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Showing posts from August, 2018

Alex Barth's Q&A with MIT coach Brian Bubna

Following MIT's season-opening 23-3 win over Becker College, MassVarsity's Alex Barth caught up with coach Brian Bubna for his thoughts on the victory.

Zander Manning's UMass-BC breakdown and prediction

MassVarsity offered its preview and prediction of the UMass-Boston College game for its Friday pick 'em, but we had Zander Manning give another in-depth take. Here is his analysis and prediction.

By Zander Manning @ZMSportsReport
For the third time since moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and first since 2016, UMass and Boston College football will face off against each other in the “Battle of the Bay State."
In the last meeting, the Eagles defeated the Minutemen 26-7 at Gillette Stadium. Following that game, the two schools devised a plan to play a home-and-home series starting in 2018 and ending in 2022, until further games are scheduled.
BC leads the all-time series 21-5, but UMass is looking for its first victory in 40 years (that’s right, 1978).
Here’s what both teams need to do to win.
UMass wins if . . .
Andrew Ford stays on his feet
One of UMass’ biggest problems in 2017 was protection for its quarterback, senior Andrew Ford. Ford was knocked down or sacked a…

West Chester handles Bentley again

By Kevin J. Stone
@kstone06

WALTHAM — For the past two seasons, the Bentley University football team had opened its season with losses to West Chester University. 

Thursday night, the Falcons hosted the Golden Rams in a third consecutive Division 2 season opener, and for the third year in a row the result was unfortunately the same.

Bentley scored just six points on nine first-half possessions while West Chester built a huge, 28-point lead and kept the Falcon offense quiet for 60 minutes, cruising to a 44-6 victory.

West Chester (1-0) has now beaten Bentley (0-1) by a combined score of 126-39 in the three meetings between 2016-2018. Last year, West Chester hosted Bentley and rolled to a 51-9 win. Two years ago, the Golden Rams came back to stun Bentley with a late 31-24 win in Waltham, and again made itself right at home back in Waltham on Thursday night.

Bentley's nine first half possessions ended as: fumble, field goal, punt, interception, punt, interception, field goal, punt, end of …

Xaverian-Central Catholic scrimmage take

WESTWOOD — MassVarsity made the short trek over to the Hawk Bowl to watch Xaverian and Central Catholic battle in their annual scrimmage. Here are a few things we saw:

— Xaverian senior Cooper Deveau should have a huge year. On offense, the Hawks moved him around a fair amount, and on defense, he showed off good wheels and tackling ability. Toward the end of the scrimmage, he caught a long touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Michael Berluti. Deveau will be one of the better two-way players in the state again.

— The Xaverian offensive line is in good standing as we inch closer to the first week. Seniors Grant Laws and Lucas Ferraro are solid pieces to build around, and the line as a whole performed well against the Central front.

— One of the other highlight plays for the Hawks came when junior cornerback Justin Wenstrom jumped a route along the Xaverian sideline and returned it for a pick-six. He saw some time as a sophomore last year, but expect his role to increase this season…

Where to go pregame/postgame for UMass

By Vin Pullia
Headed to Amherst for the season opener?
Whether it's to fuel up for a little pregame action or to celebrate and grab grub postgame, here are a few options. Since the underclassmen won't descend upon the town for another week, the good news is you shouldn't have to throw bodies around and clear space like you are Khari Samuel in a national championship game. 
Pregame
A Liam Coen Hail Mary away from the stadium is The Hangar (10 University Drive). If you aren't tailgating, it's where you need to sit yourself before kickoff. Known for their 25 flavors of homemade wings, you'll get more than enough chow here. Don't worry about the mess either, the sauce should blend in with your maroon body paint. Feeling adventurous? Try the Jet fuel or Afterburner tenders. If something more mild is your speed, I enjoy the Golden BBQ or the Jamaican Jerk. And before you fret about how you are going to wash down these savory wings, lucky for you, you also happen …

Q&A with St. John's of Shrewsbury coach John Andreoli

A little over a week ago, MassVarsity caught up on the phone with St. John's of Shrewsbury coach John Andreoli. Last year, his Pioneers won the Division 3 state title over North Attleboro at Gillette Stadium.
St. John's is set to be one of the top teams in the state again, so we talked about what Andreoli and Co. have coming back and some of the other topics relevant to the program.
Here is an edited version of that conversation:
MV: So when are you joining the Catholic Conference?
JA: (Laughs) OK, well, I don't know. Maybe that will be on the table at some point.

MV: But seriously, has that ever been on the table for you guys? Do you have to be invited for that for that sort of thing to happen?
JA: I don't know what to tell you. All I can say in my 15th year here, as far as I know, it's never been on the table for us. I'm not sure anything can happen before then. I know before I was at St. John's, we played different teams in the Catholic Conference, but as f…

Pit stops at Everett High, Pope John XXIII

EVERETT — On the first day of practice, MassVarsity traveled up to Everett to see what should be two of the top teams in their respective divisions, Everett High in Division 1 and Pope John XXIII in Division 8.

We started first at with the reigning, two-time Division 1 champs, and the conditioning under first-year head coach Theluxon Pierre was crisp.

