Sept. 20 Friday pick 'em


We are still around the .500 mark overall, which is more like the Mendoza line for picking games. Kind of embarrassing, but we will soldier on.


Went with 15 games last week, and we are pumping that number up this time around.


Why? Well, there are tons of fun matchups this weekend. Frankly, almost too many.


So we grabbed more this week, and we were able to employ the help of a guest picker, as well.


Who is it? Well, let's just say it's someone whose track record in this type of thing is clearly superior to anything you've ever seen on this website. The man with red-hot takes on all things — including proper etiquette at Dunkin's — is here to class up this joint.


That's right Matt Feld is here for some select picks, with some extra ones tacked on.


Let's get to it.


High School


No. 3 Springfield Central at No. 1 Catholic Memorial


You better believe we are going to be here for this one, and so will Mike Flanagan, who does a terrific job with his video highlight packages. Follow him now if you don't already. His Twitter is here. His Instagram is here. His YouTube channel is here.


We spoke to the coaches who played Springfield Central and Catholic Memorial last week to get a read on what people should expect Friday night in West Roxbury.


Central Catholic coach Chuck Adamopoulos, whose team beat Springfield Central, 52-42, last Saturday: "(Springfield Central) brings pressure, and I think (sophomore quarterback Ayden Pereira) stood in the pocket, and moved around when he had to, and made some key throws, which helped us. . . . (When Central brought pressure), it did (create more one-on-one matchups). I think our line help up solid and gave Ayden some time to (make plays). . . . I think we ran the ball decent. We had a couple of drives where we ate some clock up and gave our defense a break, because (the Golden Eagles) get you back on your heels defensively. In the second half, we had a six-minute drive, which I think was key. . . . We ran the ball when we had to. . . . The thing with Springfield, I have to go back and look, but they pretty much two-platoon, it seems. It really wasn't a team we wanted to play fast against. . . . (The Golden Eagles) have so many weapons, so many weapons on offense. I was very impressed with their quarterback (William Watson III) for being a freshman and looking like he's a four-year starter with how he handled things. They just have an abundance of weapons. That puts a lot of pressure on your defense. If you try to sell out against the pass, they'll hurt you with the run, because they have a good running back (Marcus Crawford). They were tough. They present a lot of problems. . . . I know this, though: you have to score points if you're going to beat them. I don't think they're going to be in too many 17-14 games or 14-7 games. I think you're going to have to score (a lot) of points to beat them."


St. John's (Shrewsbury) coach John Andreoli, whose team lost to Catholic Memorial, 35-20, last Friday night: "One of CM's big advantages is they've got a big power-running game, and they come out and spread on you and go no-huddle. It's a pretty diversified offensive attack. . . . Defensively, their linebackers are very active. They're physical guys. Their corners do a great job of playing pass defense and the run. I think it will be a heck of a matchup. They're two great teams, and they both do what they do well. . . . We felt all along that we had to control the ball and take advantage of our chances in the red zone (against CM), which we didn't do. We've been working on that all week (in preparation for the Pioneers' game with Everett). On the other hand, defensively, we had a couple of other big plays that hurt us. I think we had five three-and-outs over the course of the first half and first part of the second half. We did what we had to do to get back in the game, but we couldn't convert a couple of additional scores we needed to get it tied. . . . If you get down (against) a team like (the Knights), they can put it on the ground and grind some clock and move the chains. It's tough to get the ball out of their hands when they run the double-tight, double-wing very well. That's why you've really got to stay close. . . . You want to win first down if you can and get them in a second-and-long situation. If they're moving the chains on you with a lead, it's tough, whether you score quick or not. That first-down and second-down defense is critical, especially when they're in their ground game. . . . (CM's) super-power, the verticals, the outs that they run, and the sweep game — that's what we tried to figure out how to stop out of each formation. That's what we really zeroed in on. . . . (The Knights are) going to make plays. You've just got to make sure they're not making big plays. If they catch the football, you've got to make sure you run and tackle."


Prediction: Catholic Memorial 31, Springfield Central 28


Feld's Pick: Springfield Central deserves a lot of credit for scheduling three brutal road games to start the season. In a game where you could set the over/under at 90, Catholic Memorial gets the last laugh.


Prediction: Catholic Memorial 49, Springfield Central 39

No. 5 St. John's Prep at No. 2 Central Catholic


This is one of the best nonleague rivalries in the state. Last year, the Prep did not have too much of a problem taking down Central twice, and seems to have reloaded.


There is not much that separates these two right now, other than the fact that Central's win over Springfield Central is the most impressive of the bunch (the Prep has beaten Bridgewater-Raynham and Haverhill).


If Central can hang in the trenches, they've got a shot at revenge here.


Prediction: Central Catholic 21, St. John's Prep 20


Feld's Pick: I believe these two teams will see each other again come November so do not expect either coach to totally empty the tank. SJP quarterback Matt Crowley's big game experience has him ready to lead the Eagles to another key road win. 


