PEABODY — Over at Bishop Fenwick Thursday night, the Northeast 7v7 tournament concluded with the New England championship, as Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) took home the title with a 20-14 win over Dennis-Yarmouth.
The 10-team field also featured Bonny Eagle (Maine), Andover, Brockton, Hingham, Billerica, BB&N, Newton North, and Lynn English. Brockton and BB&N each made it to the semifinals, but Hendricken went 6-0, and only lost to Hingham in the South semifinals over the course of its two appearances this summer.
Yet again, the tournament was run efficiently by Milton coach Steve Dembowski.
Let's get to what we saw and heard along the way:
— Now, of course, this is a Massachusetts-centric site, but we can't overlook the team who simply dominated the event, and that was Hendricken, consistently one of the best programs in New England.
Quarterback Tom Comella was decisive and accurate all night, and the wide receivers and defensive backs like Angel Sanchez, Andres Andujar, and Jordan Robbins all made big plays when their team needed them.
Hendricken opened with a 20-19 win over Brockton in which the Boxers did not convert a two-point conversion in the final moments, and the Hawks closed with a touchdown in the final seconds against a D-Y team that played terrific all summer.
— Speaking of out-of-state teams, Bonny Eagle was the only other team to give D-Y a loss. The Maine contingent in the North sectional showed well, and the Scots displayed a nice deep passing game with quarterback Keegan Meredith.
— As for D-Y, Geoffrey Jamiel continues to steal the show. After the Dolphins beat Brockton in the semifinal, one Boxers observer simply said, "He's a freak."
Teams paid extra attention to him all tournament, and it mostly did not matter, as Jamiel's route-running and quickness lost defenders all day.
Dennis-Yarmouth's Geoffrey Jamiel jukes a defender on a whip route for a short touchdown reception from quarterback Will Levesque.
Keep an eye on class of 2022 linebacker/tight end Pat O'Neill, too. The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder's pick-six against BB&N sealed the win for the Dolphins over the Knights in pool play.
The issue with the Dolphins is they have a small roster with not a ton of depth up front. Their schedule is unforgiving with bigger schools like Barnstable, Lawrence, Marshfield, and Bridgewater-Raynham on the docket. One or two injuries can derail D-Y's hopes fast, but if the Dolphins make it to the Division 5 South playoffs relatively healthy, watch out.
— BB&N's Zak Zinter was in attendance to root on his team, and the Michigan verbal commit saw his team make a nice run before falling to Hendricken, 20-12, in the semis.
Again, we like what we see from the Knights in terms of an overall length perspective. The question with this team is what can happen if someone can slow down its run game. Honestly, we don't see many that can. Teams will have to stack eight or nine in the box, and the perimeter players have the size and hands to make teams pay for doing so.
— Brockton had the best combination of size and speed of any group there. We do sound like a broken record with Nayvon Reid, but this is one of those players who's open even when he is not open.
Although he plays defensive end, he can also be an asset in the back seven if the Boxers choose to use him there. In a Hail Mary situation against Lynn English, the Boxers threw him at corner, and he high-pointed a ball near the pylon and came down with an interception to seal a 7-6 win.
We know what Brockton has at the skill positions, and even with Devonte Medley starting in his first year at quarterback, we feel he will be fine with the weapons at his disposal and his quick feet to help get him out of jams.
What the Boxers' season will come down to is how they replenish their offensive line. Brockton lost all five starters there from last season. There will — as usual — be a lot of size there to replace the departed seniors, but experience is low there at the moment.
In the last pool play game, Billerica would have moved on with a win over the Bulldogs, but Brockton advanced based on Lynn English's 25-20 victory.
In the win, Fowler pulled the hat trick of scoring on a pick six, touchdown reception, and tossing a scoring pass. With the Bulldogs trailing, 20-19, and a little over a minute left, Fowler let loose a long throw to Purter on a post, and the latter made a sliding catch in the back of the end zone to give his team the win.
Purter also made a terrific, leaping reception on the team's previous touchdown.
Linebacker/running back Sam Ofurie did not make the trip, as he was dealing with a tweaked hamstring from Saturday's East regional.
— After losses in its first two games, Billerica nearly burst through with an exciting, 22-21 win over Brockton and near-miss against Lynn English.
As stated in the East regional win over BB&N on Saturday, the Indians play with great emotion and togetherness, and never really seem out of a game.
Quarterback Nolan Houlihan, like the rest of his team, started a little slow, then caught fire over the latter half of pool play. He made some nice downfield throws and showed good touch and accuracy on rollouts.
— Andover rotated quarterbacks, and the Golden Warriors showed off nice safety play with good length across the field.
As we noted in our MIAA 40-team preseason countdown, scoring points won't be a problem, but making it through a brutal schedule in the Merrimack Valley Conference Large can be.
Still, regardless of who Andover plays, we feel this is a team capable of making some noise.
— Newton North quarterback Andrew Landry continues to impress. The 6-foot-5 signal caller kept his team competitive throughout, and is one of the best players at his position in the state.
And Tigers coach Mike Coppola is certainly excited about Tyson Duncan, a senior who only played basketball as a junior. We saw Duncan in the South regional a few of weeks ago, and his deep speed will be a major weapon for Landry as the team moves forward.
— Give Hingham a ton of credit for winning two games without the services of Duke commit Cole Finney, the 6-6 tight end/wide receiver who did not make the trip with a minor injury.
The Harbormen started with just eight players, then bolstered that group to 11 after everyone made it through the traffic up north.