High School Football Preview -- Nov. 9


High school football matchups for the weekend of Nov. 9 ...

Monument Mountain at Taconic

  • When: Saturday, 11 a.m.
  • Records: Monument, 2-7; Taconic, 2-7.
  • Regular season: Taconic, 36-12.
  • Outlook: What a difference a season makes. When these teams met back on Sept. 7, visiting Taconic rolled to a 30-12 win. The Braves held the Spartans scoreless in the second half. Taconic was paced by Trayvon Sims' 172 yards and two touchdowns, while Malik Wilbon rushed for 101 yards and scored two TDs himself. Neither player is with the program now. Both teams have been beaten up by injuries. Monument has relied more on QB Ryle O'Brien, who threw for 232 yards and four TDs in last week's 44-17 win over Lee. The Spartans defense held the Wildcats to 189 yards in total offense. Taconic saw its losing streak reach five games with a 32-6 loss to Wahconah. The Braves have scored only 30 points in those five losses. Offense has been a struggle for coach Vinny Barbarotta's charges. The Braves have scored only one touchdown in five of their seven losses and were shut out the other two times. 

Burke at Pittsfield

  • When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. at Taconic
  • Records: Burke, 2-6; Pittsfield, 4-5.
  • Last year: Did not play.
  • Outlook: This is a big game for Pittsfield as the Generals would finish with a .500 record if they beat the Bulldogs from Boston. Burke may have a 2-6 record, but their only on-the-field victory came in a 22-8 win over Boston English. In that game, George Tate caught two of his team-leading three touchdown passes from quarterback Elvin Perez. Anderson Raymond is the top running threat. Burke's other victory came via a forfeit against Charlestown. In back-to-back weeks in the regular season, coach John Rice's Bulldogs were shut out by Boston Latin and O'Bryant. The Generals need to regain the footing from a two-game winning streak that ended last week in the city championship game against St. Joseph's. The Generals did a stellar job keeping Crusader RBs Lavante Wiggins and Tank Roberson in check. If the Generals can do that to the Bulldog threats, the Boston team will head back on the Turnpike with a loss. The game is being played at Taconic because a light tower in the outfield fell during the recent storms, and according to a statement from Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi's office, the city is concerned about the integrity of the other light towers in the outfield area.

St. Joseph's vs. Cathedral

  • When: Saturday, at Central, 1:30 p.m.
  • Records: St. Joseph's, 7-2; Cathedral, 1-8.
  • Last year: St. Joseph's, 32-8.
  • Outlook: Once upon a time, this would be a marquee matchup in high school sports. The Panthers will host St. Joseph's on Saturday night looking to end an eight-game losing streak. Cathedral beat Ludlow in its season opener and then dropped eight straight games. Most recently, Cathedral lost to Chicopee Comp 27-0. The Panthers are led by senior QB/DB Tim Danehey, who has completed 42-of-113 passes. He has 5 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His top target is tight end Colby Ranson, who has caught eight passes. The Crusaders enter play on a two-game winning streak, and have regained their equilibrium after that disappointing loss at Mount Greylock on Oct. 19. The Crusaders didn't have a huge game offensively against PHS, but their defense was outstanding. Pittsfield had 108 total yards and didn't score until late in the fourth quarter.

McCann Tech at Pioneer

  • When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
  • Records: McCann, 2-7 (2-6 in Tri-County League); Pioneer 3-6 (2-4).
  • Last year: McCann, 26-14 (regular season).
  • Outlook: A year ago, these two teams played on the turf at Westfield State to decide the Division IV Super Bowl. Pioneer got revenge for a regular-season loss to the Hornets with a 14-8 win. This has been a different season as Hornet coach Bob LeClair and Panther coach Mike Duprey have not been able to duplicate last year's success. Last week, Pioneer lost to Ludlow 36-12 as the Lions picked off QB Cole Tognarelli three times. The Hornets dropped a 34-6 decision to Mount Greylock and managed only 126 yards in total offense. The Hornets will need more to prevail in their regular-season finale.

Western Mass. Power Ratings

Four Berkshire County football teams appear to be on their way to the postseason. Three of them: Wahconah, Mount Greylock and St. Joseph's, have little to worry about. Hoosac Valley is in good shape, but not quite as good as the other teams.

The Hurricanes enter this week as the No. 3-rated team in the Division II Power Rankings with a 10.88. The Hurricanes are almost three points behind No. 2 Wahconah, but only .66 ahead of No. 4 Springfield Commerce. The fifth-rated team in Division II is Amherst with a 9.14 rating. The Hurricanes probably can't catch up.

In Division III, the top four teams are solidly in place. There could be a little shuffling of places 1-4. Division III leader Belchertown plays Greenfield this weekend. Greylock is third and could move up to second with a win over Wahconah in the county championship game. Greenfield might have to lose Saturday and on Thanksgiving while St. Joseph's wins twice for the Crusaders to move up from fourth.

  • Division II: South Hadley, 14.0; Wahconah, 13.77; Hoosac Valley, 10.88; Commerce, 10.22; Amherst 9.14; Putnam, 8.0; East Longmeadow, 7.75; Pittsfield, 5.77; Ludlow, 4.22; Taconic, 2.88; Sci-Tech, 0.0.
  • Division III: Belchertown, 17.75; Greenfield, 15.5; Mount Greylock, 14.88; St. Joseph's, 13.11; Athol, 8.89; Drury, 4.44; Monument Mountain, 3.33, Frontier, 3.14; Mahar, 3.11; Cathedral, 2.0; Lee, 1.55.
  • Division IV: Pathfinder, 15.33; Turners Falls, 11.11; Easthampton, 10.44; Ware, 8.0; Mohawk 5.0; Palmer, 5.0; Franklin Tech, 4.22; Pioneer Valley, 3.25; McCann Tech, 3.11; Dean Tech, 0.0.


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