Prediction: St. John's Prep 28, Central Catholic 24


No. 7 Everett at No. 4 St. John's (S)


Credit Crimson Tide coach Theluxon Pierre for steadying the ship last weekend and getting a big win over Xaverian after a lopsided loss to Springfield Central.


This is another game where you will see a lot of speed on the field for both squads. This, too, is not a game where you'd feel comfortable, even with a bigger lead, because of the quick-strike ability on either end.


We like the Tide to build off last week's win and move to 2-1.


Prediction: Everett 34, St. John's (S) 28


Feld's Pick: One week after coming up short in a second half comeback effort versus Catholic Memorial, St. John's (S) finds comfort back at home. Colin Schofield's dual-threat ability is the difference here.


Prediction: St. John's 31, Everett 23


No. 9 Barnstable at No. 20 Holliston


Nine times out of 10, this would be the best game of the weekend. Even with the other marquee matchups, this is still worth your buck.


Barnstable will have the distinct size advantage in this one. Holliston has played big teams in the past and won. The Panthers are fast, and experienced in the right spots to take this.


Over the course of a 12-minute quarter game, Barnstable's size can wear you down, even against a team that is always so well-conditioned as Holliston.


Prediction: Barnstable 26, Holliston 20


Feld's Pick: Everyone knows about Barnstable's prowess at home, but this is a chance to prove their mettle on the road. Red Raiders get the job done and make it clear they are one of the top dogs in Division 2.


Prediction: Barnstable 27, Holliston 23


Methuen at No. 10 Tewksbury


Another one here that should be an exciting take. Last year, this was one of the best games of the season, with Tewksbury pulling out a 31-30 win.


Methuen may have lost running back Ricky Brutus to North Andover, but last week's blowout win showed that the offense hasn't skipped a beat.


Tewksbury is no slouch on offense, either. Even though running back Shane Aylward had a terrific game last weekend, you have to account for everyone when defending this team.


Prediction: Tewksbury 30, Methuen 28


No. 13 Natick at Brockton


Another game that, if it is anything like the 2018 version, will be more than worth the price of admission. A year ago, the Boxers won this one on the road via a late safety off a blocked punt by Isaiah Laguerre.


We don't quite know what to make of the hosts, other than the offense seems to be more explosive than in the recent past. When was the last time Brockton scored 40 points and lost, as it did last weekend at Lynn Classical?


Natick is strong up front, and has one of the best quarterbacks in the state in Will Lederman. The Redhawks just seem a little more stable at the moment.


Prediction: Natick 27, Brockton 25


Feld's Pick: This is starting to feel like the year of the Redhawks in Division 2 South. Junior Will Lederman is quickly becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the state and he leads Natick to a marquee road victory.


Prediction: Natick 30, Brockton 20


No. 15 Lynn English at Beverly


This is more game of the week-type stuff. Both of these teams could very well meet again somewhere in the Division 3 North playoffs with a chance to win that section.


These squads are impressive physically, well coached, and have enough experience to withstand early adversity.


Went back and forth on this a couple times, but quarterback/defensive back/everything back Mathias Fowler can get English out of a lot of jams that would sink other teams.


Prediction: Lynn English 22, Beverly 21


Feld's Pick: The Sam Ofurie Era began with a bang a week ago and it continues into Week 2 as the Bulldogs grab a victory over a quality Beverly squad.


Prediction: Lynn English 36, Beverly 27


No. 17 Doherty at No. 25 Leominster


We will have Jared Keene at this one. Follow Jared on Twitter here.


It gets said a lot, but only because it's true: Doyle Field is one of the best places in the state to see a football game. It will be home to what we think is going to be a dandy.


You'll have two of the better junior quarterbacks around in Doherty's Noah Callery and Leominster's JC Cora facing off. The supporting casts are good, and both teams are coming off impressive season-opening wins.


This can go either way, and it's hard to pick against Leominster at home, but Callery has a ton of experience in big games like this, and a lot of his weapons do, too.


Prediction: Doherty 18, Leominster 16


No. 24 Nashoba at Marlboro


We will have John McGuirk at this one. Follow John on Twitter here.


Even though Nashoba won last week and Marlboro is coming off a loss, these teams usually produce close, dramatic games.


We feel like Nashoba has reloaded a little quicker than expected, and like the Chieftains' chances to get their second win.


Prediction: Nashoba 16, Marlboro 14


Amherst at East Longmeadow


The visiting Hurricanes looked good in their debut with a dominant win over Agawam, but our No. 2 team in Western Mass. will be facing a bigger challenge in East Longmeadow this week.


The host Spartans are coming off a dominant win over Putnam, and we expect both of these teams to be around when the Div. 5 West playoffs crank up.


We'll go with the visitors to pass their first big test of the season.


Prediction: Amherst 35, East Longmeadow 20


Rockland at Abington


This is may be the best game on the South Shore this weekend (we won't argue, though, if you're partial to Scituate-Duxbury . . . more on that one later).


