The last time Xaverian and Bridgewater-Raynham were on the same football field in October, it resulted in an epic triple-overtime struggle between two unbeaten teams in which the Hawks prevailed, 28-26.
Saturday’s scrimmage between the the defending Division I Super Bowl champion Hawks and Trojans didn’t quite have the same magnitude, but it did provide a glimpse into two teams who start the season No. 2 and No. 20, respectively, on our ESPNBoston.com High Schools preseason Massachusetts Top 25.
The passing game was a heavy emphasis of the scrimmage, which lasted about three hours on a beautiful morning in Westwood.
Here are five slants on today’s scrimmage:
1. The first thing you are struck with while watching Xaverian is their team speed. The Hawks can certainly fly behind the likes of running backs Joe Colton and Chris Tamasi (who you will be able to read about later in our football preview capsules), in addition to playmakers, such as wide receiver Mike Muir. During several plays against B-R, Xaverian was simply too fast for Trojan defenders to keep pace with.
2. Perhaps the prettiest play of the game came on a 60-yard touchdown run by Colton. The score came off a shovel pass from quarterback Chris Calvanese. The junior signal-caller made a nice read on the play, optioning to kick the ball inside to Colton, who then buzzed through the B-R secondary to the end zone.
“That’s our little copy of the Florida offense,” Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson added. “It was executed to perfection.”
3. Speaking of Calvanese, who takes over for Alex Phelan, Stevenson believes the Hawks will do well to bring the young quarterback along on a steady pace while playing to their strengths on offense.
“We don’t want to put him in situations where all the pressure weighs on him,” Stevenson said. “We have guys that can help him along the way in gaining experience.”
4. The Trojans are also undergoing a change at quarterback. Senior Billy Zolga steps in to fill Mike Connolly’s shoes in 2010. B-R, which usually relies on grinding it out and wearing out its opponent on the ground, opened things up a little on Saturday morning and Zolga looked sharp.
“I think Billy hit every receiver that he targeted,” Trojans head coach Dan Buron said, “and I think our backup [junior] Brad Deiulis looked good as well.”
5. Such scrimmages are a good way for teams to acclimate to the speed of real-time play, after having just a few days of practice in pads. And, from Buron’s perspective, there’s no better way to adjust to full-speed play than pairing up with the Hawks.
“It’s good because it’s a much faster team than you can simulate in practice,” Buron said. “We did some good things and we did some bad things. By no means are we ready to play a football game, but it was a good work day. Overall, I’m pleased, but we have a lot of work to do.”