Playoff and Non-Playoff Schedule, Picks...
Massachusetts has a new football playoff format, and it kicks off TODAY! They also have a non-playoff schedule for the teams who didn't win as much. It's very confusing, and- at this witches hour that I'm working- there are sure to be some foul-ups.
To recap... we have 6 playoff series with X amount of teams playing. They work in an abbreviated March Madness style of a tournament, with the winner of South playing the winner of North, and the winner of that playing the winner of Central/West. Whoever isn't playing is scheduled on the fly in a semi-tournament that is augmented by the losers of the winners tournament.
I should disclose here that I wrote 10000 words on Halloween yesterday, trick-or-treated in heavy mist for 3 hours, slept for 3 more, and am now up- surrounded by candy, I might add- writing this article. The potential for mistakes when I work the werewolf shift is very high, so check your schedules with a second source.
Again, any prognostication we do here- even with point spreads and over/unders- is For Entertainment Purposes Only. Most bookies don't take action on high school games, although I am hearing talk of an upswing now that we have this fancy tournament. I'm more of a fan than a bettor, and my principal high-school-football activity this week is finding someone on my Facebook from Needham that I can insult for the next 18 hours or so.
Note that the weather will be six degrees of awful. Heavy rain and winds gusting past 50 mph will be the order of the evening. Keep that in mind as you dress for the games, and especially when you make friendly bets with your friends in other towns. High scoring offenses tend to be shut down in this weather, especially in high schools. Remember how bad Tom Brady looked in that Cincinnati downpour game? Multiply that by 1200, and you have the better high school QBs.
OK, on to the games.... I'm gonna try to go Division by Division, so bear with me. I only plan to cover semi-local games in the tournament, so I apologize in advance. The full schedule of games can be found here.
DIVISION 1 SOUTH PLAYOFFS
1. Xaverian (17.71 - AQ1)
2. Attleboro (15.86 - AQ2)
3. Bridgewater-Raynham (15.5 - WC)
4.BC High (12 - AQ2)
5. Weymouth (11.14 - AQ2)
6. Newton North (10.29 - WC)
7. New Bedford (10.14 - AQ1)
8. Catholic Memorial (10 - WC)
New Bedford at Attleboro (-7)
New Beffuh was under .500, and is only in this game because 1) they are from a 3 team conference and 2) Brockton had a bad year. Attleboro is #12 in the state and should win handily. New Betty does have fresher seafood, however... so all is not lost.
Newton North at #10 Bridgewater-Raynham (-3)
Newton North (one school from Newton should be the Figs, and the other ones should be the Sir Issacs) was 4-3 this season, and the losses were to good teams. They should be a strong test. B-R is 4-2, and those losses have come to #4 in the state and the only team (Barnstable) to beat the state's #1 team and make them be #4.
DIVISION 2 SOUTH PLAYOFFS
1. Mansfield (22 - AQ1)
2. Barnstable (20.43 - AQ1)
3. Natick (18.86 - AQ1)
4. Needham (17.14 - AQ1)
5. Duxbury (16.17 - AQ1)
6. King Philip (15.71 - WC)
7. Marshfield (11.57 - WC)
8. Wellesley (11 - AQ2)
#7 Duxbury at #13 Needham (-1)
The MIAA and this column favor different ranking systems, but the MIAA makes the tournaments, so Duxbury is playing on the road. Needham and Duxbury each have only one loss this season. Both teams are looking ahead to the next game, which is most likely against Mansfield. Mansfield pinned Duxbury in the playoffs last year, and they look better this year... but I'll be happy if/when the Green Dragons get a rematch.
Marshfield at #6 Barnstable (-7)
They played at the same field 3 weeks ago, 29-20 Barney. The line suggests that Marshfield has improved somewhat, or that it is harder to beat the same team twice in a season. I agree, although I'm still advancing Barnstable.
DIVISION 3 SOUTHEAST PLAYOFFS
1. Plymouth South (17 - AQ1)
2. Dighton-Rehoboth (13.43 - WC)
3. Plymouth North (12.86 - WC)
4. Silver Lake (12.33 - AQ2)
5. Dartmouth (11 - WC)
6. Nauset (10.71 - WC)
7. Somerset-Berkley (10.29 - AQ1)
8. Sharon (7.14 - WC)
Sharon at Plymouth South (-10)
Sharon barely won any games this year, while South has steamrollered almost everyone.
Silver Lake at Dartmouth (-7)
Silver Lake pulled off 3 straight wins to make the playoffs. The Dart has had trouble with bigger schools. Silver Lake is a smaller school.