Assistant coach Mike Ruth seemed to speak for everyone when sizing up both the team's prospects and the program's overall direction as Pierre takes over.

"This is the best group of kids," Ruth said. "They're hard-working, old-fashioned, good kids. Theluxon is knocking it out of the park. The kids, that's the No. 1. But the way Theluxon has pulled everyone together (is the other)."

Rob Doherty, the father of sophomore quarterback Duke Doherty, echoed those comments.

"It's a family (at Everett)," Rob said. "It's a family atmosphere."

Toward the end of practice, Pierre deflecte…

MIAA Preseason All-State Teams

In MassVarsity's first foray into MIAA Preseason All-State-ville, let's get a few things out of the way.

First off, please reach out ASAP if you see a factual error (wrong school, etc.), so it can be corrected. There have been a ton of transfers this offseason, so if there are mistakes like that in here, please email at massvarsity@gmail.com to offer corrections.  

We wanted mention how difficult this process was, not to find great players, but to pare them down to six teams. In other words, if you don't see your son, relative, teammate or player, please don't take it as "disrespect." We respect every kid that straps on pads and a helmet, regardless of how talented that player is.

We've done a tremendous amount of research over the offseason, and these are the players that came up the most when talking to both coaches, in addition to those we've watched on film, in person, and in conversations with observers of the game at this level.

Obviously, with this…

Quick peek at Norton

The South Shore has seen a ton of coaching turnover this past offseason, and plenty of solid program leaders have taken foothold at places where big things can be expected in 2018.

One of those places is at Norton High, where Robb McCoy takes over the Lancers for his second stint after leading them to the 2008 Super Bowl against Arlington Catholic.

McCoy also has been a head coach at Bishop Feehan, Durfee, and acted as an assistant at Plymouth South, Attleboro, Curry College, and his latest stop of Milford High.

And, to say the least, McCoy is excited about being a head coach again.

The reason? Well, for starters, McCoy thinks the Lancers can make some noise in the Tri-Valley League Small Division right away.

Here are a few players that have McCoy feeling optimistic right now:

Jacob Chapman, Sr., OL/DL, 6-2, 265 — There are several unique aspects to Chapman, not the least of which is his off-the-field pursuits. Over the summer, Chapman started his own landscaping business.

"He bou…

Q&A with Oxford coach Jeffrey Clarkson on his star RB, Niko Murray

Over the course of the offseason, MassVarsity pored over a lot of film to find some of the best players in the Commonwealth.

One such student-athlete was Oxford High's Niko Murray, a dominant running back who can play on either side of the ball at a high level.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Murray put up insane numbers for the Pirates as a junior last season, as he carried the ball 160 times for 2,040 yards and 34 touchdowns. Yes, that's 12.75 yards per carry.

We reached out Monday to speak with Oxford coach Jeffrey Clarkson about Murray.

Here is an edited transcript of that conversation.

MV: Could you describe Murray's skill-set?
JC: He's an intelligent young man, just to begin with. He's a smart, smart kid. On his PSAT's, I think he got an an 1100-something on them.

So his knowledge on-field, it's just unbelievable. He knows everything that's going on, every position. He knows the whole offense, the whole defense.

He's just such an explosive player. He'…

Q&A with O'Bryant's Anthony Francis

It was a breakthrough 2017 season for O'Bryant's Anthony Francis.

A Boston City League North Division All-Star, he was also named an Eastern Mass. All-Star by the Boston Globe. Last October, Francis had a dominant game in his team's 24-16 win over Tech Boston, where he scored on a 75-yard kickoff return, a 12-yard touchdown reception, and a 35-yard pick-six.

A three-sport athlete, Francis is a captain in both football and baseball, and runs winter track.

The 6-foot, 205-pounder spoke to MassVarsity about his upcoming senior year, and goals going forward.

Here is an edited transcript of our conversation.

MV: Hey, Anthony, how are you doing?
AF: Good.

MV: What positions do you play?
AF: Outside linebacker, receiver, running back, kick returner and punt returner.

MV: So you play almost everything, huh?
AF: Yes.

MV: What are the types of things you want to do to improve your game?
AF: To get bigger, faster, stronger, and be more versatile.

MV: Do you have any stats on you?
AF: Thirteen …

Boston College star Lukas Denis, seen with a mother's love, stern eye

Image
By Adam Kurkjian

Ketlie Denis was running late Saturday to meet up with a reporter about her son, Lukas, at Somerville's Southern Kin Code House on Assembly Row.
Behind the bar, there was an American flag painted on the bricklay behind crossed wood and between the liquor display. It played country music and served items like Louisiana Grandad Gumbo, Chicken and Waffles, and Farmhouse Buttermilk Biscuits.
But, like most places in Somerville these days, it was populated by more of a gentrified, hipster-ish crowd.
Roughly a half an hour late, Ketlie arrived, profusely apologized and wanted to know immediately about the scrimmage from earlier that day.
Then she asked about how Lukas performed earlier that afternoon. 
He dropped an interception, but one of his former teammates from Everett High, Jason Maitre, made a diving pass breakup toward the end of the live portion.
She beamed ("Jason is like his little brother"). She has never missed a single practice, game, or workout…