Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Championship Preview

Castleton State and Mount Ida College will compete on Saturday for the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Crown! (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth

By Matt Noonan 

We’re less than 24 hours away until Championship Saturday commences, and excluding AIC-New Haven and Framingham State-Salve Regina, another key matchup to watch tomorrow will be the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Championship between Castleton State and Mount Ida College.

The winner of this particular match will win the conference and earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Div. III Championship.

Here is a preview of this particular contest.

Records: Both teams are 7-2 overall. Castleton is 6-0 in the conference, while Mount Ida is 5-1.

Last Meeting: The last time these two squads met was during the final week of the 2011 season. The Mustangs defeated the Spartans in Newton, 54-34.

Biggest Win: The Spartans biggest win occurred in week one when they defeated non-conference foe Plymouth State, 35-7. Senior quarterback Shane Brozowski tossed four touchdowns and recorded 400 yards through the air.

The Mustangs biggest win came against conference foe Maritime (N.Y). Senior kicker Bobby Hemmann kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired to secure a 24-21 victory.

Biggest Setback: Castleton’s biggest loss came a week after their first win in Beverley, Massachusetts against Endicott College. The Gulls soared past the Spartans, 66-14. Castleton held a lead midway through the first quarter, but Endicott managed to erase the deficit and go onto earn their second win.

As for Mount Ida, their worst loss came in week three against Springfield College. The Mustangs held a 14-point advantage in the third quarter, but the Pride rallied to defeat the visitors, 49-42. Senior quarterback Scott Drosendahl tossed five touchdowns in the loss, while sophomore Chris McNally rushed for 112 yards on 21 carries.

Castleton’s New Quarterback: Last week, Brozowski suffered a season ending injury in his team’s win against Husson. So, without their starting gunslinger, the Spartans will rely on freshman George Busharis. The former Mansfield High School quarterback has appeared in six games this season and completed 11-of-22 passes for 152 yards. He’s recorded one touchdown and one interception, too.

The Mustang Way: Throughout the season, head coach Michael Landers has preached his team’s new motto: 1-0. It’s a theory that forces players to be discipline, but also focus on the task at hand. And ever since Landers first muttered the words of “going 1-0,” Mount Ida has been a different team.

Overview: Both these teams are evenly matched, but without Brozowski in the lineup, it could be a long day for Castleton State’s offense. However, the Spartans passing attack ranks second in the nation so don’t expect Busharis to struggle too much, especially if he’s able to connect with junior Brandon Boyle.

Drosendahl will be the main focal point for Mount Ida. The Mustangs senior quarterback ranks sixth nationally in passing efficiency and is second in the conference in touchdown passes (26).

Castleton’s defense is the top squad in the conference when it comes to defending the pass, so Drosendahl will have to be at his best against an impressive Spartans secondary.

Prediction: Mount Ida College 31, Castleton State 28

VIDEO: Ross Tanner (Franklin) Reflects On His Final High School Lax Game

By Matt Noonan 

DUXBURY, MA – Playing in his final game as a member of the Franklin boy’s varsity lacrosse team, senior attack Ross Tanner concluded his career with two strikes against Duxbury’s sophomore netminder Nick Marrocco in the second half of Wednesday’s MIAA Div. 1 East quarterfinals match.

“I got two open netters, so I’ll take that,” exclaimed Tanner.

After Tanner’s strikes had been recorded, Duxbury responded with two more tallies to secure their lead for good, as the Dragons defeated the Panthers, 15-3.

Yet, despite the loss, Tanner exclaimed that his team was focused on earning a spot in the quarterfinals, especially since the senior class hadn’t made it that far in past tournaments.

“We set our goals to get [to the quarterfinals], and that’s what we did,” Tanner said. “We took down Mansfield, [which] was a tough game, blew them out a little more than we thought we were going to, but we got the win, [and advanced to Duxbury].”

Franklin, which ended its 2012 campaign 16-5, will graduate eight seniors, but return 22 underclassmen next season. And even though Tanner ended his senior year without a trophy, he explained that it was still a fun final season with the Panthers.

“It was a great senior year. I’ve never gotten this far [because] the last two years, we’ve been knocked out in the first round, so to get to the third round [was] kind of enlightening”

Mass HS Lax Observations: Foxborough 12, Canton 4

Foxborough earned their second win of the 2012 season on Wednesday, as they defeated Canton, 12-4! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan 

FOXBOROUGH, MA – Entering Wednesday’s match against Canton, Foxborough’s boy’s lacrosse team had one thing on their mind – erase the five-goal deficit from Tuesday. And luckily, they did, as the Warriors defeated the Bulldogs, 12-4, and earned their first Hockomock League victory.

“They’re a tough team, they’re good, they’re physical, [and] they’ve got a lot of good players,” said Canton head coach Bill Bendell. “We knew it was going to be a battle, but they outplayed us.”

Here are a few thoughts and reactions from this particular conference clash.

The Impact of Drew McGeary: It’s not too often that one player can spark a team’s offense, but against Canton’s defense, Foxborough’s Drew McGeary jumpstarted the Warriors attack with four goals.

“We just focused on getting the offensive possessions, and then we [were] just patient on offense, setting ball screens, away screens, just really mixing it up, staying in motion, [and] opening things up,” said McGeary.

