Boston High School: Brian O'Reilly

Concord rolls in N.H. state football championships

November, 23, 2013
11/23/13
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Saturday’s NHIAA Division I championship game provided something no one expected to see: running time.

NHIAA rules require running time on the game clock once a team builds a lead of 35 points or more, and that’s what happened during top-seeded Concord’s 42-14 triumph over third-seeded Pinkerton Academy.

Concord led 42-7 after Robbie Law connected with Nicholas Comeau for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 6:28 left in the third quarter. Law completed 8 of 11 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns in the victory, which improved Concord’s record to 12-0.

“Our goal has always been to be the best team in New Hampshire and we achieved that today,” Concord running back/linebacker Marc Gaudet said. “We definitely had the confidence coming in that we would be able to handle them, but not like this. Four or five touchdowns? We couldn’t have pictured that. We were playing on a different level today.”

Law also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Gaudet, and a 27-yard score to Seimou Smith. Top-seeded Concord received two rushing touchdowns from tailback Walters Ndi and a 27-yard touchdown run from Leo Sudeih.

Third-seeded Pinkerton (9-3) committed three turnovers (two fumbles) and had a punt blocked, and Concord turned each miscue into a touchdown.

T.J. Urbanik (5-yard run) and Manny Latimore (11-yard run) scored for Pinkerton, which has lost each of the last three Division I title games. Latimore finished the game with 91 yards on 16 carries.

“They earned it today, obviously,” Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly said. “Having the clock run on us in the second half? I’m not sure that’s happened to us before. That’s a credit to them. They did whatever they wanted to today. They’re undefeated for a reason.”

DIVISION II
Plymouth 21, Portsmouth 14 (OT)
Chuck Lenahan won his final game as Plymouth’s head coach when his Bobcats scored in overtime and then kept Portsmouth out of the end zone on its overtime possession.

Plymouth (11-1) took the lead for good when quarterback Collin Sullivan scored on a 13-yard run in overtime. Sullivan also had a 1-yard touchdown run earlier in the game.

Top-seeded Plymouth’s other touchdown came on a 29-yard run by John Thomas.

Second-seeded Portsmouth received a 10-yard touchdown pass from Donovan Phanor to Loden Formachelli, and 19-yard touchdown run from Phanor. Portsmouth (10-2) beat Plymouth, 27-22, during the regular season.

It was Plymouth’s 20th state championship in Lenahan’s 43 years as the program’s head coach. Lenahan, who announced his plans to retire earlier this year, improved his coaching record to 356-70-1.

DIVISION III
Bow 20, Stevens 6

Top-seeded Bow turned in another dominating defensive performance and won its first state championship since 2004.

Bow allowed 12 points in its three playoff games, and held eight opponents to seven points or less this season. The Falcons posted four shutouts.

Chris Robbins ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns for Bow, which raised its record to 10-1 and ended the season on a 10-game winning streak. Robbins scored on runs of 1 and 10 yards. The Falcons also received 123 yards rushing on 20 carries from Matt Ehrenberg, who set a school record with 1,503 yards rushing this season.

Bow’s other touchdown came on a 1-yard run from Gavin Lacourciere.

Second-seeded Stevens (8-3) scored on a 5-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Tanguay to Brandon Bell. Donald Pellerin led the Cardinals with 127 yards rushing on 23 carries.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.

N.H. football championships preview

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
5:16
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New Hampshire will crown its three state champions in football Saturday, when the championship game in each division will be held at the home of the higher-seeded team. Here are the matchups and the top storyline in each game:

Division I: Pinkerton Academy (9-2) at Concord (11-0), 1 p.m.
Pinkerton is playing in the Division I championship game for the ninth time in the last 10 years and will be trying to knock off the only unbeaten team in the state.

Division II: Portsmouth (10-1) at Plymouth (10-1), 1 p.m.
This will be Chuck Lenahan’s final game as Plymouth’s head coach. Lenahan has a 355-70-1 record in 43 seasons on the Plymouth sideline. No New England high school football coach has won more games. A victory in this contest would hand Lenahan his 20th state championship.

Division III: Stevens (8-2) at Bow (9-1), 1 p.m.
Stevens will be trying to win its first state championship in football since 1962, and the school’s first state title in any sport since 1989 (boys' soccer).

Here’s a closer look at each game:


Pinkerton at Concord
No one has come closer to beating Concord this season than Pinkerton, which had an eight-point lead with less than a minute to play in the regular-season game between these teams. Concord scored with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, added the two-point conversion and prevailed 21-14 in overtime.

Each team has scored 467 points (42.5 ppg.), which is a single-season school record for both programs. Concord runs a spread offense and is as dangerous through air as it is running the ball. Pinkerton runs a wing-T that has helped Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly post a 270-103 record in 36 seasons with the Astros.

“That’s a crowd-pleasing offense,” O’Reilly said when asked about Concord. “That’s not what we do. We run the ball until you stop us from running the ball."

Pinkerton will be looking for a big game from senior running back Manny Latimore, who has rushed for 1,496 yards and 16 touchdowns on 165 carries this season.

“Manny is a talented kid,” Concord coach Eric Brown said. “Giving up big plays is my No. 1 concern. We’ll have to minimize those.”

Concord also has a 1,000-yard rusher in Walters Ndi, who has run for 1,095 yards on 21 carries. He’s complimented by running back/slot receiver Marc Gaudet, who has scored 19 touchdowns (16 rushing).

Concord’s other offensive weapons include quarterback Rob Law, who has completed 92 of 138 passes for 1,404 yards and 15 touchdowns; and wide receiver Seimou Smith, who has a team-high 32 receptions for 620 yards and seven touchdowns.

“It’s hard to stop a team when they have so many facets they can go to,” O’Reilly said. “They’re the real deal.”

Portsmouth at Plymouth
Plymouth hasn’t lost a championship game at home since 1995, but Portsmouth beat the Bobcats 27-22 in Plymouth earlier this season. Plymouth built a 22-7 lead in that game, but the Clippers scored three touchdowns in the final quarter.

