Tag Archives: Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association

Mass. High Schools: Belmont Football 2019 Season Preview

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The Belmont Marauders seem optimistic about their 2019 campaign with hopes of returning to the MIAA D3 North playoffs and going a bit further than last year. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Coach Yann Kumin seems content about his team’s preseason practices thus far.

“It’s been a good preseason so far,” said Kumin, who is excited to coach the Belmont Marauders this fall.

Kumin’s crew mustered just three wins in seven regular-season contests last fall but still managed to secure a spot in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Division 3 North playoffs. Belmont fell to Danvers in the quarterfinals but erased memories of their postseason setback to the Falcons with a thrilling come-from-behind Thanksgiving Day win over Watertown.

Perhaps their exciting win against the Raiders is a sign of things to come this fall for a Marauders squad that returns a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, especially at wide receiver.

According to Kumin, this year’s wide receivers are “probably one of the more talented” groups he has coached since being named the sideline boss of the Marauders prior to the 2014 season.

Additionally, Kumin is excited for his defense, too – he and his staff welcomed back a slew of talent at the skill positions, but currently, the coaching staff is trying to find replacements for the four seniors that were spotted up-front one year ago.

“We’ve got to fill those gaps up-front,” said Kumin, “and those big guys are the ones that motor the team and make the offense go and make the defense stout, so that has been our focus of camp to get that unit operating and working at the level we want it.”

 

Whoever is spotted up-front on defense will certainly need to be extra prepared as Belmont competes against some of the state’s best talent in the Middlesex League, a conference Kumin considers one of the “best leagues in the state.”

Said Kumin, “I love being a Middlesex League coach. I was a defensive coordinator with Stoneham, so I got an early taste (of the league) there, (but) you have to play your best game week-to-week in the league in order to win. So, that’s kind of our focus in these first two weeks and the scrimmage weeks is quality of execution. That is something that is really important to us, going out and getting quality reps and execution (while) staying out of negative plays.”

For Belmont to enjoy a successful season, they will need to lean on their five captains, Avery Arno (quarterback), Ryan Santoro (fullback/inside linebacker), Justin Rocha (cornerback/wide receiver), Zachary Hubbard (wide receiver), and Ryan Hoffman (center/interior tackle) to guide the squad, both in and outside conference play.

Kumin spoke highly of his five captains prior to Monday’s practice – he considers them all great leaders for the program.

“We take leadership really seriously in this program,” said Kumin. “One of the things we say is that being a captain and leadership, in general, is the first to serve and the last to be served … all five of (our captains) have been primed and taught by the guys who came before them and that is what the mantle of leadership and responsibility means in this program.”

Additionally, Kumin commended his other seniors and upperclassmen for their leadership and commitment to the program. “I have always kind of had that here (in Belmont) – I am really lucky to have it,” he said.

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Mass. High Schools: Needham Football 2019 Season Preview

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Needham High School football coach Doug Kopsco directs his players through a practice drill. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

For Doug Kopsco, his first season as the head coach of the Needham High School football team seemed to go pretty well.

Kopsco’s Rockets posted a winning record of 7-4 last fall, which included a postseason win over Newton North in the quarterfinals of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) D1 South playoffs and an exciting one-point victory over archrival Wellesley on Thanksgiving Day.

Heading into his second season with his alma mater’s football program, Kopsco appears more relaxed. In fact, he seems to be enjoying his new role with the Rockets, who are expected to once again contend for a Bay State Conference (BSC) Herget title this fall. 

“Really at the end of the day, it isn’t about x’s and o’s. It is about the culture, it is about the kids and it is about the family enviornment,” said Kopsco, who was previously a coordinator for the Rockets football program before taking over for coach Dave Duffy last season.

“It’s one thing to preach it and talk about it, but it is another thing to invite that environment and share that environment, and get the kids involved with creating that culture. And I think these guys did a great job of that this year.”

Kopsco says what has made this season’s preseason so much fun has been the competition – there seems to be multiple positions up for grabs due to some graduation losses, especially on the offense.

“We have a ton of competition this year,” said Kopsco.

