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Oct. 26 Friday pick 'em

Updated: Oct 27, 2018

With an awful, 1-3 showing in college picks last weekend, we have hit rock bottom, as we are only at the 70 percent mark if your round up after the decimal point.


That ain't really 70 percent, folks.


Well, now the MIAA games are starting to really pick up in intensity, as Eastern Mass. starts postseason play, and this is the last week of jockeying for spots in Central and Western Mass.


Maybe the higher stakes bring out the best in these picks. Maybe not. We'll definitely find out soon, though.


On to the picks.

High School


Westfield at Longmeadow


This is not a playoff game, but it has massive implications for the Western Mass. postseason, especially for Longmeadow, which could be left out of the Division 5 section with a loss here. That is nearly unheard of for the Lancers, but Westfield could simply be the better team right now.


Prediction: Westfield 28, Longmeadow 22


Leicester at Oxford


This game encapsulates the frustration with the playoff system under the current rules in Central and Western Mass. Oxford is 7-0 and dominated every opponent, but Leicester, at 4-3, has played a far tougher schedule. At the end of the day, these are both deserving teams, but someone is going to get left out. We will lean toward Niko Murray and Co. to earn revenge for last year's defeat in this spot.


Prediction: Oxford 30, Leicester 26


East Longmeadow at Minnechaug


Neither of these teams will be bounced out of the postseason picture with a loss here. The compelling aspect mostly comes down to if Minnechaug can muscle its way into the No. 2 seed in Division 3. Also, this is simply just going to be a good game between two of the best teams in the area. East Longmeadow has been rolling lately, so we will ride the hot hand.


Prediction: East Longmeadow 24, Minnechaug 23


St. John's (S) at Marlboro


Marlboro is probably in the Division 4 playoffs regardless of the outcome of this game, but seeding-wise, the Panthers could make a huge jump with a win here. And, make no mistake, for as well as the Pioneers have played of late, Marlboro is a nightmare matchup for anyone based on their grueling style of play. That said, we're going with the favorites here.


Prediction: St. John's (S) 15, Marlboro 13


Lexington at Central Catholic


This Division 1 North quarterfinal between pins two of the hottest teams in the state against each other. Both Lexington coach George Peterson and Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos have done excellent jobs getting inexperienced teams to improve each week. That said, we feel like the host Raiders have a bit of a higher ceiling, so we'll take them here.


Prediction: Central Catholic 35, Lexington 27


Brockton at Franklin


As we noted in Monday's EMass playoff primer, Brockton is one of the more puzzling teams in the state, while Franklin has been a little more consistent, led by the play of quarterback Nick Gordon. Expect Brockton to be more reliant on its run game, and we are of the mind that the Boxers can have some success there.


Prediction: Brockton 20, Franklin 17


BC High at Xaverian


Injuries have struck Xaverian in a bad way, and BC High, even at 2-5, is always going to bring a physical challenge with its size and strength. This is a "take the under" type of contest, and whoever scores the first touchdown probably wins.


Prediction: Xaverian 10, BC High 3


New Bedford at Natick


A week ago, we included the New Bedford-Brockton game in our picks but did not go enough out on a limb to pull the trigger on the upset. Well, the Whalers handled that part themselves. New Bedford has some serious skill on offense and is playing better defense than it has in years. Still, Natick gets the nod in a game that features two of the best quarterbacks in the section in New Bedford's Tru Williams and Natick super sophomore Will Lederman.


Prediction: Natick 28, New Bedford 23


Whitman-Hanson at North Attleboro


This is probably one of the most difficult games of the weekend to project. Whitman-Hanson has one of the best playmakers around in quarterback Ethan Phelps, and the Panthers in general have played a challenging schedule. North Attleboro has been a little inconsistent this year, but don't discount the experience of a team that has so many players who made it to Gillette Stadium a year ago.


Prediction: North Attleboro 22, Whitman-Hanson 21


Dracut at Marblehead


The top-seeded Magicians are another case of a well-coached team that has only gotten better over the course of the season. Dracut is only 3-3, but has played a tough schedule, with losses to Tewksbury, Acton-Boxboro, and North Andover (combined record of 20-1). This will be a closer game than most any No. 8 vs. No. 1 matchup, but we lean toward the favorites in a close one.