Like the Division I championship game, this contest will offer a contrast in offensive styles. Plymouth runs the wing-T and rarely throws the ball. Portsmouth uses a four-wide, no-huddle offense and prefers to attack through the air.

Plymouth has two 1,000-yard rushers in its backfield in Jared Kuehl (1,021) and John Thomas (1,011). Plymouth quarterback Collin Sullivan has completed 47 of 73 passes for 842 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s also run for seven touchdowns.

Portsmouth quarterback Donovan Phanor has completed 89 of 166 passes for 1,478 yards and 17 touchdowns, and has run for 719 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Clippers have four receivers who are averaging at least 10 yards per catch.

“There’s no rocket science in this one,” Portsmouth coach Brian Pafford said. “You can’t go toe-to-toe with them. You have to spread them out and make things happen. If it’s OK weather I think we can move the ball and put points up.

“Defensively you have to play tough up front. When we watched film on them before our first game we never saw them punt. If we can get one stop a quarter, that’s pretty good.”

This is the fourth meeting between these programs. Plymouth has a 3-1 record in those games, which includes a 35-20 triumph in the 2006 Division III championship game.

Stevens at Bow
Defense has been the story for each of these teams. Seven of Bow’s opponents failed to score more than seven points, and Stevens hasn’t surrendered more than six points in any of its last five games.

Each team has a go-to player on offense. Bow’s Matt Ehrenberg has rushed for a school-record 1,380 yards this year. Donald Pellerin leads Stevens with 1,377 yards and 22 touchdowns on 255 carries.

Bow scored in each quarter when it posted a 28-14 victory over Stevens during the regular season, but the Cardinals have won seven in a row since that loss.

Alex Reitze may be a wildcard for Bow, which is seeking the program’s first state championship since 2004. Reitze missed the first five games this season with appendicitis, but gained a team-high 98 yards on 14 carries in last Saturday’s semifinal victory over Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough.

The regular-season loss to Bow was the only game in which Pellerin didn’t score at least one touchdown this season.

“Bow does a real good job against the run,” Stevens coach Paul Silva said. “We’ll need to be on top of our game in all phases.”

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.

New Hampshire Week 6 football preview

October, 11, 2013
10/11/13
1:38
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There are plenty of people who figured the Concord High School football team would be good this season, but it’s unlikely anyone expected the Crimson Tide to be this good.

New HampshireConcord is 5-0, has won each game by at least 28 points and is averaging 50 points per contest.

Two Crimson Tide running backs are averaging more than 13 yards per carry: Mark Gaudet (13.5) and Walters Ndi (13.2).

“They’ve had their way with everybody,” Pinkerton Academy coach Brian O’Reilly said when asked about Concord, a team Pinkerton will face Friday night in Derry. “No one has been able to stay with them so far, so we’ll see. If we’re not able to stop their offense it’s going to be a long night.”

The Astros are having a pretty good season as well, Pinkerton has won four in a row since opening with a 14-12 loss at unbeaten Bedford.

Pinkerton has the top offensive threat in the state in senior running back Manny Latimore, who has run for 955 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

Concord coach Eric Brown said the No. 1 thing on his team’s to-do list tonight is preventing Latimore from having a huge night.

“Manny Latimore is in a class by himself,” Brown said. “It’s not just his runs from scrimmage. It’s his punt returns, kickoff returns and the other things he’s done. Hopefully they’ll have to go to someone else.

“We’ve been really strong against the run, but I think Pinkerton’s offense is a different level than some of the teams we’ve been playing. This is going to be a big challenge for us.”

Elsewhere in Division I this weekend:

Spaulding (Rochester) will meet Bishop Guertin (Nashua) on Saturday (4 p.m.) at Nashua’s Stellos Stadium. The game features two teams that are battling to get into the playoffs. BG (4-1) suffered a one-point setback against Winnacunnet (Hampton) in its opener, but has won four in a row since then. Spaulding (3-2) thrust itself into the playoff picture by beating Winnacunnet 42-29 last Friday.

Keene (3-2) will play at Winnacunnet (3-2) in a game that will all but eliminate one team from the playoff hunt. Keene is in third place, behind Nashua South (5-0) and Bishop Guertin (4-1), in Division I West. Winnacunnet is in a three-way tie for first place with Spaulding and Exeter (3-2) in Division I East. Two teams from each conference will qualify for postseason play.

DIVISION II

Even though St. Thomas Aquinas in Dover is about a 15-minute ride from Portsmouth High School, it’s been more than 40 years since the schools played each other in football. That will change Friday night, when the teams will meet in Portsmouth.

St. Thomas is 5-0, Portsmouth is 4-1. The winner will have sole possession of first place in Division II East. Each team runs a spread offense.

“We’re very similar in terms of style,” St. Thomas coach Eric Cumba said. “It could be a very high-scoring game, or the longest game in history.”

St. Thomas has allowed 41 points in its five victories, two of which were shutouts. Portsmouth has scored at least 35 points in each of its five games, and has put up at least 41 points three times.

Portsmouth has won the last two Division III championships, and St. Thomas enters the weekend as one of seven unbeaten teams in the state. Concord, Bedford, Nashua South, Plymouth, Monadnock and Pelham are the others.

“The first thing that jumps out at you is that they carry that Portsmouth High School aura,” St. Thomas coach Eric Cumba said. “There’s a lot of tradition going on there.

“Then when you pop in the film you see that they get the ball to a lot of different guys all over the field. They might be the most explosive team I’ve coached against. They’re a lot like Trinity (Manchester) and Plymouth in terms of their ability to score points, they just do it in a different way.”

DIVISION III

Pelham, the only unbeaten team in Division III, will try to extend its winning streak to five games when it plays at Epping-Newmarket (2-2) Saturday. Despite its 4-0 record, Pelham has little room for error, since the three other teams in its conference -- Bow, Campbell and Somersworth -- each have three victories.

Pelham’s defense has allowed 20 points in its four games. Division I Bedford is the only team in the state that has allowed fewer points (12).

In terms of playoff position, the most meaningful game in Division III this weekend is Saturday’s matchup between Gilford (3-2) and Newfound (2-2) in Bristol. Gilford is tied with Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough for first place in Division III North. Newfound is alone in third.

