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Broncos crush Jets in home opener, 26-0, to improve to 3-0 for first time in five years

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WATCH: Broncos’ Melvin Gordon’s touchdown run against Jets

The cupcakes are taken care of, and the Broncos are ready for the main course.

Denver dominated the New York Jets, 26-0, on Sunday in its home opener at Empower Field, moving to 3-0 for the first time since 2016. It marked three double-digit wins to open 2021, following road wins over the Giants and Jaguars, who, like the Jets, are also winless.

The Broncos were in control from start to finish in front of a rocking crowd of 71,985, with the offense controlling the football while the defense limited New York to just over 100 yards. Judging by their play Sunday, the Broncos appear ready for the schedule to stiffen up, starting with a home game against Baltimore next week.

However, the victory didn’t come without a cost, as three Broncos starters were knocked out of the game due to injury. Wideout KJ Hamler (knee) exited in the second quarter, and offensive lineman Graham Glasgow (knee) and Dalton Risner (foot) left in the third.

Rookie Javonte Williams got Denver on the board first with his first NFL touchdown to make it 7-0 late in the first quarter. Williams’ one-yard scoring rush concluded an 11-play, 75-yard drive that featured a key third down conversion on Hamler’s 22-yard reception.

The Broncos dominated time of possession in the opening quarter (11:11 to 3:49) and limited frazzled rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and the Jets to six yards and one first down.

A Brandon McManus 45-yard field goal made it 10-0 early in the second quarter as the Denver defense continued to dominate. Later in the period the Broncos’ Von Miller sacked Wilson for an eight-yard loss on third down. It marked Miller’s fourth sack of the year, and the 54th quarterback he’s sacked in his career.

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Marblehead roars back to topple Masconomet 33-21

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Big second half leads Springfield Central to road win at BC High

BOXFORD — Enough was enough for Marblehead High School.

After watching Masconomet hang 21 points on them in the first half, the Magicians closed the door — air-tight — rolling off 26 unanswered second-half points to knock off the Chieftains 33-21 in a battle of Division 3 unbeatens.

“That first half was really, really ugly. We knew coming out in the second we had to be better,” said Marblehead’s Connor Cronin, who had four touchdowns on the night. “We know what they were doing. We changed up our coverage a little bit, fixed the little things and got big stops on third and fourth down. That really changed the game and got the offense rolling.”

Cronin ran for a pair of second-half scores and caught the game-clincher in the final two minutes from Josh Robertson, powering Marblehead to a 5-0 start and the top spot in the Northeastern Conference’s Large Division. It also gives the Magicians an inside track to home field come playoff time.

After Masco did the punching in the first half, things changed dramatically. Marblehead grabbed the opening kick of the third quarter and moved 73 yards on eight plays with Cronin plowing in from the 2.

A quick interception set up a 13-yard Cronin burst that knotted things up at 21-21.

Set up by a short Chieftains’ punt, Robertson sprinted in with the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter then left no doubt with a courageous fourth-down TD toss to Cronin with 1:38 left, beating the blitz and taking a vicious shot as he delivered the dagger to make it 33-21.

“Honestly, (down 21-7 at halftime), we were calm, we didn’t fold,” said Robertson. “We needed to score on that first drive, and it just got rolling after that.”

Marblehead never let off the gas, holding Masco to just 38 yards on 16 plays, deep into the last minute of the game.

“This is a huge win. Masco’s an amazing team. They played phenomenal tonight,” added Robertson.

At the time, you probably would have to go back a decade or more to find a bigger Masco defensive stand than the denial of Marblehead with Will Shannon’s goal-line interception, with only seconds left before halftime.

The pick kept things at 21-7 into the break with Masco and its huge home crowd carrying all sorts of momentum.

It just didn’t last.

Masco QB Matt Richardson was a big-play waiting to happen in the first half, tossing a pair of TD passes, one to Sam Nadworny and the other to Tyler McMahon. Mat Nadworny had a long TD run of 48 yards, helping Masco (4-1) build its lead.

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James Murphy rewrites Reading record book in 26-17 win over Woburn

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Big second half leads Springfield Central to road win at BC High

READING — On a record setting night for James Murphy, it was his teammate Colby Goodchild who stole the spotlight.

