, Newburyport, MA


October 12, 2012

Final tune-up before the league schedule

It’s an exaggeration to say the first six weeks of the high school football season don’t really matter.

In truth, every practice and game matters because the best teams constantly improve while rounding into a finished product by late November and early December.

But in terms of a local team’s pursuit of a Cape Ann League title, the first six weeks of the season don’t really matter. A team can start 0-6 and still win a Super Bowl at the end of the season. The road to the postseason is paved strictly by a given team’s league record.

So this weekend’s games certainly matter in a sense that all teams will be looking to establish momentum prior to the start of league play, which begins next week. But for the final time this fall, this week’s games won’t have any relevance to a team’s pursuit of a Super Bowl.

In the spirit of this six-week grace period for constant improvement, I bring to you my record of predicting games thus far. I’m 15-10 for the season, which would probably be the equivalent of a 1-4 record for a local football team. It could be worse, but it certainly could be better considering there were plenty of lopsided games to predict over the past six weeks. Like many of the local coaches and players, I plan to hit my stride in the coming weeks when the games take on more relevance.

On to the picks.

Saturday’s games

Newburyport at Ipswich, 10

After Newburyport lost its third game in a row last week, coach Ed Gaudiano didn’t give any indication that senior quarterback Connor Wile would make his return from a shoulder injury tomorrow. So it appears that, at the very best, Wile will make his debut as the starting quarterback next week in the first meaningful game in Newburyport’s pursuit of a repeat CAL Division 3 title. Regardless, the Clippers need to establish some momentum before the league schedule begins, and they have to be considered the favorite in this game. Look for a healthy dose of tailback Tyler Cusack, who broke two touchdowns runs of 49 yards or more last week.

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