(Read full post)

New Hampshire Week 1 football preview

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
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Pinkerton Academy football coach Brian O'Reilly had three quarterbacks competing for the starting job throughout the preseason, but few people outside of the O'Reilly household know who will be behind center when Pinkerton opens its Division I season at Bedford on Friday night.

New HampshireThe candidates are all juniors: Jack Hannaway, Conner Holland and Jake Froehlich. Hannaway and Holland were with the Pinkerton program last season. Froehlich transferred to Pinkerton from the Tilton School, where he threw for 1,492 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight games last season.

Choosing from three talented quarterbacks is a problem many coaches would welcome.

“But it is a problem,” O'Reilly said. “They're all pretty good.”

Regardless of who it is, Pinkerton's quarterback will be handing the ball to running back Manny Latimore often Friday night. Latimore, who is widely considered to be the top offensive players in the state, rushed for 1,504 last season. He'll likely have a larger role in the Pinkerton offense this season.

“Based on his senior year, it's possible that Manny could be one of the best running backs we've ever had here,” O'Reilly said. “When you have that kind of weapon you have to use it. I will use it. Trust me.”

Bedford is playing in its third division in as many years. The Bulldogs lost to Portsmouth in the 2011 championship game, and to Winnacunnet in last year's Division II championship game.

The Bulldogs, who have 125 players in their program, made to move to Division I in the offseason.

“This is where I would prefer to be,” said Bedford coach Kurt Hines, who has been Bedford's head coach since the school first fielded a varsity team in 2008. “We're going to find out where we fit in the division Friday night.”

***


Winnacunnet at Bishop Guertin is another interesting Division I matchup on this weekend’s schedule. The Warriors and Cardinals are scheduled to meet Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Nashua's Stellos Stadium.

Both programs competed at the Division II level last season, but each was placed in Division I when the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association reduced the number of divisions for football from six to three.

Winnacunnet defeated BG in last year's Division II semifinals.

“As long as we stay healthy I think we should be in the playoffs,” BG coach Travis Cote said. “We should be in that first round (quarterfinals) and who knows after that.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

May, 16, 2013
5/16/13
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White Mountains Regional won last year's Division III softball championship, but there's a lot to like about this year's White Mountains team as well.

New HampshireThe Spartans, who improved their Division III record to 13-0 by beating Kennett, 5-1, Monday, are the only unbeaten high school softball or baseball team in New Hampshire. White Mountains has dominant pitching and a .460 team batting average.

"We have some unrecognized girls who have been playing pretty good defense too,” White Mountains coach Forrest Hicks said. “I feel we’re a complete team. These girls have played together a lot."

White Mountains has 10 players on its roster who played in more than 100 games for the Way North summer league team last year. Junior pitcher Erica Millett is among those players. Millett is 11-0 with a 0.56 ERA this spring.

White Mountains, which beat Stevens of Claremont to win last year's title, has surrendered 13 runs in its 13 games.

"If Erica’s not the best pitcher in the state, she’s probably very close," Hicks said. "She throws multiple pitches, she throws hard and she has great control."

All but one player in the White Mountains starting lineup is batting over .400. Rebecca Hicks (Forrest's daughter) is batting a team-high .547, followed by Kaylee Savage (.523) and Chelsea Payer (.517).

Forrest Hicks said he expects Gilford and Campbell to be among the major obstacles between White Mountains and another state title.

"I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I’m really not surprised by how the girls have been playing," he said. "We were competitive against a lot of good teams in the summer. The only real surprise has been the consistency of our defense."

LET THERE BE LIGHTS
Pinkerton Academy football fans will have their Saturdays free this fall.

Lights are scheduled to be installed at Pinkerton Academy's football field and track in time for the Astros to play their 2013 home games on Friday nights. Last season, Pinkerton was the only Division I football program without lights.

"I've been told that we are good to go," Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. "They have announced it to the public. The lights will go up in May and June."

Pinkerton's first home night game will be Sept. 13 against Manchester Central. The Astros will also play Londonderry, Concord and Goffstown at home this season.

COACHING CAROUSEL
Claude Gagnon's tenure as Spaulding's football coach was a short one. Gagnon resigned in late April after spending one season as the the Red Raiders' head coach. Spaulding athletic director Kevin Hebert said Gagnon, who is self-employed, had to make some commitments in his personal life that prevented him from returning for a second season.

“He's a builder and things have been pretty busy for him, and his son is in the military and heading back to Afghanistan, so he'll have to help take care of his grandson while he's gone,” Hebert said

Spaulding was 3-8 overall and 2-6 in Division II last season. Gagnon's replacement will be Spaulding's fifth head coach in as many years.

TOUGH TO BEAT
The Bedford boys' lacrosse team extended its winning streak to 33 games by posting a 13-6 Division II triumph over Bow on Monday.

Bedford's winning streak, which began last season, includes victories over three Division I opponents this season: Exeter (11-10), Hanover (11-7) and Londonderry (16-6).

PITCHING IN
Hanover's Joe Cravero tossed a no-hitter against rival Lebanon on May 8. Cravero, who will play for Holy Cross next season, struck out 16 – including 11 of the last 12 batters he faced – in Hanover's 8-0 victory.

MEMORABLE MILESTONE
The Alvirne baseball team's 11-1 triumph over Salem on Monday was career victory No. 300 for Mike Lee, who is in his 30th season as Alvirne’s head coach.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report.

Recruiting Notes: Prep's Bavaro set for Dartmouth

November, 23, 2012
11/23/12
2:10
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Lucas Bavaro called it the toughest decision he's ever made, but in the days leading up to the deadline the choice became clear: He was going to play college football at Dartmouth.

Recruiting NotebookBavaro, a senior at St. John's Prep, received an offer from Dartmouth after attending a football camp there last summer. An offer from Colgate was also on the table, but the Dartmouth coaches asked Bavaro to give them a decision no later than early November.

“It really came down to Colgate and Dartmouth,” Bavaro said. “They wanted me to go early decision, so I think they needed an answer by November 5, but I didn't even need the deadline. Every day I became more and more confident with my decision.”

