With only one regular season game remaining for our North Shore football teams, three schools have already punched their postseason tickets.
Another school, St. John’s Prep, would like to join that aforementioned trio — Masconomet, Beverly and North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie — and be included in the playoff picture. To do that, the Eagles will have to go on the road to Westwood and defeat their rivals from Xaverian on Thanksgiving morning.
Let’s take a quick look at the playoff scenarios for all four schools:
A near-perfect regular season at St. John’s Prep can result in a postseason tournament spot with a win on the holiday. The Eagles (8-1) overall carry a perfect 3-0 mark into Catholic Conference play into their clash with the Hawks, who are also 3-0 within the league.
Record-wise, it hasn’t been nearly as successful a season for Xaverian, which is just 4-6 overall. After defeating league rival Malden Catholic in their season opener, the Hawks lost an unheard-of six straight games, including a 62-0 road thrashing at powerful St. Joseph’s of New Jersey. They also lost by two points to Andover, four points to Duxbury, five points to Bridgewater-Raynham and eight points to Brockton.
But they’ve righted the ship over the last three weeks, including key conference wins over BC High (21-17) and Catholic Memorial (17-7). Now, an upset victory over St. John’s Prep in just the Hawks’ fourth home game of the season will punch their postseason ticket.
Who will face the winner of St. John’s Prep and Xaverian is still a mystery; three teams from the Merrimack Valley Division 1 are still in contention for the league’s playoff spot heading into their holiday games.
Central Catholic (9-1) appears to have the insight edge. As the only squad that is unbeaten (3-0) in league play, the Raiders need only a win over Andover to advance to the playoffs. Central’s lone loss this season came when it was hammered in Week 2 against — wait for it — St. John’s Prep (31-7).