ESPN Boston Week 9 picks

Let's get straight to this week’s action with picks from ESPN Boston's Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall.


The skinny: This game figures to be for all of the marbles in the Old Colony League. Barnstable can clinch the league with a win tonight, while the Trojans can clinch by winning tonight and beating Taunton next week. The Red Raiders could see wide receiver Jordan Henderson eclipse 1,000 yards tonight, but B-R has played stingy in allowing 10 points per game since its last loss to Plymouth North nearly a month ago.

Barboza: Much to Dan Buron's chagrin, I'm going with his Trojans in this one. Do I need to say I'm sorry? B-R, 21-20

Hall: For all the glitzy numbers the Raiders have put up, they have yet to beat an opponent with a winning record. Even in down years at B-R, the road to the OCL always goes through Troy. Don't ever forget that. B-R, 21-10


The skinny: The host Knights, after starting off the season 5-0, are looking to avoid a three-game losing skid when Brockton comes to West Roxbury tonight. The Boxers come into the game a bit wounded, having suffered several injuries in their 37-30 win over Leominster last Friday, including Miami-bound senior Albert Louis-Jean.

Barboza: It's one of those high-profile games that ultimately doesn't affect either team's conference destiny, but I think these two squads have something to prove in this one. First, the Boxers need to prove their healthy enough for the stretch run and can run with some of best in Eastern Mass. Meanwhile, the Knights are coming off a tough loss to St. John's Prep in a slugfest that was decided in the game's final moments. Brockton, 28-17

Hall: I'm interested to see how Camren Williams matches up against Brockton running back Trevon Offley, who I think is the best at his position in the state. As of now, I think Offley's going to go off for another 200-yard game, because the big Boxer linemen will win those battles at the point of attack. Brockton, 25-7


The skinny: It has shaped up to be the de facto Dual Country League (Large) title game. The Colonials defense has been stifling, allowing less than a touchdown each game. So the gauntlet is laid down for quarterback Matt Cahill and the Warriors to steal DCL supremacy from the clenches of its best defense. A-B has also taken on a slightly different look on offense, airing the ball out more this year, but will have its hands full with the always-tough Zach Smerlas and the L-S line.

Barboza: The epitome of a defensive struggle. I think this one is decided by which team has possession last and I'm siding with the home side. L-S, 10-7

Hall: A-B has opened the playbook a bit this season, but it's L-S week. That means it's going to be another knockdown, drag-out, 15-round, one-score affair. As always. L-S, 13-6.


The skinny: While it is a non-league affair between these two Merrimack Valley Conference opponents, the two have risen to the top of the barrel after surviving a rough league slate. While it's had its hiccups, Methuen has rolled to seven straight wins thanks to its tough-minded quarterback Cal Carroll. Meanwhile, the Raiders have put together a five-game win streak since starting 0-2, including a thrilling 23-21 win last weekend over Chelmsford.

Barboza: Imagine how dominant the Rangers could've been had Cal Carroll been 100 percent, without having to battle the hand injury he's been playing with. Methuen, 27-21

Hall: Nobody since Plymouth North in week one has managed to solve Methuen's inside zone read attack. Central has some great linebackers, and will put up some points, but I see the Rangers cruising along in this one. Methuen, 28-21.


The skinny: The Pioneers travel to Holden tonight looking to avenge last year's upset, and as always they bring plenty of firepower between quarterback Dan Light, wide receivers Richard Rodgers and Ephraim Montalvo, and running back John Vassar. Wachusett, meanwhile, has been rolling opponents in its own right behind a steady mix of running backs Eric Darko and Matt McMillen, and quarterback Matt LeBlanc.

Barboza: After a tough loss to Xaverian, it doesn't get any easier for the Pioneers this week. I still think they have few too many weapons for Wachusett to handle. St. John's, 21-17

Hall: No one in Holden is going to admit it, but the Mountaineers have had these guys circled on their calendar since preseason. Mike Dubzinski is going to draw up a great gameplan for Richard Rodgers. And for the unaware, a Wachusett-St. John's crowd in any sport is a thing of beauty -- trust me. But this one's going to come down to the kicker. Yes, the kicker. Wachusett, 17-14

NO. 9 BC HIGH (4-3) AT NO. 6 XAVERIAN (6-2), SATURDAY, 2 P.M.

The skinny: Xaverian avoided its first three-game losing skid in more than two decades with a win over Central power St. John's of Shrewsbury last week. Now, it's back to the Catholic Conference buzz saw. It seems like Preston Cooper is peaking at the right time and that's good news for the Eagles. It will be interesting to see which team's line is more dominant in this one.

Barboza: The Eagles hope their tough as nail non-conference slate will prepare them for such Catholic Conference tests. I still see the Hawks' more experienced skill players making a couple more plays in this one. Xaverian, 16-10

Hall: Who here likes upsets? I'm going with the Eagles, on the efforts of Preston Cooper and some clutch play from Jameson McShea down the stretch. Hey, somebody here's got to justify keeping them in the Top 10 with three losses. BC High, 17-13.


The skinny: You have to applaud the Tri-Valley League for its foray into an in-season playoff format. Saturday's contests pitting the top four teams in the conference, including Holliston, Medway, Norton and Westwood, will be great drama and will give fans a definitive glimpse at who the league's strongest team truly is.

Barboza: Looking at the way Holliston rebounded from its loss to Medway gives no inclination that we tabbed the wrong team. After all, we had the Panthers high in our preseason Top 25 poll and, despite their momentary lapse, Todd Kiley has this team firing on all cylinders once again. Watch out. Champion: Holliston

Hall: I went with Medway on our podcast yesterday, and I'm sticking with it. And some of our readers in Holliston don't think that's such a bad choice, given what a beast Mike Ozella has been for the Mustangs so far this year. For all the offensive numbers Holliston puts up, you still have to go back to its 28-16 loss to Medway and wonder what the heck happened. And then you have to wonder if Dave McSweeney is going to do it again. Champion: Medway


No. 4 Mansfield 22, Franklin 17

No. 14 North Attleborough 20, Stoughton 7

No. 17 Lynn Classical 27, Peabody 14

No. 19 Weymouth 22, Wellesley 15

No. 21 Walpole 24, Framingham 10

Andover 35, Billerica 33

BB&N 18, Thayer 13

Cardinal Spellman 16, Austin Prep 8

Clinton 28, Hudson 26

Concord-Carlisle 34, Wayland 31

Falmouth 25, Dennis-Yarmouth 24

Lawrence Academy 31, Belmont Hill 19

Lowell 20, Chelmsford 13

Natick 26, Newton North 21

Swampscott 34, Saugus 14