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ESPN Boston MIAA State Football Semifinal Picks

FRIDAY

Division 3 South

STOUGHTON vs. PLYMOUTH SOUTH, 7 p.m.

at Marciano Stadium, Brockton

Brendan Hall: This isn't the first time the "media didn't believe in us" card has been played, it won't be the last, and frankly I'm delighted to have the readership. I just hope the folks in Stoughton will at least acknowledge that there were a few of us picking the Black Knights to win last week. Anyways, this one's going to be another muck-it-up affair, with the way South likes to grind it out. That style of play tends to work in these type of environments. Expect another Yeoman's workload from Dylan Oxsen. Plymouth South, 20-14.

Scott Barboza: Whichever team wins this one will likely have to rest its starters on Thanksgiving out of necessity. Another physical, grind-it-out affair for South with the same result. Plymouth South, 14-7.

Divsion 5 Eastern Mass.

BISHOP FENWICK vs. ABINGTON, 7 p.m.

at Woburn High School

Hall: Abington has gotten a big boost from the return of Matt Kilmain, once thought to be done for the season. But it Fenwick's Rufus Rushins is a go -- after missing the last two games due to injury -- that, coupled with Nick Bona's moxie, could be just enough to put the Crusaders over the Green Wave in what should be a close affair. Bishop Fenwick, 17-16.

Barboza: Whether or not Rufus Rushins can pull the “Willis Reed” is in play. If he can get on the field, in any capacity, would be a boost to the Crusaders. Meanwhile, Nick Bona’s been one of the breakout stories of the postseason. Fenwick, 20-14.

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SATURDAY

Division 3 North

TEWKSBURY vs. MELROSE, 11 a.m.

at Cawley Stadium, Lowell

Hall: Sneaky good matchup here. Tewksbury has been a team of destiny since the moment the first practice in August, and while they've had to rally in these playoffs, they've done little to deter from this sentiment. The Redmen will have fun trying to slow this dynamic option game, led by quarterback Malik Garrett, but in the end I think they do just enough to win it here. Tewksbury, 24-21.

Barboza: Could be a candidate for game of the day, and perhaps the most difficult to predict. This is a one-possession game no matter what. Malik Garrett has proven to be a load to tackle in the open field, but I’ll give a slight edge to the Redmen defense behind Eddie Matovu and James Sullivan. Tewksbury, 21-20.

Division 5 Central/West

HOOSAC VALLEY vs. NORTHBRIDGE, 11 a.m.

at Doyle Field, Leominster

Hall: Rams have the advantage at the line of scrimmage, with road graders Tom Tabur and Connor Gatto leading the way. But how much fun is sophomore quarterback Koby Schofer been to watch in these playoffs? Bright future for the young kid. Northbridge, 23-13.

Barboza: When considering Northbridge quarterback Koby Schofer, what do you take away? The Rams have always done it by the air, but with 1,200 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground to date, he’s a true dual-threat. Northbridge, 34-27.

Division 6 Central/West

LITTLETON vs. TURNERS FALLS, 11 a.m.

at Westfield State University

Hall: Trent Porbeau has been on a tear these playoffs, with 306 rushing yards and three touchdowns in two games in the D6 West tournament. I like the way they have been playing this second half of the season, and see them pulling out a close victory here. Turners Falls, 14-10.

Barboza: If Turners Falls gets the kind of game it received from Trent Borbeau (24 carries, 194 yards, 2 TD), the Indians will be in fine form. Turners Falls, 20-17.

Division 2 Eastern Mass.

MANSFIELD vs. WALTHAM, 2 p.m.

at Cawley Stadium, Lowell

Hall: If Mansfield can put up 41 points on one of the best pass defenses across Division 2, then the Hawks are in for an uphill battle here. Tough to contain one Hornet, let alone the combination of Michael Hershman, Brendan Hill and Miguel Villar-Perez all on one side of the field. Dana Parello, the DCL MVP, has been en fuego these playoffs. But this is Mansfield's game to lose. Mansfield, 35-14.

Barboza: The best thing that could happen for Waltham is Mansfield’s penchant for falling behind early in games. If the Hawks can take advantage of that trend, they can make this a game. But the Hornets looked locked in last week, so hard to go against that here. Mansfield, 32-26.

Division 2 Central/West

SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL vs. ST. JOHN'S OF SHREWSBURY, 2 p.m.

at Westfield State University

Hall: Arguably the best matchup of the day. Look for St. John's to up the tempo and force a shootout, as usual, but this might not be a team they want to get into a track meet with. Central, 38-28.

Barboza: Do the Pioneers push the pace of play and turn it into a track meet, as they did last week against Leominster? They very well might, but I don’t think Central allows the opportunity. Central, 31-24.

Division 2 Central/West

WAHCONAH vs. DOHERTY, 2 p.m.

at Doyle Field, Leominster

Hall: Great run here for Wahconah, which is one game away from returning to Gillette Stadium, where they won last year's D2 West Super Bowl. But there are too many weapons to contain here, whether it's on the perimeter with Isaac Yiadom and Alfred Adarkwah, or in the backfield with quarterback Luke Brennan and rising tailback Jahkari Carpenter. Doherty, 30-17.

Barboza: Don’t think the Warriors have seen a red zone target quite like Alfred Adarkwah this season. Doherty, 32-27.

Division 4 Eastern Mass.

BEDFORD vs. DENNIS-YARMOUTH, 3 p.m.

at Marciano Stadium, Brockton

Hall: It's tough to match Dennis-Yarmouth's tempo, and it's even tougher having to worry about a shutdown corner as impressive as Michael Dunn. D-Y, 34-20.

Barboza: The Dolphins are among the best in the state having their defensive linemen create muck, blowing up the interior gaps and that will be difference against Olan Abner and Co. D-Y, 30-28.

Division 6 Eastern Mass.

COHASSET vs. ST. CLEMENT, 6:30 p.m.

at Marciano Stadium, Brockton

Hall: This St. Clement team bigger and faster than we've given them credit for. Anchors aweigh. St. Clement, 26-23.

Barboza: I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news for the Anchormen. Picking with them? I don’t know what’s gotten into me. St. Clement, 28-22.

Last Week’s Picks:

Barboza: 13-9 (95-43 overall)

Hall: 11-11 (95-43 overall)