High schools

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW | GAMES TO WATCH

It doesn’t get much better than Xaverian-Everett to kick off season

Westwood Ma 8/14/17 Xaverian Brothers head football coach coach Al Fornaro during Xaverian Brothers 1st day of MIAA football conditioning drills on their practice field. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff) topic: reporter: Henry Brechter
Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Al Fornaro is now pointing the way as coach of Xaverian.

Division 1

Xaverian at Everett, Saturday – How could opening weekend begin any other way? Xaverian took last year’s opener in the waning seconds, 17-14. Everett grew as the season progressed and when the teams met again in December, it was the Crimson hoisting yet another D1 Super Bowl trophy. This iteration holds intrigue if only for the men on the sideline. Eleven-time champion John DiBiaso returns as Everett’s coach, but he’ll oppose Xaverian’s Al Fornaro, who took over for Charlie Stevenson after 24 years at the helm of Hawk football. Can Xaverian safety Brian Abraham handle the bevy of Everett playmakers on the outside? We don’t have to wait long to find out.

St. John’s Prep at BC High, Friday, Oct. 13 – Another year, another Catholic Conference battle for supremacy. Danny Abraham will collect the headlines but don’t forget about Prep’s little guy, Aise Pream, a junior running back with an uncanny ability to make bigger defenders – and just about everyone is bigger – miss. BC senior cornerback Bobby DeMeo will be tasked with slowing Prep’s passing attack and star QB Mike Yarin. Easier said than done.

Central Catholic at Andover, Friday, Oct. 20 – Though the Raiders fly under the radar with the likes of Xaverian and Everett garnering headlines, coach Chuck Adamopoulos has cultivated a winning culture in Lawrence. Quarterback Bret Edwards and receiver Mathias Villafane will give Andover’s previously shoddy defense all it can handle. Whether first-year senior starter Nick Dellatto — filling the spot previously occupied by Boston College freshman EJ Perry – can match Edwards’s output remains to be seen.

Division 2

Advertisement

North Attleborough at King Philip, Friday — Right from the start of the new year the reigning Division 1A champions are going to have their hands full. A fully loaded and exciting North Attleborough faces the Warriors as two of the top Hockomock squads clash.

Get Varsity News in your inbox:
Your weekly look at the top high school sports stories.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Marshfield at BC High, Friday, Sept. 15 — The Rams hope to be one of the dominant forces in Division 2 and help Lou Silva go out on top in his swan song. A formidable test against Catholic Conference and Division 1 powerhouse BC High in the second week of the season could be an indicator of how good the squad from the Atlantic Coast can be.

Reading at Lexington, Friday, Sept. 22 — Last season’s matchup between Middlesex League foes was one for the ages. Sal Frelick, in the pouring rain, tallied six total touchdowns (five rushing, one passing) and rushed for just almost 300 yards as the Minutemen secured their first win over the Rockets in 14 years, 56-27. With Frelick still under center, another shootout might be in store.

Marshfield at Duxbury, Thursday, Nov. 23 — The Rams gave the Dragons a beating in their annual Thanksgiving game, 53-0, last year, as Duxbury sat its starters the week before its Super Bowl game. With both teams eyeing a state championship final this season, it will be interesting to see how this matchup looks as we get closer.

Division 3

North Attleborough at King Philip, Friday, Sept. 8 — The Warriors begin their title defense against a worthy opponent at home. Rocketeers QB Chad Peterson and King Philip QB Brendan Lydon look to follow up successful campaigns with familiar targets at their disposal. This Top-10 matchup should feature a lot of firepower on both sides.

Advertisement

Bridgewater-Raynham at Duxbury, Friday, Sept. 8 — One of the toughest schedules in Eastern Mass. belongs to the Trojans, who kick off 2017 against a team that handed them a 42-21 loss in last year’s opener. The Dragons lost QB Bobby Maimaron, who tossed three touchdowns in that game, but return almost their whole receiving corps to face a tough B-R secondary.

Andover at Billerica, Friday, Sept. 15 — The Golden Warriors look to avenge last year’s 44-35 shootout loss. Billerica graduated three players to D1 college programs but coach Duane Sigsbury believe his seniors will continue the momentum from last year’s 9-2 season, primarily twins Pat and Ryan Quinn (both RB/LB).

Walpole at Milton, Friday, Oct. 13 — Speed meets speed as the high-powered Wildcats offense looks to hold serve at home against Walpole. Safety Dan O’Leary and the Rebels defense will face the challenging task of slowing down star receivers Eddie Hassell and William Crowley.

Division 4

Central Catholic at Dartmouth, Friday — Indians coach Richard White is going for his 100th career win, but the Raiders will have something to say about that as they return a talented core led by senior quarterback Bret Edwards.

