Thursday Night Lights

Well, so much for my theory of the home teams winning tonight. The road dogs all came up winners as Westboro turned back a last-minute two-point conversion to beat Shrewsbury, 14-12. Hudson thumped Assabet, 27-6, and Milford was throttled by Franklin, 32-9.

My picks? 0-3. Ouch.

If this keeps up, I’m going to have to start running HSFB Injury Reports each week. An error in my picks had Assabet hanging it on Hudsonby two TDs, not the 24-21 win I predicted in an e-mail. My friends know I never pick two-TD winners because I don’t want to end up on a locker room wall with the coach calling me out in front of the kids to get them all fired up. I’ve been holding the microphone too many times after an upset win after my predecessors were picking blowouts and getting the “Nobody believed in us” talk from the kids to want to go through that again.

In any event, the Hudson/Assabet tilt proved two things: 1. Assabet REALLY needs their running backs back. Alan Alvarez got banged up last week against Maynard and may have reinjured himself tonight and was forced to leave the game. Nick Johnson missed his second game as well and the Aztec offense suffered because of it.

And 2. Hudson is much, much better than we thought. The Hawks are going to be a team to watch this year and should be in the mix with the rest of the league for a playoff berth. They blew up a very good defense – injuries and all – for250 rushing yards. Karl Sery led the way with 12 carries for 101 yards and a score.

Most importantly? No turnovers for Hudson. The Hawks turned it over twice last year and it led to Assabet coming back and getting the win.

“We needed to take care of the ball,” Hudson coach Dan McAnespie said. “If we can hold onto the ball … if we have to punt and play good defense, so be it. That was our M.O. last year, we just constantly turned the ball over.”

Dana Barry also keeps making strides at QB, giving the Hawks a nice option since last year’s QB is now at Maynard. Barry found Wes Pellerin for a 19-yard gain to set up Sery’s score. Sophomore Jake Wardwell added a 9-yard touchdown to make it 13-0.

Meanwhile over in Shrewsbury the Colonials weren’t dog-bitten like last week, but they were snake bitten, as Shrewsbury’s turnovers led to a Westboro victory that showed that the Rangers, too, will compete this year.

I wish I had the ability to go back and change things, because when I settled into the office tonight I told a colleague that I could see Westboro as the “upset special” tonight. I like the Rangers, and as I have pointed out many times Westboro is ALWAYS a better team than their record indicates.

The Rangers forced three turnovers to get the win, and Nick Mastrogiacomo and Sam Silverman combined to stuff Nate Theodoss on a two-point conversion attempt to get the win.

Theodoss found the returning Paul Panarelli for a 35-yard score with just over a minute to play for a 35-yard score.

“That was a very scary moment,” said Westboro coach Mark Ellis. “Theodoss goes for the corner and there’s not too many people that are going to stop him and we had two, one on his legs (Nick Mastrogiacomo) and one hit him high (Sam Silverman), and thank goodness they bent him back a little bit. That was a very good run by him.”

“That was a great effort by Nathan. It just wasn’t meant to be,” Shrewsbury coach Terry Walles said. “Again we made way too many mistakes.”

Westboro took the lead in the fourth after a Shrewsbury muffed a punt return, setting the Rangers up at the 20. Kyle Bancroft scored a moment later to make it 14-6.

“I had my fullback ahead of me right down the chute, right through the gap,” Bancroft said, “and I’m just following him and praying I can get around. I had the guard and tackle blocking for me and I just made it around the corner. It’s a good feeling.”

The Rangers scored their first TD after another muffed punt by Shrewsbury in the first quarter. That gave Westboro the ball back and continued what would be a 27-play scoring drive that was capped with an Eric Thomas 1-yard score.

Now Shrewsbury has lost two in a row and is in a tailspin. The Colonials also had RB Hunter Beckmann leave the game, leaving the ball in Adrian Harters’ hands. With the schedule they play, Shrewsbury is going to need to get better – and fast – or it will be a long, long season.

Over in Milford, the Scarlet Hawks got it handed to them, falling, 32-9, to Franklin – who it turns out I know NOTHING about.  Franklin handled business last night, allowing just 43 yards and a score to Milford RB Elias Giokas.

So I’m hoping to have a much better weekend as I try not to surpass the dreaded 10-loss plateau in my picks.

Some great football options for the weekend. My dream trip? Take in Southbridge and North at 4 p.m. at Foley Stadium, then zip over to Grafton and watch the Indians host the Rockets. Or if you want to see a good rivalry game, Nashoba at Clinton. Or stay at Foley and take in Leominster/Doherty and see if the Highlanders can rebound from a thumping last week against Wachusett.

On Saturday you can get to St. Peter-Marian at 1 p.m. and see the Guardians host Wachusett, or take a trip to Mendon and see David Prouty/Nipmuc. At 7 p.m., watch Marlboro take on Algonquin in Northboro.

Just rest up for the  big one at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Pack a dinner and make the trek out to Longmeadow to watch a sure classic, as St. John’s takes on the Lancers. That should be a good one.

I should be a trip planner. At least I do that better than pick games, apparently.

I’ll be back Friday night to recap all the action. Also, keep an eye on http://www.telegram.com as we’re going to be updating the home page again as the night goes on. When the coaches and our reporters check in with a game result, we’re putting it online immediately so you can follow along at home. It was a big success last week, so we’ll bring it back.

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