We are teetering still, right on the button for 70 percent for the season. We were able to earn some quality wins last week, but a few 50-50 games set us back, including the Friday night game we attended of Needham at Milton.
Another round of big games this weekend, so let's get on to the picks.
Nashoba at Wachusett
This is where we will be Friday night. These are typically two of the more physical teams, not just in Central Mass., but the state. Wachusett has only lost two games by a touchdown each, but we feel like Nashoba's balance could win out here.
Prediction: Nashoba 15, Wachusett 14
Needham at Walpole
Walpole junior quarterback Will Jarvis has emerged on the scene as one of the best at his position in the state. The Rebels are coming off a nice win over Braintree, but we feel like Needham still has a few too many weapons and will rebound from the Milton loss.
Prediction: Needham 35, Walpole 21
New Bedford at Brockton
This may not seem as clear cut as some of the other battles for the Big 3 title have been in the past. The Whalers have missed out on some close games, and their offense finally seems to be clicking. However, the Boxers are getting healthy at the right time, and should be able to run the ball.
Prediction: Brockton 27, New Bedford 13
Holyoke at Westfield
Westfield is coming off a lopsided loss to Springfield Central, but played without star receiver Baley Collier. Whether or not he returns this week, we feel like the Bombers still have enough to take down Holyoke, although it should be competitive either way.
Prediction: Westfield 31, Holyoke 21
Tech Boston at West Roxbury
When we spoke to Pope John XXIII coach Paul Sobolewski earlier in the week, he made mention of how Tech Boston is starting to play well. We know West Roxbury will bring a physical test, but Tech Boston should be able run the ball well enough to win.
Prediction: Tech Boston 18, West Roxbury 16
Boston English/New Mission at Charlestown
Pope John looks to have the top seed in Division 8 North wrapped up if it defeats Matignon/St. Joe's, but Boston English/New Mission could do the same with a No. 2 seed if it takes care of business here. We see the unbeaten streak continuing here.
Prediction: Boston English/New Mission 16, Charlestown 14
BC High at Xaverian
Even though BC High took one on the chin against St. John's Prep last weekend, we don't necessarily expect a non-competitive game here. These are two teams that always get up for each other. Still, Xaverian should land the finishing blows here in the second half.
Prediction: Xaverian 24, BC High 13
North Attleboro at Canton
This is the battle of the establishment power in the Hockomock League against the program coming up from the bottom. North Attleboro has been a little inconsistent this year, but we still feel like it has a little extra to push over the top against the resurgent Bulldogs.
Prediction: North Attleboro 26, Canton 20
Attleboro at Franklin
This is a huge game for playoff implications in Division 1 South. Right now, Brockton is the No. 4 seed ahead of Franklin and Attleboro, respectively. That said, it's possible those teams can jump the Boxers with a win. We like quarterback Jason Weir and the Blue Bombardiers here.
Prediction: Attleboro 35, Franklin 21
North Andover at Billerica
It seemed like everyone took notice of how tough Billerica played Catholic Memorial last weekend. The Indians always play well at home, and will no doubt bring their A-game against the best team in the Merrimack Valley Conference. That said, we feel the Scarlet Knights will prove again why they wear that mantle.
Prediction: North Andover 38, Billerica 28
Marblehead at Danvers
Danvers is coming off a tough loss to Beverly, which is a good team, so no reason to jump off the Falcons' bandwagon just yet. Marblehead has been playing excellent football of late, and last week's win over Gloucester was a prime example of that. Look for the Magicians to keep it rolling.
Prediction: Marblehead 31, Danvers 20
Whitman-Hanson at Plymouth North
This is another game that has major implications for playoff seeding, this time in Div. 3 South. There are four teams in the sectional with 4-2 records heading into the weekend, so a lot of movement is on its way. We like the Panthers here, but feel this is a 50-50 game.
Prediction: Whitman-Hanson 21, Plymouth North 17
Abington at Cohasset
These are two teams that have tested their mettle, and each gave Mashpee a tough game. Abington, though, seems like it might be the second-best team in Div. 7 South, as junior do-it-all weapon Will Klein brings another element to the Green Wave offense.
Prediction: Abington 28, Cohasset 22
Northbridge at Tantasqua
This is the type of game that can really go either way. Northbridge is undefeated, but has not faced the same schedule as Tantasqua, which has lost to Doherty and Wachusett so far. If Tantasqua can control the ball and use its grinding style, we like its chances to win here.
