Tag: Norwood Mustangs

Mass. High School Football: Week One Highlights & Takeaways

Malden Catholic scored an opening night win last Friday against Weymouth. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)

By Matt Noonan

The first official week of the Massachusetts high school football season is in the books. 

Here are some highlights (and yes, takeaways, too) from the initial week of the 2021 season.  

  • For starters, it was great to see fans back in the stands last Friday and Saturday.

    I was at one of the games — a non-conference clash between Malden Catholic and Weymouth that saw the Lancers roll past the Wildcats by a score of 35-6. The game was highlighted by some impressive defensive plays, along with a rushing attack that will once again be on display this week when the Blue and Gold host Gloucester on Friday, September 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Speaking of Gloucester, the Fishermen dropped their season-opener to Hamilton-Wenham last Friday evening by a score of 13-7.

    The Generals defense kept the Fishermen’s offense in check, limiting Gloucester to just one touchdown, a 62-yard rushing score by Caleb DeCoste, which provided them with their first and only lead of the contest.

    Friday’s clash between the Fishermen and Lancers will be one to keep an eye on — could the Lancers begin their season with back-to-back wins?
  • Scituate is going to be a team to watch, both this week and throughout the fall — the Sailors scored an impressive victory last Friday over Milton, thanks to Keegan Sullivan, who rushed for four touchdowns, including a 67-yard score in the third and 66-yard touchdown in the fourth to secure a 34-20 victory. 

    This week, the Sailors visit Duxbury on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff — the Dragons also scored an opening win by downing Bridgewater-Raynham by a score of 42-0.
  • The Norwood Mustangs are going to be a team to watch and yes, beat, in the Tri-Valley League (TVL).

    Norwood commenced its 2021 campaign with a 21-14 victory over Stoughton last Friday — the win was highlighted by a trio of student-athletes, including Matt Alves, who recovered a fumble in the end zone in the third quarter.

    Sean Steeves was also instrumental in the win — he was named to the Boston Globe’s EMass Players of the Week after tallying three interceptions against Stoughton, along with seven total tackles.

    Norwood returns to the field on Saturday, September 18 when they host Falmouth, which lost its season-opener to Plymouth North by a score of 18-14.
  • Jathan Greene was the player to watch last Friday afternoon in Brighton’s season-opener against O’Bryant.

    Greene led the Bengals with three touchdowns — two on the ground, one through the air — while Damian Blacknall added an 82-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth.

    Following Greene’s initial score against the Tigers, Quarterback Sahmir Morales connected with Isiah Joseph for a 36-yard touchdown, which provided the visitors with a 14-0 lead after one frame.
  • Brighton’s opponent this week — East Boston — also scored an opening day win over Boston Latin, thanks to a trio of rushing scores from Jaye Kincade, Jashua Delacruz, and Randy Bermudez.

    The Jets beat the Bengals during Fall II by a score of 20-12, so it will be interesting to see if the Blue and Yellow can duplicate that performance from March on Friday.
  • A few additional thoughts … congrats to Brian McCray on his first win as the head coach at Belmont. The Marauders defeated Cambridge last Friday by a score of 20-7 … Wayland looked rather impressive last Friday as the Warriors rolled past Hopkinton by a score of 40-6. Shayne Sutton could not be stopped as the senior rushed for four touchdowns against the Hillers …  Chelsea, which is competing in the Greater Boston League (GBL), scored an opening day against Salem, and will look to continue their early season  momentum against Revere, which lost its home opener to Peabody by a score of 28-7. The two teams will square-off in Chelsea on Friday at 6 p.m. 

We’ll have a few more high school football posts later this week, but for now, thanks for stopping by to read our first-week highlights — and yes, some takeaways and thoughts, too. 

Mass. High Schools: Norwood Football Ready To Begin A New Chapter Under Coach Lopes

NORWOOD MUSTANGS

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Months after concluding their 2018 campaign with a 26-6 setback to rival Dedham High School, the Norwood High School football team returned to campus last month eager to start a new chapter of the program under first-year coach Manny Lopes.

Lopes, who competed and won a Super Bowl as a student-athlete with Norwood in 2000, is excited for his initial season with the Mustangs, who will visit Walpole High School on Friday, September 6th for a 7 p.m. kick-off.

“It’s exciting,” said Lopes of his team’s first contest of the 2019 season. “Its a respectful rivalry, but we have lost to them long enough, so it will be nice to put some teams out there to compete with them, and we’re excited to get out there (this Friday).”

