The fifth week of the Massachusetts high school football season began a few days ago – Rivers was edged by Hamden (Conn.), while Kipp Academy and Stoughton scored wins last night.
This evening, we have some very intriguing (and important) matchups to follow, as well as some games to watch tomorrow, too.
Here are some predictions for games both today and tomorrow, including our Noontime Sports Game of the Week between Masconomet and North Reading.
Game of the Week: Masconomet at North Reading (Friday, Oct. 4th at 7 p.m.): The Hornets have been very impressive this season, scoring recent wins against Hamilton-Wenham (41-15) and Newburyport (28-14). North Reading quarterback Jack Keller will be challenged against a Chieftains defense, which is yielding an average of 8.6 points per game. Masconomet halfback Will Hunter will be the key for the Red and White as they look to score an important Cape Ann League (CAL) road win. PREDICTION: Masconomet over North Reading
Millis at Medway (Friday, Oct. 4th at 3:45 p.m.): After falling to Dover-Sherborn one week ago, look for Brian Kane and the Mohawks to find a way to bounce back on the road against the Mustangs of Medway. PREDICTION: Millis over Medway
Wellesley at Natick (Friday, Oct. 4th at 4 p.m.): A pair of 4-0 teams are set to kick-off at 4 p.m. this afternoon- look for Natick to make one or two extra plays down the stretch s to secure a hard-fought and important conference win against the Raiders. PREDICTION: Natick over Wellesley
Wakefield at Burlington (Friday, Oct. 4th at 4:30 p.m.): Burlington was impressive one week ago against Watertown – look for a similar effort this afternoon against Wakefield. PREDICTION: Burlington over Wakefield
Medford at Everett (Friday, Oct. 4th at 5 p.m.): Medford has certainly shown improvements the past few weeks, but this will be a tough conference test for the Blue and White. PREDICTION: Everett over Medford
Waltham at Cambridge (Friday, Oct. 4th at 7 p.m.): Carl-Heinz Renaudin highlighted the Hawks’ win last week against Newton South and will certainly be a player to watch against a Falcons squad that is eager to return to the win column. PREDICTION: Waltham over Cambridge
Ipswich at Somerville (Saturday, Oct. 5th at 2:30 p.m.): Give the Highlanders credit for facing some tough competition in the first month. That experience should help them find a way to tame the Tigers of Ipswich at Dilboy Stadium. PREDICTION: Somerville over Ipswich
Malden at Hamilton-Wenham (Saturday, Oct. 5th at 3 p.m.): Both teams enter Saturday’s mid-afternoon clash seeking a win. The Generals have the upper-hand in this match-up, but look for the Golden Tornadoes to provide them with some challenges in all four quarters. PREDICTION: Hamilton-Wenham over Malden.
Holliston at Westwood (Saturday, Oct. 5th at 3 p.m.): Holliston has looked very impressive in its first three games and should continue its recent momentum against Westwood on Saturday. PREDICTION: Holliston over Westwood
St. John Paul II at Matignon/St. Joseph (Saturday, Oct. 5th at 7 p.m.): This is a must-win for the Warriors, who fell to Austin Prep last week on the road. St. John Paul cracked the win column last Friday with a 28-14 win over Cathedral. PREDICTION:. St. John Paul II over Matignon/St. Joseph
The first week of the Massachusetts High School football season is here – it technically began last night with a few games – but before a few more contests commence later today, let’s dish out (and share) our predictions for week one.
As always, stay connected with our Massachusetts high school sports coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_HS.
Week One Football Picks: Friday, Sept. 6th, 2019
Norwood at Walpole (4 p.m.): A new era of Mustangs football begins this afternoon when first-year coach Manny Lopes leads Norwood down the road to face the Rebels in an intriguing non-conference clash. PREDICTION: Walpole 21, Norwood 10
Ashland at Westwood (4:30 p.m.): The Wolverines finished 4-7 last fall, but return some key players on both sides of the ball, including some talented seniors that should help Westwood squeak out an opening day win. PREDICTION: Westwood 21, Ashland 18
Springfield Central at Everett (5 p.m.): Everett returns a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, which should help the Tide roll to an opening day victory. PREDICTION: Everett 28, Springfield Central 20
Needham at Natick (6 p.m.): The Rockets will once again be a team to watch in the Bay State Conference (BSC) this fall, but face a challenging week one test against a Natick team that will be led by quarterback Will Lederman. PREDICTION: Natick 28, Needham 17
Acton-Boxborough at Lexington (6 p.m.): A new era begins in Lexington with coach Mike Hill, who is bullish about his team’s size and speed, which should help the Minutemen claim an opening day victory. PREDICTION: Lexington 24, A-B 14
Wellesley at Weymouth (7 p.m.): Matthew Maiona and the Raiders offense should have no problem locating the Weymouth end zone a few times this evening. PREDICTION: Wellesley 28, Weymouth 14
Dedham at East Bridgewater (7 p.m.): Both teams return just a few starters from last season, which makes this an intriguing match-up to follow. Dedham is coming off one of its best seasons in program history and will most certainly lean on its returners in this one. PREDICTION: Dedham 14, East Bridgewater 10
Malden Catholic at Winchester (7 p.m.): First-year coach Bill Raycraft will lead a Lancers squad into its initial contest of the 2019 season with hopes of utilizing its speed on both sides of the ball to secure a week one victory. PREDICTION: Malden Catholic 21, Winchester 14
Boston Latin at Cambridge (7 p.m.): The Wolfpack will pride itself on its experience this fall, which should help Boston Latin score an opening day win in Cambridge. Matt Susich will be one of a few players to watch this evening – the senior will play quarterback and linebacker for the Wolfpack this season.
As always, stay connected with our Massachusetts high school sports coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_HS.
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.”
Needham’s 2019 Football Season Outlook
Needham’s 2018 Season: The 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 Depatures: The 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 Watch: Tyler 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 defense: With 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.”
Upcoming Scrimmage: Needham 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 month: Needham 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 sidelines: After 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.
Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter at @Noontime_FB.
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_HS
A new week of high school lacrosse in Eastern Massachusetts is set to begin later today (and this evening), so let’s unveil our latest boys and girl’s lacrosse Top 10 polls, along with some news and links from across the world wide web.
Eastern Massachusetts Boy’s Lacrosse Top 10 | Monday, May 6th, 2019
St. John’s Prep (Danvers)
On The Rise: Austin Prep, Bishop Fenwick, Boston College High School, Cohasset, Dover-Sherborn, Franklin, Foxborough, Marshfield, Melrose, Natick, Needham, Newton North, Norwell, St. Mary’s (Lynn), Wayland, and Westwood.
Eastern Massachusetts Girl’s Lacrosse Top 10 | Monday, May 6th, 2019
Notre Dame Academy (Hingham)
On The Rise: Chelmsford, Cohasset, Dover-Sherborn, Duxbury, Ipswich, King Phillip, Lexington, Marblehead, Natick, Newton North, North Andover, Reading, and Wayland
News & Links from the Eastern Massachusetts Lacrosse World