First place in the Catholic Conference and its automatic qualifying bid to the postseason are on the line Friday night as No. 9 BC High hosts No. 4 Xaverian at 7 p.m.
The Eagles (4-2, 2-0) have shaken off a 1-2 start to reel off three straight wins, thanks to a suffocating defense that’s allowed just 7 points over that stretch. BC High allowed a combined 50 points in its first three contests.
“Everybody understands what each other’s job is and understanding you’ve got to trust each other, and play as one unit, and understand not one person can do the whole thing,” BC High coach Joe Gaff said of the change in the defense’s performance. “It’s just gotta be a whole unit flying to the ball and that seems to be working the last few weeks.”
Meanwhile, the Hawks (5-1, 2-0) come in winners of three straight as well, outscoring their opponents, 92-15.
Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson, who missed last week’s win over Malden Catholic with a health issue that forced him to be hospitalized, said there is no update on whether he will be at Friday’s game, saying it’s a “day-by-day recovery process.”
Assistant coach Al Fornaro filled in for Stevenson last week.
The Hawks boast a strong defense as well (8.5 points allowed per game) led by junior defensive end Joe Gaziano.
“I would say that our defense has always been what we have rested our hat on this year,” Stevenson said, “and this Friday night we will be resting our hat on our defensive play again.”
The Catholic Conference won’t decide its league champion until Thanksgiving Day, when Xaverian travels to No. 10 St. John’s Prep and BC High visits Catholic Memorial.
Currently, the Hawks and Eagles are tied for first, with the Prep (4-3, 2-1) trailing by a game.
But, with the new playoff system, the second-place team will likely still advance to the postseason, a situation playing out in conferences across the state.
If Xaverian wins Friday, BC High and St. John’s Prep will be tied for second with 2-1 marks in league play, but the Eagles own the tiebreaker after defeating the Prep last week, 13-7.
If BC High wins, Xaverian and St. John’s Prep will be tied for second. Since the teams haven’t played this season, the Catholic Conference will break the tie with its own power-rating system, which is similar to the one used by the rest of the state.
Stevenson, who has been in favor of the new playoff system all season, said the MIAA’s system has exceeded their goals, as it has created similar parity to playoff systems in other sports in the state.
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The Bay State Herget title is on the line Friday as No. 2 Natick travels to No. 20 Walpole at 7 p.m. . . . No. 18 Acton-Boxborough visits Waltham Friday at 7 with the winner claiming the Dual County Large crown . . . The Greater Boston title is up for grabs Saturday when Malden hosts No. 1 Everett at 1 p.m. . . . No. 16 Needham welcomes Weymouth Friday with the Bay State Carey title on the line . . . The Danvers at Winthrop game has been changed to Saturday at 6 p.m.