The Shepherd Hill and Bay Path football teams played their playoff games last night depending on the amount of snow that was predicted for late yesterday.We are all hoping for victories from both teams despite their travel arrangements.
The MIAA did not secure Nichols College or Auburn High School as playoff sites for South County teams. Turf fields are a must for the playoffs and the only South County fields with turf are Auburn and Nichols College. The MIAA chose Grafton High School and Foley Stadium in Worcester as the closest sites for South County teams and neither Shepherd Hill or Bay Path got a ticket to Grafton as a destination. Instead, Lunenburg and Foley Stadium are on the South County GPS.
In Division six, number two seed Bay Path (10-1) was the home team in Lunenburg last night against number 3 seed Littleton. Kickoff was 5:15 pm. In Division two, number 3 seed Shepherd Hill (9-2) traveled to Foley Stadium in Worcester to play number two seed Doherty (9-2). Foley Stadium is Doherty’s home field. Kickoff was 7:45 pm. Doherty does not practice at Foley Stadium.
The Shepherd Hill situation is not as eye opening as the Bay Path scenerio. Auburn would have been the perfect venue for both games. The MIAA would have benefited at the gate for these two games. The crowds would have flocked to Auburn as the perfect neutral site. Bay Path should have had closer accommodations and a shorter bus ride for securing the number two seed and winning the Colonial Athletic League. By the way, Bay Path is the defending Super Bowl Champ of 2011. Littleton and Lunenburg are both in the North County and it is a 20 minute drive for the Littleton football team to get to Lunenburg. Bay Path has a 75-80 minute drive to Lunenburg. Getting there is not the problem. The return trip to Charlton is brutal in this type of weather after playing a football game. It is not a good feeling sitting on a bus after sweating in cold weather and the next few days are even worse for anyone who was on the bus ride home.
Does the MIAA consider the weather elements? Or being a defending Super Bowl champ? The kids from Bay Path deserved the option of a hot shower after the game.
The Shepherd Hill at Foley Stadium is half the drive and the Rams are the lower seed in this game. The Rams can avenge an earlier loss to Doherty. Both teams entered the playoff at 9-2.
While on the playoff subject for high school football, if you have a complaint about the format now, just wait until next year. I can’t wait until the bus from Mansfield or Wakefield pulls into Dudley and the referees from Springfield show up next year on week eight for a playoff game. It’s an athletic director’s nightmare. Then on week nine, if Shepherd Hill wins, the local Rams now travel to Beverly for a 7 p.m. kickoff. You can bet that the Shepherd Hill fans won’t be happy with that trip. By the way, that’s a Division 4 game.
Congratulations to Steve Zablocki of Dudley, Larry Krajcik of Southbridge, and Paul Lamontagne of Dudley, for beating yours truly in "Beat Pete’s" Thanksgiving Day contest. Zablocki and Lamontagne were perfect as they picked all ten winning teams. Krajcik picked 9 winners, the same as Peter Coyle, but Krajcik’s tiebreaker of 56 points in the Patriots game was better than Coyle’s 53 points. Other notable contestants who picked 9 winners, but fell short on the tiebreaker were Wally Bradley, Gregory Bellavance, and Tony Paranto all of Webster, and Richard Lavallee of Dudley. Zablocki who won outright and made the pick of the day in going with Southbridge deserves credit for that pick and also the Clinton pick which a lot of contestants picked Maynard to beat Clinton. Zablocki, Krajcik, and Lamontagne have earned the area’s respect as top handicappers.
The 2012 schoolboy football season was a great one. The players and the coaching staffs deserve a standing "O" for their dedication and inspiration that they showed throughout the season. Let’s credit all the fall athletes for their committment to their respective sports. May all of them reach their goals. Young athletes with heart and desire are the best example for all of us. Now it is on to a new season.Good Luck to all the winter athletes during tryout week.
Last week: 9-1, 2012 Season: 52-11.