League play begins in earnest in Week 4 with several undefeated teams going head-to-head in conference battles. A few matchups Friday night will play a huge factor in determining eventual league champions of the Bay State Herget, Catholic Central, Merrimack Valley, Middlesex Freedom, Hockomock Kelley-Rex, Northeastern North, and South Shore Sullivan divisions.
A pair of veteran coaches are gunning for their 200th career win. Bob Almeida is 74-37 over 11 seasons at Stoneham and 199-106-1 when adding in his 12-year-run at Wilmington. His Spartans travel to Wakefield for a Middlesex League showdown at 6 p.m. Friday. Shawsheen Tech athletic director/coach Al Costabile, recently inducted into the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, holds a career record of 199-127 over 30 seasons at Bishop Fenwick and Shawsheen. His Rams travel to Greater Lawrence for a Commonwealth Athletic Conference tilt at 6 p.m. Friday.
Week 4 Primer
Peabody at Marblehead: The Magicians (3-0) found motivation in the Globe picking North Andover to snap their state-high 23-game winning streak, so we’ll double down to give them some extra juice. The Tanners (3-0) come in averaging 38.7 ppg. with junior quarterback Shea Lynch lighting it up. Pick: PEABODY.
Walpole at Milton: After blanking Natick and surviving a 27-23 thriller at Wellesley on Saturday, Walpole gets ready for a third straight test within the Bay State Conference. Both teams come into their first Herget Division matchup at 3-0. Pick: MILTON.
Central Catholic at Andover: It’s been 10 years since Andover was able to get past the titans of the Merrimack Valley. The Golden Warriors (3-0) have the tools to keep pace with the Raiders (2-1) in this matchup with Scotty Brown and Shea Lynch leading their offense. Pick: CENTRAL CATHOLIC.
Stoneham at Wakefield: Spartans coach Bob Almeida has shuffled his offensive line to keep his double wing attack rolling despite key graduation departures. The veteran coach is going for his 200th career win and a key opening win in Middlesex Freedom action. Pick: STONEHAM.
Bishop Fenwick at St. Mary’s: David Brown Jr. and Derick Coulanges form a two-headed monster in the backfield for St. Mary’s (3-0), which managed to hold off Fenwick (3-0) last fall in a 21-19 thriller. Pick: ST. MARY’S.
Franklin at North Attleborough: Coming off their first Hockomock Kelley-Rex title since 2009, the Panthers (2-1) will look to stop the Rocketeers (2-0) and bounce back from last Friday’s nonleague loss to Duxbury. Pick: FRANKLIN.
Plymouth South at Hanover: Junior Casious Johnson looks to keep carrying the Panthers (3-0) after missing much of last season with a foot injury. But Hanover (2-1) has flexed its muscles with 93 points over its last two wins. Pick: HANOVER.
Hull at Randolph: It’s a rematch of the Division 8 Super Bowl with the Pirates (3-0) in position to exact some revenge on the Blue Devils (1-2). Pick: HULL.
St. Sebastian’s at Nobles: Sophomore quarterback Ty Ciongoli threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns in his debut last Saturday and he’ll try to repeat the feat against a Nobles team that is replete with speed in the secondary and at the skill positions. Pick: ST. SEBASTIAN’S.
Thayer at BB&N: Thayer’s five-star lineman, Samson Okunlola, paved the road in a 34-7 opening win at St. Mark’s. Now he’ll try to lead the way against a BB&N squad that is strong in the trenches. Pick: BB&N.