Goodchild rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns as No. 7 Reading remained undefeated with a 26-17 win over Middlesex League Liberty foe Woburn on Friday night at Hollingsworth Field.

Murphy — who has starred at quarterback for three years as a Rocket — broke the school record for career touchdown passes with the 45th of his tenure on a 23-yard strike to Patrick DuRoss in the second quarter. The record was previously held by 2014 Boston Herald All-Scholastic Drew Belcher.

“The win is the most important thing,” Murphy said. “The offensive line was incredible. (Woburn) said they were going to stop our run and our offense and that did not happen. We out-toughed them today.”

The Rockets (5-0) were exceptional defensively in the second half surrendering just three points and limiting the Tanners offense to one completed pass. Offensively, meanwhile, the Rockets tormented Woburn on the ground out of their spread formation.The two sides traded blows in the first half with Woburn showcasing a surprising passing attack in the early going. Junior quarterback Brett Tuzzolo opened 7-for-8 for 115 yards including a 38-yard touchdown pass to Derek Dabrieo to help the Tanners battle Reading to a 14-14 tie midway through the second quarter.

Reading, however, began to assert itself before the half with Murphy completing passes to Aidan Bekkenhuis and Alex DiNapoli before finding DuRoss on a seam route for a 23-yard score that pushed the Rockets in front 20-14 and set the school record.

“I grew up watching guys like Corey DiLoreto and Drew Belcher, who I got the chance to work with, and those guys inspire me to play the position at Reading and carry on the tradition,” Murphy said.

The Tanners (3-1) cut the deficit in half late in the third on a 32-yard field goal by Marc Cutone and stared at a chance in the final stanza to potentially jump in front when its defense put Reading into a fourth-and-10 situation. Murphy, however, evaded pressure, darted down the far sideline, and lowered his shoulder through a defender to pick up the first down. One play later, Goodchild put the game on ice taking the handoff skirting around a defender before finding the end zone to put Reading on top 26-17 with six minutes left.

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Massachusetts State Police, prison officers brace for vaccine mandate showdown

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Massachusetts State Police, prison officers brace for vaccine mandate showdown

The law enforcement crisis over the state’s Oct. 17 vaccine mandate is escalating with the National Guard on standby to help the DOC and State Police brass playing hardball over the jabs, multiple memos obtained by the Herald state.

 

Included in those memos is one from the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union warning of “modified lockdowns,” suspending time off, and using Guard members to staff the prison system’s headquarters if too many jail officers are fired for not getting vaxxed.

Corrections officials at the Milford HQ would then “go back behind the walls,” the memo adds.

“Unless we win a long shot case in court, the State is resigned itself to fire you,” that letter states. “We will continue to inform our members but this is where we are now.”

State Police, in an agency bulletin, tell “sworn members of the department” to fill out a self-attestation form as they enter the “PayStation” to record their hours. The form asks if the employee received the two-shot Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines or the one-dose J&J jab.

But that request, the memo notes, adds they “may” also be asked to get a booster shot if the CDC advises Americans to do so in the future.

Some in the State Police and Department of Correction are objecting to Gov. Charlie Baker’s mandate forcing all Executive Branch workers to be vaccinated or face being fired. Baker instituted the vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees Aug. 19. The order only granted exemptions for those who have medical or religious grounds to reject the vaccine.

The exemption, the Herald has been told, is also being tightened as the MSP and DOC confront the looming deadline.

“We were all heroes in 2020 for working during the pandemic, now we could all get fired,” a DOC officer told the Herald, adding he is not going to get the vaccination. He also said the DOC is advertising on social media for retired correction officers to come back for a few shifts.

“This is tyranny,” he added.

Terry MacCormack, Baker’s press secretary, said it’s all systems go.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is encouraged by the response to date by Executive Department employees completing the vaccination verification process ahead of the October 17 deadline and will continue to work with employees to address questions and requests for exemptions,” he said in a statement sent to the Herald Thursday night.

