Every Friday, we will try and pick some of the biggest games around the state, from high school to college. Last week, we went 2-2 in our college picks. The MIAA slate starts this week, so we are picking a lot of those games. We won't do that every week, but this week, yeah.
Let's get to it.
Everett at Xaverian
Let's start with the big one. No. 1 vs. No. 2. The combatants in three of the last five Division 1 Super Bowls. There is not a lot of mystery to this one. Xaverian will try to use its ground game to keep the ball away from Everett's fleet of speedsters. It might work for a while, but expect the Crimson Tide to break a big one late to secure the win.
Prediction: Everett 22, Xaverian 20
Springfield Central at Lincoln-Sudbury
Another huge one takes place when the Kings of Western Mass. tackle the Wing-T wizardry of the Warriors. The Golden Eagles have tremendous speed and will have the advantage there, but when in doubt, go with the team with better line play, and that's L-S.
Prediction: Lincoln-Sudbury 37, Springfield Central 35
Mansfield at BC High
We obviously like both of these teams, as we ranked each inside of our top 10. The Eagles match up well up front, but we think Mansfield can hold its own there. The Hornets have more experience, and that could be the difference in this first game.
Prediction: Mansfield 17, BC High 14
Catholic Memorial at St. John's (Shrewsbury)
This game, on Saturday night at Assumption College, will be a great capper to a tremendous opening weekend. Everyone wants to see exactly what John DiBiaso's Knights will look like. We have a feeling it will be a pretty solid opening against a good Pioneers team.
Prediction: Catholic Memorial 36, St. John's (S) 21
Doherty at Wachusett
A year ago, Wachusett came away with a double-overtime win over the Highlanders. You will see a lot of speed on the field from Doherty, and Wachusett has done a good job lately of neutralizing it. Our guess though is that Doherty's speed is the difference in another close game.
Prediction: Doherty 21, Wachusett 19
Natick at Needham
The host Rockets have one of the top offenses in the area, and should be able to throw the ball well enough to put up some points. But we like Natick a little better here, because we think the Redhawks can be a little better up front.
Prediction: Natick 20, Needham 17
Lynn Tech at Nashoba Valley Tech
This is a bit of an under-the-radar game because it's in the lower divisions, but Lynn Tech should contend for a state title. The Tigers have an excellent secondary and will put up a lot of points this year, too.
Prediction: Lynn Tech 33, Nashoba Valley Tech 13
Shrewsbury at Shepherd Hill
We feel strongly that Shepherd Hill is going to be a tough out this season, and the Rams match up well with a team like Shrewsbury. But we have the Colonials ranked in our preseason top 25 for a reason.
Prediction: Shrewsbury 21, Shepherd Hill 20
Milford at Attleboro
This is one of the more intriguing games of the night. Attleboro should have the line play to stay with just about anyone, but the Scarlet Hawks can say the same thing. We kept Milford out of our preseason countdown, but we get the feeling they'll come out on top here.
Prediction: Milford 27, Attleboro 21
Dennis-Yarmouth at Barnstable
This is another matchup that a few weeks ago we felt much stronger about than we do now. D-Y definitely has the type of passing game that will keep them in it against anyone, but Barnstable has a better-than-average line and a passing attack that can hold its own. This could go either way.
Prediction: Dennis-Yarmouth 41, Barnstable 38
Lowell at Billerica
This is one of the biggest games of the weekend involving Merrimack Valley Conference teams, because each has a shot at winning its respective division. In typical MVC fashion, we expect a shootout, but for the Indians to make a few more stops when needed.
Prediction: Billerica 38, Lowell 31
Falmouth at Bishop Feehan
This is a quietly interesting game between two teams that should be a lot better than they were a year ago. Feehan has some nice experience on its side, but Falmouth's option game is tough to prepare for, so we'll go with the Clippers.
Prediction: Falmouth 30, Bishop Feehan 20
Lexington at Brockton
A year ago, Lexington quarterback Sal Frelick kicked off a spectacular senior campaign with a huge game against the Boxers. While we don't feel the Minutemen are as down as some might expect, we feel Brockton will be able to run the ball effectively enough to win.
Prediction: Brockton 27, Lexington 17
Dartmouth at Central Catholic
Injuries battered Dartmouth last season, and the Indians did not have as good of a season as they've grown accustomed to. Central lost a huge graduating class and will take some time to reload. We still feel like the Raiders are a bit better, though, and Dartmouth to Lawrence on a Friday night is a nightmare bus trip.
Prediction: Central Catholic 22, Dartmouth 15
Masconomet at Danvers
Don't overlook this one, as both teams have enjoyed consistent success over the last few years. Danvers might have a little less experience on its side, and Masco is one of the better teams that did not make our 40 teams in 40 days cut. This should be a good one.
Prediction: Masconomet 21, Danvers 20
Dedham at Medfield
The Marauders should be the best team in the Tri-Valley League Small, while Medfield will be right in the mix for the Tri-Valley League Large title. Even though Medfield lost two very good players to the ISL, the Warriors should be the favorite here.
