Updated: Oct 13, 2019
You want wins? Well, last week, you got 'em, as we strolled through with an 18-3 record.
Our guy Matt Feld went 9-3 in his MIAA predictions. Not bad, but our 11-1 mark in the same contests gives us bragging rights for the week. Assuredly, that won't last long, so we have to pat ourselves on the back when we get the chance.
Our best one again came from New Bedford. As we said last week, everyone was telling us not to pick the Whalers. But we feel pretty strongly that there is something different about this team.
We didn't have too many bad losses, so we want to keep the momentum going. Feld is in the house again, so we're at full throttle here.
Let's get to it.
No. 1 Catholic Memorial at No. 2 St. John's Prep
We spoke to two coaches who have already played the visiting Knights (5-0) and Eagles (5-0) so far.
Xaverian coach Al Fornaro, whose Hawks lost to Catholic Memorial, 42-10, last week: "(CM coach John DiBiaso) has kind of morphed into what he was at Everett prior to his son (Jonathan). They weren't a spread passing attack. They ran the ball. Now, of course, there are certain things they did not do against us. Being as self-deprecating as I am, my answer was because they didn't have to. They tried two trick plays: the flea-flicker and the fake toss pass. He hit the sweep pass first play of the game, never came back to it. . . . Once (DiBiaso) found that he could get to our perimeter and we really could not stop that, he didn't have to deviate from that. And then when the quarterback (Barrett Pratt, who suffered an injury and is questionable for this week's game) went down and (linebacker/fullback Owen McGowan) went to quarterback, they just went toss and did 'spinner.' He spun and kept the ball. . . . I would say (CM could) probably not (run the ball as effectively against the Prep as it did against Xaverian). The Prep is better defensively. Obviously, one only need look at the scoreboard to know we're not playing typical Xaverian defense. We lack a number of things. (The Prep) does have some speed in the secondary, which will help, obviously, because (the Knights) have some guys who can scoot. . . . They've got a lot of juniors, a lot of sophomores, and freshmen playing special teams. . . . Trey is a big play for (Prep). That's what they run. That's their equivalent to our power. they run that. They run it to death. Then, what they do is, they run trey-pass. So the fullback will block to one side, he slips, the quarterback boots, and normally the kid is wide open. . . . (CM) will play man, man free. If they feel someone has a No. 1 receiver, they will double him. . . . You'll see quite often, (CM won't play a) free safety. . . . Power and iso, I'm just not sure that's (the Eagles') forte. They'll run them. Will they be successful? Well, if they're going to be in (I-formation), they're going to see an eight-man front. They're going to see eight guys in the box, and that's pretty tough sledding."
Central Catholic coach Chuck Adamopoulos, whose Raiders lost to St. John's Prep, 28-14, in September: "(The Prep's running game is) effective, and I think the tailback (sophomore James Guy) is impressive. I can only comment on him because he's the guy who played against us. But I think the kid's impressive because he's quick, but he's a strong runner and tough to bring down. It always seemed like when you made a good play, he'd gain three or four yards because he carries people with him. So (the Eagles) have the ability to grind you and control the clock, but they also have the ability to get in the gun and run other stuff because the quarterback (and receivers are good). They're pretty versatile on offense with what they can throw at you. . . . People don't understand, having that one extra minute, how much it lengthens the game. If you have the ability (like the Prep does) to chew up the clock and move the ball at the same time, I think it's important. I think (the Eagles) have pretty good depth to where I don't think they don't have too many guys going both ways. Their defense, which is very sound, gets to rest a little bit because their offense can control the ball. . . . I think they're always sound with what they do (on defense). They're pretty disciplined about what they do. They, typically, and this year's no different, they have a defensive line that can get upfield and break up the timing of things. They're very sound defensively with what they do year-in and year-out, which I think is half the battle with playing defense — be sound in what you do. . . . To me, (this year's Eagles team) is what they usually are. They are doing some of the stuff they've done in the past, and they do a good job of it. I think they'll get better during the year, as well, because I know a few of their key guys aren't seniors. Typically, those kids will get better. So, typical Prep, but, like I said, they're versatile enough on offense that they can throw some different things at you. . . . I think if you're going to have any success against (the Eagles), you have to be able to run the ball. I think if all you can do is throw, I don't think that's a recipe for success against them."
Prediction: Catholic Memorial 28, St. John's Prep 27
Feld: There is no telling whether Catholic Memorial quarterback Barrett Pratt will play in Saturday's matchup versus St. John's Prep. It was clear last week that Knights head coach John DiBiaso is going to tread carefully. Even if Pratt were to play, the Knights offense would not be at full strength.
St. John's Prep, meanwhile, is clicking on all cylinders on both sides of the ball while dealing with a handful of injuries of its own. Matt Crowley has a signature day to give the Eagles a big home victory.
Feld's pick: St. John's Prep 26, Catholic Memorial 20
No. 8 Wachusett at No. 17 Nashoba
We attended last year's showdown between these two powers, and Wachusett dominated the line of scrimmage in a 35-0 win. That type of blowout is not likely, but the Mountaineers are the more experienced team, and should pick up the road win.
