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WEEK 9 | HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

Undermanned Watertown gets the job done

Jim Venable

Exit was busy this week on The Bus, showing the door to four previously unbeaten teams: St. John Paul II, BC High, Lexington and Natick.

By Henry Brechter Globe Correspondent 

With only 27 players in uniform, the Watertown Raiders (5-4) have scored back-to-back playoff wins over Swampscott and Somerville to earn the right to compete for the Division 5 North sectional championship against host Lynnfield (8-1) on Friday night.

“We’ve been playing this brand of football all year, despite the numbers,” said coach John Cacace. “We’ve had some injuries, some guys go down . . . [We] scored the game-winning touchdown [over Somerville] with 12 seconds left, and I’m yelling, ‘Extra point team! Get out there!’ . . . I don’t think any of the 11 players that were already out there left the field.”

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Faced with one of his smallest rosters, Cacace has had players multitask.

Elizabeth Allen for the Globe

Watertown coach John Cacace gives a last-minute tip to receiver John Korte (11) on his blocking technique before a crucial PAT in a Div. 5 North victory over Somerville.

Senior lineman Tim Tat has seen snaps at five positions — nose tackle, defensive end, linebacker, guard, and right tackle — in the past five weeks. Senior Muhammad Ahad, an offensive tackle who had seen little playing time, was put in at defensive end in the second half and helped set the edge against Somerville’s stretch run plays.

“[Somerville] was running the stretch play and really making some money, so I put Muhammad in there, and told him he had to set the edge.

“He took that play away from them about four or five times in the second half, and really did a terrific job,” Cacace said.

Senior Ben Landry, the team’s left tackle, moved from the line to the backfield when senior fullback Matt Muldrew went down with an injury.

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Despite his inexperience, Landry took the task in stride.

“I understood the position, but I’d never played fullback before,” Landry said. “All in all, blocking is blocking. I was happy to be able to help out in an area that we needed.

“I’ve been so proud of the guys. A lot of credit to them, they’re hard-working guys, and we’re a small team, but I think we’re even closer because of that.”

Elizabeth Allen for the Globe

Watertown coach John Cacace soaks up the Raiders’ breath-taking win over Somerville to reach the Division 5 North sectional final vs. top-seeded Lynnfield.

Scituate’s historical run

Two weeks, two historical footnotes for the Scituate football team.

After scoring their first home playoff win in program history with a 28-14 triumph over Holliston a week ago, the Sailors punched their ticket to their first ever appearance in the Div. 5 South Sectional final with a 38-21 victory over Medfield last Friday. No. 3 seed Scituate (8-1) will play at No. 1 seed Dennis-Yarmouth (9-0) in the D5 South final Friday at 6 p.m. .

Since losing 24-6 to Pembroke in Week 3, the Sailors are averaging 34 points per game. Quarterback Aidan Sullivan in particular has been impressive, especially this past weekend — he was 19-of-21 for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

“Coach [Herb Devine] really challenged me after that Pembroke game,” said Sullivan. “Our coaches have been putting us in great position to make plays, and even our practice habits improved after that loss . . . We’ve really come out and gotten better every day.”

After falling short in back-to-back quarter final appearances, Scituate’s 14 returning starters have benefited in 2017 from their prior playoff experience.

“We need to remember that we’ve been there before,” said Sullivan. “In particular, the seniors who have played in these playoff games. We all just want to keep the run going.”

Sectional final matchups

DIVISION 1

North: Everett (8-0) at Central Catholic (9-0), Saturday, 5 p.m. — Two potent offenses (Everett, 44.0 ppg; CC, 42.3 ppg) will clash. South: Catholic Memorial (6-3) at Xaverian (5-4), Friday, 6 p.m. — CM’s defense (18.4 ppg allowed) will try to stifle the Hawks for a second time this season.

DIVISION 2

North: North Andover (8-1) at Lincoln-Sudbury (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m _ NA’s Jake McElroy (14 TD passes) and L-S’s Braden O’Connell (10) poised for shootout. South: Bridgewater-Raynham (8-1) at King Philip (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — State’s two best backfields collide.

DIVISION 3

North: Tewksbury (8-1) at Lynn English (9-0), TBA — The Bulldogs must slow Tewksbury tailbacks Will Matovu and Brandon Winn (17 combined TDs). South: Duxbury (8-1) at North Attleborough (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m — Duxbury’s John Roberts (20 TD passes) faces a defense that’s allowed one TD pass per game.

DIVISION 4

North: Marblehead (9-0) at Melrose (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — Two stingy defenses (Marblehead, 8 ppg; Melrose, 15.1 ppg) will keep it a low-scoring game. South: Milton (7-1) at Hopkinton (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — Milton (30.4 ppg) faces Hillers coming off back-to-back shutouts.

DIVISION 5

North: Watertown (5-4) at Lynnfield (8-1), Friday, TBA — Watertown faces a defense that’s allowed three fourth-quarter TDs. South: Scituate (8-1) at Dennis-Yarmouth (9-0), Friday, 6 p.m. — D-Y’s high-flying offense (44.4 ppg) faces a veteran Scituate defense.

DIVISION 6

North: Stoneham (7-2) at Hamilton-Wenham (9-0), Saturday, 1 p.m. — Stoneham tailback Tre Pignone (19 TDs) faces a Generals defense which has allowed nine rushing TDs. South: Middleboro (7-2) at Old Rochester (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m. — Harry Smith and Will Garcia (39 combined TDs) face a stout Middleboro defense (16.8 ppg).

DIVISION 7

North: Brighton (6-3) at St. Mary’s (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — Brighton’s Jerrod Clark (5 TD catches) will look to disrupt a defense that has given up 13 points in last four weeks. South: Abington (6-3) at Mashpee (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — Mashpee limited Abington’s Mark Kilmain (14 TDs) to a single score in 49-27 win three weeks ago.

DIVISION 8

North: Cathedral (8-1) at Lynn Tech (9-0), Saturday, TBA — Cathedral’s defense (11.3 ppg) must stop Steffan Gravely and Keoni Gaskin (35 combined TDs). South: Millis (8-1) at Wareham (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m. — Millis must limit Issac Nascimento (22 TDs) to repeat in South.