The Black Knights haven't even played a game; in fact Monday was just the first day of preseason practices, but pundits at the Boston Herald and at ESPN Boston have placed the bar high for the Stoughton High football team in 2012.
The Black Knights at 6-5 and 3-1 in the Hockomock's Davenport (small schools) Division. It was their first winning season since 2006, with the team just missing out on a playoff berth.
Heading into the fall 2012 season, Stoughton is the preseason favorite in the Davenport Division according to both publications.
The Boston Herald ranks Stoughton #5 in its Top 10 teams in Division 3 eastern Massachusetts high school football. The only other Davenport team to make the list is Oliver Ames, last season's Davenport champ and Division 3 Super Bowl runner-up. The Tigers, who have lost a lot of seniors from last year's squad, check in at #9.
Where the Boston Herald ranks by division, ESPN Boston does a general Top-25 poll. While Stoughton is not on this list (no Davenport Division team is), ESPN Boston's five-man panel unanimously picks Stoughton to win the Davenport Division.
Senior Marcus Middleton, known for his defense on the basketball court, is also earning preseason praise for his defense on the football field. ESPN Boston names the defensive back to its Preseason MIAA All-State Team and the Boston Herald lists Middleton as an honorable mention for its Preseason All-Star Team. Middleton was also a key contributor on offense last season for the Black Knights.
Stoughton will be competing with Oliver Ames, Foxboro, Sharon and Canton for the Davenport title and Division 3 playoff berth. Milford will be joining the Hockomock League and the Davenport Division in other sports, but won't be doing so in football until the fall of 2013.
This season, the Black Knights have scrimmages scheduled at Braintree (August 25) and at North Attleboro (August 29) before opening the regular season at Holliston on Friday, September 7.
Stoughton also plays at Taunton* (September 14); Pembroke (September 21); Mansfield* (September 28); Foxboro** (October 5); at North Attleboro* (October 12); at Sharon** (October 19); at Oliver Ames** (October 26); Attleboro* (November 2); at Bridgewater-Raynham (November 9); and against Canton** (Thanksgiving, November 22).
* denotes Hockomock League Kelly-Rex Division game
** denotes Hockomock League Davenport Division game