March 28 MVP: MassVarsity Pre-and-Post

Let's start with the two games I covered this weekend for the Boston Herald: Central Catholic's win over Methuen, and Xaverian's victory at Brockton.


The two games were kind of similar in that both Central and Xaverian moved the ball deliberately down the field and did not necessarily have a ton of big plays. The offenses just marched forward and could not be stopped.


Also, both winning quarterbacks were in total control of the action. Central's Ayden Pereira took what was given to him and was happy to chip away slowly at the Methuen defense. Michael Berluti of Xaverian had a few big downfield throws, but it was mostly working in the short and intermediate game for him.


Both of these teams have big tests coming up next week. Central will take on BC High, and that should be one of the games of the week. Xaverian will face Catholic Memorial, and that might be the game of the year.


Pereira gives Central a chance against anyone on that schedule. He's a strong, accurate passer, and he avoids the rush well with his feet, keeping his eyes downfield. He has a handful of Division 1 offers so far, and he will probably get some more before all is said and done.


Berluti knows the Xaverian offense inside and out now as a three-year starter. As Hawks coach Al Fornaro said after the game, Berluti knows presnap where the ball should go and how to get it there. Berluti will continue his playing career at Tufts, and we think the NESCAC is getting a terrific player.


Overall though, another thing that jumped out to us about these teams is the line play. Central's defensive line was in the backfield all night against Methuen, and the offensive line protected Pereira well. Both lines dominated for Xaverian, the o-line for the Hawks was simply dominant.


We look forward to seeing how these teams continue to play over the course of the season.


Senator Barry Finegold meets with Duxbury


We covered a lot of ground about the Duxbury situation on the most recent MassVarsity podcast this week. Please give it a listen.


Some important lessons were taught when Senator Barry Finegold met with members of the Duxbury football team.


Finegold talked to the players about what being Jewish means to him, and the impact of some of the language the Duxbury players used.


It is critically important that the Duxbury players learn about what these words mean, and how they can affect the lives of others. There is simply no place for what these players said, and the adults who allowed this type of speech need to be held accountable.


We hope more people like Finegold can offer teaching points from this, and the Duxbury community can keep something like this from ever happening again.


Catholic Memorial flexes


What does it say that Catholic Memorial can turn the ball over six times against St. John's Prep and still run away with a 49-24 win?


Well, it says that CM has oodles of speed, and the Knights can score quick and fast. Datrell Jones is having a tremendous year for CM, and he is showing everyone why Boston College offered him so early.


Pretty much everyone tabbed CM as the number one team in the preseason, and it's looking like that was a smart thing.


This week's game against Xaverian will probably be the stiffest test the Knights face this Fall 2 season. Right now, even as good as Xaverian is this year, you have to make CM the favorite. There's just too much speed there to ignore.


Big win for Norwood


One of the biggest results of the weekend came when Norwood upset Holliston, 19-14.


We knew when Manny Lopes came to coach Norwood that the former Mustang would have his alma mater pointed in the right direction soon.


However, we did not see this coming so soon.


Holliston is the king of the Tri-Valley League over the last decade and more. For Lopes to post this victory shows just how well he has gotten things rolling in Norwood.


When Lopes was a player, Norwood was one of the top teams in the state around the turn of the century.


He maybe does not have his team at that point yet, but the Mustangs are running in the right direction.


Flying high


Speaking of upsets, how about the Framingham Flyers and their 24-21 win over Wellesley?


Wellesley was a legitimate top 25 team this year, and Framingham controlled play in its win over the Raiders Saturday.


A few years ago, Framingham beat Natick at Fenway Park, which until Saturday was probably the biggest win for the Flyers in recent years.


But this one deserves mention, and the Framingham program is growing and gaining momentum.


Congrats to Framingham coach Ed Mantie and his team's big win.


Smooth Sail-ing


Right now, one of the teams we overlooked in the preseason is Scituate.


We maybe were a little too swayed by the fact that the Sailors did not have a great 2019.


But that's clearly in the rearview mirror now, as Scituate has lopsided wins over Hanover and Pembroke.


What's maybe just as promising for this program is that two of its best players, wide receiver Keegan Sullivan and running back Andrew Bossey, are still juniors.


The Sailors, it appears, are not going anywhere.


Milford moving up


Another big result from the weekend was Milford's 12-0 shutout of King Philip.


We had a feeling heading into this season was going to be good, but did not know how much.


Even though the Scarlet Hawks lost a 20-7 showdown with Mansfield, the way they competed showed that some of their hype was warranted.


Now, with that win over King Philip, coach Dale Olson has a signature win.


No, the Scarlet Hawks will probably not win the Hockomock League's Kelley-Rex division, but Milford's place has been improved.


This is another program headed in the right direction.


Same story


With Tewksbury's 41-14 win over Billerica, this program continues to roll in the Merrimack Valley Conference.


This is one of the most consistent programs in the state. Tewksbury is one of those teams you can set your watch to.


We feel strongly that if this were a normal season, Tewksbury again would made a deep playoff run and perhaps make it back to Gillette Stadium.


Favorites emerging


It appears some favorites are emerging in Central Mass.


Wachusett and Doherty are both 2-0, as the Mountaineers have beaten Shepherd Hill and Shrewsbury, and Doherty owns victories over Shrewsbury and Algonquin.


Those are all quality wins, and these two teams are really strong on both sides of the ball.


We look forward to seeing how these squads progress over the course of Fall 2.


Fitchburg off and running


One of the best games of the week was the rescheduled one between Fitchburg and Hingham. Fitchburg won, 35-28.


We knew Fitchburg would be one of the best teams in Central Mass. this season, and it appears the Red Raiders have a strong rushing attack once again. Running backs Anthony Oquendo and Devon Barisano and quarterback Montgomery Graham all had big days on the ground against Hingham.


We feel Fitchburg is in that conversation with Wachusett and Doherty as the best team in Central Mass.


Crusaders still perfect


Holy Cross defeated Fordham, 34-24, in the home opener for the Crusaders this weekend.


It appears the Crusaders have found a spark in freshman quarterback Matthew Sluka. He rushed for two touchdowns and threw for a third in coming off the bench. Sluka finished the game with 145 yards rushing.


Holy Cross has another home game coming up against Bucknell. It appears the Crusaders are making the most out of their spring games.

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