EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 5, 2013

Central Catholic's run defense up to the task

Grid Picks
Dave Dyer

---- — My question of the week is the following: How will Central Catholic respond to last week’s first-round blowout of Lexington?

After some initial stumbling, the Raiders (7-1) were dominant against Lexington, but they had better not get cocky in their Division 1 North semifinal match-up because Acton-Boxboro (7-1) has been a powerhouse for years and it appears to have its usual strong running game. One of A-B’s backs, Will Tejeda, has scored 13 touchdowns and is tied for first in EMass. Division 1 and another, Thomas Saponaro, has crossed the goal line 11 times. The Colonials average 31.0 points a game, while the Raiders average 36.0.

Central, for the most part, has been effective against the run this year and, with the likes of Nick Boes and Markus Edmunds, coming up to make hits, it should be able to contain A-B. But it won’t be easy and I’m not terribly confident about this pick.

PREDICTION: Central Catholic 30, Acton-Boxboro 28

TOMORROW’S GAMES

Chelmsford (4-4) at Lawrence (2-6)

The Lancers may have taken a step backward last week after picking up a pair of wins. Prediction: Chelmsford 33, Lawrence 14

FRIDAY’S GAMES

Lincoln-Sudbury (5-3) at Haverhill (6-2)

The Hillies are certainly capable, but they’ll have to play much better than last week. Maybe this pick will help. Prediction: Lincoln-Sudbury 21, Haverhill 17

Lynn English (2-5) at North Andover (3-5)

Eventually, the Knights are bound to either play a complete game or get some breaks. This should be the week, maybe for both.

Prediction: North Andover 28, Lynn English 14

Andover (4-4) at Peabody (3-5)

The Warriors were quite impressive last week and, even if they slip a bit, should be able to handle the Tanners.

Prediction: Andover 34, Peabody 19

Whittier (5-3) at St. Mary’s (4-4)

The Wildcats will play much better, but will that be good enough?

Prediction: St. Mary’s 28, Whittier 20

Greater Lawrence (3-5) at Madison Park (5-3)

Evaluating Boston teams can be awfully difficult.

Prediction: Gr. Lawrence 20, Madison Park 19

North Reading (4-4) at Amesbury (4-4)

Both teams are tough to figure out, but the Hornets looked great last week. Prediction: North Reading 22, Amesbury 21

SATURDAY’S GAMES

Phillips Academy (7-0) at Phillips Exeter (6-1)

This game is always a great draw and, with both teams having great seasons, it’ll be even better. The Big Blue are due to prevail. Prediction: Phillips Academy 28, Phillips Exeter 24

Londonderry (4-5) at Pinkerton Academy (7-2)

Even if Manny Latimore doesn’t play, the Astros should prevail over their rivals for the second time this year.

Prediction: Pinkerton 31, Londonderry 20

Trinity (7-2) at Windham (8-1)

Windham can’t possibly be as fired up against Trinity as it was two weeks ago but, if it stays focused, it should have enough emotion to defeat the Pioneers once again. Prediction: Windham 33, Trinity 20

Bow (8-1) at Pelham (9-0)

Having lost to Pelham 7-0 in the season opener, Bow has the revenge factor, and has been playing well, but I think Pelham will get it together late and pull it out.

Prediction: Pelham 14, Bow 10

Sanborn (5-4) at Monadnock (9-0)

If the Indians were healthier and playing at home, I’d pick an upset, but .... Prediction: Monadnock 20, Sanborn 7

Lawrence Academy (3-4) at Brooks (3-4)

Lawrence Academy has a tough defense and may keep the Green and White from reaching its goal of .500. Prediction: Lawrence Academy 20, Brooks 14

Watertown (5-3) at Pentucket (6-1)

The Sachems are certainly capable of winning this Division 4 North semifinal but, despite their record, they’ve not played their best in consecutive weeks. Maybe this pick will fire them up and reverse the trend.

Prediction: Watertown 21, Pentucket 20

Methuen (4-4) at Lexington (3-5)

Lexington’s offense is impressive, but its defense is not. Prediction: Lexington 28, Methuen 27

Gr. Lowell (0-8) at Georgetown (1-7)

Can the short-handed Royals really win two in a row?

Prediction: Georgetown 20, Gr. Lowell 14

Season record: 112-30