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.
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 Foes: Norwood 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 Norwood: While 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 Captains: The 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 plan: Lopes 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 defense: While 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.
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 Westwood, along 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.
The final few days of the Massachusetts high school lacrosse season are upon us with sectional finals set to begin tomorrow for some teams, while others will compete on Friday and Saturday.
Below are the sectional final schedules, including dates, times and locations. As always, make sure to stay connected with @NoontimeLax on Twitter for in-game updates, scores, and news from the 2019 Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Tournament.
Boy’s Lacrosse | Sectional Finals Schedule
MIAA D1 North: No. 3 Lincoln-Sudbury at No. 1 St. John’s Prep | Friday, June 14th at 5 p.m.
MIAA D2 North: No. 6 Billerica at No. 1 Winchester | Friday, June 14th at 5 p.m.
MIAA D3 North: No. 4 Dracut at No. 2 Austin Prep | Friday, June 14th at 5 p.m.
MIAA D1 South: No. 6 Duxbury at No. 1 Hingham | Saturday, June 15th at 4 p.m.
MIAA D2 South: No. 2 Sandwich vs. No. 1 Hanover | Thursday, June 13th at 5 p.m. (Game will be played at Hingham High School).
MIAA D3 South: No. 3 Cohasset vs. No. 1 Norwell | Thursday, June 13th at 7 p.m. (Game will be played at Hingham High School).
MIAA D2 Central/East: No. 1 Medfield vs. No. 2 Concord-Carlisle | Thursday, June 13th at 4:30 p.m. (Game will be played at Natick High School)
MIAA D3 Central/East: No. 1 Dover-Sherborn vs. No. Littleton | Thursday, June 13th at 7 p.m. (Game will be played at Natick High School)
MIAA D2 Central/West: No. 2 St. John’s vs. No. 5 Longmeadow | Friday, June 14th at 5:30 p.m. (Game will be played at Assabet Valley)
MIAA D3 Central/West: No. 1 Grafton vs. No. 3 St. Bernard’s | Friday, June 14th at 7:30 p.m. (Game will be played at Assabet Valley)
Girl’s Lacrosse | Sectional Finals Schedule
East Division 1: No. 3 Concord-Carlisle at No. 1 Walpole | Friday, June 14th at 4:30 p.m.
East Division 2: No. 3 Medway vs. No. 4 Foxborough | Friday, June 14th at 7 p.m. (Game will be played at Walpole High School)
North Division 1: No. 2 Chelmsford vs. No. 4 Marblehead | Friday, June 14th
North Division 2: No. 4 Manchester-Essex at No. 3 Newburyport| Friday, June 14th at 5 p.m.
South Division 1: No. 1 Westwood vs. No. 2 Notre Dame Academy | Friday, June 14th at 6:30 p.m. (Game will be played at Hingham High School)
South Division 2: No. 3 Cohasset vs. No. 4 Hanover | Friday, June 14th at 4 p.m. (Game will be played at Hingham High School)
Central/West D1: No. 1 Longmeadow vs. No. 2 Minnechaug | Thursday, June 13th
Central/West D2: No. 1 Bromfield vs. No. 10 Mount Greylock | Thursday, June 13th