Oct. 18 Friday pick 'em

Last week was a fair, about average, showing, with a 10-6 mark overall.


We went 5-2 on the shared picks with Matt Feld, who came down with the same record.


This week, we have Feld again, while the game we will be at Friday night is Shepherd Hill at Wachusett. For that, unlike most weeks, we were only able to get one coach to break down the matchup, but still feel very happy with the analysis provided by Nashoba's excellent coach, Jamie Tucker.


Without further ado . . .


High schools


Shepherd Hill at No. 8 Wachusett


We spoke to Nashoba coach Jamie Tucker, whose Chieftains lost to Wachusett, 21-0, last week: "I just think (Wachusett is) a very physical team, obviously. (Wachusett coach) Mike (Dubzinski) obviously does a good job coaching (the Mountaineers) up. He always does a really good job. They've always been well-prepared. Those things are obvious. On top of that, they've got some real god athletes over there. A real good mix of good athletes, good, physical kids. All those kids can really play. They have some experience, too. . . . I didn't see anything drastically different (from a scheme perspective on defense) from (the Mountaineers). They might have done some things up front with some alignments and things like that. But nothing dramatic, I didn't think. They're very sound at what they do. They've been playing a 4-4 for years. They've dabbled in some odd-man front, some three-man front some years, too. They've pretty much been a 4-4 team, and we saw a lot of that last week. They move their alignments around up front, and they change things around like that, but I don't think they're doing anything drastically different schematically. They just have some really good kids. . . . They're very sound offensively, too. Just like I was saying defensively, they're very sound, and they have a good scheme. They run their scheme well offensively. They've run the Wing-T, and then they run some spread stuff at you. I think their quarterback does a nice job. He's very athletic. They have several different running backs they can run in there. They've always had a good receiver they can throw out there that can hurt you on some waggles and some play-action. They always have a lot of good, skilled kids, and I think their quarterback does a nice job of orchestrating the whole thing. . . . They're both (Shepherd Hill and Wachusett) physical programs, and teams that really like to run the football. I know they've had some really good battles in past seasons. We don't play Shepherd Hill this season, so I don't know quite as much about them, but it's two physical programs, and two teams that are going to come ready to play. They both play hard defensively. They both play aggressively, all those kinds of things. So it's going to be a good game, a good, physical battle, for sure."


Prediction: Wachusett 17, Shepherd Hill 7


Feld: You won't see me getting off the Wachusett bandwagon any time soon. The Mountaineers defense is letting up less than a field goal per game and their dual capability offense keeps opponents off balance. Wachusett continues its climb towards the top of Div. 3 Central with a win over Shepherd Hill.


Feld's pick: Wachusett 24, Shepherd Hill 7


No. 2 St. John's Prep at No. 24 BC High


BC High definitely has the size to match up with the Prep here, but we feel the visitors are just too strong all around to fall for the upset here.


Prediction: St. John's Prep 31, BC High 17


Feld: BC High has a golden opportunity to pick up its first marquee of the season on homecoming against a St. John's Prep team coming off its first loss of the season. The difference here is Matt Crowley as the Prep senior quarterback appears to be readying to lead another charge through the Div. 1 North Tournament.


Feld's pick: St. John's Prep 28, BC High 17


No. 7 St. John's (Shrewsbury) at Xaverian


This game at the beginning of the season looked much more intriguing. Xaverian now is clinging to its playoff hopes, but we don't feel can reel in the Pioneers' speed.


Prediction: St. John's 33, Xaverian 14


Feld: On paper this is a mismatch with St. John's getting the best of Xaverian on speed, athleticism, and size. I expect Xaverian to keep it close for a majority of the first half as it uses a ball control approach to keep the Pioneers high powered offense off the field. You can only keep Eamon Dennis and Co. down for so long, however, and the Pioneers breakaway in the final two quarters.


Feld's pick: St. John's 31, Xaverian 13


No. 9 Natick at Newton North


Newton North quarterback Andrew Landry gives the Tigers a chance against basically anyone, but counterpart Will Lederman wins this duel.


Prediction: Natick 36, Newton North 28


Feld: In a battle of high-flying offenses, Natick's defensive line is the defense as the Redhawks are able to get to Andrew Landry enough to disrupt his rhythm and get one step closer to the top overall seed in Div. 2 South.


