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South Shore high school football teams dominate in MIAA Super Bowls

For the third consecutive year, the South Shore invaded Gillette Stadium for the MIAA high school football Super Bowls.

Six area teams represented the area in five of the eight state finals. Duxbury (Division 4) repeated as state champions while Milton (Div. 3) brought home the school’s first title. Hanover, Marshfield, Scituate and Carver were all finalists in their respective divisions. Blue Hills also won a vocational title.

Although those teams made the deepest playoff runs, they weren’t the area’s only program to make news this fall. The South Shore continues to be one of the deepest areas for football talent in the state.

WHERE WE LEFT OFF: South Shore high school football top 10 rankings

Last ranking and final record in parenthesis.

10. Blue Hills (9-4, NR)

For the second time in three seasons, the Warriors won the MVADA Small School vocational crown. The Warriors rolled to a 44-7 win over Tri-County in the championship game last week behind a dominant run game. Blue Hills was led by a trio of 1,000-yard rushers in Matt Begin, Caiden Montas and Aidan Landers. The Warriors have had eight 1,000-yard rushers in a season over the last three seasons. That number is a whooping 28 since 2000.

More: Back on top: Blue Hills football tops Tri-County for second voke crown in three years

9. Middleboro (8-3, 7)

The Sachems earned the No. 3 seed in the Div. 4 playoffs, but lost to No. 14 Marblehead, 21-12, in the opening round. Still, there were plenty of highlights this season. Middleboro entered the season with some question marks at quarterback and running back. Nate Goodine (QB) and Bolu Sotonwa (RB) filled those positions and helped the Sachems earn a share of the South Shore League Sullivan Division title with Norwell. Middleboro posted marquee wins over Div. 1 Taunton (18-14), Rockland (24-14), Abington (34-6) and Norwood (29-27). In a bit of a retooling season, the Sachems were highly competitive.

8. Weymouth (7-4, 8)

First-year coach Michael Donovan made an immediate impact. No. 12 Weymouth pulled off a major upset over No. 5 Lincoln-Sudbury in the opening round of the Div. 1 playoffs. That was the Wildcats’ first playoff win ever and this was the program’s first winning season since 2012. “What (Donovan) has done in one year is just miraculous and brilliant,” said North Andover coach E.J. Perry following his team’s quarterfinal win over Weymouth.

More: ‘Big turnaround’: Despite playoff loss to Andover, Weymouth football made great strides

7. Norwell (9-2, 5)

In a year filled with turnarounds, the Clippers might have been the most impressive. In 2022, Norwell went 4-7, lowlighted by a four-game stretch the Clippers could only muster seven points. With freshman quarterback Jack Luccarelli leading the way, Norwell won the South Shore League Sullivan Division title and earned the top seed in Div. 6. Jackson Adams (school-record 9 interceptions), Carter Rae and Connor Cronk (18 sacks) led the way defensively. With Luccarelli and junior running back Will Bostrom (league MVP) set to return next fall, look for Norwell to be higher on this list in the future. The Clippers were upset by eventual Super Bowl champion Fairhaven in the quarterfinals.

6. Scituate (9-4, 6)

All four of the Sailors’ losses came to teams that reached Gillette Stadium (Div. 5’s Foxboro and Hanover and Div. 3 champ Milton). Scituate fell to top-seeded Duxbury in the Div. 4 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. “When your program gets to that level, that’s where you want it to be. You want to challenge the best and you want to play the best and you want teams to recognize you as one of those programs as well,” said Scituate coach Herb Devine after that loss. It’s clear, the Sailors has reached the upper echelon of Massachusetts football. Senior QB Jackson Belsan had a stellar season and he was surrounded by a dangerous cauldron of weapons in Lawson Foley, Sam Allard, Charlie Hartwell, Willy Robinson and Alex Burrill. Scituate returns a lot next season and should be back in the state-title picture.