Bavaro, who plays tight end and an outside linebacker/strong safety hybrid position for St. John's Prep, committed to the Big Green earlier this month. He will play safety in college.

Several other Ivy League schools showed interest in Bavaro, as did FBS schools like Boston College and Connecticut. Bavaro said BC asked him to attend prep school for a year before enrolling, but he had no interest in going that route. He said Ivy League football – and an Ivy League education – had a special appeal.

“My dad [former NFL tight end Mark Bavaro] said football is not forever,” Bavaro said. “I was also thinking about life after football.”

Bavaro, an 18-year-old Boxford resident, will join former Everett High School quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso at Dartmouth next season. DiBiaso is currently attending Phillips Exeter Academy.

“When [Dartmouth] made the offer I was ecstatic,” Bavaro said. “Location was one of the factors. It's like a six-hour ride to Colgate. Dartmouth is about two hours.

“I thought about this decision every day. It feels great to get it over with.”

PINKERTON'S RISING STAR
Pinkerton Academy (Derry, N.H.) running back Manny Latimore will likely be the top-rated recruit in New Hampshire next season.

Latimore ran for 177 yards and scored two touchdowns – one on a 78-yard punt return – in Saturday's 31-21 loss to Exeter in New Hampshire's Division I championship game. Latimore rushed for 1,477 yards and 27 touchdowns during his junior season.

Latimore also starts in the defensive backfield for a Pinkerton team that has reached the Division I title game in each of the last three seasons.

“I think I've been around this long enough to know if a kid can play in college, and football is in Manny's future,” Pinkerton Academy coach Brian O'Reilly said. “I think he'll be a running back. He can run inside and he can run outside. He can also catch the ball.”

Matt Jordan (UMass), Ryan Mihalko (Notre Dame) and Joe Segreti (Holy Cross) are among the Pinkerton Academy running backs who have played in college.

“Manny has track speed and he has football speed,” O'Reilly said. “Sometimes that track speed doesn't always translate. A lot will depend on what camps he attends this summer.”

QUARTERBACK OPTIONS
As reported on ESPN Boston earlier this week, Tabor Academy quarterback Miles Wright received a scholarship offer from UMass last weekend.

Wright transferred to Tabor Academy from Boston Latin, and is repeating his junior year. UMass has one QB in its current recruiting class: Todd Stafford of The Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn. Stafford, a three-star recruit, committed in March.

Wright is a dual-threat quarterback who scored 23 touchdowns (12 passing) in eight games for Tabor this season.

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

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
12:43
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Whenever the Pinkerton Academy football team generated some momentum in Saturday's Division I championship game, Exeter took it away.

New HampshireThe Astros scored three touchdowns in the game, and Exeter answered with a touchdown on its ensuing possession each time. The Blue Hawks delivered the knockout blow when quarterback Ethan Joyce connected with halfback Colby Swane on a 27-yard touchdown pass with 4:47 remaining in Exeter's 31-21 victory.

The touchdown pass came shortly after Pinkerton's Manny Latimore returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown that helped the Astros pull with three points, 24-21, with 9:22 to play.

“We could not get p[the Exeter offense] off the field,” Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. “We worked really hard for our offense today – sometimes too hard. We worked and worked and worked, and then they go right down the field and score on us. We couldn't make them give the ball back to us.”

Top-seeded Exeter completed its season with an 11-1 record (10-0 in Division I). Second-seeded Pinkerton finished 10-2 overall, and 8-2 in Division I. Both Pinkerton losses came against Exeter.

“Every time I thought we were in a little danger, we came back and responded offensively,” Exeter coach Bill Ball said. “Offensively we probably executed as well as we have all year – against a very good team. A lot of third-down and fourth-down conversions. Just a real solid effort by the guys.”

The Exeter-Pinkerton contest was one of three championship games played Saturday. Winnacunnet defeated Bedford 21-13 to win the Division II title; and Portsmouth beat Goffstown 54-27 in the Division III championship game.

The Astros received a strong performance from Latimore, a junior running back who opened the scoring with an 84-yard touchdown run.

Exeter answered when Jamie Vogt scored on a 7-yard run, and then took its first lead when fullback Galen Antolino scored on a 4-yard run with 7:51 left in the first half. The PAT was blocked, which left Exeter with a 13-7 advantage.

Pinkerton quarterback Sean Conroy capped a 13-play drive with a 6-yard touchdown run on the opening possession of the third quarter, but this time it took the Blue Hawks three plays to retake the lead. Senior halfback Tyler Grant scored his 20th rushing touchdown of the season and added the two-point conversion to give Exeter a 21-14 advantage with 5:41 left in the third.

Grant, who entered the game with 1,138 yards on 151 rushing attempts, finished with 96 yards on 22 carries.

After Logan Laurent's 32-yard field goal extended Exeter's lead to 10 points, Latimore kept things interesting by returning a Laurent punt for a touchdown. Latimore rushed for a game-high 177 yards on 22 carries.

Any hope for a Pinkerton victory was erased when Joyce hooked up with Swane for a touchdown pass that helped Exeter push its lead to 10 points.

It was the second time Exeter has beaten Pinkerton to win the Division I championship in as many years. The Blue Hawks prevailed, 23-13, in Derry last season.

“I'd say this one feels a little better,” Grant said. “It's my senior year and to go out on top is unbelievable.”

DIVISION II: Winnacunnet 21, Bedford 13
Junior quarterback Ing Hao Veasna turned in what may have been the best game of his varsity career and led top-seeded Winnacunnet to its first state championship since 2000.

Veasna completed 8 of 11 passes for 163 yards and scored on a 5-yard run in the third quarter. Carly Gould made her second of three point-after kicks following Veasna's touchdown to give the Warriors (11-1) a 14-7 lead.

Gould, who played girls' soccer for Winnacunnet, will play college soccer at Brown.

Quarterback James Caparell scored on a pair of 2-yard runs for Bedford (9-2). His second TD made it a 14-13 game with 56 seconds left in the third quarter, but the PAT failed.

Caparell gained 106 yards on 13 carries, and completed 11 of 14 passes for 94 yards.