Somerset-Berkley at Dighton-Rehoboth (-5)
If this was war, one team would conquer the other and somebody in that town would be the King and Queen of Somerset-Berkley-Dighton-Rehoboth. Once you get that many titles, you can add ones such as "King of Scotland," like Idi Amin did. D-R beat S-B on their own field earlier in the year, and now they're hosting.
Nauset at Plymouth North (-6)
North shut out Nauset By Nature two weeks ago, and now it will be raining. Plymouth schools also get superpowers as Thanksgiving nears.
Division 3 SE Non-Playoff
Whitman-Hanson at Pembroke, (-6)
Someone's going to win, someone's going to lose.... but at least the drive home will be short.
Sandwich at Falmouth (+5)
Sammich owned Falmouth earlier in the year, 31-7. Falmouth is hosting, and they are also losing as a home 'dog.
DIVISION 4 SOUTH PLAYOFFS
1. Westwood (21 - AQ1)
2. Dennis-Yarmouth (17.14 - AQ2)
3. Norton (17 - AQ1)
4. Holliston (15.43 - AQ2)
5. Scituate (15.29 - AQ1)
6. Apponoquet (14.14 - AQ2)
7. Hanover (12.71 - AQ2)
8. Bishop Stang (9 - AQ2)
Scituate at Holliston (-6)
Holly is averaging over 39 points per game. Scituate is a big team, and their 1 loss was by 1 point.
Hanover at Dennis-Yarmouth (-3)
D-Y has wiped out #6 on the state Barnstable, and also tossed Plymouth South out of the top 20. Hanover is a win-some/lose-some landlocked South Shore town.
Apponequet at Norton (-1)
There are some who say that Appo is a paper tiger, fattened on the Bournes, Warehams and Cases of the world.
Wareham at Medway (-5)
Wareham has had a tough year, and that's saying a lot for people from ?ham. Medway has a few wins, including some over a few heavyweights.
Middleboro at Foxboro (-7)
Foxy Bro is another town that, like Middleboro, I refuse to add an "ugh" at the end of. North Attleboro and Marlboro are other examples.
Foxy Bro, 20-10
DIVIISON 5 SOUTH PLAYOFFS
1. Old Rochester (18.71 - AQ1)
2. Abington (17.71 - AQ1)
3. Cardinal Spellman (16.57 - AQ2)
4. East Bridgewater (15.57 - WC)
5. Rockland (15.14 - AQ2)
6. Dover Sherborn (11.71 - WC)
7. Greater New Bedford (11.57 - AQ1)
8. Seekonk (10.14 - WC)
Seekonk at Old Rochester (-10)
OR whallopped Seekonk just last week, 31-14. They picked off 4 passes. I doubt that things have improved much since then, although the weather might help.
Abington at Greater New Bedford (+5)
Abby has one loss, to top-10 Duxbury. Run-GNB has been bested more than once or twice.
Division 5 South Non-playoffs
Fairhaven at Archbishop Williams (-3)
Fairhaven is going to stick some Archies. However, Fairhaven's wins are against Case, Bourne and Wareham, who combined to win 2 games this year.
Arch Willie, 27-14
Norwell at Martha's Vineyard (+1)
I actually like Norwell better as a team, but I think that taking a ferry over to Martha during a Gale Warning is just what the Loss Doctor ordered.
Case at Ashland (-7)
Ashland is good enough to win a few games this year, which I can't say for Case.
Bellingham at Bourne (-1)
Bourne is hosting and favored, something I wasn't expecting even in a consolation bracket.
DIVISION 6 SOUTH PLAYOFFS
Nantucket at Cohasset (-10)
Nantucket gets not one but two stormy ferry rides. They also get a whipping,
Upper Cape Voke Tech (-3) at Diman
Unfortunately, "D man" in this game will be UCT's Jon Dumont.
Mashpee at Millis-Hopedale (-1)
I'm not buying that. Give me "Mashpee" for the win, Vanna.
Division 6 Non Playoffs
Southeastern vs Pope John Paul II (-3)
The pope is taking no shorts, especially from some school that isn't even named after a town.
Monomoy at Hull (-7)
Hull destroyed Mony Mony at home, and things probably aren't going to go much better after that awful Chatham-to-Hull ride.
Carver at Old Colony (-1)
I like Caver in this one, call it Cranberry Harvest Empowerment.
Cape Cod Tech at Tri-County (-1)
This may be the worst game in Massachusetts.