More: Scituate High senior Jackson Belsan made the most of his dream to play football

5. Carver (11-2, 3)

Two years ago, a trip to Gillette Stadium seemed totally unattainable for this program. But after a stellar campaign in coach Ben Shuffain’s second season at the helm, a state-final appearance is no longer a pipe dream. The Crusaders lost to West Boylston (last year’s Div. 7 state champ) in the Div. 8 final. Carver won its first league title since 2000. QB Tyler Lennox was one of the best players in the state this fall and he received plenty of help from the likes of Robbie Peterson, Jameson Helms, Derek Lopes, James Callahan and Tyler Swain, to name a few. Not a lot of people saw this coming until Carver’s monster off-season (I was an early adopter). Here’s another prediction for the future: Carver isn’t a one-hit wonder.

More: ‘A football town now’: Appearance in Div. 8 Super Bowl a sign of Carver High’s new era

4. Marshfield (9-4, 4)

The Rams lost to a dominant King Philip team in the Div. 2 final. QB Tor Maas and running back Davin True, both juniors, led the way for Marshfield this fall during breakout campaigns. The Rams had the best win of any team in the area by knocking off two-time defending Div. 2 champion Catholic Memorial in the semifinals. Junior Gio Joseph is another key returner who will be back next fall. Coach Chris Arouca has this program knocking on the door of a state title. Div. 2 is absolutely loaded, but the Rams will be on the short list of contenders next fall.

More: Moments removed from Super Bowl loss, Marshfield football’s breakout stars plotting return

3. Hanover (11-2, 1)

The Hawks held down the No. 1 spot on this list nearly all season (deservedly so). Hanover defeated Duxury in Week 1 (the Dragons’ lone loss) and never looked back. Miscues proved to be costly in a Div. 5 Super Bowl loss to Foxboro, but this team was sensational all Fall. Ben Scalzi went from a QB thrown into the fire to one of the state’s best in less than two years. He was surrounded by a ton of offensive firepower like John McDonald and Mehki Bryan. The Hawks owned wins over both teams in the Div. 4 Super Bowl (Scituate and Duxbury) and were dominant on their way to a Patriot League Fisher Division title.

More: ‘Once-in-a-lifetime kid and QB’ caps Hanover High football career in Division 5 Super Bowl

2. Milton (9-4, 9)

I didn’t see the Wildcats winning the Div. 3 state title this year until about the third quarter of Thursday’s state final. That’s no disrespect to the team, Milton just graduated so many pieces from last year’s state finalist team. Then, after a 5-0 start, the Wildcats dropped three games in a row heading into the playoffs. Battling Walpole in the state final, Milton fell behind 14-0 early. The Wildcats responded by rattling off 42 consecutive points en route to a win. Heading into the playoffs, Milton, consistently a top-five team since the inception of this poll, plummeted all the way down to 9. First-year starting QB Patrick Miller broke a single-season record with 33 passing TDs. Ben Caledonia led the way defensively. Sophomore Ronan Sammon will be one of the area’s top returners after going over 1,000 yards receiving this fall.

More: Comeback kids: Milton football rallies from early deficit to win Div. 3 Super Bowl

1. Duxbury (11-1, 2)

The Dragons are an incredible 23-1 over the last two seasons with a pair of Div. 4 state titles. After graduating QB Matt Festa, the Dragons became a ground-and-pound team this season as Alex Barlow led the way. Barlow ended his career with 275-yard, five-TD day in a 62-33 win over Scituate at Gillette Stadium. Duxbury also defeated Marshfield on Thanksgiving to claim the Patriot League Keenan Division title. Trevor Jones took over the starting QB job during the season and turned into one of the area’s most dangerous players. Zach Falls, a 6-5 receiver, was an impossible cover. Duxbury went to Gillette Stadium for the fourth consecutive season (not counting the no-playoff COVID year) and there’s no reason to believe that run will end any time soon.

More: Scoring machine: Record-setting offense lifts Duxbury past Scituate in Div. 4 Super Bowl

On the bubble: Abington (8-3), Cardinal Spellman (7-4), Rockland (7-4), West Bridgewater (8-3), Cohasset (6-5), BC High (6-5), Braintree (7-4), Canton (7-4)


2023-12-05 09:11:49
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