MacCormack added: “The Administration is still in the process of gathering information from employees, but agencies are seeing significant progress toward the vaccination goal.”

Another memo says the state has received “over 33,000” self-attestation forms have been recorded since the administration started asking for them Sept. 17.

That memo adds HR has “scheduled a series of mobile vaccine clinics across the commonwealth which will offer the J&J vaccine.”

As for troopers, a source told the Herald more than 300 troopers, sergeants, lieutenants, detective lieutenants, captains and staff are pushing back at the mandate and have formed a working group. And, as the Herald first reported, they have hired a Boston law firm.

All signs point to some type of showdown next week or right up to the vax mandate deadline.

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Assistance dog in Arlington eases back-to-school stress in kids [+video]

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Assistance dog in Arlington eases back-to-school stress in kids [+video]

A special furry friend in Caroline Thom’s third grade classroom at John A. Bishop Elementary School in Arlington is easing back-to-school pandemic worries among students who spent much of the last year and a half learning remotely.

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First two parents to go to trial in Varsity Blues college admissions scandal are found guilty

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‘Godfather’ behind ‘Varsity Blues’ college admissions scandal said he could get one parent’s child into Harvard for $1.2M

Two wealthy former executives who bribed their kids’ way into some of the nation’s most elite universities were convicted in federal court in Boston on Friday in what one former MIT admissions officer called a loss for everyone affected by “Operation Varsity Blues.”

“I think everyone loses in this circumstance — the students those slots could have gone to, but I’m also sad for the children of these parents because they’re receiving the message that…you can cheat your way into anything and hard work is not enough.”

The jury deliberated for about 10 hours before convicting Gamal Abdelaziz, a former Wynn Resorts executive, and John Wilson, a Lynnfield resident and former Staples Inc. executive, in a case that exposed a scheme to get unqualified students into college by falsely portraying them as star athletes.

“What they did was an affront to hardworking students and parents, but the verdict today proves that even these defendants — powerful and privileged people — are not above the law,” Acting Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell told reporters.

The two are to be sentenced in February.

“This is obviously not the result Mr. Abdelaziz was hoping for,” attorney Brian Kelly said in an email, vowing to appeal.

An email seeking comment from Wilson’s attorney was not immediately answered.

Over the course of the four-week trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Frank argued that Wilson, 62, paid college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer $220,000 in 2014 to get his son into the University of Southern California as a purported water polo recruit, and $1 million in 2018 to get his twin daughters into Harvard and Stanford universities for sports they didn’t play.

Singer, the so-called “Godfather” behind the scheme, now is cooperating with the government and admitted to siphoning off money he was paid to people who could help increase students’ ACT exam scores and get them into college as athletic recruits, even though they didn’t play the sports their applications said they did.

“It was a sweeping conspiracy that involved dozens of parents who would stop at nothing to get their children” into elite universities, Frank said in closing arguments.

Some of the money parents paid was diverted to a “charity” of Singer’s or to the schools their kids were applying to, he said.

Frank called it “a bribe, a quid pro quo….No matter where the money goes, it was fraud. Without the money, the kids would never have gotten in.”

Brian Kelly, one of Abdelaziz’s lawyers, argued, “A quid pro quo is not illegal unless there is corrupt intent. There’s no proof Gamal Abdelaziz had corrupt intent.”

Likewise, Wilson’s attorney, Michael Kendall, said, “There is no proof that John said anything wrong to anyone. Parents were not making bribes; they thought they were making donations.”

Last month, Gordon Ernst, the onetime head tennis coach at Georgetown University, became the latest Varsity Blues defendant to admit the match was over.

The 54-year-old from Chevy Chase, Md. and Falmouth will plead guilty to bribery and filing a false tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.

He has also agreed to forfeit nearly $3.44 million he earned from the college admissions scheme.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the most serious bribery charge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Here are details of the Oct. 17 Massachusetts vaccine mandate

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‘Chump change’ fundraising continues as Charlie Baker, Maura Healey hold off on 2022 Massachusetts governor’s race decision

Gov. Charlie Baker instituted a vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees Aug. 19 with a deadline of Oct. 17 to be fully vaccinated. The order only granted exemptions for those who have medical or religious grounds to reject the vaccine.

