Wednesday, August 27, 2014

High School Football Schedules

Anthony "The Bull" Cafarelli hopes to smiling a lot this year

Bartlett Indians
SEP 11 David Prouty
SEP 19 Millbury
SEP 26 at Leicester
OCT  4  at Oxford
OCT 10 at Northbridge
OCT 18 at Blackstone-Milville
OCT 24 at Uxbridge
NOV 27 Southbridge

Oxford Pirates
SEP 13 at Uxbridge
SEP 20 at Leicester
SEP 26 at Southbridge
OCT  4  Bartlett
OCT 10 Worcester North
OCT 17 at Millbury
OCT 24 David Prouty
NOV 27 Bay Path

Shepherd Hill Rams
SEP 12 Fitchburg
SEP 20 Gardner
SEP 26 at Leominster
OCT  3  Grafton
OCT 11 at Wachusett
OCT 18 at St. Peter-Marian
OCT 24 Holy Name
NOV 27 at Tantasqua

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bartlett tops Shepherd Hill 67-66 in classic

Evan Anderson and the Indians celebrate after their huge win over the Rams(photo by Lisa Kontoes)

Dudley – If you missed the high school boy’s basketball game between Bartlett and Shepherd Hill this past Monday night, then you missed one of the best encounters probably ever between the two schools.  If you were at the game, there is a good chance that you are still talking about it!

The intensity in the gym at Shepherd Hill was pretty high as both student bodies turned out in force to cheer their respective teams on in what may very well be one of the last games between the two neighboring schools. 

With Shepherd Hill recently announcing that they are leaving the Southern Worcester County League to join the Midland Wachusett League, their schedule will be changing and may not include the Indians.

Back to the actual game – Bartlett senior Evan Anderson proved to be clutch hitting two free throws in the final .03 seconds to give his team an incredible 67-66 win in a game that the Indians trailed most of the way.

Anderson, who did not have one of his better games, was heckled early and often by the Rams fans after tossing up an air ball on a three-point attempt. However he got his revenge making the winning free throws and staring down the hometown fans as the buzzer sounded.

Despite those last minute heroics by Anderson and fellow senior Alex Givins-Perry, who had a career high 37 points and was unstoppable at times especially in the second half, the Indians struggled and the Rams led and were in command most of the game.

The Rams used their significant height advantage and some early sharpshooting by sophomore superstar in the making Michael “Posey” Rapoza(19 points) to take a 23-18 lead after one quarter, despite 10 points by Indians freshman point guard Anthony Grzembski.

Both teams picked up their defensive intensity as the Rams held on to a slim 33-29 halftime lead.

The third quarter was an all-out war with AGP catching fire and connecting for 11 points, while Rapoza continued his inside dominance with 8 points of his own as the Rams held on to a four point 53-49 lead.
Rams senior David Bianculli drives by Evan Anderson(photo by Lisa Kontoes)

The Rams opened an 8 point 60-52 lead behind a pair of David Bianculli baskets and it looked they were about to take the game over, but the Indians battled back and were aided when one of the Rams big men Chris Lindstrom fouled out with 2:05 remaining.

AGP scored on a dazzling layup with 1:08 left and the game was tied at 61, but back to back hoops by Jefferson Pollier and Rapoza put the Rams up by 4 points 65-61 with 40 seconds left.

Both teams missed key free throws late and when the Rams fumbled the ball out of bounds with 7.1 seconds left, the Indians had one final chance trailing 66-65 setting up Anderson’s heroics.

AGP drove to the basket and when he missed, Anderson was there to collect the rebound and get fouled. The senior calmly went to the line and made both free throws and triggered off a massive celebration by the Indians players and fans and leaving the Rams players and fans stunned in disbelief.

"There is nobody than I would rather have had on the line(in that situation), he (Anderson) knows it and he wants to be on the line,” said Indians coach Tony Paranto. “He didn't have any panic in his eyes at all, he knew he was going to make them and he did.”

Paranto also praised the play of AGP.
 "He's a quality player, he's tough to beat off the dribble, he had that look in his eyes where he didn't care who was in front of him and he elevated his game over those 6’6” kids and he drove himself to another level tonight”.

A lot of people in the gym were aware that this may the final time these teams meet and you could tell that this took the rivalry to another level.

“The kids knew that this could be the last time that we play them and we talked about that the last couple of days at practice,” said Paranto.

The enrollment size of the two schools has definitely been a factor in recent years especially in girl’s sports where the Rams have dominated. This year was also the first time since Shepherd Hill opened in the seventies that the two teams didn’t play each other in football.

Its sad in a way to see the rivalry end, and hopefully the two teams will continue to play each other in some sports (boys soccer and boys basketball) but it is time for Shepherd Hill to move on from the SWCL and its good thing that they are.