Walpole topped Norwood, 27-0, last fall, which provided coach Chris Sullivan, a former assistant, and student-athlete with the Rebels with his initial win as the program’s head coach.

Lopes says he is excited to start his “own little rivalry” with Sullivan, who he described as a “great guy.”

Similar to Lopes, his players, including quarterback Jason Denehy are excited for their first game against the Rebels – the Mustangs’ signal-caller says he “takes pride in being a part of” the Norwood-Walpole rivalry.

“It goes back a long time and it means a lot to me from youth and especially now in high school,” said Denehy, who is eager to guide the Mustangs’ offense up and down the field this fall.

Denehy considers Walpole “one of the (stronger) opponents” Norwood will face this fall, so scoring an opening day win over the Rebels would certainly provide the squad with some momentum heading into their second season in the Tri-Valley League (TVL).

Norwood concluded its first season in the TVL with a 2-9 mark – their lone conference win came against Medfield High School last October – but from speaking with a few players last Friday during the squad’s ‘Media Day,’ they certainly seem prepared to face the conference’s large divisional foes again this season. 

Said senior tri-captain Aidan Prior, “A lot of these Tri-Valley League teams I never played before (until last season), but there were two teams we have been playing for years (growing up through youth sports) in Dedham and Westwood, so it is good to know coming back a second year what these teams are all about.”

The Mustangs will play two conference games this month against Medway and Westwood before visiting Hopkinton and Holliston in the first two weeks of October. Medfield and Ashland will visit Norwood during the final two weeks of October before the Mustangs compete in either a postseason or non-postseason clash.

Norwood will conclude November with a visit to Dedham on Thanksgiving Day with kickoff scheduled for 10 a.m.


Getting to Know the 2019 Norwood High School Mustangs

Norwood’s first season in the Tri-Valley League (TVL)The Mustangs concluded their initial season in the Tri-Valley League with a 2-9 record. Their lone conference win came against Medfield when the Mustangs defeated the Warriors last October by a score of 21-2.

Familiar FoesNorwood will see the same seven teams they competed against last season, including all six conference foes. They were competitive against Medway and Westwood but struggled against Ashland, Holliston, and Hopkinton.

But as senior tri-captain Teddy Willet said, “We got to watch these teams on film but never saw them on the field, we never played with them before, but the way I look at it is they have never seen us before and they have to come to stop us.”

Norwood’s first conference game is Saturday, September 21st against Medway, which defeated the Mustangs last fall, 34-18.

A new potential rival for NorwoodWhile Norwood will continue its rivalry with Dedham and Walpole this fall – the Marauders are also part of the Tri-Valley League, too – it seems a new rivalry is taking shape with its next-door neighbors.

Norwood and Westwood are slowly becoming rivals – the two towns don’t have the same history as Norwood-Dedham or Norwood-Walpole, but as coach Manny Lopes said, “Westwood is starting to be a little rivalry.”

One of Lopes’ coordinators said he considers Norwood-Westwood a “great rivalry,” especially after last year’s contest, which saw the Wolverines edge the Mustangs, 7-6.

Said Lopes, “Walpole and Dedham are the big ones. The Westwood one is growing, there have been some close games in the past couple of years, but it is really Walpole and Dedham.”

Norwood and Westwood will square-off Saturday, September 28th at 1 p.m.

Norwood’s CaptainsThe Mustangs named three student-athletes captains this season: Teddy Willett, who will play halfback and outside linebacker, Aidan Prior, who will be spotted at offensive guard and defensive tackle, and Connor Sheehan, who will play offensive guard and middle linebacker.

The offensive planLopes said he and his staff have implemented a new offense for the upcoming season, which will be a mix of run-pass. Lopes seems eager to watch Denehy quarterback an offense that may not feature too many designed plays but will allow the junior signal-caller to run the ball, too.

Norwood returns three starters on the offensive line, according to Lopes, including Prior and Sheehan.

Getting to know Norwood’s defenseWhile Prior, Sheehan, and Willett will be tasked with leading the Mustangs’ defense, there are some holes Lopes and his staff must fill heading into their first game on Friday.

Lopes doesn’t seem too concerned about filling the graduation gaps – he has faith in his seniors to step-up and make plays. “We’ll be fine,” said Lopes.


Stay connected with our Massachusetts high school sports coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_HS