No. 1 MANSFIELD (5-0) at No. 14 KING PHILIP (5-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Scott Barboza: The key for King Philip is on offense, where the Warriors will have to convert on third downs to keep drives rolling and play keep-away from the Hornets’ offense. Mansfield 21-13.
Brendan Hall: All year long, Mansfield coach Mike Redding has out-schemed the best of them, from Dunbar (Md.) to the Hornets' recent rampage over the Hockomock Kelly-Rex Division contenders like Attleboro, North Attleborough and Taunton. True, this is the best defense they'll see within the Hockomock sphere, and they'll see some defensive looks they haven't faced all year, but consider that Mansfield played nearly half a season without five of its starters. Somehow, the Hornets survive what might be the best KP defense yet under Brian Lee. Mansfield, 13-6
No. 4 ST. JOHN’S PREP (4-2) at No. 22 BC HIGH (3-2), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: I’ve picked against BC High too many times in critical games this year. This one screams ball-control and the home team holds on with the Viola Stadium advantage. BC High, 10-7.
Hall: This has the makings of one of those classic low-scoring, muck-it-up type of games that has become trademark of the Catholic Conference. But I feel like some points are going to be put on the board here. St. John's Prep, 28-27.
NASHOBA (3-2) at No. 6 LEOMINSTER (5-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: After a state-best winning streak went by the boards, the Chieftains are now staring down a three-game losing skid. Leominster, 32-21.
Hall: The Blue Devils seem to approach speed bumps the way Johnny Moseley approaches moguls. Exhibit A: Last week's 47-26 come-from-behind victory over Doherty. Leominster, 28-17.
MILTON (3-2) at No. 7 NATICK (5-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: Almost...Almost pulled the “Break in Case of Emergency” upset alert lever. The Redhawks hold serve. Natick, 27-21.
Hall: This has "trap game" written all over it. Natick, 20-18.
HAVERHILL (4-1) at No. 10 TEWKSBURY (5-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: It’s been the Redmen’s race since Day 1. Tewksbury, 31-24.
Hall: Tewksbury may have run more formations in last week's win over Methuen than Haverhill has scored touchdowns all season. And considering Brian Aylward's encyclopedia of an offense, drawing from literally every family of football strategy, that isn't exactly a slight to the Hillies. Tewksbury, 35-21.
WOBURN (5-0) at No. 25 ARLINGTON (5-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: This might be the best opponent the Spy Ponders have faced yet, but a magical story keeps unfolding. Arlington, 14-7.
Hall: Whenever the John Dubzinski Jr. era ends in Arlington, they'll look back at last month's upset of Reading as the turning point in the Spy Ponders' sudden resurgence. It's been a while since they could feel this could in Arlington about its football team. Still, I don't know if they've faced an athlete quite as versatile as Marvin Jean yet. Woburn, 26-15.
AGAWAM (5-0) at SOUTH HADLEY (2-3), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: Perhaps the last team with a legitimate shot of voiding the Brownies’ designs on a perfect regular season, but destiny comes calling. Agawam, 27-20.
Hall: South Hadley is sneaky good, but I'm going with the better story. What a turnaround by this Brownies program in 2013. Agawam, 24-13.
LAWRENCE ACADEMY (1-3) at NOBLE & GREENOUGH (4-0), Saturday 1 p.m.
Barboza: The Bulldogs have very quietly gone about their business and it’s about time we start considering them as a legitimate ISL title contender. Nobles, 17-14.
Hall: Have to say, #BigDawgsGottaEat is one of the best hashtags to come through here in a while. Nobles, 21-10.
ABINGTON (4-1) at ROCKLAND (4-1), Saturday 3 p.m.
Barboza: Who thought these teams, given what the Green Wave has endured this season in injuries, would again play such a critical league game? Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. Abington, 31-27.
Hall: You want to talk about the best of the non-Thanksgiving rivalries, you can start with the border war between Abington and Rockland. Nothing beats a backyard brawl, and this ranks with the best of them. Nice surprising start from Rockland, but the Green Wave haven't skipped a beat since the Week 1 loss to Duxbury, even as some (including us) speculated they'd be in for a downturn with season-ending injuries to key personnel. Abington, 24-12.
No. 24 BISHOP FENWICK (5-0) at ST. MARY’S (3-2), Saturday 7 p.m.
Barboza: Rufus keeps rushin’... Get it? Fenwick, 34-28.
Hall: No matter what happens, the ground and pound on both sides assures this will be a quick one. Fenwick, 27-20.
GAME OF THE WEEK – No. 9 BARNSTABLE (4-1) at No. 8 BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (4-1), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: I don’t what or how, but I’m sure it’ll be some wacky thing that happens in the fourth quarter. It usually does. The teams are so even there’s little margin for error and, unfortunately, miscues and turnovers decide this one. B-R, 19-17.
Hall: The key here is going to be through the air, where Barnstable has had plenty of success and has scored points in a bunch. Assuming the Red Raiders dial up some plays with Derek Estes and Hayden Murphy stacked together, I'm curious to see how the Trojans respond, and how their defensive backs handle the pressure. The last time B-R faced a team this potent of a passing attack, Xaverian's A.J. King caught 129 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 49-13 Hawks rout. Something tells me the Raiders will have a spurt here. Barnstable, 31-28.
Last Week’s Picks:
Barboza: 9-3 (48-24 overall)
Hall: 11-1 (51-21 overall)