09 Dec 18
The Merrimack Valley Conference certainly made its presence felt throughout the football season.
Start with North Andover, which went undefeated and carted home the Division 2 Super Bowl title. Tewksbury acquitted itself very well, knocking off Danvers and Duxbury to advance to the Div. 3 Super Bowl.
Central Catholic did not make it to Gillette, but may have provided the biggest bang of the postseason with its epic upset of top-ranked Everett in the Div. 1 North semifinals. Even Dracut made postseason history as it became the third team in the six-year history of the current playoff format to knock off a top seed as a No. 8 seed when it handled Marblehead, 28-14, in a Div. 4 North opening round.
It was a special season for Stoneham (Div. 6) and Scituate (Div. 5), which took hometheir first Super Bowl titles. Catholic Central teams Pope John (Div. 8) and St. Mary’s (Div. 7) had terrific runs to the Super Bowl.
The last game of the season provided some drama as upstart Catholic Memorial gave Catholic Conference rival St. John’s Prep all it could handle for three quarters before succumbing, 40-22. The win put Eagles coach Brian St. Pierre in select company as someone who won Super Bowls as a player (1997) and coach.
As we’ve done for many years, we’ll put a final bow on the 2018 season as seen through the eyes of the Boston Herald staff.
FIVE MEMORABLE GAMES
Central Catholic 23, Everett 20 – The Raiders walked into Everett Memorial Stadium and stunned the undefeated Crimson Tide on a late field goal by Nick Mazzie, who happens to be the son of Steve Mazzie, the chief of police in, of all places, Everett.
Catholic Memorial 25, Xaverian 14 – Zach Mitchell ran for 167 yards and a score as the Knights ended the Hawks’ run of Div. 1 South sectional titles at five.
North Andover 6, King Philip 0 – The Scarlet Knights beat the Warriors at their own game, winning a defensive struggle to deprive King Philip of a three-peat in the Div. 2 Super Bowl.
Stoneham 26, Old Rochester 20 – The Spartans cashed in on a late turnover and Christos Argyropoulos ripped off a game-winning 42-yard touchdown run to give his team its first-ever Super Bowl title.
Lincoln-Sudbury 41, Wayland 9 – The Warriors’ Tom Lopez became just the fifth football coach in state history to amass 300 wins.
STARS OF THE WEEK
WEEK 1: Jake Doherty ran for a school-record 425 yards and four touchdowns, while adding a 95-yard kickoff return for a fifth score as Burlington defeated Bedford, 43-33.
WEEK 2: Payton Doyle completed 16-of-24 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 137 yards and four scores as Dennis-Yarmouth beat Auburn, 40-14.
WEEK 3: Vinnie Holmes was a defensive dynamo, recording 21 tackles as Mansfield took care of Franklin, 24-6.
WEEK 4: Finn Murray threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns, including a game-winner to Vic Otero (12 catches for 159 yards) on the final play to give Acton-Boxboro a 37-35 win over Lincoln-Sudbury.
WEEK 5: Jake Murphy ran for 312 yards and four touchdowns as Falmouth ran past Dennis-Yarmouth, 46-22.
WEEK 6: Hard to ignore Jake Doherty again as he ran for 346 yards and four touchdowns as Burlington rolled to a 42-7 win over Wilmington.
WEEK 7: Billy Seidl threw for five scores and ran for a sixth as St. Sebastian’s defeated Lawrence Academy, 42-13.
WEEK 8: Marje Mulumba ran for a school-record 315 yards and five touchdowns as Beverly defeated Winchester, 49-21.
WEEK 9: Matt Crowley completed 21-of-32 passes for 289 yards and five touchdowns as St. John’s Prep defeated Acton-Boxboro, 55-28.
WEEK 10: Christos Argyropoulos ran for 198 yards and five touchdowns as Stoneham rolled over Hamilton-Wenham, 49-14.
WEEK 11: Will Sheskey rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries as Scituate advanced to the Div. 5 Super Bowl with a 45-14 win over Swampscott.
WEEK 12: Wellington Pereira ran for 325 yards and five touchdowns on 17 carries as Wayland handled Weston, 48-8.
WEEK 13: Wes Rockett caught nine passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns as St. John’s Prep defeated Catholic Memorial, 40-22, to win the Div. 1 Super Bowl.
PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON NEXT YEAR
Josh Atwood (Natick), Cole Baker (King Philip), Jack Beverly (Framingham), Mason Bolivar (Wayland), David Cifuentes (Bishop Fenwick), Kyle Connolly (Falmouth); Matt Crowley (St. John’s Prep), Gregory Desrosiers (Belmont Hill), Hollis Dirstine (Acton-Boxboro), Caleb Fauria (Bishop Feehan), Kyle Fitzgerald (Canton), Freddie Gabin (North Andover); Mitchell Gonser (Milton Academy), Ryan Halliday (King Philip), Takari Hobbs (Boston English/New Mission), Vinnie Holmes (Mansfield), Graham Inzana (Swampscott), Geoffrey Jamiel (Dennis-Yarmouth), Will Klein (Abington), Cam Large (Noble & Greenough), Kevin Lemieux (Governor’s Academy), Luke MacPhail (Dexter), Sammy Malignaggi (BB&N), Brady Martin (Lawrence Academy), Tyler Martin (BB&N), Owen McGowan (Catholic Memorial), Kalel Mullings (Milton Academy), Tony Muse (Lawrence Academy), Cole Pascucci (Concord-Carlisle), Casey Phinney (Noble & Greenough), Will Prouty (Duxbury), Nick Pucillo (Acton-Boxboro), Kevin Pyne (Milford), Seth Russell (Stoneham), Jack Schneider (Thayer Academy), Will Sheskey (Scituate), John Smith-Howell (Pope John), Ethan Thomason (Norton), Ozzy Trapilo (BC High), Dante Vasquez (Rockland), Jake Willcox (Milton Academy), Zak Zinter (BB&N).
*Given the fact that an 0-7 team made the playoffs, the time is now to throw a wrinkle or two into the system to avoid it happening again. There are plenty of different options that we have discussed in print that could easily alleviate this.
*Nothing against the past two Division 3 state champions (St. John’s and Springfield Central), but the fact that these bonafide Div. 1 schools are playing two divisions lower than where they truly belong is silly.
*Seeing how well the games at Foxboro work with three timeouts and a 10-15 minute half, maybe it’s time to incorporate that into everyday contests.
*More and more schools have voiced concerns about the postgame ceremony at Gillette Stadium and the way things are handled. The stadium is big enough, there is no need to jam both teams into a small foyer on the first floor. One of these years, something is going to happen and Gillette will be history.