“Last year, I think we knew (who our starters would be), and that’s both gratifying and exciting … but this year, all spots are open, so everyone is working hard, everyone is pushing each other and there is no kind of gimme spots.”


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Needham’s 2019 Football Season Outlook

Needham’s 2018 SeasonThe Rockets enjoyed a successful first season under coach Doug Kopsco, winning five of seven regular-season contests along with one postseason game, too.

Their run toward an MIAA D1 South championship concluded in the semifinals with a 35-32 loss to Catholic Memorial, but Needham would close the season on a high note by defeating Wellesley, 14-13, on Thanksgiving Day.

Key DepaturesThe Rockets graduated some key pieces from last year’s offense, including tight end Matt Smith, who will be competing for Duke University this fall.

Jack Murmes, who was also a tight end, will be playing for Assumption College this season, while quarterback Charlie Ogletree will be suiting up for Bentley University.

Players to WatchTyler Reid returns for his final season – the senior tri-captain will be spotted in the backfield at halfback and is someone Kopsco will certainly rely on this season.

Odahri Hibberts returns for his final season – he will be lining up in the slot and at cornerback on defense.

Ryan Villa is back for his final season with the Rockets and will be playing offensive tackle and guard.

Filling the holes on defenseWith just two student-athletes returning on defense with starting experience, Kopsco and his staff will be looking for some new additions this fall to fill all three levels.

“We have on defense have two kids coming back that have starting experience, so it is all wide open,” said Kopsco, “but we have (had holes to fill on defense from previous seasons) and honestly, we ended up with some of our better defenses.”

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Upcoming ScrimmageNeedham will compete against Wayland (the game will be held at Weston) on Friday, August 30th. Kopsco is excited for his team to compete against another squad prior to their initial game of the 2019 season on Friday, September 6th at Natick.

Said Kopsco, “They are always super well-prepared, great coaching staff, and it is a wonderful time to test out where we are at this point of the season … it is a wonderful opportunity to see how much we have taken in so far.”

A challenging opening monthNeedham will certainly be tested in the first few weeks of the season when they compete against Natick (week one) and Tewksbury (week two) and Newton North (week three).

Tewksbury advanced to the MIAA D3 Super Bowl – they lost to Springfield Central at Gillette Stadium – but are expected to once again be a team to beat in Merrimack Valley Conference (MVC).

“We’re excited (about our upcoming games),” said Kopsco. “Natick’s awesome, great coaches and super-well prepared. This is going to be a super-competitive game. We won last year, but they won the year before, so I think it is a good chance to see how we can come out of the gates as a team and a family, and hopefully, we come out on top.

“(Tewksbury) is a great team. This is just a great team. They are very versatile on offense, they give you a lot of different looks, they can do a lot of different things to you, so we just need to (make sure) we’re prepared, ask good questions during the week and we need to make sure everyone knows their assignments.”

Coach Dave Duffy returns to the sidelinesAfter announcing his retirement last summer following a very impressive 19-years of coaching the Rockets, coach Dave Duffy has returned to Needham to help his former squad continue its recent success.

Kopsco is very excited to have his former coach back on the sidelines – he is certainly eager to learn more from him as the season progresses.

“We were very fortunate this year” to have coach Duffy back, explained Kopsco, who played fullback and linebacker for the Rockets before returning to the program as a defensive coordinator.

“I didn’t want to hound him too much, but I really always wanted to work with Roy Johan and Dave Duffy. I am still learning from both of them, (but) they are amazing coaches with 35 years of varsity experience between the two of them alone, so we’re really going to lean on them heavily this year to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.”


Needham’s 2019 Schedule

  • Friday, September 6th – at Natick, 6 p.m.
  • Friday, September 13th – vs. Tewksbury, 6 p.m.
  • Friday, September 20th – vs. Newton North, 6 p.m.
  • Friday, September 27th – at Weymouth, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, October 4th – at Braintree, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, October 18th – vs. Milton, 6 p.m.
  • Friday, October 25th – vs. Walpole, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 28th – at Wellesley, 10 a.m.