And while the Bulldogs honed in on McGeary, they allowed two other Warriors – Tyler Ames, (two goals, one assist) and Jake Soccorso, (three goals, three assists) – to whip shots past Rich Nee, (four saves) for five combined tallies.

“Those [are] guys that I need to play at that level,” stated Foxborough head coach Matt Noone. “[On Wednesday] they did it, [but] I just hope they’ll do it against Franklin, I hope they’ll do it against Mansfield, [and] I hope they’ll do it against King Phillip.”

“Canton was a big game, they’re in our league and they’re [a] small school in our league and we’re a small school, so it’s nice to see them step up, but I need them to step up [against] the teams that are also a threat to us,” added Noone.

Foxborough entered the current campaign with a variety of new names on their varsity roster, which means Noone will need everyone to step up and contribute for the remainder of the 2012 season.

Avenging the Xaverian Bros. Loss: Against the Hawks on Tuesday, the Warriors Villanova-bound netminder Greg Stamatov allowed eight goals, while his teammates mustered three points, which wasn’t enough to beat Xaverian Bros.

“I told them that the best way to overcome a loss is going out on the field and winning,” added Noone.

The Warriors adhered to their coach’s advice on Wednesday, and rebounded with an impressive victory, which hopefully will propel them to a second consecutive win on Friday against Oliver Ames.

“We wanted to avenge the loss to Xaverian, and I thought we came out flying and we did our job,” said Soccorso.

Other Notes:

* Similar to last year, I really enjoyed watching Greg Stamatov defend the Warriors cage. He ended the contest with nine saves, but yielded three goals in the third quarter. And even though he was whistled for taking out his mouth guard in the third quarter, I definitely think he’ll continue to be a major factor for the Warriors this season.

* Canton only has two seniors on their team, so I’m expecting this particular year will be another learning experience for Bendell’s squad. However, against Foxborough, they did manage to record 40 ground balls and 23 shots on net.

* Foxborough has now beaten Canton 10 consecutive times, which is a rather impressive stat, eh? The last time the Bulldogs defeated the Warriors was in April of 2007.

* Finally, if Foxborough is going to be successful, they’ll need their midfield and attack to score numerous goals. Stamatov will do his part, but cannot save shots and score goals for the Warriors, so it’ll be interesting to see if Soccorso, Ames and McGeary can continue carry their offense.  

For more on this particular clash – check out the recap on BostonLax.net.

Mass High School Hoops: Calixte Leads Stoughton Past Duxbury, 69-63

By Matt Noonan 

STOUGHTON, MA – On Tuesday evening, Stoughton high school junior Aaron Calixte, (31 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) proved what it means to be a champion.

With the Black Knights trailing the Dragons of Duxbury by eight-points entering the final frame, the junior co-captain flipped the switch, and tallied 13 points during the final minutes of regulation, which helped Stoughton escape with a 69-63 victory.

“Losing [is] not an option to me. I can’t let my team lose in the first-round of the playoffs, I’m not for that,” said a composed Calixte. “[I’m going to] lead my team, [and] do whatever I have to do [to earn] a victory.”

Calixte provided the necessary spark for the Black Knights, who capitalized on Duxbury’s four turnovers and three missed free throws in the fourth quarter to regain the lead, which they hadn’t possessed since the first quarter.

“He’s really good,” said Duxbury head coach Gordon Cushing. “We knew he was going to get his points, [but] we just tried to make him work for [them] as best he can. He passes the ball well, so [we were] just trying to make him work for [them] as hard as you can.”

“Aaron did a nice job penetrating and scoring or penetrating and dishing,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan.

 

Stoughton didn’t exactly gain their fourth quarter momentum after the opening tap, as both squads swapped buckets and leads until Duxbury senior co-captain Curtis Owen, (22 points) completed a three-point play, layup and free throw, mid-way through the second session to spark the Dragons offense to close out the first half with a 39-36 lead.

The Dragons then attempted to grow their lead once the second half began, but various turnovers or missed shots hampered Duxbury’s offense, and allowed Stoughton to enter the final quarter trailing their opponent, 58-50.

“We had some turnovers, [and] they hit some shots, too,” Cushing said of the Black Knights second half effort. “We actually at halftime said, let them shoot it a little bit more outside, and keep out inside because most of their scoring was done in the paint, so you pick your poison a little bit, we just [needed] to score a few more points.”

Once the whistle sounded to initiate the start of the fourth frame, Stoughton rallied and regained the lead for good, as Calixte and his teammates used their defense to propel their offense to tally 17 points, which helped preserve the win for the Black Knights.

“Aaron’s just a phenomenal basketball player,” said Stoughton’s Marcus Middleton. “There’s pretty much no stopping him.”

Stoughton will return to the court on Thursday when they meet Norwood High School in the MIAA Division 2 South quarterfinals, and one can certainly imagine that the Black Knights will rely heavily upon Calixte to be their catalyst.

“[He’s] the best player in the Hockomock League,” said Stoughton senior Raymond Bowdre. “He’s a good scorer, and he’s a good facilitator. One of the best that can ever pass, and create his own shot.”

 

Also, make sure to visit our friends at HockomockSports.com for news, scores and updates throughout the remainder of the Massachusetts high school playoffs.