Prediction: Wachusett 21, Nashoba 14
Feld: If I had to pick a team right now to win Div. 3 Central, I may just pick Wachusett. The Mountaineers' defense has been exceptional and its offense appears to be coming around. This is a tough spot as defending Div. 4 state champ Nashoba is shaping up to be just as solid as it was a season ago and has the luxury of being at home. Coin flip game lands the Mountaineers' way.
Feld's pick: Wachusett 17, Nashoba 13
No. 5 Mansfield at No. 19 Franklin
The Hornets are coming off an emotional, knock-down, drag-out brawl of a victory over King Philip, and now have to come back and face a tough Franklin team on the road. The host Panthers should find ways to keep this interesting, but Mansfield is on a roll right now.
Prediction: Mansfield 28, Franklin 17
Feld: Franklin certainly possesses the skill to put up points, but Mansfield's ability to beat teams on the ground via speed and physicality is the difference.
Feld's pick: Mansfield 24, Franklin 16
No. 7 St. John's (Shrewsbury) at Shrewsbury
Even though we have the Pioneers highly ranked, they are in a real battle for not just Div. 3 playoff seeding, but to get in, period. A win here against their rivals would be a good step in that direction.
Prediction: St. John's 40, Shrewsbury 35
Feld: One of the top rivalries in the state commences Saturday afternoon and it's a battle of two teams who despise punting the football. On the surface, Shrewsbury's ability to score over 25 points per game sticks out. That is, until you see that St. John's is averaging nearly 40 points every time they step on the field.
The Colonials may have the upper hand on the defensive side of the ball, but it does not nearly do enough to compensate for the Pioneers advantage on the ground and in the air. Quarterback Colin Schofield torments Shrewsbury with his dual-threat capabilities and the Pioneers get the road win.
Feld's pick: St. John's 45, Shrewsbury 33
No. 23 Milford at No. 16 Canton
The Scarlet Hawks are one of those teams we feel can make a real run at the Div. 3 South title. Both of these teams impressed us when we saw them in person, but we feel Milford makes a statement here.
Prediction: Milford 31, Canton 21
Feld: Underrated matchup of the weekend with the Bulldogs' premiere defense having its hands full with Milford quarterback Colby Pires. Pouring rain and wind should limit the Milford passing attack giving the edge to Canton.
Feld's pick: Canton 20, Milford 13
No. 20 Danvers at Swampscott
Your prototypical ground-and-pound team in Danvers taking on the lethal air attack from Swampscott. Conditions may play a factor, but we like the Falcons on the road to win the close one.
Prediction: Danvers 18, Swampscott 17
Feld: Danvers is playing well as just about anybody over the last couple of weeks, and with the rain pouring down, the Falcons pick up another monster NEC victory.
Feld's pick: Danvers 24, Swampscott 20
No. 25 Revere at No. 22 Lynn English
This one has the makings of a classic, and could be the best game of the weekend. We love both teams here, but it's hard to bet against multi-dimensional weapon Mathias Fowler for the Bulldogs.
Prediction: Lynn English 30, Revere 28
Brockton at Xaverian
When was the last time these teams entered the game with 1-3 records (or simply losing two games under .500)? We like Brockton's speed advantage, but Xaverian has all the confidence in the world in this rivalry, and should continue its recent dominance of it.
Prediction: Xaverian 17, Brockton 16
Feld: With 1-3 records next to their names, both of these teams are in desperate need of a victory if they hope to reach the postseason. It's a tossup, but I think Xaverian finds a way to lean on running back Joe Kelcourse just enough to escape with a low-scoring victory in the torrential rain.
Feld's pick: Xaverian 13, Brockton 10
Wahconah at Northampton
At home, Wahconah is nearly unbeatable, and it is on the road for this game against a solid Northampton squad. That said, Wahconah has reloaded as well as anyone in Western Mass., and is not an easy team to bet against.
Prediction: Wahconah 24, Northampton 20
Mashpee at Cohasset
This is one of the better small-school games of the weekend, and Mashpee is coming off a tough loss to an Abington team we feel will be in the Div. 7 state title game. This coin flip game goes to the home team, but we wouldn't be surprised to see it go the other way.
Prediction: Cohasset 22, Mashpee 20
Belmont Hill at BB&N
This is a huge game in terms of NEPSAC bowl implications, as BB&N already has a loss to Governor's Academy. We'll take the more desperate team here in that regard.
Prediction: BB&N 27, Belmont Hill 20
UMass at Louisiana Tech
This is not a favorable matchup for UMass, which will have a hard time stopping this offense.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech 53, UMass 14
Cornell at Harvard
The Crimson have looked excellent since that opening loss to San Diego, and should roll at home here.
Prediction: Harvard 35, Cornell 14
Holy Cross at Brown
The Crusaders are a bit further along than Brown at this stage, which is still rebuilding.
Prediction: Holy Cross 21, Brown 10
Assumption at Pace
The visiting Greyhounds are coming off a thrilling win over Bentley last weekend, and we feel that momentum carries over in this key Northeast 10 showdown.
Prediction: Assumption 40, Pace 30
Tufts at Wesleyan
Tufts comes into this at 2-2, and although the only losses were to Amherst and Williams, Wesleyan might be a cut above this season.
Prediction: Wesleyan 23, Tufts 16
Last week: 18-3