Feld's pick: Natick 30, Newton North 22


No. 11 Holliston at Ashland


This could be the host Clockers' chance to make a major statement not just in the Tri-Valley League, but statewide. But it's hard to go against the establishment here.


Prediction: Holliston 30, Ashland 17


Feld: I saw this movie last year, and I expect it to be a rerun. Holliston simply has too many weapons all over the field.


Feld's pick: Holliston 34, Ashland 14


No. 12 Doherty at Tantasqua


We believe that Tantasqua can cause some issues for the Highlanders with its punishing ground attack and big players up front. Still, Doherty should make some chunk plays on offense to pull away.


Prediction: Doherty 35, Tantasqua 20


No. 17 Danvers at Beverly


Normally, we'd go with the ranked, unbeaten team here. But we will break from that and pick the home team that is more dangerous than some realize.


Prediction: Beverly 21, Danvers 20


No. 19 Revere at No. 14 Marblehead


This may be the game of the weekend, as both of these teams are unbeaten with some great wins under their belts. We'll go with the road team here, as the Patriots have a ton of momentum.


Prediction: Revere 23, Marblehead 21


No. 22 Reading at Winchester


We love how far Winchester has come as a program in recent years, but the Rockets are starting to pick up steam as they barrel into the Div. 2 North playoffs.


Prediction: Reading 30, Winchester 14


Feld: Expect this one to be tight for most of the evening, but Reading looks like the top contender in Div. 2 North and they assert themselves as the top team in the Middlesex League Liberty Division with a clutch road win.


Feld's pick: Reading 26, Winchester 24


Dennis-Yarmouth at Barnstable


This is a nice contrast of styles, but we are going to go with the pass-happy Dolphins over host Barnstable in one of the premier Cape rivalries.


Prediction: Dennis-Yarmouth 27, Barnstable 24


Feld: Outside of its shocking collapse to Marshfield, Dennis-Yarmouth has been spotless this season. In a game between two bitter rivals, Barnstable leans on its home field advantage and size up front to get a much needed victory in its pursuit of a home game in the Div. 2  South tournament.


Feld's pick: Barnstable 23, Dennis-Yarmouth 20


Northampton at West Springfield


These are two of the top teams in Div. 5 West that may see each other again. We like both squads here, but think the West Side passing attack may be too much.


Prediction: West Springfield 35, Northampton 28


South Hadley at Minnechaug


These pair of unbeatens have been solid year long, but we feel Minnechaug's passing attack will be too tough to stop.


Prediction: Minnechaug 35, South Hadley 14


Bishop Fenwick at Cardinal Spellman


Could these teams meet again in the Div. 6 playoffs as reps of the North and South? Maybe. For now, we will go with the visitors, who we feel are the best team in that division.


Prediction: Bishop Fenwick 21, Cardinal Spellman 15


Milton Academy at Governor's Academy


We love both of these teams, but think Milton, at the moment, might have the most weapons in this matchup.


Prediction: Milton Academy 28, Governor's Academy 24


Colleges


NC State at Boston College


Maybe we feel too confident in a backup to get the job done, but we feel quarterback Dennis Grosel is up to the task, and the Eagles' defense finds its mojo.


Prediction: Boston College 34, NC State 20


Harvard at Holy Cross


This one is probably the best college take of the weekend, in what should be a terrific atmosphere in Worcester. We're going with the visitors here, who seem to have things clicking right now.


Prediction: Harvard 31, Holy Cross 21


Merrimack at Delaware State


We initially — accidentally, of course — picked this game last week. Yes, we're dumb. But we are going with the Warriors here to improve their record to 3-4.


Prediction: Merrimack 35, Delaware State 24


Bentley at Stonehill


Another tremendous local take this weekend, Stonehill is the only team left with a spotless Northeast 10 record, and we think it stays that way.


Prediction: Stonehill 30, Bentley 28


UMass-Dartmouth at Bridgewater St.


Both of these teams are solid this year, and although we've been high on the Corsairs since the beginning of the season, we're going with the hosts here.


Prediction: Bridgewater St. 31, UMass-Dartmouth 27


Last week: 10-6

Total: 77-40

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