Regardless of what the future holds, this game will go down as one of the greatest between the two schools and will not be forgotten. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pioneers take advantage of Indians mishaps in 33-28 win

Alex Givins-Perry scored 4 times in the Indians loss to the Pioneers(photo by SP)

Southbridge – The criticism started pouring in with regards to the new MIAA playoff system almost as soon as the playoff schedule was announced. There was a remote possibility that Bartlett and Southbridge, two schools with the third longest Thanksgiving rivalry in Central Mass, would meet in the playoffs prior to their annual meeting. Although it didn’t look likely that it would happen, it did.

Bartlett went out to soundly defeat Southbridge 35-14 in their demi-final match-up and advanced to face Northbridge in the Division 5 Central Mass finals and then lose.

For this writer and fan and graduate of Bartlett High School, it was a disappointment and perhaps even a let down that the two teams had already played, but still the Thanksgiving Day rivalry was on.

Southbridge had won the previous five meetings and we’re looking to make it six in a row in this the 94th meeting between the two proud schools. Bartlett on the other hand was having a really good season and it looked like this could their year to snap the Pioneers streak, but they also knew as everyone else did that it would be hard to beat the same team twice in one season in high school football especially when the talent level so even the two team teams. Nevertheless the battle for bragging rights for the two schools was on.

It was apparent on the opening Pioneers 13 play scoring drive that they meant business. Sophomore quarterback Anthony Santos connected with Emilio Torres on 12-yard pass play on fourth down to cap an impressive drive and give the home team a 7-0 lead following Jose Morales’ extra point.

As good as a start as it was for the Pioneers, before you could blink your eye Indians star playmaker Alex Givins-Perry (AGP) returned the ensuing kickoff 76 yards and we had a 7-6 game just like that.

The Pioneers showed early that they weren’t about to back down. They stormed 78 yards and once again ate up the clock with a nine- play drive and took a 14-6 lead when Torres ran 30 yards into the end zone for his second score on the first play of the second quarter.

The Indians finally got the ball on offense and ran their first play from scrimmage in the second quarter. AGP broke through the line on the third play and barreled 55 yards before being caught from behind by Torres on the five-yard line with a touchdown saving tackle. Two plays later the Indians suffered a costly fumble on the three-yard line.

After going back and forth on the next few possessions, The Indians tied the game at 14 when AGP scored his second touchdown with 5 seconds left in the half on a five-yard run and added the two-point conversion on a pass from Ricky Spooner.  The drive was set up by a great defensive play by Anthony “The Bull” Cafarelli who sacked Santos for 21-yard loss forcing the Pioneers to punt and give the Indians excellent field position.
Anthony “The Bull” Cafarelli smothers Anthony Santos for a big sack which led to an Indians score(photo by SP)

The Indians fumbled a second time on the first play of the second half giving the Pioneers excellent field position on the 30-yard line. Four plays later Ariel De La Cruz barreled in from 8 yards out. Morales added the extra point and it was 21-14.

On their next possession, AGP was at it again sprinting 60 yards on a second down play for his third touchdown of the game. Matt Pepin added the extra point and the game was knotted up at 21.

The Indians defense led by the ferocious play of junior captain Neil Flanigan stopped the Pioneers, but a costly third Indians fumble gave them the ball back and on the first play from scrimmage Santos found Jordan Torres for a 21 yard touchdown pass play to give the Pioneers a 27-21 lead. No one was backing down in this game.

On the very next play from the line of scrimmage AGP did it again, this time going 72 yards for his fourth touchdown of the game. Pepin’s kick gave Bartlett a 28-27 lead as the third quarter ran out.

The Indians put together a strong drive eating up a good chunk of the clock but were stalled on fourth down on the Pioneers 25 yard line with just under five minutes left in the game.

Santos did an excellent job of guiding his team down the field all the way to the one yard line where he snuck in on a quarterback keeper to give his team a 33-28 led with 2:05 left.

The unthinkable happened on first down when the Indians fumbled for a fourth time surrendering the ball and the game.

It was a heartbreaking defeat for the Indians and one that led to a huge celebration for the Pioneers who made in six straight in the storied rivalry.

Bartlett coach Dane Laboissonniere was understandably disappointed about the loss and the team’s mishaps “Four turnovers versus none, you are not going to win many games when you give a team a plus four turnover differential.”

“We know he is a talented kid and he showed it out there today,” said Laboissonniere when asked about the play of rival quarterback Santos, who took the Offensive MVP award.

Flanigan, who was all over the field all morning for the Indians, was the clear-cut choice for defensive MVP. 
Neil Flanigan won the Defensive MVP award for his outstanding play(photo by SP)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving football previews and more

AGP looks for an opening against Northbridge (photo by SP)

Webster – Greetings sports fans! By the time most of you read this column, the high school sports season will be over for all the local teams and before you know it basketball and indoor track will be underway.

It was quite a high school football season for the local teams and both Shepherd Hill and Bartlett made it to their respective division finals.