Prediction: Marblehead 17, Dracut 14


Dennis-Yarmouth at Scituate


This won't just be one of the best games of the weekend, but one of the most entertaining, if nothing more than for the fact that these teams faced off in the Division 5 South final last year. The teams also had spirited competition in the 7-on-7 circuit. The offenses will get most of the attention, but Scituate's defense is actually pretty underrated.


Prediction: Scituate 35, Dennis-Yarmouth 20


Norwell at Medway


Division 6 South is one of the deeper brackets Eastern Mass., and this No. 6 vs. No. 3 showdown is indicative of that. Both teams have quality wins and losses or one loss to teams with realistic state title aspirations. In a coin-flip game like this, we are going with the home team. Simplistic? Sure, but this is a really tough call.


Prediction: Medway 22, Norwell 21


Nantucket at Case


A very interesting game in Division 7 South here between two teams with the type of speed that would match up well with most anyone, regardless of division. Nantucket's Devonte Usher will punish any defense that struggles with open-field tackling, while Case caught our attention with how well it battled with Division 6 South No. 1 seed Old Rochester last week. Look for a lot of points, long-yardage plays, and a close game.


Prediction: Case 37, Nantucket 34


Billerica at Tewksbury


Although these teams have already played each other and Tewksbury won comfortably, the old cliche of "It's tough to beat a team twice" is well-worn for a reason. Billerica is still fairly young, and Tewksbury is playing with an earned confidence of a team that has played a tough schedule and only lost to a consensus top five team in the state in North Andover. This should be a closer game, but it's hard to pick against Tewksbury in this spot.


Prediction: Tewksbury 24, Billerica 20


Thayer Academy at BB&N


About a month ago, the thought that this game would even be worthy of a pick was a little silly, but Thayer has played well in running up a 5-0 record and been one of the more pleasant surprises of the season. But, as has been the case against everyone it has played save for St. Sebastian's, BB&N should be able to establish the run with its big offensive line and control the game from there.


Prediction: BB&N 34, Thayer 17


College


Miami at Boston College


Expect a great atmosphere Friday night for the annual Red Bandana game in honor of 9/11 hero Welles Crowther. As BC coach Steve Addazio said earlier this week, you can also expect the return of sensational running back AJ Dillon. If the Eagles get up early, they can ride the momentum and take down a Miami team that is struggling to find an offensive identity.


Prediction: Boston College 30, Miami 21


UMass at UConn


There have been few bright spots for the Minutemen this season, but there would be nothing sweeter at this point in the season than a win over a UConn program that no one in Amherst has any love lost for. That said, UConn has a mobile quarterback and running back, Worcester native Kevin Mensah, who can do damage against the UMass defense.

Prediction: UConn 37, UMass 31


Harvard at Dartmouth


This is a tough stretch for the Crimson, as they are coming off a loss against a Princeton team that is nationally ranked. At least in one poll, so is Dartmouth, and Harvard will have its work cut out for it on the road. Expect Harvard's defense to play well, but Dartmouth might have a little too much firepower in this one.


Prediction: Dartmouth 27, Harvard 17


Lehigh at Holy Cross


Both of these teams come in with one win, and each of those victories were in early-to-mid-September. That's a long line of defeats, but Holy Cross has been plenty competitive in some of them, and its victory over Yale still holds up as an impressive one. We'll go with the Crusaders to get back on track.


Prediction: Holy Cross 26, Lehigh 23


LIU Post at Assumption


Assumption suffered a tough setback last week to a New Haven team that remains unbeaten in Northeast-10 play. Even though Assumption was right in that game until the end, we feel like, even with this game being played in Worcester, LIU Post is probably the best team in that league right now.


Prediction: LIU Post 28, Assumption 27


MIT at WPI


MIT comes in with a more impressive 7-0 record to WPI's 4-3, but those three defeats came to heavy-hitters RPI, Springfield College, and Merchant Marine. This should be a slugfest, the type of low-scoring battle that comes down to the final minutes. This is mostly a tossup, so we'll go with the team that has yet to lose.


Prediction: MIT 15, WPI 12

Last week: 18-9 Season: 144-63

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