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HS Football Power Rankings: Who Has Momentum Heading into Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 19, 2012


St. John's has rebounded after a mid-season swoon, but the Pioneers are in desperate need of a Thanksgiving Day victory.

It's nearly rivalry football time here in Central Massachusetts, and several of the teams in our top-10 need wins to keep momentum for the playoffs.

Check out our top-10 high school football teams in Central Mass:

1. Auburn (10-0, 4-0 SWCL A) Last Week: 1

The Rockets have only given up multiple scores in the same game once this season, and running back Tyler Desjardins has emerged as the go-to guy in a backfield loaded with talent. With the offense and defense humming, many have begun the debate as to where this team ranks in the history of Central Mass. You can be sure coach Jeff Cormier will not let his players pay attention to any of that talk, at least not until they win another Division III Super Bowl.

2. Nashoba (10-0, 4-0 Mid-Wach B) Last Week: 2

Still unbeaten, and still deserving of being in the conversation with Auburn for the unofficial title of best team in Central Mass. The Chieftains haven't been as dominant as the Rockets, but with wins over Wachusett, Holy Name and Doherty on their resume, you could argue they have more quality wins.

3. Doherty (8-2, 2-0 Inter-High) Last Week: 3

The Highlanders have as much talent as anyone in the region, and they seem to be putting it all together at the right time. Doherty figures to make the Division II playoffs very interesting after playing Nashoba to the wire and knocking off Shepherd Hill in recent weeks.

4. Shrewsbury (8-2, 2-1 Mid-Wach A) Last Week: 4

After years of playing second-fiddle in their own town to St. John's, the Colonials are poised for a Division I Super Bowl run. Quarterback Mike Coggeshall has the size and arm-strength to scare any defense, and running back Zach Dionis gives the Shrewsbury offense great balance between the run and pass.

5. Wachusett (7-3, 4-0 Mid-Wach A) Last Week: 5

Wachusett plays almost like an Auburn-lite with its brutal ground game and swarming defense. Quarterback Scott Beardsley is as much a threat to run as he is to pass for the Mountaineers, who actually beat Shrewsbury earlier this season.

6. Shepherd Hill (8-2, 3-1 SWCL A) Last Week: 6

The Rams came up short against Doherty and Auburn, but still boast one of the best running games in the region. The defense has struggled against balanced offenses, but Shepherd Hill may have a chance to redeem itself against Doherty in the playoffs.

7. Leominster (6-4, 1-2 Mid-Wach A) Last Week: 7

It would seem like a tall task for the Blue Devils to repeat as Division I Super Bowl champions, what with Shrewsbury and Wachusett playing so well, but the talent and experience of Leominster should give it an edge come playoff time.

8. Northbridge (8-2, 3-2 SWCL A) Last Week: 8

Quarterback Matt Phelan and running back Jake Ryan have gotten the Rams offense back on track as they head into the Division IV playoffs. Northbridge will go in as the favorite, but be aware of defensive-minded Grafton, who could give the Rams some trouble.

9. Tyngsborough (10-0, 5-0 Mid-Wach C) Last Week: 9

Jack Trottier is playing his best football of the season at quarterback for the Tigers, but running back Chuck Keenan has given them some offensive balance. A huge game looms this week against Groton-Dunstable.

10. Groton-Dunstable (9-1, 5-0 Mid-Wach C) Last Week: 10

Speaking of the Crusaders… Groton-Dunstable has won six in a row, and only one of those has even been competitive. Quarterback Mack Eberhardt doesn't put up eye-popping numbers, but he has been efficient throwing the ball, and effective running it in short-yardage situations.

In the Hunt: St. John's (6-4), Bay Path (9-1), Blackstone Valley Tech (9-1), West Boylston (9-1)

St. John's will need a win this week against rival St. Peter-Marian to keep  its roll going, and the Pioneers have as much momentum as anybody heading into the playoffs. Add in the fact that they have one of the best offenses in the entire state, and that's a scary combination for Division I teams that beat them the first time around.


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