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Sizzle is Back in Football Rivalry

Posted by Andrea Murphy at Nov 17, 2004 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )
By Sean Jacquet/ Sports Correspondent Thursday, November 18, 2004 Far faster than even the most educated of sports writers could have imagined, Holliston football coach Todd Kiley has guided his alma mater to the top of the Tri-Valley League heading into the Panthers' annual Turkey Day grudge match with rival Westwood. Throughout the '90s, this contest has lacked the spice and sizzle it had in its '80s heyday when the winner invariably went on to play in a Super Bowl. But the rivalry had been anything but close since 1991, with Westwood winning every game except the 2000 battle, in which, ironically, the Panthers rode a stellar effort from 1,100-yard rusher and current Holliston assistant Brian Martinelli to its lone victory in over a decade. But the sizzle is back. The decade-long absence is over as the Panthers come in at 9-1 (8-0 TVL), and have won eight in a row since a heartbreaking 27-24 loss to Wayland in Week 2. The Wolverines are 7-2 (6-1 TVL) and can muddy the title picture with a victory prior to the Thanksgiving Day tryptophan intake. And while the Wolverines are fresh off a Super Bowl title last year, and were the favorite to represent the TVL again this year, the Panthers have arrived well ahead of schedule. After a 1-10 season in 2002, Kiley was hired in hopes he would "restore the tradition." Even after a surprising 5-6 in his rookie campaign, there were few who expected them to be in a position to reveres their 2002 record while exorcising the Westwood hex and earning a trip to the playoffs. "The attitude and the commitment has changed," says junior wideout Chris Valiant. "When coach Kiley came, he got us all in the weight room, and he got us motivated. He definitely put us back in the winning mode." And for Valiant and crew to nail down their postseason trip, they'll have to continue the "winning mode." However, the Wolverines present a number of challenges. Playing without tailback Amadeus Guererro, the Wolverines managed very little on the ground last year, but quarterback Jeff White threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns in Westwood's 13-7 victory. Wideout Chris Laham had 120 yards receiving. Joe Fabiano split time in the backfield and at the slot. This year, Laham, Fabiano and White are back and Guererro is healthy, making the Wolverines' offense as dangerous as any the Panthers have faced all year. "We know they have a big play offense," says Kiley. "We know we need to shut down their big play and contain White, Guererro, Laham and Fabiano. If we execute and do what we're supposed to, they'll have a tough time beating us." Execution was a bit of a problem last Thanksgiving as the Panthers threw four interceptions, including one on a halfback pass. But the defense prevented any points off turnovers, keeping the game close until the Wolverines picked off a pass with a minute to play. Still, if last year's near miss isn't sufficient motivation, Holliston has 13 years of frustration to draw upon. "There's a little bit of motivation to get back at Westwood," says Valiant. "But we're mostly playing for a chance to go to the playoffs. I'd say it's about 50-50. We're definitely excited to play them," says Valiant. "We know what's at stake. We know we're in a position for the league title." And the Panthers have the tools to make it happen. Behind quarterback Tyler Parrino, Holliston has topped 24 points in all 10 games, while surpassing 30 points in eight encounters. Valiant has caught eight touchdown passes and has four interceptions. Tri-captain Mike Shilalie mans the slot. Jon Neal can catch and block as a tight end. Junior Dave Menapace is the feature back, running behind TVL all-star fullback and classmate Zach Rodgers. And while the players have improved dramatically, the significance of coaching in this turnaround season can't be understated. In addition to Martinelli, Kiley has a host of dedicated assistants, who are all willing to burn the midnight oil. "I couldn't ask for a better group of assistants," says Kiley. "The hours they put in watching film and preparing is just incredible. We're all working hard toward one goal." That goal, of course is a TVL title and a playoff berth. Kiley knows anything less will be considered a disappointment. "Last year we were happy to compete," says Kiley. "We were always right there and we had a shot at the end. This year, you can see it. We're not content, and that's a good thing. We've already clinched a share of the league title, but we're not satisfied. We want to be remembered as the first Holliston team to win the TVL and go to the playoffs in 13 years. We want to finish what we started."
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Before the Game Dinners

Posted by Andrea Murphy at Nov 14, 2004 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )
BIG THANK YOU'S to those who have hosted before the game dinners! Game 1 The Parrino's, Game 2 (No game dinner due to the holiday), Game 3 The Ghiloni's, Game 4 The Menapace's, Game 5 The Ever's, Game 6 The Love's/Stout's, Game 7 The Harrington's & Mrs. Costello, Game 8 The Petercuskie's, Game 9 The Esposito's, Game 10 The Vaillant's. Good food and a good time!
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Tri-Valley League Football

Posted by Andrea Murphy at Nov 12, 2004 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )
Metrowest Daily News Holliston 25 Millis 12 MILLIS -- Holliston scored on offense, defense and special teams to post a Tri-Valley League win at Millis. The victory means the Panthers can win the league title outright with a victory on Thanksgiving against visiting Westwood. Mike Shilalie got Holliston (9-1, 8-0 TVL) off to a quick start as he returned a kick 82 yards for a score, then added the PAT himself for a 7-0 lead. Millis (0-10, 0-8 TVL) answered with a 1-yard run by Will Castroff, but failed on the conversion to trail 7-6. Holliston then exploded for 18 points in the second quarter. Zack Rogers scampered in from 26 yards out and Matt Casserly hauled in a 42-yard TD strike from Tyler Parrino. Chris Vaillant and Rogers each ran for two-point conversions and the defense added two more points on a safety when Millis snapped the ball out of the end zone on a punt attempt. Castroff closed out the scoring with his second 1-yard TD run of the night in the fourth quarter. Holliston's defensive effort was keyed by three interceptions, with Vaillant, Casserly and Mark Petercuskie each hauling in a pick.
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Holliston 25 Millis 12

Posted by Andrea Murphy at Nov 12, 2004 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )
Boston Globe HOLLISTON 25, MILLIS 12 Friday, Nov. 12, at Millis 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final Holliston (9-1) 7 18 0 0 25 Millis (0-9) 6 0 0 6 12 H -- Mike Shilalie 82 kickoff ret. (Shilalie kick) M -- Will Casther 1 run (kick failed) H -- Zach Rogers 26 run (Chris Valliant rush) H -- Matt Casserley 42 pass from Tyler Parrino (Rogers rush) H -- Safety M -- Casther 1 run (pass failed)
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Tasty Appetizers on the Football Menu

Posted by Andrea Murphy at Nov 11, 2004 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )
by T.D. Pointer Metrowest Daily News Holliston looks to keep its perfect Tri-Valley League mark intact when it travels to Millis. Tyler Parrino is T.D.'s pick for league MVP. Right now, the only team that can beat the Panthers are the Panthers. They are going to be primed for a Thanksgiving Day showdown with Westwood. Tonight, T.D. doesn't see an undermanned Mohawk squad able to stop Holliston's momentum. Pick: Holliston . In other league action, Medway gets past Bellingham and Westwood beats Ashland.