(October 29, 2014) The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association celebrated their 60th Diamond Anniversary at their annual "Sound Bites" Awards banquet at "The Verve" inside the Crown Plaza Hotel in Natick Massachusetts. The MBA announced Todd Robbins "The Voice of the Blue Devils" of WPKZ AM1280 & 105.3FM as their 2014 Sports Play-by-Play Announcer of the Year for his coverage of "Leominster High School Football on WPKZ." TR bested many in a tough category, including legendary runner-up Joe Castiglione of the WEEI Red Sox Radio Network. MBA Executive Director Jordan Walton said of the winning call "sounded like a hell of a game!" The MBA "Sound Bite" Awards are awarded annually to the best radio and television stations and broadcasters in Massachusetts as selected by a neutral and non-partisan state panel (Wyoming Broadcasters Association). The long time "Voice of the Blue Devils," TR is celebrating his 5th anniversary as the high school football play-by-play announcer for WPKZ AM1280 & 105.3FM of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Listen to TR's MBA winning "Sound Bite"
As I prepare for tonight's Week 2 match up with Leominster going on the road for the first time in 2013 to battle Lowell at Cawley Stadium, I wanted to take a second and reflect on Week 1.
LHS defeated St. John's 33 - 22 in one of the best opening weeks of the season in recent memory. Both teams' fans packed Doyle Field and were engaged in the action from the first kickoff to the final whistle. A tremendous battle ensued with Leominster's defense the ultimate hero, silencing STJ in the first half (50 yds of total offense) and withstanding their best shot in the 2nd Half.
The troubling part of the end of week 1 is that potentially the two best teams in Central Mass have already played each other and may have already decided home field advantage for the new MIAA Playoff Format. This "New York Style" 7-week regular season, followed by district or sectional playoffs, followed by state-semi-finals, PAUSED for Thanksgiving Rivalries, then a unified Super Bowl State Championship at Gillette Stadium is ultimately WAY too complicated for people to understand. Although, in the end their will only be 6-Super Bowl champions across the size-determined divisions, each of the 3-sections of the state Eastern, Central, and Western have been given the ability to determine how they arrive at their representatives for the Super Bowls. When I recently asked the MIAA to explain their playoff system on Howie Kahn's Scholastic SportsZone on WPKZ, the MIAA representative said "Its too complicated to explain." Tremendous answer from someone who represents the organization that championed this new format. Ultimately, I like the new system and I think that many of the new features adds to the excitement of high school football in the Bay State. I just wish someone from the MIAA would come forward and explain exactly how everything works, it would eliminate the wait and see of the unknown.
That aside, tonight's LHS vs LHS match-up at Cawley Stadium in Lowell should be a dandy. According to ESPN-Boston's statewide pole this is the battle between the 8th and 9th best team in the state (all size and division playoffs aside). The QB Battle tonight will be the center of attention, can Neil O'Connor continue to build on his over 200-yard performance through the air in Week 1? Will Lowell's QB Brian Dolan successfully navigate the Leominster defense? Ask Drew Smiley...that is easier said than done.
Ultimately, those answers and more will be revealed at Cawley Stadium in Lowell tonight. Billy Thomas, Kate Myer, and I will have LIVE coverage on WPKZ AM1280 & 105.3FM beginning at 6:30 with "Countdown to Kickoff" followed by the opening kick at 7PM. The game will also be streamed LIVE worldwide on http://www.wpkz.net (Just Click "Listen Live"). Our partners at Leominster Access Television will be along side lead by Executive Producer Bradley Bedard. They will have simulcast taped delayed coverage beginning on Saturday. Check LATV's online listings at http://www.leominster.tv for more information and you can also access the game via LATV's online Media On-Demand feature beginning Saturday as well.
The management of Leominster Access Television (LATV) announced that I have been named LATV's 2013 On-Air Personality of the Year. I am honored to accept this recognition in September during LATV's 6th Annual Monument Award Luncheon. I am very proud of this distinction I started working for LATV while I was a student at Leominster High School in 1999, founding broadcasts of Leominster High School Athletics. Former LHS Athletic Director Ralph Caisse lovingly dubbed me "The Voice of the Blue Devils." I am proud to maintain that title today, calling radio / television simulcasts of Blue Devil Football on WPKZ and LATV and LHS Basketball for LATV.
The 4th Ranked Blue Devils drew Top-ranked Shrewsbury in a rematch of a shootout from week 9 of the regular season. Leominster lost 33 - 32 in the final seconds to the Colonials. 65 combined points between the two offenses, means both defenses have a tall task in front of them. The game will be played at Doyle Field which is the neutral site host of the game. Shrewsbury will be the "home" team. Come on down to Doyle to check out all the action.
You can catch the broadcasts across the Blue Devil media platforms. Your home for the Blue Devils WPKZ AM1280 & 105.3FM, will also stream live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wpkzlocal LATV in simulcast too!
Catch Teddy and I on 980 WCAP discussing and analyzing the ongoing political elections: local, state, and federal. We've been paying particular attention to the Obama/Romney Presidential election, the Brown/Warren race of Senate, and the Tsongas/Golnik race for U.S. Congress. Be sure to tune in and hear the commentary, weekday mornings, 6-10 AM!!!