Byline: Jim Wilson
No. 1 St. John's vs. No. 4 Shrewsbury
7:45 p.m., Foley Stadium, Worcester
oSt. John's Pioneers
Record: 7-4 (2-0 Central Mass. Conference).
Coach: John Andreoli.
Top offensive players: Jr. QB Connor Kurtz (122 of 231, 2,107 passing yards, 16 TDs), Sr. RB/LB Sean Wilson (172 carries, 787 rushing yards), Sr. WR Efrain Montalvo (43 catches, 905 yards, 4 TDs), Sr. OL Brendan Melanson.
Top defensive players: Sr. DB Drew Ortone (2 INTs), Jr. LB Shadrach Abrokwah (46 tackles, 2 sacks), Sr. LB Mark Lewandowski (51.5 tackles), Jr. LB Barron Dandridge (49.5 tackles, 2 INTs), Sr. DL Ryan Anger (6 sacks).
Key to victory: The Pioneers scored on their first seven possessions to cruise to a 55-31 win the last time these two played, so St. John's is confident coming into the rematch. The Pioneers need to contain Shrewsbury quarterback Mike Coggeshall and make sure he doesn't find Jay Reynolds for any big completions.
Sat., Sept. 10 at Holy Name 22-21
Fri., Sept. 16 at Longmeadow 26-21
Sat., Sept. 24 Catholic Memorial 20-28
Sat., Oct. 1 Wachusett 21-7
Sat., Oct. 8 at Shrewsbury 55-31
Sat., Oct. 15 St. John's Prep 20-41
Fri., Oct. 21 at Leominster 15-23
Sat., Oct. 29 at Xaverian 9-27
Sat., Nov. 5 Fitchburg 33-22
Sat., Nov. 12 Milford 16-0
Thu., Nov. 24 at St. Peter-Marian 27-21
Record: 5-6 (1-3 Mid-Wach A).
Coach: Terry Walles.
Top players: Jr. RB Zack Dionis (129 carries, 723 yards, 8 TDs), Sr. FB Pat Theodoss (64 carries, 293 yards). Jr. WR Jay Reynolds (37 catches, 716 yards, 9 TDs). Jr. QB Mike Coggeshall (82 of 145, 1,173 yards, 11 TDs).
Top defensive players: Jr. OL Tyler Clouthier, Sr. LB Kristian Jackson (97.5 tackles), Sr. DL Cody Couture.
Key to victory: Coming off a 24-6 loss to Milford on Thanksgiving, Shrewsbury has a lot of work to do if it expects to beat St. John's. The Colonials have been a tough team to figure out, looking unbeatable in a 36-29 win over Wachusett, then getting blanked, 35-0, by Hudson. If Coggeshall and Reynolds are in sync, Shrewsbury should be able to give St. John's a run. The Colonials need great games from Jackson, the Division 1 Defensive Co-MVP, and Couture to keep the St. John's offense in check.
Sat., Sept. 10 Auburn 12-28
Fri., Sept. 16 Marlboro 14-12
Fri., Sept. 23 at Doherty 13-8
Fri., Sept. 30 Fitchburg 13-25
Sat., Oct. 8 St. John's 31-55
Sat., Oct. 15 at Westboro 25-14
Fri., Oct. 21 Wachusett 36-29
Fri., Oct. 28 at Hudson 0-35
Fri., Nov. 4 at Leominster 14-27
Fri., Nov. 11 at Algonquin 42-7
Thu., Nov. 24 Milford 6-24
No. 2 Leominster vs. No. 3 Fitchburg
7:45 p.m., Doyle Field, Leominster
oLeominster Blue Devils
Record: 8-3 (3-1 Mid-Wach A).
Coach: Dave Palazzi.
Top offensive players: Sr. RB Geraldo Rivera (158 carries, 900 yards, 11 TDs), Sr. WR Kyle Sanders (32 catches, 660 yards, 8 TDs), Sr. TE Kevin O'Connor (28 catches, 338 yards), Jr. QB Garrett DelleChiaie (99 of 168 1,513 yards).
Top defensive players: Sr. DL Ryan Moran, Sr. DL Cortez Ludden.
Key to victory: Leominster is coming off a 21-14 win over Fitchburg on Thanksgiving as the Blue Devils picked off Connor Lemieux three times in the second half in clinch the victory. Leominster is one of the hottest teams in the area, winning its last eight games, but none of that matters if the Blue Devils lose in the playoffs tonight. Containing Quinton Perkins is the top priority for Leominster. The Blue Devils also need DelleChiaie to be flawless as Fitchburg has a tremendous defense.
Fri., Sept. 9 at Everett 12-47
Fri., Sept. 16 at Hudson 6-27
Sat., Sept. 24 at Milford 20-21
Fri., Sept. 30 at North Middlesex 56-20
Fri., Oct. 7 Wachusett 14-7
Fri., Oct. 14 Algonquin 21-6
Fri., Oct. 21 St. John's 23-15
Fri., Oct. 28 at Brockton 33-0
Fri., Nov. 4 Shrewsbury 27-14
Fri., Nov. 11 Marlboro 25-7
Thu., Nov. 24 at Fitchburg 21-14
oFitchburg Red Raiders
Record: 6-5 (3-1 Mid-Wach A).
