It’s time for the heavyweights to shine in prime time.
Central Catholic hosts St. John’s Prep tomorrow in a battle of archrivals and two of the top-10 teams in Eastern Mass, who both have legitimate postseason hopes when the new playoff format begins.
No. 4-ranked St. John’s (1-1) was the preseason No. 1 team in Division 1 and is coming off a convincing win over Brockton while No. 9 Central Catholic (2-0) looked mighty impressive last week in its 40-0 pasting of Haverhill and is busting with confidence.
The Prep is led by All-Scholastic running back Johnny Thomas, who is committed to Maryland and ran for 1,794 yards and 15 touchdown last season while leading the Prep to the Division 1 Super Bowl title. The Eagles also boasts some strong linemen and a potentially solid defense.
But Central seems to have more weapons. Quarterback Mike Milano is looking terrific and backs UNH-bound D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie, Mike Balsamo and Markus Edmunds are more than capable. That’s why, if the Raiders can hold Thomas to, say a touchdown and 135 yards or so, I like Central’s chances.
PICK: Central Catholic 26, St. John’s Prep 24
Somersworth (0-1) at Pelham (2-0)
We should know if Pelham — which has gained 678 yards in two games — is for real after this one. The two wins have been promising.
PICK: Somersworth 22, Pelham 16
Pentucket (0-0) at Amesbury (0-1)
Finally, the Sachems open their season. They’d better win this one against an Indians team that lost 40-7 to Triton, because the schedule down the road looks tough.
PICK: Pentucket 20, Amesbury 14
Bedford (2-0) at Londonderry (2-0)
Bedford is currently ranked No. 2 in the state behind Exeter, but the Lancers have scored 85 points and rushed for 887 yards in two games.
PICK: Bedford 30, Londonderry 14
Hamilton-Wenham (0-1) at North Reading (1-0)
Based on last week, there should be a lot of points scored in this one as normally tough Hamilton-Wenham was torched for 54 points by Bishop Fenwick.