a score of 37-13.

North Attleboro: The Rocketeers needed an extra session to edge Mansfield last week to bump their current record to 2-0. North Attleboro is idle this week before welcoming Franklin (2-0) to town next Friday, September 30.

TechBoston: The Bears picked up their second win last Friday over Georgetown. Quarterback Leo Bowman and Ahmir Carrington combined for 239 rushing yards against the Royals – Bowman also registered two touchdowns. Coach Raul Brown’s squad will attempt to score its thirds-straight win this week against East Boston High School (0-2).

Walpole: Halfback Andrew Falzone rushed for three touchdowns last week as Walpole blanked Natick, 26-0. This week, the Timberwolves head to Wellesley (1-1) for a Saturday afternoon clash against a Raiders squad that beat Walpole one year ago by a score of 24-10.

Westwood: Quarterback Brendan Donegan registered 284 yards of total offense last week to go with five touchdown passes as the Wolverines rolled past Bellingham, 40-7. Westwood heads to Quincy (2-0) on Friday with hopes of continuing its early-season success.  

Whitman-Hanson: Make it back-to-back wins for the Panthers, which scored a hard-fought 7-0 win over Foxborough last Friday. Coach Zack Botelho’s squad will be on the road again this week, visiting Rockland (1-1) on Friday.

Weymouth: A total team effort, along with an impressive rushing attack led by Anthony Smith, Cameron Aieta, and Cam Fernandez helped the Wildcats score a 35-20 victory on Saturday against Newton North. Weymouth will visit Hingham on Saturday in a battle of 2-0 squads.

Revisiting Our Top Stories from 2021

The Williams College football team’s 2021 season was one of many stories we highlighted and covered this year. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

With 2022 quickly approaching, I thought we could do one more look back — maybe a reflection? — of some of our most read and viewed stories from 2021.

The biggest story in my opinion was the return to the field for so many colleges and high schools in the New England region — yes, I know some teams or programs competed during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic — but there was a euphoric sense from so many seeing their local teams back on the field or in the gymnasium.

Let’s share some other stories we enjoyed producing over the last 12 months.

  • At the conclusion of the 2021 small college football season — New England NCAA Division III, to be exact — we created (and shared) our first-ever All-Noontime Sports Team. Our fans enjoyed it — well, we enjoyed producing it! — and look forward to doing more of these in the future. (We also created a preseason team, too!)

  • In late June, I, along with many in this region, was eager for the college football season to begin. So, I decided to produce our Way Too Early Top 20 D3 Poll, which had Williams College in the top spot.

    Perhaps I knew this year’s squad would finish 9-0?

  • Speaking of Williams — yes, I know the Ephs were mentioned above! — but they finished their 2021 campaign by completing a perfect season with an end-of-season win over Amherst College. Their 24-19 victory clinched their first-ever 9-0 record in program history.

  • A new piece of content we created was ‘Inside the Matchup,’ which highlighted a few NCAA Division III playoff games. And one of our most-read playoff previews, according to our stats, was Endicott College hosting RPI in the opening round of the national tournament.

  • Sometimes, a sound bite — yes, a quote or a few words — can be used to create a post.

    In early June, I produced a short piece about Chris Hogan telling NBC‘s Paul Burmeister that he thought Paul Rabil could compete in the National Football League (NFL).

    Rabil, a long-time and well-respected lacrosse player, retired at the conclusion of the 2021 Premier Lacrosse League (PLL), but apparently did ponder the idea of playing football when he was 23.
  • Speaking of Chris Hogan, did you know the former New England Patriots wide receiver competed for the Cannons Lacrosse Club earlier this year?

    Indeed, he did — the Cannons, who used to play outside of Boston, were one of the newest members of the PLL.

  • Let’s go back to football where not one, but two Northeast football teams — the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) and UMass Dartmouthcaptured their respective New England Bowls.

  • We know football has been a major theme of this post, so why not share our first high school football story from early September, which saw Malden Catholic roll past Weymouth in its season-opener. And you can watch our interviews and highlights from our initial high school football coverage below:
  • Another great story from 2021: Anna Maria College captured its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown.

    The AMCATs crusied to an impressive 31-7 victory over SUNY Maritime to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

    Anna Maria will certainly be a team to watch in 2022 — can they win their conference again? We’ll have to wait and see!

  • We conclude this post with one more historical memory from New England: the Holy Cross football team won its first-ever postseason game by rallying to beat Sacred Heart University, 13-10.

    The three-point win over the Pioneers was certainly an exciting one — sadly, it did not translate into additional postseason wins, but it certainly provided the team with some momentum heading into the offseason. And like Anna Maria, Holy Cross will also be a team to watch in 2022.

Thanks for a great year, everyone — we wish all our fans, friends, and readers a very Happy New Year!

Noontime’s Stories of the Year: The Return to the Field

The Endicott College football team enjoyed a successful 2021 campaign by winning its first conference crown since 2013. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)

By Matt Noonan

There are still a few weeks left, but 2021 is slowly ending.

Before we usher in a new year, it is time to look back on some of our favorite stories, podcasts, and videos from the last 12 months, beginning with perhaps our favorite storyline: the return to the field.

After a year away due to the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous colleges and high schools eagerly returned to the field this fall for football games, soccer matches, field hockey contests, and cross country meets. And there was a jubilant feel for each outing.

Sure, we saw some college and high school games played earlier this year – ever heard of spring football in Massachusetts? – but those games did not have the same feeling that I and others experienced this fall. The return to the field was discussed multiple times on our podcasts this summer – in case you want to revisit our preseason coverage, you can visit both our podcast and YouTube pages to relive those conversations and thoughts with coaches and media members.  

I blogged a few times about the return to the field, as well as how this past football season will be one I and others will remember for quite some time. Like many, I missed seeing the student-athletes compete at all levels last fall – to be honest, it just seemed strange. But 2020 is in the rearview mirror, and I believe the excitement for the return to the field will continue throughout the remainder of the 2021-22 school year.

It will be hard to replicate this season next year, but the excitement for games will continue – I guarantee it. There were a lot of great stories that emerged from this past fall’s return to the field and we will do our best to highlight those between now and the end of the month, but for now, thus concludes our initial “stories of the year” post – be on the lookout for more over the next few weeks.