Thursday, September 15, 2011
New England Roundup: New Hampshire
By Marc Thaler
Imagine if Jerickson Fedrick and Emmitt Smith – rather than running the football for rival teams in the Granite State's heavyweight division – lined up an arm's length from one another behind the same signal-caller.
Coaches would truly quiver in their head sets.
Salem High's Fedrick and Pinkerton Academy's Smith certainly made the heads of opposing mentors spin in Week 2, which kicked off NHIAA Division I play. The duo combined for 341 rushing yards on 29 carries, 84 receiving yards on four catches, two near-length-of-field kick-return scores and 10 total touchdowns.
And Smith only played three quarters.
But let's begin with Fedrick, widely considered the state's most coveted college prospect. The 5-foot 10-inch, 195-pound senior, a tremendous blend of speed and power, scored six touchdowns in Salem's 50-28 Sept. 9 win at Manchester Central High.
Salem head coach Jacki Gati said Fedrick is garnering interest from Boston College as well FCS programs Fordham, Maine and Rhode Island. The star's statistics against Central explain why college coaches are keeping tabs.
Fedrick, on 19 carries, ran for 141 yards and four TDs (his rushing total took a hit when he unselfishly fell on Salem's third-quarter fumble 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage). He also recorded run-oriented Salem's three receptions for 37 yards.
Yet he was best on special teams. Fedrick broke free for two first-half touchdowns – of the 98- and 99-yard variety – before halftime.
“I just want to keep moving on the field,” Fedrick told New Hampshire GameDay. “Just don't stop, basically.”
Smith was equally spectacular. He scored four of top-ranked Pinkerton's eight touchdowns in a 56-14 thrashing of No. 2 Nashua South High on Sept. 10.
The 5-foot-8, 152-pound sparkplug turned the corner on his first offensive touch and raced 57 yards down the right sideline for the score.
It sparked a 200-yard game on the ground. Smith hit the mark on just 10 carries, his ninth and 10th attempts going for 43- and 45-yard scores. He also slipped past the defensive secondary for a 47-yard touchdown reception.
“All of our options were doing well (Sept. 10). It wasn't just one guy contributing,” said Smith, whose teammates Kevin Davies and Manny Latimore each rushed for 100-plus yards and a touchdown. “That can create problems for the other team … so it's a good thing for us.”
Makes you wonder what these two talents will do in this year's Salem-Pinkerton Homecoming matchup. The teams play at Salem's Grant Field in Week 4 (Saturday, Sept. 24).
NO 'RUST' ON HER GAME Manchester Central flat out crushed its Division I competition through five matches in girls' soccer. Nicole Rust proved unstoppable.
The Little Green's second-leading scorer a year ago, Rust netted 14 goals through Sept. 13. The five-match total was one strike shy of her career total (15) entering the season.
“Nicole is off to a torrid start this season. But she has seen little second-half playing time,” longtime Central coach Peter Lally told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “As happy as I am with her scoring, I'm just as happy with our midfield and defense, which has thwarted the opposition's offense to this point.”
Central, through five contests, was plus-29 in the scoring margin (32-3). Goalkeeper Jessica Mealey recorded three consecutive shutouts to open the season.
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN It's a safe bet marking Andre Simmonds is top priority for opposing Division I boys' soccer teams. But the strategy didn't seem to help Londonderry High's first handful of foes.
Simmonds registered at least two points in all five Lancer wins through Sept. 15. He buried three shots apiece in wins over Rochester's Spaulding High (9-0) and Keene High (4-2). His second three-goal game represented 75 percent of the team's scoring.
It's clear Simmonds can also set up teammates for strikes. He had two assists in Londonderry's season-opening 7-0 win over Nashua North High, and a one-goal, two-assist effort in the squad's second match, a 4-0 victory against Manchester Memorial High.
GRANITE STATE GREATS
Sophomore running back David Weekly erupted in the second half of Division I Manchester Central's Sept. 2 season-opener. He tallied 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 post-halftime attempts, leading the Little Green to a 30-28 win over Division III Portsmouth.
Quarterback Aaron Martin led Division II Manchester West High to a 32-31 season-opening overtime win at Division III ConVal Regional of Peterborough on Sept. 2. Martin threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning toss to Ricky Rivera.
Signal-caller James Caparell was 14 of 18 for 258 yards and two touchdowns in Division III Bedford High's 42-27 season-opening loss Sept. 2 at Division II Timberlane Regional of Plaistow. Caparell connected with Ryan Collins (63-yard TD) and Dylan York (40-yard TD).
Merrimack High's Sami Smith rattled the cage on a reverse sweep with 28 seconds left in regulation. The goal clinched a 1-0 Division I field hockey win against Dover High on Sept. 6.
James Sheldon netted three goals on Sept. 6. The junior's barrage fueled a 5-1 Division II boys' soccer win for Amherst's Souhegan High, its first victory of the season after an 0-3 start.
Jordyn Hamilton factored in all four Pinkerton goals on Sept. 14. The senior sandwiched two goals between a pair of assists in a 4-0 Division I field hockey win against Nashua's Bishop Guertin High.
Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his "New Hampshire GameDay" blog and follow him on Twitter: @marc_thaler.