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Mass. High Schools: Dedham Football 2019 Season Outlook

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By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Months after their most successful campaign in more than a decade, Dedham High School football coach David Flynn is optimistic about his Marauders continuing the program’s recent success this fall, despite graduating 26 student-athletes from last year’s team.

“We will replace (our seniors from last season) with the hard-working juniors, who put forth great effort in making sure they were always ready to go if needed (last fall),” said Flynn.

The juniors, which Flynn referred to, are now seniors. And all 12 of them, including Patrick Glennon, Connor Freeman, Justin Kelley, Jack Flanagan, and Kevin O’Leary will be tasked with helping Dedham attempt to take another step forward in the program’s ultimate preseason goal of winning a Divison 6 Super Bowl.

Dedham returned to the postseason last fall but saw its bid toward the ultimate prize conclude in the semifinals of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) D6 South playoffs to Old Rochester. Old Rochester advanced to the D6 state title but lost to Stoneham at Gillette Stadium.

The Marauders and Bulldogs are not scheduled to meet this fall in the regular season but did secure spots on the Boston Herald D6 Preseason Poll. Dedham secured the third position in the eight-team poll, while Old Rochester checked-in fifth. Ashland secured the top spot, while Cardinal Spellman placed second.


Dedham Marauders Football Team Capsule

Dedham’s 2018 Season: The Marauders enjoyed its best season in nearly a decade, capturing six of seven regular-season contests to secure the fourth seed in the MIAA D6 South playoffs.

Dedham defeated Apponequet, 34-14, in the MIAA D6 quarterfinals before falling to Old Rochester, 34-14, in the semifinals.

The Marauders concluded their 2018 campaign with ultimately eight wins, as well as a second-place finish in the Tri-Valley League (TVL) Small (Medway won the division with an 8-3 record).

Dedham’s 2019 Strengths: Team toughness, athleticism, and depth at the skill positions.

How many returners? Two on defense and one on offense.

Players to Watch this fall: Sean Glennon (Wide Receiver/Defensive Back), Chris Schmidt (Wide Receiver/Defensive Back), Joe Powers (Quarterback), Larry Lyman (Tight End/Defensive End), Matt DeVirgilio (Halfback/Defensive Back), Ryan Davis (Halfback/Linebacker), Elijah Brown (Offensive Line/Defensive Line), Matt Mammone (Halfback/Linebacker), and Zachary Spinello (Offensive Line/Defensive Line).

Dedham’s 2019 Schedule

  • September 6th – at East Bridgewater, 7 p.m.
  • September 13th vs. Medfield, 7 p.m.
  • September 27th – at Medway, 6:30 p.m.
  • October 4th – vs. Bellingham, 7 p.m.
  • October 11th – vs. Millis, 7 p.m.
  • October 18th – at Dover-Sherborn, 5 p.m.
  • October 25th – at Norton, 7 p.m.
  • November 28th – vs. Norwood, 10 a.m.

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Mass. High Schools: Hill Is Ready To Coach The Lexington Minutemen

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Mike Hill, who previously coached the Matignon/St. Joseph football program will be coaching the Lexington High School Minutemen this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

For Mike Hill, Friday cannot come soon enough.

The former Matignon / St. Joseph Prep football coach is eager to begin a new chapter in his coaching journey this Friday, August 16th with Lexington High School – the team is scheduled to commence their new season with an 11:30 a.m. practice.

“We are really excited about the beginning of the 2019 season,” said Hill, who is eager to be coaching in the Middlesex League.

Hill inherits a talented Minutemen squad that has competed in the last three Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Division 1 North playoffs and is expected to once again contend for a sectional title in November.

“Lexington has had a successful run over the last few years, and this group is determined to continue what the team has done during that span,” said Hill.

For Lexington to enjoy another successful campaign, they will need to lean on their upperclassmen, including senior halfback and linebacker Kevin Xiong, junior tailback and defensive back Mason Hatfield, and senior wide receiver and strong safety Justin Siri.

Additionally, the squad will also rely on seniors Charles MabardyEthan Xi and Nick Orf at wide-out, while Xi and Orf will also be expected to assist the Minutemen’s secondary.

