Central Catholic is in a new position as the realigned MIAA playoffs get underway.
Although most thought the Raiders would have a good season, few thought they would roll to the Merrimack Valley Conference title and now be considered one of the Division 1 playoff favorites.
How will they respond as the hunted rather than hunter?
I’m guessing that it will be a positive response and I like the way Mike Balsamo has become more involved in the offense as a complement to star QB Mike Milano and fellow running back D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie.
PICK: Central Catholic 33, Lexington 14
Methuen (4-3) at Acton-Boxboro (6-1)
It’s been a rough run for Methuen since opening the season with four straight wins, and the Rangers may need to wait another week to end their losing streak.
PICK: Acton-Boxboro 28, Methuen 14
Lynn English (2-4) at Haverhill (5-2)
The Hillies meet up with Jordan Javier, who was their All-MVC receiver last year but now plays quarterback at Lynn English. But Tom Maguire, Stephane Bristol and crew aren’t about to be afraid.
PICK: Haverhill 24, Lynn English 14
North Andover (3-4) at Waltham (4-2)
This is just a hunch, but I smell an upset from Casey Walsh and the Knights.
PICK: North Andover 27, Waltham 20
Lawrence (2-5) at Andover (3-4)
Speaking of upsets, I’m tempted to pick the improved Lancers that have won two straight, but ...
PICK: Andover 29, Lawrence 22
Winthrop (3-4) at North Reading (3-4)
The Hornets gained a lot of confidence by knocking off Pentucket and C.J. McCarthy looks healthy again.
PICK: North Reading 20, Winthrop 13
Sanborn (5-3) at Windham (7-1)
The Indians won’t be able to match points with the charged-up Jaguars.
PICK: Windham 33, Sanborn 19
Salem (2-5 ) at Londonderry (4-4)
There should be plenty of points scored in this one.
PICK: Londonderry 32, Salem 30
Pinkerton (6-2) at Merrimack (3-5)
If the Astros can get more contributions from their offense, like they did last week, they’ll be dangerous in the playoffs.
PICK: Pinkerton 36, Merrimack 16
Bishop Guertin (5-3) at Timberlane (1-7)
The Owls, for the most part, have played well, but they have little to show for it.
PICK: Bishop Guertin 33, Timberlane 14
Groton (2-4) at Brooks (2-4)
Flip a coin for this rare Friday afternoon game.
PICK: Brooks 23, Groton 20
Hamilton-Wenham (3-4) at Pentucket (5-1)
This Pentucket team is a hard one to read, but it’s clearly better than H-W and should be fired up after the tough end to the regular season.
PICK: Pentucket 28, Hamilton-Wenham 13
Whittier (5-2) at Austin Prep (5-2)
This is a rematch of a matchup on Week No. 1, which was won by Austin Prep, 22-14. Whittier has improved greatly since then, but so has Austin.
PICK: Austin Prep 21, Whittier 20
Georgetown (0-7) at Shawsheen (3-4)
Do the Royals really want to play four more games?
PICK: Shawsheen 26, Georgetown 7
Pelham (7-0) at Farmington (1-6)
The starters should be resting by the second half.
PICK: Pelham 42, Farmington 7
Worcester Academy (1-5) at Phillips Academy (6-0)
Worcester Academy’s defense is not good.
PICK: Phillips Academy 41, Worcester Academy 7
Season record: 95-28