Better hold on to your hats.
That was the theme of Week 4 of the local high school football schedule from the perspective of weather and its results. Driving rains and howling winds across Southern New England had many of Friday’s games washed out and moved to Saturday. For those who remained steadfast in their Friday schedules or kicked off on Saturday, there were plenty of upsets to be had and much on the line.
Here’s what we learned from this weekend’s action:
The good ship Falmouth
Down 15-0 at halftime? No problem. Thirty-six players on your sideline? That’s enough. Falmouth has now made “upset” wins over BC High old hat.
It was the first time that a Catholic Conference team had traveled to the Cape in more than a decade. And coming off of last year’s 22-20 loss to the Clippers, the Eagles had plenty of motivation to return the favor to what Falmouth had done on their turf last year.
Yet, somehow, the Clippers found a way to win. They weren’t just playing for themselves and for their teammates, they were playing for the entirety of football on the Cape. That perceived no man’s land of football has now definitively proven it is a force.
“Everybody thinks that because we’re from Cape Cod that we don’t know how to play football,” senior Nelson Baptiste told ESPN Boston’s Brendan Hall on Thursday.
Things didn’t look good for Falmouth’s chances early, as BC High running back Preston Cooper (two rushing touchdowns, 2-point conversion) accounted for all but one of the Eagles’ 15 first-half points. BC High’s front also bottled up the Clippers’ option attack, holding Falmouth to just seven offensive plays in the half.
In the second half, Clippers head coach Steve Femino relied on a couple his less-heralded players to lead the charge in the second half.
Bobby Whelan led the rushing attack with 14 carries for 110 yards and touchdown — all coming in the second half. His 21-yard carry on his first touch of the game in the third quarter set the tone for what was to come.
After a Dillon Mansfield score made it 15-14, Falmouth looked for its defense to make a stand.
The Clippers forced the Eagles three-and-out with two plays for negative yardage, as Tyrone Reine and Jonah Olsen make tackles for a loss. Then, it was junior corner Devon Soares who left his imprint with two interceptions on successive BC High drives to close out the win.
“Devon Soares has been our biggest surprise of the year,” Femino said. “He’s not the biggest kid and some teams look to pick on him because [Nelson] Baptiste is on the other side. But he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and he’s been a great surprise for us.”
Though we shouldn’t be surprised about anything the Clippers accomplish from here on out.
Armani Reeves is a big-time player with prime-time speed
Asked about the performance his star junior had just put on in a big win over New Hampshire power Bishop Guertin, Catholic Memorial head coach Alex Campea could only exhale deeply as he beamed, draping a hand on Armani Reeves' shoulder.
"This guy can make it happen, this guy can make it happen," he repeated to ESPNBoston's Brendan Hall. "Listen, we have some good players, and tonight in a big game they shone through -- making big catches, big plays, offensively and defensively. But I'm glad we have him. He competes every snap of every game."
We've previously held Reeves -- who lines up at both wide receiver and running back, and also returns kicks and punts -- in high regard. But last weekend's performance (193 all-purpose yards, three touchdowns) affirms everything.
Reeves currently holds scholarship offers from Penn State, UConn, Wake Forest and UMass, but we expect more to roll in as more and more coaches discover what a special athlete this kid is.
TVL up for grabs
Holliston entered Friday night’s tilt with Tri-Valley League rival Medway looking as though they might run away and hide with the league title. The Panthers were averaging 48 points per game before they met the Mustangs’ defense and met their first loss of the season in a 28-16 win over Holliston.
"I think it showed a lot of character that we were down 10 to nothing," Medway coach Dave McSweeney told ESPN Boston correspondent Neil Carroll on Friday. "We didn’t panic and we made plays when we had to. Michael [Ozella] broke a nice run off that set up the last second pass so we kind of lucked out there, but I’ll take it anyway we can get it."
With the win, Medway threw the TVL standings for a loop, drawing even with Holliston at 3-1 in league play. Both teams stand a game behind Westwood and Norton, who both improved to 4-0 on the weekend. Norton dispatched Medway in Week One, 23-14, but Westwood looms on the schedules of both the Panthers and Mustangs.
So things are about to get really interesting.
Is the Bay State Carey wrapped up?...
So we’re not about to go Gore v. Bush in this space, but it’s hard to not look at Weymouth’s convincing 26-0 whitewashing of Needham as a huge leap forward to deciding the Bay State Carey.