Seth Edwards scored the game's final touchdown on a 14-yard run with 1:14 to play.

Running back Ben Franzoso opened the scoring with an 8-yard run. Franzoso picked up 80 yards on 26 carries and finished the season with 1,431 yards rushing.

Winnacunnet beat Bedford, 14-6, during the regular season.

DIVISION III: Portsmouth 54, Goffstown 27
Injuries forced fourth-seeded Portsmouth to use four different quarterbacks this season, but junior Donovan Phanor looked healthy Saturday.

Phanor passed for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 178 yards and two more touchdowns to help Portsmouth repeat as the Division III champion.

Portsmouth wide receiver Colin MacDonald caught six passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

Portsmouth (8-2) also won last year's championship as the No. 4 seed. Third-seeded Goffstown (6-4) trailed 20-14 at halftime, but the Clippers scored on each of their first five possessions in the second half.

Goffstown quarterback Connor Benjamin passed for 150 yards and gained 143 yards on the ground in the loss.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report: www.nhfootballreport.com.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

October, 31, 2012
10/31/12
7:04
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In the rich history of New England high school football, there isn't a head coach with more career wins than Plymouth (N.H.) Regional's Chuck Lenahan.

New Hampshire“How do I put this? It's a great honor, especially for the school and the program. That's the important thing,” said Lenahan, 69, who clinched career win No. 343 with a 35-21 Division IV decision over John Stark Regional on Oct. 27.

The 14-point win pushed Lenahan's career mark to 343-69-1. He moved past Rod Wotton (342-81-3), who retired in 2010. Wotton enjoyed successful stints at Maine schools South Berwick and Marshwood, and New Hampshire's St. Thomas Aquinas in Dover (111 NHIAA wins).

Lenahan, of course, has never left Plymouth. As if his .831 winning percentage over 41-plus campaigns doesn't cut it, consider these football feats:


-- 29 state championship appearancesar


-- 18 state championships


-- 12 undefeated seasons


-- NHIAA's longest win streaks (57 games from 2005-10; 46 games from 2000-04)

On the strength of those win streaks – the 57-gamer a nation-best early in '10 -- Plymouth went 106-2 (nine titles) from 2000-09.

“Unparalleled success. A level of consistency that is so uncommon it's incredible,” said Bill Ball, the athletics director and 20-year head football coach at Division I Exeter. “To year-in and year-out put out the quality that he does on the football field, yet maintain a high level of sportsmanship, (the record is) an incredible accomplishment by Chuck, his coaches, his players and the Plymouth community.”

The gap between Lenahan and his peers, in terms of career NHIAA wins, is considerable. Brian O'Reilly of Division I Pinkerton Academy is second (249-102). Recently retired Jack Gati, who split time at then-Division I Trinity, Concord and Salem, is third (221-138).

To think, Lenahan didn't crack the win column as a 27-year-old rookie head coach in 1971. After settling for a season-opening 14-14 tie with Hanover, the Bobcats lost their final six games.

“We lost a lot of close games, I'll tell you that. We had injuries all over the place,” Lenahan said. “But I don't believe I had much of a clue what was going on anyway.”

If Lenahan was ever truly clueless, he quickly corrected the coaching flaw. The Bobcats celebrated their first undefeated championship season in '72, the first year the NHIAA adopted a playoff format.

Lenahan's first win was an 18-12 triple-overtime triumph against Newport on Sept. 9, 1972. The OT format, like postseason play, was new to the state's football landscape.

More milestone moments from Lenahan's legendary career:


-- Win No. 100 – Plymouth 22, Littleton 0 (Nov. 3, 1984)


-- Win No. 200 – Plymouth 34, Monadnock 12 (Oct. 10, 1998)


-- Win No. 217, NHIAA record – Plymouth 14, Kennett 0 (Sept. 16, 2000)


-- Win No. 300 – Plymouth 41, Kingswood 7 (Sept. 13, 2008)


Plymouth is again in a familiar position. Lenahan & Co. are the top playoff seed and two wins from a perfect season.

"A big part of our program has been consistency. I'm pretty proud of that," Lenahan said. "Our kids come to play no matter what we have for talent."

XC CHAMPS CROWNED
Northwood's Coe-Brown Academy collected considerable hardware at the NHIAA Cross Country Championship on Oct. 27.

Hannah Parker paced the girls' team to its third consecutive Division II title at Derryfield Park in Manchester. The sophomore finished the 3.1-mile run in 18 minutes, 58 seconds to lead the field. Junior Jeremy Brassard earned an individual title with his time of 16:08.

Parker and Brown became Coe-Brown's first individual winners.

Parker and her teammates were particularly dominant. The underclassman-laden squad was responsible for the first-, third-, fifth-, seventh- and ninth-place finishers. The team tallied a championship-low 25 points.

In Division I, Bedford's boys (57 points) and Londonderry's girls (89) finished No. 1. Concord's B.J. Smith (16:06) and Manchester Central's Elizabeth Conway (18:45) were the individual champs.

Souhegan's boys (44 points) won the Division II title.

In Division III, Hopkinton's boys (65 points) and girls (41) celebrated a No. 1 finish.

Fall Mountain's Levi Frye (16:12) paced the boys. Laconia's Sami Hicks (19:38) was first to finish for the girls.

DEJA VU
Manchester Memorial's Jared Ombati gained more than 300 yards on the ground for the second time this season on Oct. 26. The senior running back totaled 354 yards (three touchdowns) on 31 carries in his team's 29-14 win over Division II Manchester West.

Ombati shredded Division I foe Londonderry on Sept. 21. He ran for 330 yards (five TDs) in a 33-25 win.

“All week, we said the only one that would beat us was 20,” said West head coach Jim Lauzon, referncing Ombati's uniform number. “We had guys (in practice) pretend to be him. One of our coaches dressed and was him. We thought we were really ready to stop him.”

West's defense did stop Ombati – through two carries. He was stuffed for no gain on his first rush. He moved the ball 1 yard on his second touch.

Ombati finished the quarter with four carries for 139 yards, including 55- and 83-yard TD runs that capped one-play drives. His final TD, a 42-yard burst, also finished a one-play possession.

