Boston High School: Bentley

Recruiting Notes: Exeter's Laurent more than just a leg

November, 13, 2012
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There are football players who are kickers, and then there are football players who can kick. Logan Laurent falls into the second category.

Recruiting Notebook“Sometimes people see kickers and they see someone who's maybe not the best athlete. He's extremely athletic. His upside down the road could be huge. We've sent his tapes all over the place. [Recruiting] will really start to pick up after next week.”

The University of New Hampshire is the only school that has offered Laurent a scholarship, but Dartmouth, North Carolina, Elon and East Carolina are among the other schools that have shown significant interest. He finished first in a kicking camp at East Carolina.

Laurent, who is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, said he's also considering a postgraduate year. UNH's offer came after Laurent attended a clinic there last summer.

“[UNH coach] Sean McDonnell had me do some athletic stuff – run some routes and play some defensive back, which I love doing,” Laurent said. “After that he had me kick some balls on the field and I went 11 for 11.”

Laurent made two field goals (35 and 40 yards) to help Exeter defeat Pinkerton Academy in last year's Division I championship game. The same programs will meet Saturday to decide this year's Division I championship.

Laurent grew up playing soccer, but Ball persuaded him to play football as a freshman. He played varsity soccer and kicked for the football team as a sophomore.

“I really, really like UNH,” Laurent said. “They're a phenomenal team and have a great 1-AA program, but I'm also talking to other schools and I'm not going to make any decisions until after the season's over. Gotta win a state championship.”

DRY TALENT POOL: Longtime recruiting analyst Tom Lemming wrote a story for last Thursday's South Bend Tribune that said a lack of talent at the high school level in New England is largely responsible for Boston College's recent struggles on the football field.

Here's an excerpt from that story:

“Their problem is that New England has been drastically bad talent-wise the last few years. The talent has never been great there, but it’s been pretty good. There hasn’t been much talent at all in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont don’t produce a lot.”

THIS FORD IS RUNNING FINE: Recruiting interest has picked up for Souhegan (Amherst, N.H.) senior Tyler Ford, who moved from wide receiver to quarterback this season. He's also a kicker, and starts in the defensive backfield.

“He's high on the [recruiting board] of three 1-AA schools: Marist, Holy Cross and UNH,” Souhegan coach Mike Beliveau said. “He's getting great interest from three Division II schools: Bentley, Stonehill and Assumption; and there are a bunch of Division III schools interested, led by Trinity.

“He's 6-feet, 185 pounds. Very solid. He could play receiver or defensive back. He'll definitely punt.”

Ford has passed for 1,920 yards and rushed for 991 yards this season. Souhegan has one game remaining on its schedule.

MASS. APPEAL: Milton Academy linebacker Matt Morin is hearing from some big-name schools, but has yet to receive his first offer. Morin played for Bridgewater-Raynham before transferring to Milton Academy, where he repeated his sophomore year. He recently completed his junior season.

“I'd say Penn State and Maryland are the leading two in terms of interest,” Morin said. “I get mailings from Missouri two or three times a week. Nebraska invited me to their camp. Villanova and UNH have expressed a lot of interest.

Morin, who wrestles for Milton Academy, said he's also heard from Boston College.

“Right now it's medium interest, but no offers,” he said.

Recruiting information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at rbrown@nhfootballreport.com.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

February, 18, 2012
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First-time head football coach Adam Gagne would not describe the man he succeeds at Division I Salem High as a Granite State grid legend.

New Hampshire“In my mind, and many other minds, he's not just a New Hampshire coaching legend,” Gagne said of Jack Gati, who retired Dec. 5 after lengthy stints at Manchester's Trinity High (1978-85), Concord High (1986-93) and Salem (1994-2011). “I put him in the New England coaching legends. The states are tied together. They're so close.”

Great answer from the former offensive coordinator for Westford (Mass.) Academy. The 31-year-old takes over for a coach with the third-best win total in state history.

Gati's 37 years calling the shots led to a 221-138 career record, eight championship appearances and four state titles. He won 121 games in his 18 years guiding Salem. Two of those wins, in 1995 and 2009, clinched crowns for the Blue Devils.

Expectations, thanks largely to Gati, are high at 44 Geremonty Drive.

“I put pressure on myself to succeed,” said Gagne, who will continue teaching in Westford Academy's business department. “I wasn't going after any old coaching job. I did my research. It was absolutely the type of program I was seeking for my first job as a head coach.”

Now, the task is to make his mark on the program. Salem's offensive system seems like the logical place to start.

Gagne, a former three-sport athlete at Haverhill (Mass.) High, spent the past three seasons as an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Dual County League's Grey Ghosts.

Prior to joining Rich McKenna's coaching staff at Westford Academy, Gagne spent six seasons as an assistant at Merrimack College. The resident of Haverhill, a neighboring town of Salem, was a three-year starting wide receiver at Bentley University.

Gagne's arrival means this much: fans longing for Salem to attack through the air with greater frequency should get their wish.

“'Spread offense' is such a generic term. It's a form of the spread,” Gagne said of his system. “I don't know if I have a specific name for it. It's probably going to be called the 'Blue Devil system.'”

Whatever its name, Gagne's system is far different from the one Gati preferred.

Almost exclusively relying on the ground game was always a staple of Gati-led teams.

“He's the godfather of the off-tackle. Jack hangs his hat on the running game,” former Concord head coach Bob Camirand, Gati's successor with the Crimson Tide, said when his friend of 40 years retired.

Increased focus on the the passing game certainly separates Gagne from Gati. But, the new coach insists his predecessor, who still teaches at the high school, has a place with the team.

“I see him as a big stakeholder in the program,” Gagne said. “In no way do I want to completely separate myself from that dynamic.”

Retaining two of Gati's former assistants, Dan Kelleher and Robert Pike, proves Gagne's point.

“All of us,” Gagne said, “are going to have our hands dirty in the program.”

(Read full post)

Rivers hires Bentley assistant Keohane

March, 25, 2011
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The Rivers School announced today that is has hired former Bentley University assistant Dan Keohane as its new football head coach.

Keohane also served on the staff at Waltham High from 1976 to 2003, the last 14 years as the Hawks' head coach. As a head coach, he compiled a 101-31-1 record and twice appeared in an MIAA Eastern Mass Super Bowl, including a thrilling 21-20 overtime win over Bridgewater-Raynham in the 1991 Division 1B Super Bowl.

“Coach Keohane is a highly qualified and passionate coach who understands not only who we are, but also what is needed to provide our football players with a quality experience,” Rivers athletic director Jim McNally said in a statement. “He is a proven professional educator who understands kids, knows how to motivate and communicate with them, and makes their needs his priority.”

Keohane replaces Rich Fisher, who early last month accepted a position as wide receivers coach at the University of Nebraska.

“This is not just a great football program but a great school,” Keohane said in the same statement. “From my first moments on campus I’ve really felt at home. I’m eager to coach a successful team and continue Rivers’ winning ways.”

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