Bridgewater-Raynham at Dartmouth, Friday, Oct. 6 — The two premier programs in the Old Colony League meet for a midseason test. The Trojans now are in Division 2 and Dartmouth will compete in Division 4 South, but that will do little to quell the flames of this regional rivalry.

Division 5

Advertisement

Holliston at Millis-Hopedale, Friday — Reigning Division 4A champion Millis-Hopedale faces a tough test right out of the gate in its title-defending season against host Holliston. The Mohawks dropped their season opener to the Panthers last season, 28-7, before going on to win the Super Bowl. Holliston’s corps of senior defensive backs will have their hands full against Mohawks star quarterback Bryce Latosek.

East Bridgewater at Hanover, Friday, Sept. 15 — In a battle of Super Bowl champions, the teams combined for 23 wins last season en route to the Division 3A and Division 3 titles, respectively. Hanover knocked off host East Bridgewater, 38-23, in last season’s contest. A pair of hard-working, well-conditioned teams should provide an entertaining game in week 2.

Falmouth at Marshfield, Friday, Sept. 22 — It went overtime last season between the Atlantic Coast League rivals as Falmouth earned a 20-14 win over visiting Marshfield. In a matchup between the top teams in the ACL, Falmouth could have a 17-game winning streak on the line.

Dennis-Yarmouth at Falmouth, Friday, Oct. 6 — The Dolphins are looking to avenge last season’s 53-13 home defeat to the Clippers. The matchup pits the Dolphins’ strong offensive line against the Clippers’ versatile pass-rushing defense in one of the most highly-touted matchups of the regular season.

Hamilton-Wenham at Lynnfield, Friday, Oct. 20 — Two of the projected top teams in the North face off in the last weekend of the regular season looking for a possible No. 1 seed in its respective divisions. Lynnfield won last season, 32-7, over the Generals on the road. With both teams poised to be Super Bowl contenders this season, it could be a crucial showdown.

Division 6

Apponequet vs. Middleboro, Friday, Sept. 8 — Apponequet is ready to pick right back up from where it left off and will start the season with D6 South foe Middleboro, fresh off a South quarterfinal berth in last year’s playoffs. Upperclassmen likely will run the show for the Sachems. The Lakers are ready to put their 3-8 season behind them.

Old Rochester vs. Apponequet, Friday, Sept. 15 — Thanksgiving rivals meet up in the regular season as the Bulldogs travel to Lakeville. OR’s Harry Smith is only four TDs and 400 yards from school records in both. If he doesn’t get it Week 1, Week 2 may be when etches his name in school history.

East Bridgewater vs. Rockland, Friday, Sept. 22 — Longtime rivals meet during the season for a D6 South matchup. EB, fresh off their D3A Super Bowl victory, go up against a familiar face at the helm of the Bulldogs coaching staff, 12-year assistant Nick Liquori.

Division 7

Millis at Bellingham, Friday, Oct. 6 — With experienced returnees, Bellingham could be a top team in the Tri-Valley Small. Solid on defense and in the run game, this game will be a test, as the Blackhawks face the Div. 4A Super Bowl champions.

Case at Seekonk, Friday, Oct. 6 – This game looks to be a turning point in the race for the South Coast Small League title. An experienced Seekonk offense will meet the experienced defense from Case.

Nantucket at Mashpee, Saturday, Oct. 14 – It was a battle between undefeated teams that came down to the wire the last time Mashpee and Nantucket met. With the majority of players returning this season, this game will be a close one between the powerhouses. The teams are mirror images, with stacked lines up front and consistent ground games.

Division 8

Millis vs. Holliston, Friday, Sept. 8 — Millis, the defending Division 4A State champion, will be tested early by playing a Tri-valley power in Holliston. Both teams have won state championships in recent years and should put on a great game in Week 1.

Cathedral vs. Latin Academy, Friday, Sept. 8 — Cathedrals Khalil Blair returns after leading Division 4 with 31 touchdowns last season. Latin Academy is coming off a trip to the Division 4A State semifinals a season ago. Both teams are offensively talented, so this could be a high-scoring game.

Cathedral vs. Brighton, Friday, Sept. 15 — This will be another high-scoring game highlighting some of the best running backs in the city of Boston. Cathedral’s Khalil Blair led Division 4 in scoring last season and Brighton has a strong power run game. Both teams also like to toss the ball around, so look for Brighton’s Jerrod Clark to have a big presence in the stats book.

TechBoston vs. Latin Academy, Friday, Sept. 22 — TechBoston had a talented team a season ago but struggled to put it together. With running back Ajaye Cooper returning, the Bears have just as much talent in the backfield to duplicate last season’s success. Latin Academy lost a few key players from last year’s team but will have running back Josh Lewis and receiver Ryan Nguyen ready to step into the open spots. If they can put it all together, this game has the potential to turn into a shootout.

Compiled by the Globe’s school sports staff.