“He's one of the fastest kids in the school,” Memorial head coach Peter Colcord said. “I've been waiting for this for four years. He's really turned it on this year.”

Marc Thaler can be reached at marc.thaler@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @marc_thaler.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

October, 15, 2012
10/15/12
7:41
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The 17-year series between regional football heavyweights Pinkerton (N.H.) Academy and Brockton (Mass.) High ended the way it started in 1996.

New HampshirePinkerton celebrated a six-point road win.

The 10-time NHIAA Division I champion from Derry forced five turnovers and left Marciano Stadium on Oct. 12 with a 20-14 triumph. The Astros snapped a five-game losing streak in the series, and earned a share of New Hampshire's No. 1 ranking as a result.

If the Boxers feel they lost the finale more than their opponents won it, that has been Pinkerton's belief the past four years. Turnovers – often at critical times – haunted the Astros.

It still burns Pinkerton head coach Brian O'Reilly that his 2008 team lost, 28-27. Those Astros coughed up a 27-7 lead, thanks largely to problems protecting the football.

“This game was more like the last four years,” O'Reilly said of the 2012 contest's up-for-grabs nature. “Only this time, we were able to make plays in the fourth quarter.”

Brockton dominated the series, finishing with a 12-5 record. Those 12 wins were by a 15.8-point margin. The Boxers created separation with a 9-1 mark from 2002-11.

Before Brockton's run, the series was knotted at 3-3. The '96 Astros, led by junior Mac Gassman, stunned the Peter Harris-led Boxers, 26-20, in the inaugural meeting.

O'Reilly's current players were aware the series was ending. NHIAA football will undergo significant realignment for the 2013 season. The changes include adding an extra round of playoffs, which leaves the Astros without an open date to conduct business with the Boxers.

“(The players) were told, 'This is a playoff game. We're going to Brockton and this is playoff intensity. Anybody that can walk is playing. We’re not just going down there to go through the motions,'” O'Reilly said. “You have to (make that clear) with kids every now and then in football.”

Captain Matt St. Onge best illustrates how badly the Astros wanted to finish strong. A leg injury sidelined the senior during practice in the days leading up to kick-off.

St. Onge played one snap on offense before the coaches decided to find another alternative at fullback. St. Onge, however, did not miss a play at linebacker. He and junior Matt Madden (interception, six solo tackles) were instrumental in the outcome.

“Our linebackers, I can't speak enough about them,” O'Reilly said. “Matt St. Onge essentially played on one leg.”

Normally a halfback, junior Manny Latimore moved to St. Onge's position on offense. Latimore rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.

St. Onge's twin brother, Chris, averaged 4 yards per carry (11 rushes, 44 yards). Senior quarterback Sean Conroy tossed a 33-yard scoring strike to James Toohey.

Ryan Day's 1-yard run shortly before halftime snapped a 14-14 tie. O'Reilly lauded assistant coaches Bryon Murphy and Mike Gooden for making adjustments to the defense's coverage scheme that helped the Astros pitch a second-half shutout.

O'Reilly admitted feeling a sense of satisfaction over winning the finale. But he quickly placed the win in perspective.

“Even though it was a playoff atmosphere,” he said, “it wasn't a championship.”

100 GOALS
Milford senior Morgan Andrews, the reigning Gatorade National Girls' Soccer Player of the Year, scored her 100th career goal on Oct. 5. The milestone marker was one of her five goals that fueled Division II Milford's 8-0 win over Manchester West.

Andrews – a member of the U.S. Under-17 team that recently competed for the Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan – also kicks field goals and extra points for the Division III football team.

Hours after hitting the century mark in soccer, she drilled the game-winning 33-yard field goal that lifted the Spartans past Division I Nashua North, 24-21.

“I am actually home for the rest of (the NHIAA) season,” said Andrews, who missed high school games to play international soccer. “After the World Cup, we're allowed a bit of a break.”

100 WINS
Exeter defeated Concord, 3-0, in Division I field hockey on Oct. 10. The decision earned head coach Deb Grott her 100th career win.

Erin McKenna threaded a pass that led to Kelly Poncelet's first-half goal, the game-winner. Lexi Grott doubled the lead before halftime, and assisted on McKenna's late-game goal.

“What has been great about this achievement is the incredible group of girls I've had over the years who have all been a part of this run,” said Deb Grott, Exeter's leader since 2003. “I hope that the lessons they have learned on the playing field will serve them well outside of high school.”

Exeter has qualified for the Division I tournament in every year Deb Grott has guided the program. The 2006 team reached the state final, a game it lost to powerhouse Salem.

“I am extremely proud of all my teams and feel incredibly lucky to have had the coaches who have been next to me along the way,” she said.

RUNNING TO THE RECORD
Jesiah Wade set Division VI Campbell High's single-season rushing record on Oct. 13. He gained 274 yards (five TDs) on 19 carries, pushing his seven-game rushing total to 1,511 yards.

The junior's five touchdowns lifted his season total to 28 rushing TDs, also a program-record.

Wade entered the season's seventh week just 175 yards off the pace set by previous record-holder Dave Levesque (1,412 in 2003).

Perhaps most impressive is Wade has only played two full games to date. Campbell head coach Marc Prindiville pulled his quick-strike threat in five games because the team was in complete control.

“It's outstanding. I'm pretty sure he's leading the state – all six divisions – in touchdowns and rushing yards,” Prindiville said. “That's not even (including) his all-purpose yards.”

Marc Thaler is a reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He co-hosts the “N.H. High School Football Show” on WGIR-AM 610 and WQSO-FM 96.7. Read his blog at NewHampshireGameDay.com and follow him on Twitter: @marc_thaler.

Recap: Pinkerton (N.H.) 20, No. 8 Brockton 14

October, 13, 2012
10/13/12
12:56
AM ET


BROCKTON, Mass. –- Despite fumbling the ball, losing it four times, and an interception, the Brockton Boxers made it a game down the last two minutes. But the New Hampshire power Pinkerton Astros concluded the teams’ 19-year interstate rivalry in dramatic fashion, with a stern defensive stand late in the fourth quarter, to win out 20-14.

