School football advance

Self help at King Philip

By Ryan Mooney
Globe Correspondent / October 14, 2011

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How is King Philip coach Brian Lee preparing his players for tonight’s Hockomock League game against North Attleboro? By not focusing too much on the undefeated Red Rocketeers.

“We really stress to ourselves that it’s always about us,’’ Lee said. “If you play well, then you’ve got a shot. If you don’t play well, you can’t compete in the [Hockomock], so you try to make it more about your own team than you do about the other team and take care of your business.’’

The Warriors (4-1, 0-1 in the league) have taken care of business on offense, averaging 34.4 points per game, and standout tailback Charles Ruffin, who sat out last Thursday with an undisclosed injury, is back in the lineup. Ruffin has 11 touchdowns, which is second in Division 2.

The Red Rocketeers (5-0, 1-0) have the stingiest defense in the league, allowing 8.2 points per game, but they have put up only 36 points combined in their last three games. Despite the disparity offensively, there is a reason North Attleboro has yet to lose.

“That offense is on the field a lot,’’ Lee said. “Even if they’re not scoring points, they’re driving the ball down, and putting it down inside the red zone, making you have to start all the way back, and they play great defense.’’

Possession, minimizing mistakes, and maximizing drives are keys to staying with North Attleboro.

“In our first couple of games, our opponents have maybe 10 penalties, and we have like 20,’’ Lee said. “So we have to clean up our mistakes, take care of the ball like we’ve been doing, and play team defense.’’

There are only two Top-20 games this weekend, starting tonight when No. 7 Andover visits No. 12 Chelmsford in a Merrimack Valley showdown. Both teams are coming off blowout victories last Thursday. Running back Eddie Sheridan leads Division 1 in scoring with 12 touchdowns and the Lions (4-1) average 38.4 points per game. The Golden Warriors (4-1) counter with a balanced attack, led by quarterback C.J. Scarpa (11 touchdown passes) and standout running back Andrew Coke.

Top-ranked Everett (5-0) hosts No. 4 Xaverian (4-1) tomorrow. Crimson Tide quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso will face a stifling Hawks defense that has allowed only 8.6 points per game but showed chinks in their armor, giving up 31 points to No. 2 Duxbury in last Saturday’s loss.

Westwood hosts Millis tonight in a matchup of unbeaten Tri-Valley schools. The Mohawks (5-0) are playing their fourth of six straight on the road. Westwood (5-0) returns home after a 28-7 victory at Medfield last Thursday.

Catholic Central League foes Arlington Catholic (4-0) and St. Mary’s (5-0) meet tomorrow night in Lynn. Spartans running back Todd Collier rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns on only four carries against North Shore last Saturday. With a bye last week, the Cougars have not played since Sept. 30.

Two games to keep an eye: Abington (4-1) at Mashpee (5-0) tonight in the South Shore League, and Dennis-Yarmouth (5-0) at Marshfield (3-2) in the Atlantic Coast League.

In an interesting matchup of NEPSAC vs. MIAA, North Andover hosts Phillips Andover tonight. The MIAA has no rules against playing NEPSAC schools as long as the game is played under MIAA rules. The game will be played at the Atkinson Elementary School in North Andover.

Melquawn Pinkney leads his Putnam team against Springfield Cathedral tomorrow night. The senior has run for 421, 262, and 352 yards in his last three games.

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