Division 4 finalist Nashoba has been terrific all season, but suffered a 35-0 loss to Wachusett toward the end of the regular season.
Chieftains coach Jamie Tucker explained how his team was able to turn things around after that game.
"Obviously, that was a tough game. Wachusett's a premier program out in our area, and they've done a great job," Tucker said. "I think just like the game that is going to happen on Friday (against Dighton-Rehoboth), you're going to make mistakes. It happens. It's how you respond. Our kids responded great, obviously. We had a huge win over Shrewsbury, who's a great program, too. It led us right into the playoffs, and we've played three good teams since then. So we were able to use that to learn from our mistakes and get better from there."
— The coach of Nashoba's Friday night opponent, Dighton-Rehoboth's Dave Moura, is fresh off being named the Patriots High School Coach of the Week. Moura said his Falcons are multi-faceted.
"We're pretty balanced on offense," he said. "There's not one running back that sort of stands out among the other. Harry Pray has done a great job throwing the football. I think he's thrown for 17 touchdown passes so far this year. And on defense, just a bunch of hard-working kids. Our nose guard has been a three-year starter: Mason Cadorette. He's had a great high school career."
— Nipmuc coach Shawn Hill praised the all-around strength of his Division 5 state title opponent, Scituate, but also highlighted some of his key contributors.
Hill noted those like defensive end/tight end Matt Richards, two-way linemen Tom Chesters and Brett Loftus, running back/defensive back Preston Dougherty, linebacker Jon Hilton, wide receiver Nate Gould, quarterback Judah Dishington, running back Richie Broni and middle linebacker Joey Schiloski.
As for what the Warriors like to do on offense, Hill cracked, "Try to have one."
He continued, "We are multiple, but we like to run the football. We'll line up in a lot of different formations, a lot of I, stuff like that, and then we'll spread it out at times. A little bit of multiple."
— King Philip coach Brian Lee made mention of the tremendous skill players for his opponent on Friday, Div. 2 North champion North Andover.
"Unbelievable quarterback, running back, wide receiver. Usually you get one. You get one guy to stop," Lee said. "You have so many different things. You don't really know what their game plan is against us because they can do so much on offense. And any play, boom. You make one little mistake. And on special teams, two punt returns on Thanksgiving, a fake punt on Thanksgiving. Just a lot, a lot to defend."
KP suffered some early losses to North Attleboro and Mansfield, but again turned it on in the Div. 2 South bracket to make it back to Gillette for the third consecutive season.
"I just think it's a ton of grit, a ton of just trying to maximize what they have and buying into what we're trying to coach them up to do," Lee said. "That's really what King Philip football is. . . . I think that the kids have really played — not above themselves — but they're playing the best that they can, which is what you want. As a coach, you want to see them reach that pinnacle, and they're maximizing what they have right now."
— One of the wins that put St. Bernard's on the map this season came in the opener, when the Div. 8 Central champs knocked off crosstown foe and Div. 4 Fitchburg, which finished with a 6-5 record.
"They're four divisions higher than us," St. Bernard's coach Tom Bingham said. "I think you can take divisions and toss them out the windows. It's about the best 11 and how healthy you are. I think the big difference in divisional play and the stepping up is your depth behind that. I think playing Fitchburg in the same city, our kids were up for it. They believed in themselves. They, literally, all summer long in the weight room, believed that they were going to go out and beat 'em. Been coaching 24 years, and student-athletes' belief is the most powerful thing that you get to handle. It's so much more powerful than any X's and O's. So the kids believed, and it's a difference-maker."