Eleven of the dozen high school football teams under the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association umbrella covered by The Salem News have qualified for the state playoffs, which begin this weekend with sectional round quarterfinal play.

Here's a quick look at each of those 11 squads and the matchups they have, listed numerically listed by division:

ST. JOHN'S PREP EAGLES (2nd seed, 6-1)

Opponent: Haverhill (7th seed, 4-3)

Section: Division 1 North

Past history: The Eagles beat Haverhill, 43-14, on opening day and have defeated the Hillies for three straight seasons.

Difference maker: James Taylor, Sr. DT. Massive, athletic edge rusher causes all kinds of mayhem for opponents who try to penetrate the Prep defense. 

Player to watch for Haverhill: Running back David Carreiro paces Haverhill with 505 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.

Did you know?: The Eagles have dominated teams in the first half of games this season, outscoring them by an aggregate score of 161-48.

PEABODY TANNERS (6th seed, 3-4)

Opponent: Reading (2nd seed, 6-1)

Section: Division 2 North

Past history: Have never met

Difference makerColby Therrien, Jr. QB. When Therrien's under center he's always a threat to score, has his 5 TDs on just 21 carries attest to.

Player to watch for Reading: Senior linebacker Pat Conroy leads the Rockets with 43 tackles to go along with a forced fumble and interception. 

Did you know?: Peabody has won all three of its first round playoff games under head coach Mark Bettencourt, beating Lexington in 2014 (42-38), Malden in 2015 (34-19) and Westford Academy (35-19) in 2016.


Opponent: Lincoln-Sudbury (No. 2 seed, 6-1)

Section: Division 2 North

Past history: L-S bested Masconomet, 52-21, in last year's sectional semifinals. The two squads have split four all-time meetings.

Difference maker: Jay Theriault, Sr. RB. Explosive, physically strong runner who averages 7.5 yards a carry and has scored eight times.

Player to watch for L-S: Mike Ciaffoni, a 6-3, 270-pound defensive tackle, has schools such as Boston College, Maryland and Rutgers courting him.

Did you know?: Theriault has a great percentage of his team's total rushing yardage (752 of 1,040 yards) than any other North Shore player.

DANVERS FALCONS (3rd seed, 5-2)

Opponent: Belmont (No. 6 seed, 3-4)

Section: Division 3 North

Past history: Have never met

Difference makerMatt McCarthy, Sr. RB. Do-it-all Falcons' standout leads team in rushing (807 yards), receiving (19 catches, 320 yards) and touchdowns (15).

Player to watch for Belmont: Captain Kilian O'Connell is dangerous both as a running back and linebacker and rarely, if ever, leaves the field.

Did you know?: The Falcons have not surrendered a single point in the first quarter of games this season.

BEVERLY PANTHERS (5th seed, 4-3)

Opponent: Winchester (4th seed, 4-3)

Section: Division 3 North

Past history: Have never met

Difference makerDuncan Moreland, Jr. WR. The freakishly athletic Moreland sets himself apart with his speed, vision and especially leaping ability on pass plays.

Player to watch for Winchester: Defensive end and offensive tackle Joe Lepore can be a handful for foes to handle with his footwork, strength and speed.

Did you know?: True to their spread-the-wealth mentality, no Panther has carried the ball more than 20 times in a game, nor has any receiver caught more than six passes in one contest.


Opponent: Dracut (No. 8, 

Section: Division 4 North

Past history: Have never met

Difference maker: Chris Gally, Sr. QB. Field general can throw (806 yards, 9 TDs), run (453 yards, 8 TDs) and never seems to lose his cool under center.

Player to watch for Dracut: Cerebral middle linebacker and running back Allyn French is a two-year captain and a four-year varsity member.

Did you know?: Marblehead has surrendered just 19 first half points all season, with nary a point scored against them in the second quarter.

SWAMPSCOTT BIG BLUE (1st seed, 6-1)

Opponent: Triton (No. 8 seed, 0-7)

Section: Division 5 North

Past history: The Big Blue hammered Triton, 49-0, back in Week 2. Swampscott leads the all-time series, 5-4.

Difference maker: Graham Inzana, Jr. QB. First-year starter has put up monster numbers (94-for-156, 1,599 yards, 17 TDs, 3 INT) while adroitly running the Big Blue's spread attack. 

Player to watch for Triton: Dylan Shute, a senior wideout and defensive back, is one of just four starters back for the Vikings.

Did you know?: Both Jonathan Oriakhi (30 catches, 538 yards) and Andrew Augustin (27 receptions, 514 yards) have snared seven touchdown passes this fall for Swampscott.


Opponent: Austin Prep (7th seed, 4-3)

Section: Division 6 North

Past history: Have never met

Difference makerBilly Whelan, Sr. QB. The man at the controls of the Generals' offense is a three-year starter with plenty of playoff experience who knows how to deliver in the clutch.

Player to watch for Austin Prep: Kyle Barry is a 6-foot-2 tight end who is as strong catching the football as he is blocking for one of his running backs.

Did you know?: The Generals' Thomas Monahan has both a touchdown and safety to his credit this fall, one off a blocked punt and the other a fumble recovery in the end zone. 


Opponent: Greater Lowell (5th seed, 6-1) 

Section: Division 6 North

Past history: Have never net

Difference makerCory Bright, Sr. QB. On a team loaded with offensive weapons, Bright can raise everyone's game to a higher level — as last week's 386 yards passing and 5 TD passes attest to.

Player to watch for Greater Lowell: Jake Noel, the Gryphons' quarterback, is similar to Bright in that he beats teams by throwing TDs and running for them.

Did you know?: Since the state's current playoff format was introduced in 2013, the Crusaders have the best overall record (13-4) of any local team.

IPSWICH TIGERS (6th seed, 6-1)

Opponent: Northeast Regional (3rd seed, 5-2)

Section: Division 6 North

Past history: Have never met

Difference makerCole Terry, Soph. RB. In his first season on the varsity, Terry has been moving the chains all season (586 yards, 5 TDs) and has both the speed to get outside and strength to break out of tackles.

Player to watch for Northeast Regional: Zach Sanderson carries the ball early and often out of the backfield and has a nose for the end zone.

Did you know?: Ipswich has had two different runners score on TD runs of 80 yards or more this season, with Chase Huntley scoring from 93 yards out against Triton last month and Isaiah Morrissey taking a reverse 80 yards to the house last weekend vs. Georgetown.

ESSEX TECH HAWKS (8th seed, 4-3)

Opponent: Stoneham (No. 1 seed, 7-0)

Section: Division 6 North

Past history: Have never met

Difference makerManny Alves, Sr. RB. The cog that generates the most pop in the Hawks' engine, Alves has run for 783 yards and 7 TDs and thrives on being the team's featured back.

Player to watch for Stoneham: Christos Argyropoulos is a two-way terror for the defending sectional champs who can score TDs on the ground in bunches while also wrapping up ballcarriers from his role at outside linebacker.

Did you know?: While the Hawks' don't throw often — nearly 84 percent of their offensive plays are runs — quarterback Vinny Brazzo has hooked up with receiver Ben Condon for five touchdown passes, including scores of 55 and 51 yards.