Here’s the mandate:

  • For managers, a five-day suspension without pay
  • “Continued non-compliance” will get you fired
  • For union members, also a five-day suspension first with a 10-day unpaid leave to follow and then dismissal.

Republican candidate for governor Geoff Diehl is taking shots at the mandate as he runs against Baker — or possibly Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito — even before any news lands on a re-election run among the Republicans.

Baker has repeatedly said his decisions around coronavirus restrictions and mandates “follow the science” and are based on advice from myriad public health experts.

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Texas moves to reinstate nation’s toughest abortion law

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Texas moves to reinstate nation’s toughest abortion law

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas on Friday asked a federal appeals court to swiftly reinstate the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., which, until this week, had banned most abortions in the state since early September.

The request puts the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8 back before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously allowed the restrictions to move forward.

Even after U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman suspended the law Wednesday, many physicians in Texas are still declining to perform abortions, worried that doing so could put them in legal jeopardy. The result is that abortion services in Texas — which had about two dozen clinics prior to the law taking effect Sept. 1 — remain far from normal, even with the law on hold.

The law bans abortions in Texas once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks, and is enforced solely through lawsuits filed by private citizens against abortion providers — a novel approach that helped Texas evade an early wave of legal challenges.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office told the court that since the state does not enforce the law, it cannot “be held responsible for the filings of private citizens that Texas is powerless to prevent.”

His office asked the court to act by Tuesday, if not sooner.

Pitman had called the law an “offensive deprivation” of the constitutional right to an abortion. The lawsuit was brought by the Biden administration, which has warned that other GOP-controlled states may move to adopt similar measures unless the Texas law is struck down.

It is unclear how many abortions Texas clinics have performed in the short time since the law was put on hold. By Thursday, at least six abortions providers had resumed normal services or were gearing up to do so, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Prior to Pitman’s blistering 113-page order, other courts had declined to stop the law, which bans abortions before some women even know they are pregnant. That includes the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, which allowed it to move forward in September without ruling on the constitutionality of the law.

One of the first providers to resume normal services was Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas.

“There’s actually hope from patients and from staff, and I think there’s a little desperation in that hope,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, said Thursday. “Folks know this opportunity could be short-lived.”

The Texas law leaves enforcement solely up to private citizens, who are entitled to collect $10,000 in damages if they bring successful lawsuits against not just abortion providers who violate the restrictions, but anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion. Republicans crafted the law to allow retroactive lawsuits if the restrictions are set aside by one court, but later restored by another.

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Massachusetts top court upholds conviction of doctor in urinating photo case

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Massachusetts top court upholds conviction of doctor in urinating photo case

The state’s top court flushed away one UMass Med School doctor’s argument that attempting to sneak pictures of a urinating stranger shouldn’t be charged the same as actually taking them.

Now-former med school prof Dr. Markus Cooper of Grafton was convicted in 2019 of a 2015 incident in which he reached his cellphone over the top of a stall in the school’s ladies’ room to take pictures of a med student on the toilet.

Cooper’s case has whizzed up to the Supreme Judicial Court, where he argued that because the cops never found any photos of the woman on his phone, he shouldn’t have been able to be convicted of the crime of “photographing a person who is nude or partially nude.”

Basically, he posited, the most he was doing was making an attempt to photograph her, and his legal representation contended that that isn’t included in the charge. Similarly, maybe there was a “misfire,” his lawyer argued, suggesting that even if the phone did make a photo-taking noise, it might have glitched and not have actually snapped a picture.

The SJC quickly relieved itself of those arguments, with Associate Justice Gregory Massing penning an opinion upholding the conviction on all counts.

The original case, per Massing’s rehashing of it in the opinion, began with a med student “hovering over a toilet in the process of urinating” in the med school’s Worcester campus’ Albert Sherman Center — named after the legendary late Boston-area politico — when “she looked up and saw a cell phone camera ‘peering into the stall’ and ‘one knuckle’ of a hand.”

“She then ‘heard a nondistinct sound. It could have been a camera, click,’” per the summary. The woman shrieked and heard someone run out of the bathroom.

