James Brumfield has emerged as a consistent running threat for the Spartans. (Item File Photo)
Sports

Road gets tougher for local playoff teams

The field of Super Bowl hopefuls got a little smaller last weekend, with Classical, Swampscott and St. John’s Prep knocked out of tournament contention. The road ahead gets more difficult for the remaining six North Shore teams looking to continue their postseason runs.

FRIDAY

Division 7 North Semifinals

No. 5 Gr. Lawrence at No. 1 St. Mary’s (5:30)

At Manning Field (5:30), last week, the Spartans did to Manchester Essex what they’ve done to pretty much every opponent this season: score early and often and play shut down defense. St. Mary’s sprinted out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead en route to a 44-0 win. The top-seeded Spartans (8-0) got contributions from up and down the roster last Friday, with Marlon Scott, James Brumfield, Calvin Johnson and George Freeman all finding the end zone in the win.

Greater Lawrence is one of the top teams in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, coming in at 5-3. The No. 5 Reggies had little trouble with No. 4 Georgetown last week, blowing out the Royals, 49-21.

Division 3 North Semifinals

No. 5 Billerica at No. 1 English (7:30)

At Manning Field (7:30), the Bulldogs put forth a dominant display last Saturday, shutting down No. 8 Winchester in a 36-0 win. Prince Brown stole the show for English with two touchdown receptions and a scoring run, but the entire English offense looks to be firing on all cylinders. Meanwhile, the defense bent but didn’t break last week, as the Sachems squandered two red zone opportunities.

No. 5 Billerica (5-3) snuck past No. 4 Arlington last week, 29-26. The Indians have been a force to be reckoned with on the road, with four of its five wins coming away from home.

Division 4 North Semifinals

No. 3 Wilmington at No. 2 Marblehead (7)

At Piper Field (7), the Marblehead defense has been stout all season long, but it really flexed its' muscle in last week’s 28-14 win over No. 7 Wakefield. The Magicians logged nine sacks and many of those came when the Warriors were threatening to cut into the Marblehead lead. Marblehead quarterback Andy Clough tallied three touchdowns -- two on the ground and one in the air -- in the victory.

Wilmington’s only loss this season came against Melrose, 27-13, in Week 4. The Wildcats blanked Gloucester, 30-0, in last Friday’s quarterfinal, and no team has held Wilmington to less than 20 points.

Division 5 North Semifinals

No. 5 Newburyport at No. 1 Lynnfield

At Pioneer Stadium, the Pioneers (7-1) rolled past No. 8 Bedford, 34-6, in their playoff opener Friday, and will take on a familiar opponent in fellow Cape Ann League team Newburyport. Lynnfield saw the Clippers in the season opener, and the Pioneers dominated in a 32-0 win.

Newburyport is riding high after blanking Weston, 28-0, in the quarterfinals. The Clippers have been inconsistent when it comes to generating offense; they’ve been shut out twice, and opponents have held Newburyport to 20 points or less in five of the team’s eight games.

Non-playoff games

Classical at Arlington

At Arlington (7), the No. 3 Rams will look to rebound after a frustrating offensive performance in the 21-7 loss to Danvers in the first round of the Division 3 North tournament.

Arlington earned the No. 4 seed in D3 North, but was knocked out by Billerica last Friday in a 29-26 loss.

KIPP at South Boston

At South Boston (7), KIPP comes off a bye week and looks for the program’s second win. The Panthers (1-6) have had a tough go lately, although they scored 28 points in a loss to Chelsea on Oct. 21.

Peabody at Haverhill

At Haverhill (7), the Tanners (4-4) are starting to hit their stride, rolling to a 30-0 win at home against Westford Academy last Friday. The Hillies, on the other hand, previously lost to Westford, 21-16, and lost six straight to open the season. Haverhill (2-6) is coming off a 21-0 victory over Malden.

Beverly at Revere

At Della Russo Stadium (6:30), both teams are pushing through down seasons and looking to finish the remainder of the schedule strong. Revere (1-7) is coming off a heart-breaking 21-20 loss to Burlington last Friday, while the Panthers (1-7) lost a defensive battle to Malden Catholic, 18-13.

Essex Tech at Fenwick

At Donaldson Stadium (7), the Crusaders have found a bit of a rhythm with Cory Bright back under center, cruising past Northeast, 42-12, last week. Essex Tech (1-7) earned its first win of the season last week, sneaking by Winthrop, 13-12.

St. John’s Prep at Lowell

At Cawley Stadium (7), the Eagles are trying to get back on track after being knocked out of the Division 1 North tournament last week by Everett. Lowell won its first four games of the season, but the Red Raiders have lost their last four.

Also playing Friday night are Malden Catholic at Westford Academy (7); Medford vs. Cambridge Rindge and Latin (7); and Winthrop at Mystic Valley (7).

SATURDAY

Division 8 North Semifinals

No. 5 New Mission at No. 1 Lynn Tech

At Manning Field (7), the top-seeded Tigers will look to stay unbeaten against a New Mission team that packs quite the offensive punch. New Mission (5-3) had no trouble in its first-round game, blowing past No. 4 Charlestown, 44-6.

Tech's offense has been firing on all cylinders all season long. Last Saturday, Tech ran into a brief challenge, falling behind, 8-0, in the first quarter to No. 8 Marian-Keefe. But the deficit didn't last long, as the Tigers turned up the heat and scored 43 unanswered points.

Division 3 North Semifinals

No. 6 Danvers at No. 2 Tewksbury (2:30)

At Tewksbury, Danvers (6-2) is coming off of a big win over Classical, and will look to shut down the Redmen (7-1), whose only blemish on the season was a 35-16 loss to North Andover.

Non-playoff games

Amesbury at Saugus

At Stackpole Field (1), the Sachems (2-6) have won two of their last three games, most recently a 35-21 win over Pentucket. Amesbury (1-7) won its first game of the season last week at Boston Latin.

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