Went to two Hockomock League games to start the Fall II season, and as we look back over the weekend, we wanted to gather up some thoughts there.
Let's begin with Friday night, where Mansfield took care of Franklin, 49-7, with a running clock in the second half.
Cincere Gill was just sensational for Mansfield, as he carried the ball eight times for 148 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a pass for 19 yards in the first half, and even threw an incomplete pass out of the Wildcat.
Everyone knew that Gill would be a central piece to Mansfield's success this season, but the speedster looks even more dynamic. He has excellent instincts, and he sheds tacklers well once he has the ball in his hands.
The other player that will draw a lot of attention in a different way is two-way lineman TJ Guy. He's listed at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, but he carries it extremely well. Guy has plenty of room to add weight to his frame once he gets to Michigan. He is a physical player, and at times, it takes two, even three players to adequately keep him out of the backfield.
Franklin coach Eian Bain had high praise for Guy after the game. Bain said Guy is going to play on Sundays, and that Guy compares favorably to Michigan defensive lineman Kwity Paye, who is expected to be a high draft pick in this spring's NFL Draft.
As for Franklin, the Panthers will be good eventually, they just had to start a lot of new faces. Keep an eye on quarterback Jared Arone, who threw a touchdown pass in the first half. HE stands tall in the pocket and throws a nice ball.
Let's shoot over to North Attleboro's 41-13 win over Canton. In the preseason, we may have overlooked North a bit and expected their troubles from 2019 to continue.
Obviously, that does not look to be the case. The Red Rocketeers are coming off a losing season, the program's first in 27 years, and junior quarterback Tyler DeMattio said the Red Rocketeers wanted to make a statement against Canton.
That's exactly what they did, and DeMattio made a few himself with how he ran the ball and threw it. He rushed for 70 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, and completed 8-of-12 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. DeMattio is a tough, fast, strong runner, and is improving by the day as a passer.
North also got strong running performances out of Jacob Silva and Jared Penta, and the defense flowed to the ball well and played with good speed.
Canton is in the same boat as Franklin in that the Bulldogs had to replace a lot of talent from the previous version. One player who looked good for them was running back/defensive back Cam Sanchez.
Elsewhere in the Hockomock . . .
One result that caught our eye a little bit was Milford's 34-0 win over Attleboro in the Scarlets Hawks' maiden voyage in the Kelley-Rex division.
We felt going in that Milford was the favorite, but did not expect a score that lopsided. The Milford defense played well, and quarterback Brady Olson completed 18-of-26 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns.
Milford is a team we expected to be pretty good, and had them ranked in our 40-team countdown in the fall. It won't take long to see exactly how for real the Scarlet Hawks are, as they take on Mansfield next week.
That should be one of the games of the week, not just in the Hockomock, but the state.
Catholic Conference rundown
An interesting first weekend in the Catholic Conference.
CM looked every bit as good as most people expect, as the Knights croaked St. John's of Shrewsbury, 42-10. Those who saw that game seemed to be blown away with CM's collection of skill. It will take a major effort to beat that team, it seems.
Maybe the most noteworthy result of the weekend in the conference was Xaverian's 28-12 win over BC High. It helps to have a three-year starter at quarterback, and Michael Berluti is a good one for the Hawks. There is some decent young talent coming up the ranks for Xaverian, and the offensive line is big and physical.
St. John's Prep took care of St. Mary's of Lynn, 26-7. It was a bit of a workmanlike win for the Prep, which could be grinding its way to wins early in the season.
Debut of the SEC
The Southeast Conference made its debut, and there were some intriguing results.
Dartmouth earned a 20-14 win over New Bedford. It was a victory in which Dartmouth's junior-dominated lineup made a lot of plays. Both teams will see a lot of their players return next season.
Brockton led throughout and had to beat back a feisty Durfee squad, 28-21. Boxers quarterback Devonte Medley completed 15-of-24 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns.
Brockton takes on Dartmouth next week in what should be a good one.
In a nonleague contest, SEC member Bridgewater-Raynham beat Middleboro, 26-6.
In one of the big results of the weekend, Methuen beat Andover, 20-14.
Anthony Romano scored the game-winning touchdown for Methuen, and has been one of the best linebackers in the Merrimack Valley Conference since he was a sophomore.
We underestimated Methuen in the preseason, and it seems like the MVC always has at least one program come out of the pack to surprise everyone.
Maybe that team this season is Methuen, and we still expect Andover to be one of the top teams in the area.
Cross off win No. 1
In the college ranks, Holy Cross began its spring season with a 20-3 win over Lehigh down in Pennsylvania.
Former Westford Academy star Connor Degenhardt threw for two touchdown passes, and the Crusaders' defense dominated.
Defensive linemen Dan Kuznetsov, Jordan Jackson, and Jake Reichwein combined for four sacks.
The Crusaders come back to Worcester next week to host Fordham, which had its game with Bucknell this weekend postponed.