Once again, the Super Colarusso Bros. (Can we get a video game in development for these guys yet?) led the way, combining for 225 yards and four touchdowns.
"This is not a league title tonight," Weymouth head coach Kevin Mackin told our Phil Perry on Friday, tempering the hype. "It certainly puts us in a good spot, but we've got to continue to work because there are other good teams here."
...One things's for certain: the Merrimack Valley Conference isn't
In Jason Houston's first year as an assistant at Dracut back in 2004, he watched as the Middies lost a 63-46 shootout to Division 1A Super Bowl runner-up Chelmsford. Now six years later, Houston won his second career game as head coach -- and his second in as many weeks over a previously-ranked opponent -- by flipping the switch, his team rolling to a 60-42 win over Billerica behind big nights from quarterback Matt Silva (8 of 12 passing, 262 yards, four touchdowns; 17 carries, 110 yards, touchdown), wide receiver Chris Malonis (seven catches, 252 yards, four touchdowns; 95-yard kickoff return touchdown) and running back Keith Hamel (20 carries, 121 yards, three touchdowns).
Dracut, by the way, wasn't even the favorite in the MVC Small headed into the season. Heck, they could very well end up 7-4 or 6-5 in this kind of daunting league schedule.
"In my opinion, top to bottom, this is the toughest league in the state," said Houston, who himself won an MVC title quarterbacking Lowell in the late 90s.
Looking ahead to next weekend, among the things we’ll be watching is the matchup of Central unbeatens No. 17 Auburn and Northbridge. Both teams enter at 4-0 and hope to keep their marks unblemished. But the Rockets have an extra motivation in keeping their state-best 28-game win streak in tact.
However, Auburn’s already had a couple of brushes this season. The Rockets slipped by Shrewsbury, 6-2, in Week One and escaped 19-15 this weekend’s test against Hudson. No doubt Northbridge, which enters the game averaging nearly 29 points per game, will be looking to be the team to finish the deed.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
VALVOLINE CO-PEAK PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK: MATT SILVA, SR. QB, AND CHRIS MALONIS, SR. WR, DRACUT
Talk about an offensive explosion. Silva accounted for 372 yards of offense (262 passing, 110 rushing) and five total touchdowns, linking up with Malonis (seven catches, 252 yards) for all four of his touchdown passes, as the Middies survived a Wild West 60-42 shootout with Billerica. Since losing to Westford 27-13 in Week 2, the Middies have exploded, averaging 43.5 points per game and knocking off previously-ranked opponents in back-to-back weeks. Think things are clicking up on Route 38?
Sean Amaru, Sr. RB, Westwood - The speedy Amaru led the Wolverines with 340 yards rushing on 18 carries and six touchdowns, in an easy 48-24 dispatching of Millis/Hopedale.
Andrew Coke, Jr. RB, Andover - For the second straight week, Coke eclipsed the 200-yard mark on the ground, this time rushing for 214 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries in the Warriors' 31-0 win over Haverhill -- in pouring rain, no less. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Coke has accumulated 450 yards and nine touchdowns in the last two weeks.
Matt Costello, Sr. WR, Everett - Costello had a dominant afternoon for the Crimson Tide in their 43-14 win over Barnstable, catching eight balls for 203 yards and four scores.
Nate Costello, Sr. RB, Assabet Valley Tech - The senior ran for 232 yards and three scores for the Aztecs, who cruised to a 48-8 win over Nashoba Tech.
Tyllor MacDonald, Sr. QB, Lynn English - The 6-foot-1 MacDonald threw for 263 yards and four scores, ran for 74 yards and three more scores, and added an interception on defense to lead the Bulldogs in a 47-16 win over Danvers.
John Page, Sr. RB, Bourne - Page ran for 243 yards and four scores in the Canalmen's 42-14 win over Coyle-Cassidy.
Nick Schlatz, Jr. RB, Bridgewater-Raynham - Schlatz carries 18 times for 211 yards and four scores as the Trojans rolled to a 42-14 win over New Bedford.
Mike Walsh, Jr. QB, Swampscott - Down 34-14 at the half, Walsh rallied the Big Blue to a stunning comeback over Revere, tossing for three touchdowns and finishing the day 25 of 43 for 322 yards passing. He threw the game-winning score with 16 seconds left, and the Big Blue converted the two-point try for the 43-42 win.