Ten Grand Gardner footballers to watch in state playoffs


The first statewide high school boys and girls football tournaments kick off this afternoon and evening with four teams – three boys ‘teams and one girls’ team – representing the Greater Gardner region.

With a list of unique matches in reserve for the preliminary rounds, did anyone in the area know where Madison Park Vocational Technical School is located without Google searching for it? – TGN’s sports department has compiled a list of local players who will impact their team’s chances of racing in either Division 3 or Division 5 tournaments.

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Oakmont's Michael Bedard, left, has his pass blocked by Quabbin's Cameron Hoekstra during a game at Ashburnham earlier this season.

Boys football

Mike Bédard, Oakmont Regional

A junior midfielder, Bedard quietly collected four goals and four assists for the Spartans in the regular season and is considered by his coach to be Oakmont’s best one-on-one.

“Michael is more of a balloonist. He can put him in the net too, but he’s really good one-on-one, especially away where we play him, ”Oakmont head coach Lincoln Stiles Jr. said. really sets up at times when we need possession of the ball. . “

Gardner High forward Elvis Camejo has scored five of his 20 team-leading goals in the season opener against Narragansett.

Elvis Camejo, Gardner High School

If the 27th-seeded Wildcats are to pass the 38th-seeded Gateway Regional Gators at Watkins Field tonight, they’ll likely need their leading scorer to play a big role.

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Camejo scored 20 goals, a record for the team – a number that would tie Leominster’s Alex Miller for most Central Mass count among reported stats – while also handing out 10 assists.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see second-year midfielder Ricky Ruiz (12 goals, 18 assists) looking to play the ball towards Camejo as much as possible at 7pm tonight. [ contest.

Gardner High junior Dhruv Patel, left, has been a lockdown defender for the Wildcats this fall.

Dhruv Patel, Gardner High

The junior’s contributions rarely show up on the score sheet, but Patel’s ability to play multiple positions and willingness to shift to different parts of the field make him an impact player for the Wildcats.

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Though he can be moved around the field, Patel, as Gardner’s best defender, can often be found in the hip pocket of the opposing team’s best player.

“He’s played seven positions for us already this year, but he’s always going to be matched up against the other team’s best player,” Athletic Director Dan Forte said. “We put him on Lunenburg’s best player, who scored twice on us the first game, and told Dhruv, ‘don’t let him touch the ball.’ Dhruv stayed with him for all 80 minutes and he didn’t touch the ball. Dhruv is a lockdown defender.”

Monty Tech's Isiac Paulino (3) has been an impactful player on offense for the Bulldogs this fall.

Isaic Paulino, Monty Tech

Monty Tech head coach Brad Pelletier expected the senior to be one-half of a powerful offensive duo with classmate Sami Piazza and the coach proved to be prophetic. Paulio tied his teammate for the team lead with 15 goals.

Paulino also collected five assists as he finished second to Piazza in the Colonial Athletic League scoring leaders. If the 28th-seeded Bishop Stang Spartans pay too much attention to Piazza, perhaps Paulino will break through and deliver a key blow for the 37th-seeded Bulldogs in North Darthmouth.

Monty Tech's Sami Piazza, right, lunges to make a play on the ball during a game against West Boylston earlier this season.

Sami Piazza, Monty Tech

The Bulldogs senior made our preseason list of impactful players and certainly followed through on his billing, opening the season red-hot with seven goals in the Bulldogs’ first six games.

Piazza finished in a three-way tie for the team-lead with 15 goals but he also dished out 13 assists to lead all of Central Mass. in total points with 28. As one-third of Monty Tech’s potent scoring trio, perhaps it will be Piazza who can slip through the defense of 28th-seeded Bishop Stang and deliver a decisive strike for the 37th-seeded Bulldogs this evening.

Sucre Quinn, Oakmont Regional

Senior captain, the 6-foot-4 Sugar is an inviting target for the Spartans on corner kicks and is the leader of an Oakmont defensive unit that has limited opponents to less than two goals per game this fall. .

Sugar was also very offensive in the Spartans’ race to the CMADA Division 3 semi-finals as he scored one goal against Millbury and two more against Monty Tech in the quarter-finals.

Oakmont's Gael Vera (8) jumps to play the ball past Gardner High's Ernest Nyarko in a game earlier this season at Ashburnham.

Gael Vera, Oakmont Regional

Just look at the scoresheet for the Spartans’ opener of the Division 3 Central Mass tournament. Athletic Directors Association to see the kind of impact Vera, a sophomore, can have on the Spartans as he scored four goals on four shots in a 6-0 win over Millbury.

During the season, Vera has scored nine goals, a team-high, and added two assists. Oakmont, 34th seed in the D3 tournament, will need Vera’s scoring touch in Thursday’s prelims at the 31st St. Mary’s of Lynn.

“Gael can be electric at times,” Stiles said. “When he thinks about it and focuses on what he wants to do, he can really put the ball in the net.”

Monty Tech's Colin Wilbur, right, competes with West Boylston's Aaron Nano for the ball in a game in Fitchburg earlier this season.

Collin Wilbur, Monty Tech

Third in the Bulldogs’ senior trio, ranked 37th, Wilbur tied Paulino and Piazza with 15 goals to go with three assists and finished fourth in the Colonial Athletic League’s top scorer.

With Paulino, Piazza and Wilbur to consider, 28th-ranked Bishop Stang Spartans is sure to make a blanket error against one of them. Why not Wilbur?

Known for her defense, Gardner High midfielder Lydia LeBlanc, right, has played aggressively on offense this season for the Wildcats.

Girls football

Lydia LeBlanc, Gardner High School

Wildcats head coach Pete Gamache Jr. said during the preseason he was looking to use LeBlanc, a junior central midfielder, a little more aggressively this fall and after a regular season of 16 goals and 5 assists. decisive, it’s safe to say he did. .

With his total of 21 points, LeBlanc was sixth in the Mid-Wach D League in scoring. While LeBlanc has always been the center of attention for opposing defenses – AD Forte said teams from Central Mass. quickly learned there was a need to roll a second and / or third defenseman to Gardner’s junior – perhaps word of LeBlanc’s prowess on the field has yet to reach the ears of the 42nd Cardinals seeded, from Madison Park Technical Vocational School in Boston.

Gardner High goalie Maddy Lashua made a save against the Narragansett Warriors earlier this season.

Maddy Lashua, Gardner High School

The opposition can’t win if they can’t score and as the last line of defense, Lashua will, as always, be an important player for the Wildcats tonight.

While no one would expect the senior goalkeeper to register a shutout against an unknown opponent, Lashua has recorded two shutouts this season – one against Ayer-Shirley and Narragansett – and posted a goals against average of 1, 73.

Gardner has allowed more goals (32) than they’ve scored (24) this season, so the more Lashua can keep the Cardinals off the scoreboard, the better the Wildcats’ chances of advancing.

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