Shepherd Hill appeared to be on their way to another Gillette stadium super bowl game before being derailed by an excellent Doherty team 32-28 at home in the Division 4 finals. Nevertheless the Rams had a great 8-2 season heading into their Thanksgiving showdown with the Tantasqua Warriors.

You know what you are going to get when you play the Rams but they throw it at you any way and it’s hard to stop. It all starts with their
huge offensive line led by junior Chris Lindstrom and from there on they had a lot of weapons at the skill positions.
Drew Jean-Guillaume has done a great job of managing the Rams offense this season(photo by LInda Flibbert)

Junior Drew Jean-Guillaume ran the Rams offense superbly all season in his first real shot at quarterback. He led the team with 12 rushing touchdowns and was also able to put the ball in the air when he had to mostly to tight end James McGuigan, who leads the team with 7 receptions.

With many key players returning next season, one player the Rams will really miss is senior Jake Gelb, who leads the team with 777 yards heading into the Tantasqua game.

Despite the results of the Tantasqua game that the Rams should win, they didn’t let anyone down this season losing to two excellent Central Mass teams in Doherty and Leominster and all is all had a fantastic and successful season.

Things are little different in Webster when it comes to the Thanksgiving game. The third longest rivalry in Central Mass is important to the town and therefore many of the school’s followers only care about one thing, beating Southbridge.

For a fourth year coach like Dane Laboissonniere, who didn’t grow up in Webster, getting to the playoffs was the teams biggest goal this season and when they made the playoffs and then knocked off Auburn and Southbridge back to back before losing in the finals to Northbridge, they really opened some eyes.

This years Indians were a unique team led by a combination of talented seniors and juniors. Two of those seniors Alex Givins-Perry and Ricky Spooner played well all season and helped set the tone along with a trio of outstanding juniors in Anthony “The Bull Cafarelli, Neil Flanigan, and James Patterson.

Givins-Perry (AGP) was second in Central Mass with an incredible 1524 yards rushing along with 18 touchdowns despite missing a game.

Spooner managed each and every game as well as a high school quarterback could and threw 7 touchdown passes and ran for 5 more touchdowns with an incredible 847 yards passing.

Patterson also some had great numbers for the Indians scoring a total of 11 touchdowns with 639 yards rushing and another 206 yards receiving.

However above all the numbers for the Indians is the pair of Cafarelli and Flanigan, two juniors that could both be playing college football in two years. They are both excellent two-way players with Cafarelli anchoring the offensive line and Flanigan the leader of the green defense.

Bartlett should have taken care of business and beat Southbridge on Thanksgiving, but regardless, they get should be rewarded for an outstanding season.

It wasn’t easy for the Oxford Pirates this season and no one said it would be. They lost a bunch of Sutton players before the season even started but were still able to get enough guys on the field to compete on a high level week after week.
Tyler Tremblay's numbers are very impressive

Quarterback Tyler Tremblay played superbly all season leading the team with 9 rushing touchdowns on 620 yards, while throwing another 13 touchdowns on an amazing 1412 yards passing. Numbers that put him in the top ten in Central Mass in several categories.

Fellow senior Liam Pickett also had an excellent season for the Pirates and his 1062 yards receiving were second in Central Mass heading into the Thanksgiving game versus Bay Path. He also scored 11 times.

Much like Bartlett, the Thanksgiving game was a big deal for the Pirates this season as they began a new chapter playing neighboring 6-4 Bay Path for the first time.

The Minutemen, led by all around star player Justin Sherman (9 touchdowns) and sophomore quarterback Tucker Hetherman (8 passing touchdowns), would make for an interesting match-up against the Pirates. 

Please follow View From The SWCL Sidelines on Facebook page at and check out the new View From The SWCL Sidelines blog here:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Preview to the Thanksgiving day preview

AGP and the Indians are eyeing a second win over Southbridge(photo by SP).

Webster – Bartlett high school’s Alex Givins-Perry's 1524 rushing yards is second only to Auburn's Mark Wright in Central Mass.  He’s also fifth in Central Mass with 18 touchdowns, 17 of those coming on runs. He has done all this in only 9 games missing his team’s 21-0 loss to Uxbridge.  

Simply put, the kid is having an incredible season, but he and has team know they still have some unfinished business to deal with.

Next Thursday, AGP and the Indians will be looking to beat the Southbridge Pioneers for the first time on Thanksgiving morning in 7 years.  This as their coach Dane Laboissonniere has publically stated is their “Super Bowl”.

Yes they did beat the Pioneers two weeks ago in a playoff game, but a win on Thanksgiving morning is a much bigger prize. It not only would mean a lot to the team and the school, but it will mean a lot for the town of Webster.

Stay tuned for a preview of the Bartlett-Southbridge game as well as games between Shepherd Hill and Tantasqua and the newest Thanksgiving Day meeting a clash between neighboring schools Oxford and Bay Path.