ATTLEBORO — The next opponent on the season for the Bishop Feehan High football team, Austin Prep, will be the Shamrocks’ toughest foe yet.
The Shamrocks (6-1) can remain in contention for the Catholic Central League title and enhance their No. 10 ranking in Division 2 game with a victory over Austin Prep in order to contend for a second home playoff game.
The challenge for the Shamrocks, as it was against St. Mary’s of Lynn and Bishop Fenwick, is trying to stop a flourishing opponent Thursday with a 6 p.m. Senior Night kickoff at McGrath Stadium.
The Cougars have won four straight games, and have been piling up points at an astonishing rate in beating Arlington Catholic (41), Bishop Stang (47), Archbishop Williams (28) and Cardinal Spellman (28).
“Last year, they were a young club, so this year, they’ve grown up a bit,” Pinabell said, citing a good run-pass quarterback and a strong running back for Austin Prep. “We’re going to have our hands full. If anything in our league, last weekend, Spellman beating St. Mary’s tells us anybody can beat anybody.”
Since losing their lone game of the season to St. Mary’s, the Shamrocks have won four straight by margins of 28 (Archbishop Williams), 17 Cardinal Spellman, 55 (Arlington Catholic) and 12 (Bishop Fenwick) points.
The Cougars dropped a 28-7 game to Bishop Fenwick, whom Bishop Feehan beat by a 27-15 margin on the road last weekend.
The CCL championship will be in a state of flux until the Thanksgiving Day meeting between Bishop Feehan and Bishop Stang in Datmouth after Cardinal Spellman stunned previously unbeaten St. Mary’s, 22-20.
Bishop Feehan, Austin Prep and St. Mary’s all share first place in the CCL with 4-1 league records.
“This year, more than any other year, you’ve seen a lot more parity,” Pinabell said of scanning the CCL and Hockomock League results. “Especially here in southeastern Mass. where you typically have Mansfield, Franklin and KP and North (Attleboro). This year, it’s been everybody giving each other hell,” citing KP upsetting previously unbeaten Milford, AHS having a two-point game with unbeaten Franklin, six-win Foxboro rallying in the second half to beat North by seven.
“We could use an Attleboro win (over Taunton) this weekend for playoff rankings,” he added. “With football being a full (CCL) league as opposed to North and South divisions in other sports, we still have to play Bishop Stang on Thanksgiving Day to determine a CCL champion.”
St. Mary’s has a Thanksgiving Day game against Austin Prep which will have title implications.
“Regardless of head to head (results), the way the CCL title goes, it’s based on your record, so there could be co-champions,” Pinabell said.
With a short week of practice and not playing a game on a Friday or Saturday, Pinabell and the Shamrocks were out in the inclement weather on Tuesday for three hours, preparing for the likelihood that the Austin Prep game could be played under similar circumstances.
“To a degree, our preparation has been a little different due to a degree, Monday was less physical than normal,” Pinabell said. “With the quick turnaround, Tuesday was normal and Wednesday was our walk through. Our film preparation was no different. We typically lift on Monday, but we had a shorter practice, lifted and watched some film. We’ve had short weeks before.
“With a veteran team that we have now and at this point of the season, you know what you’re doing.”