She followed, found Cooper and confronted him, to which he “replied that he had been on his cell phone and had gone into the wrong restroom.” He also asserted, “I didn’t take any pictures of you.”

After a brief confrontation, he dashed off. About 13 minutes later, he showed up at the police station to give a statement, and handed over his phone. The cops then didn’t find pictures of the woman on it.

Cooper had also argued that he shouldn’t be convicted of “disorderly conduct,” because he didn’t do anything to warrant that charge. But the judges asserted that “Peeping Toms” like him have long histories of being charged with that crime and successfully convicted of it.

He further said that the prosecution shouldn’t have suggested that Cooper could have simply deleted any photos, but Massing wrote, “The prosecutor’s argument that the defendant deleted the photograph did not exploit suppressed evidence, let alone create a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice.”

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When to expect prime fall foliage in Massachusetts

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When to expect prime fall foliage in Massachusetts

According to the National Weather Service, prime leaf-peeping times depend partly on where you look.

In Eastern Massachusetts, it’s usually in mid-October.

In the northwestern part of the state, it’s typically early to mid-October.

And along the southern coast of Massachusetts, it’s usually mid- to late October.

For the national outlook, maps online show the colors already seeping down from Canada and heading south.

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Former champ Desiree Linden to compete in her eighth Boston Marathon

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Former champ Desiree Linden to compete in her eighth Boston Marathon

Desiree Linden took her place in the front row in a gathering of former BAA Boston Marathon champions assembled on Friday afternoon at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.

Linden earned her station among the elite by winning the BAA race in 2018, becoming the first American women to don the laurel wreath since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985.

Linden will make her eighth appearance in the arduous 26.2-mile jaunt from Hopkinton to Boston on Monday morning in the 125th running of the Boston Marathon.

“I’m super happy, I’m excited to be here and excited to feel like things are making forward progress,” said Linden. “I think right from the beginning that this was the race that captured my heart and I fell in love with the distance here.

“It is a pleasure to be back and to continue to be invited back.”

Linden is the most decorated American runner, male or female, to run the Boston Marathon in this century. In her previous seven races, Linden has a win, a second-place finish in 2011 with four top fives and six top 10s. Linden has been in the top five in nine Abbott World Marathon Majors and represented the United States in two Olympiads that included a seventh-place finish at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Linden’s victory in 2018 was due to her ability to adapt to some of the worst weather conditions in the history of the BAA race. A springtime Nor’easter greeted the runners on April 16, bringing with it driving rain, perilous wind guts and unseasonably cold temperatures. Those conditions remained prevalent throughout the race.

Linden passed Mamitu Daska and Gladys Chesir on the downturn at Boston College and labored to victory in the climate inflated time of 2:39:54. Many to the favorites from Africa and Europe had a DNF instead of a time next to their names that day.

“You know when you sign up for spring marathon in Boston you can get that day,” said Linden. “Anyone who was surprised by that hasn’t been paying attention and I was certainly ready for that.

“When I moved out to Michigan it was not “how does this feel” or “this is tough.” It is about being ready or not and I was prepared that day.”

The victory in 2018 put Linden on a perch, but it was the race in 2011 that was the watershed moment in her professional career. Running under her maiden name Desiree Davila, Linden engaged in a three-way race with Kenyan veterans Caroline Kilal and Sharon Cherop and they employed merciless team tactics against her.

Kalil and Linden broke free of Cherop by Kenmore Square and exchanged surges down Boylston Street to a wild reception from the sidelines. Kalil made the final push and broke the tape in 2:22:36, two seconds ahead on Linden. Her time of 2:22:38 was the fastest ever run by an American at Boston in the closest women’s race in BAA history. Cherop would come back and win the race in 2012.

“I had been building and building and bridging the gap to that front group and I felt like I was ready to have that type of day,” said Linden. “I don’t think the outside world thought of me as a contender just yet but it made it a lot more fun to get in there and mix it up.

“I think afterwards it was kind of a turning point where you get that belief that I can compete with these athletes and I belong here. It was such an amazing field with fast times and it was just an amazing day across the board.”

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