The View from No. 16 Needham

NEEDHAM, Mass. -- The No. 16 Needham Rockets burst onto the scene in the first month of the season after taking then-No. 4 Mansfield to the ropes and throwing a series of haymakers in an upset of then-No. 6 Weymouth, and continue to embrace challenges with a grin.

Two weeks ago, senior quarterback and Division 1 prospect Drew Burnett went down for the season with a broken ankle, leaving many wondering what would be head coach David Duffy's next move. Duffy announced before last Friday's showdown with Walpole that a three-player rotation would take the reigns under center, and sophomore Ryan Charter promptly won the job by throwing for 222 yards on just five completions in a 31-22 win over previously-unbeaten Walpole.

This week, the challenges continue. Natick (6-1) rolls into Memorial Park as another one of the year's surprises, with a youth movement leading the way in a pass-happy attack led by sophomore quarterback Troy Flutie (yes, Darren's kid) and freshman wideout Brian Dunlap, who is currently tied with Pope John XXIII's Malcolm Brown for most touchdown receptions in the state (11).

We checked in with Needham stars Ian Riley, Mark Riley and Mike Vespa before practice Thursday, to see how they're preparing: