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Weekend Football Picks: Generals Look for Command Performance

Football Friday sets the table for your weekend football feast. Last week's picks: 7-0. Season: 7-0

What was supposed to be one of the best games of the week turned into a 30-7 laugher for the reigning CAL Small champion Generals last Saturday as they

Last year, Elliott Burr’s game-winning score mid-way through the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in a . The Clippers would go on to run the table the rest of the way in the CAL Small, but the loss to the Generals proved costly as they saw H-W capture the league and the automatic playoff bid.

While both teams reside in different tiers of the new CAL/NEC Conference this year, you can bet the Clippers would love nothing more than to even the score under the lights at War Memorial Stadium.

Burr (92 yards) and quarterback Trevor Lyons (85 yards) combined for nearly 200 yards in last week’s impressive win over the Sachems in a game that was won in the trenches by the Generals, who were led by veteran linemen Kevin Anthony, Shane Jenkins and Taylor Drinkwater.

Suffice it to say, H-W coach Andrew Morency has likely scrawled the name “Brett Fontaine” all over his blackboard this week. The dynamic Newburyport receiver caught two balls for 58 yards and rushed three times for 78 yards in the last week.

The Pick: H-W, 28-27

Another command performance by the Generals

North Reading at Amesbury, Friday (7)

One of the best games this week should unfold Friday nigt under the lights at Amesbury’s Landry Stadium, as the Hornets look to upend the Indians in a battle of 1-1 teams. Amesbury comes into the contest off an that saw the Indians do everything, but win the game (see Lynnfield notes in this column), while North Reading will look to get its Single Wing attack going after hitting a major speed bump last week in a .

Junior Carl Lipani had the lone score and another strong game for the Hornets with 113 yards on 23 carries, but the Hornets got just 20 yards of offense from the rest of their team.

Football fans can only hope that the two teams come close to duplicating last year’s two-overtime classic that saw Amesbury prevail in the second overtime on Nick Croce’s 22-yard field goal. Lipani scored the first Hornets touchdown and also hauled in a TD pass from Nick Rosano to force the second overtime.

Amesbury’s Delante Castle is the Indians’ go-to-guy in the red zone.

The Pick: Amesbury, 21-20

Indians hold off Hornets in another wild one

Crusaders at Lynnfield, Saturday (11 a.m.)

It’s one of the oldest adages in football: It’s not how long you have the ball; it’s what you do with it when you have it. Amesbury coach Thom Connors may be muttering that to himself after watching his team enjoy a better than 2-to-1 ratio in plays over Lynnfield last week only to still come up on the short end of a .

Lynnfield was very opportunistic in this one, getting a key stop on fourth down at its own two-yard line by junior D.J. DeGeorge and an equally critical blocked PAT by Tyler Palumbo with nine minutes to play to prevent what would have been the tying score.

While Amesbury dominated nearly every offensive category, including first downs (21-9), LHS signal caller Mike Karavetsos continues to impress. The junior completed 10-of-19 passes for 215 yards and a TD, and his favorite target was senior Jonathan Rogers, who snagged four passes for 134 yards and a touchdown.

Of all of the Crusaders’ dominating offensive performances from a year ago, it would be hard to match the Pioneers’ total demolition of this week’s opponent, Bishop Fenwick (0-2), in Peabody. It was 35-0, Lynnfield, early in the second quarter and Gino Cohee (2), Rick Berardino, Jeff Gannon and Mike Thomas, who all scored in the eventual 42-21 rout, which was not nearly that close. All of those players, except the Pioneers’ starting tailback Thomas, are now playing college ball, but Fenwick is also without its two key cogs in school-record breaking, QB Brett Kidik and state-record breaking receiver Ryan Lipka.

What is left in Peabody is a young squad, which is very much in a rebuilding mode. The Crusaders are off to a 0-2 start after abandoning their spread formation in favor of a Wing-T attack. The Crusaders lost their opener, 34-14, to Northeast Regional and were . The Crusaders are very high on their aptly named freshman running back, Rufus Rushins.

The pick: Lynnfield, 24-14

Inexperienced Pioneer offense picking up steam

Pentucket at Danvers, Friday (7)

last Friday not only with its first loss, but also with a new fan in Peabody coach Scott Wlasuk.

“They’re a good football team,” said the Peabody coach after watching coach Sean Rogers’ team refuse to go quietly and nearly tie the game up with five minutes to play.

“We were up 14-0 and I thought we had a chance to put it away and they made some big plays and came right back and were in position to tie the game. I have to give a lot of credit to them,” said Wlasuk.

Right at the forefront of that rally was the Falcons’ troika of talented backs, Nick and and Alex Valles, who rushed for 80 and 75 yards, respectively, along with the rugged Jake Palazola (52 yards).

“What I like about their backs is that they are very good at setting up their blocks and then looking for that crease and going,” Wlasuk pointed out. “You could see it on the sweeps where we kept stringing it out, but they are very patient waiting for their cuts and all of a sudden a play that looked like it was going to go for no yards went for seven or eight.”

Being patient will be of the utmost importance for the Danvers defense Friday as it looks to contain Pentucket’s patented Wing-T offense. It’s a set that is predicated on a slew of ball fakes and few teams have run it any better -- or longer -- than Steve Hayden’s Sachems club.

Pentucket is off to a 0-2 start in its opener before , 30-7, last week on the road. Nolan Dragon, who rushed for 130 yards against the Generals, is the player to watch for Pentucket.

The Pick: Danvers, 21-14

Pentucket lost last five games on the road; Danvers’ Valles brothers keep that streak intact

Robert Gates (Editor) September 30, 2011 at 12:42 PM
Robert, it is a weekly preview for many of the football games on the North Shore that we thought would interest readers in several communities.

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