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November 8, 2013

Football Focus: Previewing Masconomet/Marblehead and Bishop Fenwick/Austin Prep playoff matchups

(Continued)

Statistical leaders: With Rufus Rushins (1,137 rushing yards, 18 TDs) sidelined for at least this week with an elbow injury, senior QB Nick Bona leads Bishop Fenwick in both rushing (505 yards, 8 TDs) and passing (1,019 yards, 13 TDs). Charlie Maistrellis will get the bulk of the carries while he, Eric Razney (21 catches, 398 yards, 5 TDs) and James Traversey (7-104-3) are Bona’s prime targets.

For Austin Prep, Jonathan Saurman ran for 147 yards in the playoff win over Whittier and has 10 rushing TDs on the season. Nicholas Mulcahy is also a threat with 13 scores on the ground this fall. QB Connor Duffy has 4 TD passes.

The Skinny: Bishop Fenwick pounded the Cougars at home a few weeks ago, 48-18. Look no further than Austin Prep’s playoff game last week for proof that this contest could be different.

AP beat Whittier in its season opener, 22-14, and turned that around with a convincing 36-point win in the rematch last week. Head coach Bill Maradei, with nearly 150 wins in 21 years at Austin Prep, is one of the most respected coaches in the state. If there’s anything to improve on from that first outing against Fenwick, he’s capable of finding it and teaching it to the Cougars.

For Fenwick, Bona was the key first time around as he threw for 168 yards and two TDs and ran for a game-high 86 yards and another score. It’s fair to wonder if the Cougar defense was keying on Rushins, something they won’t have to do tomorrow night, but if they overplay Bona, then Maistrellis could have a monster night.

The other facet is the Fenwick defense, which has been stout all year save the first half against Hamilton-Wenham and has flown under the radar because the Crusaders’ offense has been so exciting. If they stop the run the way they have most nights, the Black-and-Gold are in good shape.

The winner will face the winner of tomorrow morning’s Northeast Regional/Manchester Essex semifinal in the North sectional final next week.

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