Prediction: Tantasqua 20, Northbridge 19
Wahconah at Minnechaug
Wahconah suffered a tough loss to East Longmeadow a couple of weeks back, while Minnechaug keeps rolling with an unbeaten season that includes wins over Longmeadow, Chicopee Comp, and Northampton. We see another solid victory ahead here.
Prediction: Minnechaug 33, Wahconah 25
Ashland at Holliston
In a matchup that will decide the champion of the Tri-Valley League Large, these are two teams that will be gunning for deep runs in Div. 5 (Holliston) and Div. 6 (Ashland). Right now, it's hard to go against Holliston's pedigree, so we like the Panthers in a close one.
Prediction: Holliston 27, Ashland 24
Old Rochester at Case
Old Rochester has been one of the most consistent teams in the state this year, while Case has surprised some people with its undefeated run. While Case should make things interesting here, we just feel that the Bulldogs are a step above everyone in the South Coast Conference right now.
Prediction: Old Rochester 30, Case 21
Wayland at Lincoln-Sudbury
Wayland has been playing well since losing its opener to a Hopkinton team that is still flying a little under the radar. Lincoln-Sudbury does not appear to have been shaken at all from its loss to Acton-Boxboro. We feel L-S is still one of the best teams in the state, and will continue to play like it Friday night.
Prediction: Lincoln-Sudbury 35, Wayland 14
Mashpee at St. Mary's
Maybe some of the luster of this matchup wore off when Archbishop Williams knocked off St. Mary's last weekend. No matter, as this could still be the state semifinal down the line. Still, Mashpee has proven to be able to win both the close ones and the not-so-close ones, and we like the Falcons to keep doing so.
Prediction: Mashpee 28, St. Mary's 18
Nantucket at Southeastern
This is another small school matchup that should warrant a decent amount of attention this weekend. Southeastern has made some great strides under first-year coach Dominique Williams, while Nantucket has been on a roll since taking two quick losses to start the year. We think the Whalers are on to something right now, and will ride them out for now.
Prediction: Nantucket 17, Southeastern 15
Dracut at Tewksbury
Dracut jumped out to a hot start, but has cooled off a little with losses to North Andover and Acton-Boxboro, two of the top teams in the state. The Redmen have been more consistent, and we feel their running game and defense may be the difference here.
Prediction: Tewksbury 20, Dracut 16
BB&N at Milton Academy
Milton has been a little up and down this season, while BB&N's only loss this season came to the best team in the ISL, St. Sebastian's. Right now, we feel the difference between these two teams is line play, where the Knights should be able to hold the advantage.
Prediction: BB&N 34, Milton Academy 17
Belmont Hill at Nobles
These are two teams that both look like they have made vast improvements from last season. Belmont Hill is coming off a dominant win over Milton Academy, and Nobles is still perfect through four games. Still, we think Belmont Hill's strength of schedule to this point will benefit it in what should be a tight game.
Prediction: Belmont Hill 35, Nobles 31
Coastal Carolina at UMass
As we mentioned on Monday, this is a chance for the Minutemen to show how far they have come in defending the run, as Coastal comes in with one of the top ground attacks in the nation. Our guess is that UMass has made enough progress there to come away with the win here.
Prediction: UMass 42, Coastal Carolina 31
Princeton at Harvard
Harvard is coming off a thrilling win over Holy Cross, and running back Aaron Shampklin has separated himself as one of the top running backs in the Ivy League. However, it looks like Princeton right now is an offensive juggernaut, so we will go with the visiting Tigers here.
Prediction: Princeton 40, Harvard 27
Assumption at New Haven
This marks the first of two key showdowns with unbeaten Northeast-10 teams, with the following week against LIU Post being the other one. We feel that quarterback Cody Williams has the Greyhounds in a position to continue on the winning path for the first leg here.
Prediction: Assumption 27, New Haven 24
WPI at Merchant Marine
We were more than a bit surprised when we saw Merchant Marine knock off Springfield College last week, so this should be an even more interesting matchup than previously thought. This will be a tough road trip for WPI, but we like the versatile rushing attack it brings to the table, which will come in handy here.
Prediction: WPI 23, Merchant Marine 17
Last week: 16-7 Season: 126-54