These are two hard-nosed teams with chances to go deep in their respective playoff divisions — Rockland in Division 6, Abington in 7.


The visiting Bulldogs have already beaten Nantucket and Cohasset, while Abington is coming off a shutout loss to a good Hingham team.


We'll go with the team that's already run through its share of quality Division 7 programs in a close one.


Prediction: Rockland 15, Abington 13


Melrose at Lincoln-Sudbury


Both teams jumped out to great starts last weekend, and L-S, despite losing a decorated senior class to graduation, has just reloaded.


Melrose is very good up front, and appears to have taken a big step forward from last year.


We'll go with the visitors here, but we wouldn't be surprised to see the opposite.


Prediction: Melrose 24, Lincoln-Sudbury 23


Feld's Pick: Lincoln-Sudbury may not be the powerhouse they have been the past few seasons but this is still no easy task for the Red Raiders. 


Prediction: Lincoln-Sudbury 23, Melrose 20


Lawrence Academy at Belmont Hill


With NEPSAC games kicking off this weekend, this might be the best when it comes to the Independent School League.


Lawrence had a down year in 2018, and although the Spartans boosted their roster with a solid group of transfers, we feel Belmont Hill is on a bit more solid footing overall.


Prediction: Belmont Hill 33, Lawrence Academy 15


Deerfield at Suffield Academy


Suffield is truly loaded this year, and Deerfield could be one of the best teams in Class A, too.


Deerfield is an up-and-coming program that will be improved over a year ago, but it's hard to pick against this year's Suffield group.


Prediction: Suffield 28, Deerfield 14


Feld's Bonus Picks


Duxbury at No. 21 Scituate


After a bye week, Will Sheskey and the Scituate offense are ready to get back to work. Its hard to envision a Duxbury team falling to 0-3, but this is a tall task against a team just as good as its Super Bowl squad from a season ago.


Prediction: Scituate 28, Duxbury 12


Marshfield at No. 18 BC High


Based on the fact that St. John's Prep and Xaverian still await it on the schedule, this is a sneaky big game for BC High. Marshfield is riding high after its improbable comeback from a week ago, but give me the Eagles in their 2019 home debut.


Prediction: BC High 20, Marshfield 18


Bridgewater-Raynham at No. 14 Xaverian


After falling on the road last week to Everett there may be no team facing a bigger "must-win" in Week 3 than the Hawks. Michael Berluti's improvement has been noticeable through the first few weeks of the season and it lifts Xaverian to a crucial victory.


Prediction: Xaverian 22, Bridgewater-Raynham 16


College


Boston College at Rutgers


Last week's loss to Kansas was obviously a disappointment for the Eagles, and stopping the bleeding is vital.


This is also a critical one for recruiting. The optics of beating the only Football Bowl Subdivision team in New Jersey would help the Eagles, who are already pulling some good players from that state.


We like the Eagles to get back on track Saturday afternoon.


Prediction: Boston College 34, Rutgers 17


Coastal Carolina at UMass


We'll be in Amherst on Saturday for this one.


We don't expect the Minutemen to win. This Coastal Carolina team is more talented right now. We are interested to see how the Minutemen can respond to the difficult start of the season, though, and maybe compete better.


Prediction: Coastal Carolina 38, UMass 13


Holy Cross at Yale


We strongly considered making the road trip to New Haven for this one, because this is one of the best Football Championship Subdivision matchups in New England.


Yale rightly has high expectations. The Bulldogs have a huge offensive line and some good experience.


The Crusaders have struggled on offense so far, but also have two games under their belt and a little momentum from their win over New Hampshire.


Prediction: Holy Cross 20, Yale 17


Harvard at San Diego


The Crimson open their season on the road against a team that could not stop running back Aaron Shampklin last year.


Harvard graduated a lot up front, but Shampklin is still on the roster, and we expect the speedster from Long Beach to have a big day back in Southern California.


Prediction: Harvard 35, San Diego 27


Mayville State at Merrimack


Last week was a steep hill to climb for the Warriors with a bigger, deeper St. Francis (Pa.) team.


Mayville State is an NAIA team from North Dakota that will likely get a rude awakening in North Andover.


Prediction: Merrimack 38, Mayville State 10


American International at New Haven


Big win for American International last week over a quality Bentley team. The Yellow Jackets should be feeling good about themselves.


That said, New Haven is the favorite here, and will be tough to beat at home.


Prediction: New Haven 28, American International 24


Tufts at Williams


We were a bit surprised last week that Tufts won and Williams lost, but the Jumbos have to be taken pretty seriously this year after beating a Trinity team that's always in the mix to win the NESCAC.


We like the visitors to keep it going with a really big one coming next week with Amherst.


Prediction: Tufts 21, Williams 13


Last week: 7-8

Total: 19-19

354 views

© 2018 by massvarsity. Proudly created with Wix.com