OK, so it's almost time for the hype machine to wind down and the actual games to start.
It might be a little sad to see the season coming to an end (our official position on that matter is that we're not crying . . . you're crying), but at least these final eight games should be good ones.
Without further ado, here are the final high school picks of the season for the eight games at Gillette this Friday and Saturday.
Catholic Memorial vs. St. John's Prep
Kurkjian: More and more people over the past few weeks that we've talked to seem to believe the Prep is going to take this one. However, we picked CM as our number one team way back in the preseason, and we still feel the Knights will deserve that honor when all is said and done.
Kurkjian's pick: Catholic Memorial 30, St. John's Prep 28
Feld: St. John's Prep is playing its best football at the right time, while Catholic Memorial has more talent than any team in Eastern Mass. Just like the regular season matchup expect a close, back-and-forth contest throughout but this time around Owen McGowan scores the game-winning touchdown late and the Knights walk out with the Division 1 Super Bowl.
Feld's pick: Catholic Memorial 27, St. John's Prep 22
Mansfield vs. Lincoln-Sudbury
Kurkjian: You guys do realize that the only team to beat Mansfield (La Salle of Cincinnati) this year is literally one of the best teams in the country by virtue of its participation in the Division 2 title game in a power state (Ohio), right? There's a reason why the Hornets haven't lost to anyone else: They're freaking good. No offense to Lincoln-Sudbury (who is also freaking good), but Mansfield is a worthy favorite.
Kurkjian's pick: Mansfield 35, Lincoln-Sudbury 14:
Feld: Quite the season for Lincoln-Sudbury ,who in Jim Girard's first year have reached the top of Division 2. Mansfield, however, simply has too much skill, speed, and physicality on both sides of the ball for the Warriors to handle. Mike Redding adds another to his trophy case.
Feld's pick: Mansfield 24, Lincoln-Sudbury 7
Springfield Central vs. Duxbury
Kurkjian: A bounce here, a break there, or an injury that doesn't happen here, and maybe Springfield Central goes 3-0 — not 1-2 — against Everett, Central Catholic, and Catholic Memorial to start the season. Either way, we see the Golden Eagles beating the fourth EMass team on their schedule, but Duxbury should put up a good fight, as Tewksbury did last year in this position.
Kurkjian's pick: Springfield Central 27, Duxbury 16
Feld: Springfield Central already showed they could play with the best in Division 1 earlier this season when they defeated Everett and took Catholic Memorial to the wire. Now, all that is left is solidifying their placement as the clear top dog in Division 3.
Feld's pick: Springfield Central 34, Duxbury 14
Melrose vs. Plymouth South
Kurkjian: Plymouth South is one of those teams we did not expect to see here, but the Panthers have been strong and consistent all the way to this point. Melrose is the favorite and rightfully so, however, as the Red Raiders have dominated some good teams. Both squads are very good up front, so keep an eye on the trench men here.
Kurkjian's pick: Melrose 24, Plymouth South 14
Feld: Melrose's offense has been unstoppable at times for most of this season. Behind star running back Nick Siegelman, Plymouth South will hang around for a half, but the Red Raiders simply possesses too many weapons to hold down for four whole quarters.
Feld's pick: Melrose 28, Plymouth South 13
Swampscott vs. Amherst
Kurkjian: This could very well be the best game of the day. Swampscott is very battle-tested and has played one of the toughest schedules in Div. 5. Amherst, though, is one of those teams that can beat you in a number of different ways, and has a solid balance of talent all over the roster.
Kurkjian's pick: Amherst 16, Swampscott 15
Feld: All aboard the Amherst train. Chris Ehorn's squad completes a storybook season with a thrilling Gillette Stadium win over Swampscott. Look out.
Feld's pick: Amherst 22, Swampscott 20
Ashland vs. Bishop Fenwick
Kurkjian: Ashland has picked up some massive wins along the way, and has been solid throughout the season. Fenwick has also been terrific, and even though the Crusaders will be without Holy Cross commit Joe Rivers, has the firepower to match Ashland score for score.
Kurkjian's pick: Bishop Fenwick 28, Ashland 27
Feld: One of the more intriguing matchups of the day as it combines Ashland's quick strike offense with Bishop Fenwick's stingy defense. Dom Cavanagh caps off a standout season with one final big afternoon.
Feld's pick: Ashland 27, Bishop Fenwick 16
Leicester vs. Abington
Kurkjian: These are the two teams we figured way back in the preseason would be here. Leicester brought back a good nucleus from last year's team, and so did Abington. We've gone back and forth on this a few times, but are going to ride with Leicester here in the Saturday morning game.
Kurkjian's pick: Leicester 20, Abington 17
Feld: Abington has only improved as the year has gone on. Leicester should be prepared for battle, but Will Klein makes a game changing play late to give the Green Wave a Super Bowl crown.
Feld's pick: Abington 20, Leicester 14
St. Bernard's vs. West Bridgewater
Kurkjian: St. Bernard's gets some points here for returning to this game after losing some very good athletes off last year's Div. 8 champion. That said, we feel like West Bridgewater has been on a roll all year and is ready to punctuate this season with another win.
Kurkjian's pick: West Bridgewater 26, St. Bernard's 24
Feld: St. Bernard's is back and ready for more. One season after outlasting Pope John in a shootout, the Bernardians repeat against West Bridgewater.
Feld's pick: St. Bernard's 32, West Bridgewater 23