“I think [turnover ratio] made all the difference in the world,” said Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly.

Brockton last took possession of the ball with 2:33 left in the game, in receipt of the ball following Pinkerton gave up their fourth lost fumble. After Aaron LeClair and Micah Morel rushed for seven and five yards, respectively to get the first down, the Boxer fans were licking their lips, hoping their team could drive the 43 yards to the end zone to tie the game, and either kick or convert on the extra point to win.

On the following play, Brockton spiked the ball at 1:50 to stop the clock. On second down, Aaron LeClair (2 TDs) caught the ball in the middle of Pinkerton defenders but could not hold on. On second down, a screen pass from Morel to Ricardo Calixte netted a two-yard loss, leaving Brockton with a fourth and 12 from the Pinkerton 45.

Morel decided to go back to LeClair on a swing pass to the left, and the ball hit LeClair, but he was again unable to hold onto it. Regardless, he was surrounded by Pinkerton defensive backs and linemen who slid over to secure the victory. Had he caught the ball, nothing short of an apparition could have granted him the opportunity to run for the first down.

Before giving the ball up for the last time, Pinkerton had an interesting series.

Recovering the ball for the fourth time on the day, and starting from their own 47, Pinkerton first received a facemask penalty to move back to the 32. An illegal motion made it first and 30 for the Rockets. Jake Lisauskas carried the ball for four yards before a delay of game set up a second and 29 for Pinkerton.

Conroy fumbled the ball on the following play and fell on it for three-yard loss setting up 3rd and 32. Manny Latimore (27 carries, 150 yards) took the ball one yard before David Andrews’ 35-yard punt, which was nearly blocked.

“We were on our heels the whole time,” added O’Reilly. “Our offense went into the tank in the fourth quarter. We really couldn’t sustain a drive. I thought we could get that last one and run the time out and we couldn’t.”

Tradition's future on hold: Pinkerton and Brockton have been playing each other for the last 17 years. Last night’s match was the last scheduled between the two teams due to shifting schedules for Pinkerton which do not allot any open dates.

“We came in here, a long, long time ago, got the first one, got the last one,” joked O’Reilly. “It’s been an honor to play this program. I hope we can get back in the future.”

Brockton coach Peter Colombo admires not only the competitive side of the nearly two decade relationship, but the camaraderie that has been birthed out of a mutual occupation as head coach of premier football teams.

“We’re going to miss it,” Colombo added.

PINKERTON (N.H.) 20, BROCKTON 14
PA (6-1) 7 13 0 0 -- 20
BR (3-3) 6 8 0 0 – 14


First Quarter
P – Manny Latimore 27 run (Erik Anderson kick)
B – Aaron LeClair 82 punt return (kick failed)

Second Quarter
P – James Toohey 33 pass from Sean Conroy (Anderson kick)
B – LeClair 26 run (Micah Morel pass from Isaiah Kearns)
P – Ryan Day 1 run (kick failed)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

September, 2, 2012
9/02/12
9:04
PM ET
Talk of an obscure rule in the NHIAA football policies and procedures manual -- and, more specifically, one prominent head coach's violation of it -- dominated the 2012 preseason.


New HampshireMike Beliveau made statewide news Aug. 21 when the story of his infraction broke in the New Hampshire Union Leader. The longtime leader at Division III power Souhegan said he unknowingly violated the manual's 15th point of emphasis, which prohibits filming or scouting opponents before their final scrimmage or jamboree of the preseason.


Beliveau attended the Aug. 17 scrimmage between Division I Nashua South and host Winnacunnet, a Division II program doubling as Souhegan's season-opening opponent.


“I did not know the policy. As a 20-year veteran coach, I should have,” Beliveau told the Union Leader. “Because I did not know the policy, I violated the policy when I went scouting. I've recommended to my school, my team, the NHIAA, that I be unavailable to coach the first two regular-season games.”


School officials, not the NHIAA, handle disciplinary issues involving coaches. But the state's governing body for interscholastic athletics must approve of the school's recommended sanction.


All parties agreed a one-game penalty was sufficient, meaning Beliveau will serve a Week 1 suspension on Aug. 31 while his Sabers face the team he scouted.


“For the nature of the infraction, in football, two weeks is a good chunk of the season,” NHIAA executive director Patrick Corbin told the statewide newspaper. “The AD and myself agreed that one game was adequate for this situation.”


Beyond the initial statement provided, Beliveau has declined to comment.


Many of his coaching colleagues, however, spoke openly about the matter. They did so during, of all events, the 23rd annual Queen City Jamboree on Aug. 24 at Gill Stadium. The QCJ has long been considered football's final dress rehearsal before the regular season kicks off.


The overwhelming majority of football coaches at the jamboree said they did not know the rule existed – until Beliveau's misstep brought it to light.


Brian O'Reilly, entering his 35th year at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, is among them.


“I'm not surprised he didn't know and, I think, most coaches didn't know,” O'Reilly said. “And to be honest with you, I never really looked at (the manual) either.”


The fact the rule was enforced opened eyes. Several coaches said, for years, representatives of opposing teams attended their scrimmages.


Justin Hufft, the second-year grid boss at Goffstown, said opposing coaches routinely caught peeks of Souhegan's scrimmages. Hufft spent 11 seasons as an assistant to Beliveau.


“When I was around him, I always saw him be nothing but gracious to other coaches … So, I'm disappointed when I see people treating him in a different manner,” he said.


Of course, the fact that the violation occurred at Winnacunnet didn't help Beliveau's cause. The Hampton school's athletics director, Carol Dozibrin, is also the NHIAA football committee chair.


Beliveau was spotted in plain sight, supporting his assertion that he didn't know the rule existed. If he intended to knowingly ignore the policy, why not make himself less visible?


Regardless, this much seems clear:


“In the future,” Bishop Guertin head coach Travis Cote said, “I don't think many guys will make those mistakes after what's happened to Mike this year.”


PRESEASON NO. 1

Unlike August 2011, the Exeter Blue Hawks won't enter this Division I football regular season with modest expectations.


The spotlight shines brightest on them.