Lexington’s depth at multiple positions will certainly help the Blue and Gold in their pursuits of a league title, but also a sectional and state championship, too.

Heading into the team’s initial practice, Hill says the focus will be on “the little things” – fundamental tackling, ball security on offense, and sustained drives – which he believes will help the Minutemen position themselves for a successful showing against Acton-Boxborough in week one.

“We certainly feel we have a talented bunch, but there are certain challenges we have to overcome,” said Hill. “We have a difficult challenge with the schedule this year (with two) tough non-league games against Acton-Boxborough and Concord-Carlisle, who are both well-coached and very talented.

“Additionally, the Middlesex Liberty division will be a challenge, too, so we need to focus on (playing) our best game week every week.”


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MIAA Lacrosse State Championship Schedule and Predictions

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @NoontimeLax

Due to Mother Nature, all five Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) state lacrosse championship games will occur tomorrow, Friday, June 21st.

Babson College will be the site for three games, including the MIAA D3 boy’s lacrosse state final between Dover-Sherborn and Grafton at 3 p.m.

Following D-S and Grafton, Longmeadow and Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) will square-off in the D1 girl’s lacrosse state finals at 5 p.m. followed by the D2 state championship between Cohasset and Manchester-Essex at 7 p.m.

Veterans Memorial Stadium, the new home of the Boston Cannons, will host a pair of boy’s state championship games, beginning with the D2 state finals between Medfield and Winchester at 1 p.m. The D1 final between Lincoln-Sudbury and Hingham will take place at 4 p.m.

Here are our predictions for all five contests – remember to stay connected tomorrow for updates from all five games on Twitter by following @NoontimeLax.

MIAA D1 Boy’s Lacrosse: Lincoln-Sudbury over Hingham. The Warrior scored some impressive wins over the past few weeks, including a 10-6 victory in the MIAA D1 North finals against St. John’s Prep. Earlier this season, the Warriors beat the Harbormen in the Coaches Cup Finals and should once again find a way past Hingham in the state championship.

MIAA D2 Boy’s Lacrosse: Winchester over Medfield. The Sachems averaged 15.33 goals per game in a trio of MIAA D2 North postseason contests – they netted 17 in their quarterfinal win over Wakefield – and recently scored a very impressive 10-3 win over St. John’s (Shrewsbury) in the D2 state semifinals. Medfield was also a team to watch in the D2 East/Central bracket, scoring wins over Concord-Carlisle, Walpole, and Westwood before flexing their muscles against Sandwich with a 21-5 win in the state semifinals. This has the making of an exciting contest that could come down to the final possession.

MIAA D3 Boy’s Lacrosse: Dover-Sherborn over Grafton. The Raiders and Indians will square-off in the title game for the second time since 2016 and third since 2015. D-S has won both match-ups against the Indians and will certainly rely on Pierce Gregory to lead the Raiders to hopefully their final victory of the 2019 season. Henry Kenney will also be a player to watch on D-S, as well, but the Raiders must find a way to slow down Grafton’s Matt Gilliatt, who located the back of the net six times in his team’s state semifinal victory against Dracut.

MIAA D1 Girl’s Lacrosse: Notre Dame Academy over Longmeadow. Postseason wins over Needham and Westwoodalong with a recent state semifinal victory against Walpole has provided the Cougars with the momentum they will need to slow down the Lancers, who are seeking their first state title since 2015 (beat Westwood, 10-9, in double-overtime). NDA last captured the D1 state championship in 2013 when they beat Longmeadow, 13-10, and will need a solid effort from their senior class, including Madison Ahern and Kelsey Kenney.

MIAA D2 Girl’s Lacrosse: Cohasset over Manchester-Essex. Cohasset’s Jane Hansen will attempt to cap her high school career with a state championship before she attempts to lead Northwestern University to a national championship next spring. Hansen and the Skippers have gained some valuable experience this spring by competing against some of the state’s top teams, including Longmeadow, Notre Dame Academy, and Wellesley. That experience should help the Skippers against a talented Hornets squad, which has scored some exciting postseason wins, including a 7-6 win over Newburyport in the D2 North finals and an 11-10 win earlier this week over Bromfield in the state semifinals.

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