By Matt Noonan
It was an exciting first week of the Massachusetts high school football season.
There were some exciting finishes, along with outcomes that raised an eyebrow. Additionally, there were games like the one I witnessed that was a tale of two halves.
Last Friday, I made the trek to North Reading to watch the Hornets score an opening night win over Northeast Metro Tech.
The game was highlighted by Will Batten’s four touchdowns – two on the ground and two through the air (receptions) – that helped the Hornets secure a 28-0 lead that morphed into a 35-20 victory.
While North Reading’s offense – and yes, its defense – highlighted the opening half, it was the Northeast ground game that shined during the final two frames. Halfbacks Chris Zullo and Lael Jean-Baptiste zipped through various gaps the Knight offensive line paved with a few bursts resulting in touchdowns.
The Knights outscored the Hornets, 20-7, during the final 24 minutes.
North Reading seeks its second win on Friday when they visit the Greater Lawrence Technical School for a 6 p.m. kickoff. Northeast will host Saugus on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. – the Sachems lost to the Knights last season by a score of 28-0.
One outcome that surprised me last week was Xaverian Brothers beating Everett, 49-14.
To be honest, I thought the game would be a bit closer, but the contest was highlighted by a young man whose last name is Hasselbeck.
Henry Hasselbeck, the son of Matt Hasselbeck, who happens to be a Xaverian Brothers alum and played in the National Football League (NFL), shined in his debut with the Blue and Gold by throwing three touchdowns and finishing the non-league matchup with 190 passing yards.
One of Hasselbeck’s touchdowns was highlighted on ESPN this week – it was a five-yard leaping score that saw the junior signal-caller leap over an Everett defender at the five-yard line.
In addition to Hasselbeck, halfback Michael Oates added three rushing touchdowns.
Xaverian hosts Bridgewater-Raynham in its home-opener on Friday – the Trojans dropped their season-opener to Milford by a score of 42-0.
I thought Wilmington would beat Arlington Catholic in its season-opener. But clearly, I was wrong.
Quarterback Isaiah Osgood was the player to watch last Saturday as the senior signal-caller recorded four touchdowns (two on the ground and two through the air) against the Wildcats. The four scores helped the Cougars score an opening day win, as well as gain some much-needed momentum for this week’s matchup with Bishop Fenwick High School.
Noontime’s Games to Watch in Week Two
Tech Boston (1-0) at Georgetown (0-1) Friday, September 16 at 6 p.m.: Halfback Ahmir Carrington rushed for two scores in Tech Boston’s season-opener last week against Boston English/New Mission. He will once again be a factor this week against the Royals. PREDICTION: Tech Boston over Georgetown
Medfield (1-0) at Dedham (0-1) Friday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m.: Medfield’s defense shined last week against Medway, thanks to Matthew Stevens who finished with 14 total tackles. Let’s see if the Warriors’ defense can carry them to another victory against a Dedham squad that produced two scores last Friday against Westwood. PREDICTION: Medfield over Dedham
Waltham (1-0) at Winchester (1-0) Friday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m.: A pair of 1-0 squads will square off in Winchester on Friday evening after both squads scored an opening day win over a squad from Newton (Waltham beat Newton North, 23-20, while Winchester topped Newton South, 13-6). PREDICTION: Waltham over Winchester
Bellingham (1-0) at Westwood (1-0) Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m.: Clearly, I was wrong about my hometown Wolverines last week as Westwood topped Dedham in its home-opener. This week, I’ll be more optimistic about Westwood, but if the Green and White are going to score its second win, they will need to slow down wide receiver Michael Spera. PREDICTION: Westwood over Bellingham
Wellesley (1-0) at Milford (1-0) Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m.: Both teams looked pretty good in their respective season-opener – perhaps this is an early postseason preview? Maybe, but I think the Scarlet Hawks will be able to make a few more plays to secure its second win of the 2022 season. PREDICTION: Milford over Wellesley