Coach: Ray Cosenza.
Top offensive players: Sr. RB/WR Quinton Perkins (55 carries, 549 yards; 30 catches, 605 yards; 18 TDs), Jr. RB Dimitri Brasili (122 carries, 547 yards), Jr. QB Connor Lemieux (101 of 204, 1,515 yards).
Top defensive players: Sr. DE Tyler Robar (34.5 tackles, 6 sacks), Sr. DL Eric Comeau, Sr. LB Eric Myles (63 tackles), Jr. DL Kelvin Rivera.
Keys to victory: Fitchburg has one of the top athletes around in Perkins, the Division 1 Offensive MVP, and if he can get loose on offense, it will be a long night for the Blue Devils. However, if Leominster focuses too much on Perkins, Brasili and Lemieux can do some damage as well. The Red Raiders also have a tough defense led by Myles, the Division 1 Defensive co-MVP, and all-stars Robar, Comeau and Rivera.
Fri., Sept. 9 St. Peter-Marian 6-20
Fri., Sept. 16 at Nashoba 16-34
Fri., Sept. 23 at Wachusett 16-10
Fri., Sept. 30 at Shrewsbury 25-13
Fri., Oct. 7 Brockton 27-37
Fri., Oct. 14 at North Middlesex 38-0
Sat., Oct. 22 at Milford 29-19
Fri., Oct. 28 Shepherd Hill 30-14
Sat., Nov. 5 at St. John's 22-33
Fri., Nov. 11 Holy Name 26-15
Thu., Nov. 24 Leominster 14-21
No. 1 Gardner vs. No. 4 Holy Name
5:15 p.m., Doyle Field, Leominster
Record: 11-0 (6-0 Mid-Wach C).
Coach: Walt Dubzinski.
Top offensive players: Sr. RB Jamison Craft (252 carries, 1,622 yards, 27 total TDs), Sr. RB Garrett Robinson (108 rushes, 631 yards, 9 TDs), Jr. C Mitchell Ryan.
Top defensive players: Sr. QB/DB Mark Guercio, Sr. DE Jean Sainvil.
Key to victory: The Wildcats dismantled Holy Name, 34-0, the last time they played. In fact, Gardner has faced the double-wing offense four times this year and given up just six points. Clinton is the only team that has scored more than one touchdown against the Wildcats, so confidence is high. Gardner will rely on a strong running attack led by Craft and Robinson to take down the Naps.
Fri., Sept. 9 Hudson 14-7
Fri., Sept. 16 Clinton 22-14
Fri., Sept. 30 Shepherd Hill 20-6
Sat., Oct. 8 at Tyngsboro 26-7
Sat., Oct. 15 at Tantasqua 28-6
Fri., Oct. 21 Holy Name 34-0
Sat., Oct. 29 at Lunenburg 35-0
Fri., Nov. 4 Groton-Dunstable 41-7
Fri., Nov. 11 at Quabbin 28-0
Fri., Nov. 18 Murdock 35-3
Thu., Nov. 24 at Oakmont 21-0
oHoly Name Naps
Record: 7-4 (1-1 Central Mass. Conference).
Coach: Mike Pucko.
Top offensive players: Sr. RB Quron Wright (157 carries, 1,308 yards), So. RB Jeff Holland (71 carries, 494 yards, 6 TDs), Sr. RB/WR Anthony Hodges (55 carries, 369 yards; 18 catches, 362 yards).
Top defensive players: Sr. DL Kevin Langlois, Sr. DB Seamus O'Sullivan, Jr. DL Riley Barron (62 tackles), Sr. DL Nick Capuano (54 tackles, 4 sacks), Jr. DB Daniel Kegbeh.
Keys to victory: The Naps were missing O'Sullivan in the first meeting with Gardner, and they need their quarterback and top defensive back and captain to lead the charge against the dangerous Wildcats. Holy Name needs Wright to find the holes and carry the load on offense and not back down if Gardner goes ahead early. The Wildcats pressured Holy Name last time and forced the Naps to throw -- and with O'Sullivan under center (more than 700 passing yards), Holy Name will find that easier to do if Gardner goes with that plan again.
Sat., Sept. 10 St. John's 21-22
Sat., Sept. 17 at Westboro 43-21
Sat., Sept. 24 St. Bernard's 34-7
Sat., Oct. 1 Nashoba 0-14
Fri., Oct. 7 at Doherty 42-18
Sat., Oct. 15 Milford 18-7
Fri., Oct. 21 at Gardner 0-34
Sat., Oct. 29 Algonquin 33-14
Fri., Nov. 4 at St. Peter-Marian 14-13
Fri., Nov. 11 at Fitchburg 15-26
Thu., Nov. 24 Wachusett 18-13
No. 2 Nashoba vs. No. 3 Shepherd Hill
7:45 p.m., Wachusett Regional
Record: 11-0 (5-0 Mid-Wach...