Prediction: Medfield 28, Dedham 26
Hingham at Foxboro
Another game that is going to be overshadowed by all the big-time matchups this weekend, but will still be worth watching. Foxboro is always difficult to handle, but Hingham brings back too much firepower and should avenge last year's loss to the Warriors.
Prediction: Hingham 27, Foxboro 10
Hamilton-Wenham at Bishop Fenwick
Another sneaky-good game up north. Both of these teams have legitimate hopes of deep postseason runs. Over the summer, Matt Williams from the Salem Evening News had very positive reports on Fenwick, so we're going to roll with the Crusaders here.
Prediction: Bishop Fenwick 31, Hamilton-Wenham 23
Cardinal Spellman at Hanover
Both of these teams should be in the same boat as Hamilton-Wenham and Fenwick in that a nice run in the playoffs should be attainable. This should be an evenly-matched game, and we would be surprised if it were high scoring.
Prediction: Cardinal Spellman 14, Hanover 13
Wayland at Hopkinton
This should be a dandy. Wayland fell short in a lot of 50-50 games last year, but brings back enough to flip those results. The Hillers return one of the top quarterbacks in the state in Ryan Kelleher, and he should be the difference here.
Prediction: Hopkinton 35, Wayland 27
King Philip at North Attleboro
With new FieldTurf being installed at the high school, this game will not be played at the legendary Community Field, which we over here at MassVarsity are not thrilled about. Either way, this should be one of the best games of the night. North has more experience, but we think the Warriors up their winning streak to 26 games.
Prediction: King Philip 16, North Attleboro 14
Leominster at Marlboro
A year ago, the Panthers took care of things at Doyle Field. However, it appears that Leominster may have a rebound year in the cards with a good amount of returning starters. This could go either way, but we have a good feeling about the Blue Devils.
Prediction: Leominster 14, Marlboro 13
Mashpee at Nantucket
You want to see two teams with speed to burn? Well, you should take the ferry over to Nantucket and check out what these teams have to offer. The Falcons lost a lot of size, but there is still enough in the tank to survive here.
Prediction: Mashpee 34, Nantucket 28
North Andover at Woburn
This will be one of the best games of the weekend when it comes to quarterback play. North Andover's Jake McElroy and Woburn's Ryan Qualey can both sling it. We like McElroy's supporting cast just a little better, though, so we'll take the Scarlet Knights here.
Prediction: North Andover 37, Woburn 20
Holliston at Norton
Each coach really likes the line play of his squad coming into this one. These are two teams that should be able to run the ball on most of their opponents, but we lean toward the speed of the Panthers just a little more here.
Prediction: Holliston 21, Norton 16
Norwell at Scituate
We like what Norwell brings back, and we think Mark Killinger was a good hire. However, we've been high on the Sailors all offseason, and think they are in for a special 2018. Look for them to continue their upward ascension.
Prediction: Scituate 42, Norwell 28
Haverhill at St. John's Prep
We like what the Hillies have coming into this year, as they took their lumps with a young squad in 2017. However, the Prep brings back almost everyone, and the return of wide receiver/defensive back Wes Rockett gives the Eagles a true speed threat.
Prediction: St. John's Prep 24, Haverhill 14
Georgetown at Tech Boston
This is a very interesting game, as Tech Boston has a lot of people buzzing about its chances in the Boston City League and beyond. However, we feel that Georgetown has enough of a passing game to take over here.
Prediction: Georgetown 33, Tech Boston 30
Marshfield at Whitman-Hanson
We feel like Marshfield will do some great things under coach Chris Arouca eventually. But right now, this is a young, inexperienced team taking on the Panthers, who bring back a ton and should have the advantage here.
Prediction: Whitman-Hanson 35, Marshfield 16
Lynn English at Beverly
None other than North Shore Dave told us to keep an eye on Beverly this season. We will, but we really like what Lynn English has again this fall, and feel their experience at the skill positions will put them over the top.
Prediction: Lynn English 34, Beverly 20
Holy Cross at Boston College
We love what new coach Bob Chesney is going to bring to Holy Cross, and the way the Crusaders battled back from a huge halftime deficit to lose to Colgate by just one score shows promise. But BC is a different animal, and this one should be over quickly.
Prediction: Boston College 62, Holy Cross 14
UMass at Georgia Southern
This is a critical game for UMass, since this is one of those games on the schedule that the Minutemen should count as a win at the beginning of the season. Even though Georgia Southern looks tougher than initially expected, we expect UMass to take care of business here.
Prediction: UMass 40, Georgia Southern 27
Assumption at Merrimack
Former Central Catholic standout Cody Demers had a terrific opening weekend for Merrimack, as he caught 11 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown in his team's 30-16 loss to Bloomsburg. But we still think Assumption is the team to beat in the Northeast-10 for now.
Prediction: Assumption 33, Merrimack 20
WPI at RPI
It was a dominant opening weekend for WPI, as Melrose native Justin Nyland completed 20-of-23 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns in a 54-0 win over Anna Maria. However, we feel the 25th-ranked Engineers might be a step ahead here.
Prediction: RPI 30, WPI 27