North: Five games to watch

St John's Prep defeated Bridgewater-Raynham in October.
George Rizer for The Boston Globe
St John's Prep defeated Bridgewater-Raynham in October.

St. John’s Prep (8-1) at Xaverian (4-6), 10:15 a.m.

Once again, a battle for the Catholic Conference title. Can Prep’s one-two backfield punch of Johnathan Thomas and Alex Moore carve up a Hawk defense boasting 6-foot-2, 285-pound University of Michigan recruit Maurice Hurst and 6-2, 305-pound Ray Gobbi? Xaverian has won its last three games after a 1-6 start. Prep has not lost since Week 3 against Everett.

Central Catholic (9-1) at Andover (9-1), 10:30 a.m.

Central captures the Merrimack Valley Division 1 title with a win. An Andover victory, however, creates a three-way logjam with the Red Raiders and Lowell, resulting in the Warriors likely emerging with the playoff berth based on a point system.

North Reading (8-1) at Lynnfield (7-2), 10:30 a.m.

With both teams 4-0 in the Cape Ann/Northeastern Division 4, this matchup has never carried so much weight. Will the visiting Hornets ride senior back Carl Lipani to their conference title and a postseason berth? The hosts have a stout defense yielding just 9.7 points per game.

Newburyport (6-4) at Amesbury (8-2), 10 a.m.


With one conference loss, the visiting Clippers must corral senior quarterback Matt Talbot (15 TDs passing, 10 TDs rushing) and Amesbury (4-0 in Cape Ann/Northeastern Division 3) to earn another ticket to the Division 3A playoffs. The Indians are averaging a league-high 30.4 points per game; Newburyport is yielding a league-low 12.7.

Westford (7-3) at Acton-Boxborough (7-3), 10 a.m.

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Lincoln-Sudbury has clinched the Dual County Large, so there is no playoff spot on the line, but this clash has promise. QB Troy Faretra and wide receiver Justin Mount are a prolific pass ’n catch connection for the Grey Ghosts. Junior backs William Tejada (17 TDs) and Thomas Saponaro (5 TDs), along with senior Billy Jackman (6 TDs), form a three-headed running threat for A-B.

Anthony Gulizia can be reached at