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Top of the Tri-Valley League in Focus

Posted by Andrea Murphy on Nov 01 2004 at 04:00PM PST
By Ryan Canner-O'Mealy Metrowest News Sports Correspondent Vin Joseph hears it in the supermarket, at church and pretty much all over town. Wherever the Medfield coach goes, people want to talk about his Warriors. They want to talk about the impressive 33-21 win over defending league champion Westwood. Most of all, they want to talk about how the standings in the Tri-Valley League got flipped upside-down. "What surprises me is that the have-nots are suddenly the haves," Joseph said. "The TVL is made up of small towns and the focus most likely is on the kids and on athletics. "When you run into parents that's what they want to talk about and that rubs off on the kids." It's true. Just look at the standings and you'll see traditional league powers like Hopkinton and Bellingham struggling just to reach .500. And like football's version of "The Swan," teams like Medfield (7-1, 5-1 TVL) and Dover-Sherborn (7-1, 5-1 TVL) are near the top. Both teams, along with Westwood (7-1, 5-1 TVL), are chasing the league's lone unbeaten, Holliston, which is 7-1 overall, but 6-0 in the league. The Panthers have used an explosive offense to vault to the TVL penthouse, coming off a 40-6 win against Bellingham, following a 26-8 win over Medfield. This week, Holliston takes its high-powered act to Dover-Sherborn, where the Raiders need to win to keep their league title hopes alive. When D-S takes the field it will see a familiar face on the other sideline, as Holliston's defensive coordinator Dave DiGirolamo was the Raiders' head man last year. "Holliston controls its own destiny, if they win out, they go (to the playoffs), while the rest of us with one loss need to win out and maybe get some help," said D-S coach Steve Ryan, who ironically was a Medfield assistant last year. Expect to see some points when D-S and Holliston get together on Friday. The Raiders are coming off a 46-36 win over Hopkinton, a game that made the Colts-Chiefs matchup look like a defensive struggle. In that contest, the Raiders rushed for 294 yards, led by Alex Nagle's 109 yards and Pat Moriarty's three touchdowns. D-S has a powerful offensive line that has been punishing people all season and will need to do so again to beat the Panthers. Holliston is led by quarterback Tyler Parrino, who was 7-for-7 throwing against Bellingham, good for 162 yards and two touchdowns. The senior also ran one in. Meanwhile, Medfield, which was coming off the disappointing loss to Holliston, rebounded nicely, forcing five turnovers as it jumped out to a 33-0 lead over Westwood on Saturday. The Warriors host 4-4 Medway this week. All this means that Thanksgiving could be a pretty special time in TVL country, and not just because of cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Turkey Day matchups between Westwood and Holliston, as well as D-S and Medfield, mean that the league's champion won't be crowned until the final day -- and possibly not until after a series of complicated tie-breakers. But regardless of how it all shakes out, for now, Joseph is just happy to be in the mix. "We had a staff meeting today and I said to my staff, 'When's the last time we were still talking about this kind of stuff this late in the season?,"' Joseph said. "It's a terrific confidence booster for the kids and they feed off that. "Playing a high school sport is a lot of fun and when you add this in, it's double the fun." Good times are abundant in the TVL right now, especially for a few teams that haven't had much to cheer about in the past. "It's like with the Big 10 no longer being just Ohio State and Michigan," the Medfield coach said. "Every year someone else is challenging, whether it's Wisconsin, Purdue or Minnesota. "And I think that's a great thing for the league."

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