Exeter wears the bull's-eye as defending champion, status earned after last year's 23-13 championship upset of Pinkerton. The stunner capped a storybook worst-to-first turnaround, as the Blue Hawks went winless in their 2010 Division I debut.


Which explains this: Exeter earned New Hampshire's preseason No. 1 ranking in the fifth-year Power Poll, the weekly statewide high school football top 10 as voted by media members from the Union Leader, WGIR-Radio and WMUR-TV.


“Any time your school's name is being tossed around with any of those programs, it's great,” Exeter head coach Bill Ball said about being joined in the top three by No. 2 Pinkerton and No. 3 Manchester Central. “It says a lot about the quality of football in New Hampshire.”


Ethan Joyce is among Exeter's senior leaders. He'll take the snaps in the program's signature straight-T offense. Halfbacks Tyler Grant and Colby Swane provide the blend of power and quickness.


Defensive tackle Zach Bosen and linebacker Jamie Vogt anchor Exeter's hard-hitting defense. Placekicker Logan Laurent, offered a scholarship by the University of New Hampshire, returns to give Exeter a decisive advantage on special teams.


“We have some experience back, guys that have been in the fray,” Ball said. “It's incumbent upon them to let the new guys know what's expected.”


DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Offensive linemen are often overlooked. But Souhegan's 6-foot 4-inch, 290-pound left tackle Jake Kennedy will be tough to miss this season.


Kennedy already has seven verbal scholarship offers to play college football at either the Football Bowl Subdivision or Football Championship Subdivision levels.


The list of schools includes Massachusetts (FBS), and Colgate, Fordham, Holy Cross, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.


“I'm not focused on (the scholarship offers) right now. I'm focused on this team,” Kennedy said. “I want to help these guys win a championship.”


NEW FACES

All six of NHIAA football's divisions feature at least one new head coach. Here's the rundown:


Brad Archer (Gilford) and Art Jacobs (Farmington-Nute) walk through the door in Division VI. Ryan Clark (Pelham), John Francis (Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough), Ross Salovitch (Epping-Newmarket) and John Welch (Sanborn) join Division V.


Steve Burns leads defending Division IV champion Trinity. He takes over after five years as an assistant on Gary Leonard's coaching staff.


“Is it any different for me? A little bit. Anything that goes wrong for me is my fault. I don't get to blame Gary anymore,” Burns deadpanned.


Ryan McCartney – whose uncle is former University of Colorado head coach Bill McCartney – guides Division III ConVal. Claude Gagnon calls the shots at Division II Spaulding.


Former Westford (Mass.) Academy assistant Adam Gagne secured the job at Division I Salem.


Gagne replaces New Hampshire coaching legend Jack Gati, who amassed a 221-138 career record (four state titles) in 34 years at Trinity, Concord and Salem. The new coach scrapped the Salem staple straight-T for the spread.


“I have the utmost respect for Jack and what he's done. If anything, it's made (the coaching transition) easier for me because (the players) know football,” Gagne said. “That's a true testament to Jack.”


Marc Thaler is a reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He co-hosts the “N.H. High School Football Show” on WGIR-AM 610. Follow him on Twitter: @marc_thaler.

Reyes' journey from Nashua to the NFL

May, 2, 2012
5/02/12
2:04
PM ET
Two weeks before the 2012 NFL Draft, Kendall Reyes hopped on a plane, crossed the country to San Diego, met with Chargers brass, and returned home extremely impressed with the franchise.

The feeling, as Reyes learned last Friday night, was mutual.

[+] EnlargeNashua North's Kendall Reyes
Nashua North High School A natural athlete from the time he starred at Nashua North (N.H.) High, Kendall Reyes has since added bulk to his wiry frame in his time at UConn. He was selected 49th overall (second round) in the NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers.
The former University of Connecticut defensive lineman, a product of Nashua North (N.H.) High School, was selected in the second round by the Chargers. Taken off the board with the 49th overall pick, Reyes became the latest notable Nashuan to reach the NFL.

Greg Landry, the 11th overall pick by the Lions in 1968, tops the list. Landry played 146 games in his 15 seasons split between the Lions, Baltimore Colts and Chicago Bears. Far more recently, Kole Ayi appeared in one game for the Patriots as an undrafted rookie during the team's first Super Bowl season in 2001.

But being drafted in the age of social media and non-stop coverage of the nation's most popular sport? Reyes knows his situation is different.

“It means a lot for the state, for people that grew up in this area,” Reyes said after returning from a post-draft meeting with Chargers. “To me, being a second-round pick, there's lots of high hopes and some pressure on me to perform well. I'm going to do everything in my power to do the best I can.”

Reyes said his family rented a house in York, Maine, for the draft. He was surrounded by 30 family members and 10 close friends when the Chargers came calling – moments before news of his landing spot was announced to a nationwide television audience.

Many draft analysts pegged Reyes as a mid-second-round pick. When the round started and teams made their selections, the 6-foot 4-inch, 299-pound All-Big East star said he was anxious.

“There are a lot of emotions that you feel at one time,” said Reyes, among San Diego's seven-man draft class. “But it was a huge sense of relief once I got the call. They all talk to you. The GM [A.J. Smith], coach [Norv] Turner, the owner [Dean Spanos]. They all talk to you.”

That phone call kick-started a whirlwind weekend for Reyes. Hours after the Chargers chose him, the 22-year-old boarded a 5:30 a.m. flight for the West Coast.

“It's been busy. Been on the go. Not much sleep. The whole nine,” said Reyes, now preparing for the team's upcoming mini-camp.

'SUCH AN ATHLETE'
It stands to reason that a second-round pick who hails from New Hampshire – hardly a hotbed for NFL talent – would have been considered one of the state's best as a high school senior.

That wasn't the case with Reyes.

NHIAA Division I coaches didn't vote him a first- or second-team all-state selection in the fall of 2006, his senior season at Nashua North.

“There were times we had to tell him to play harder or hustle more,” North head coach Jason Robie said. “But that's every kid.”

Robie stressed that Reyes was young for his class year, just 17 when graduating in the spring of 2007. North's coach said Reyes was “very raw, but had some ability.”

“When you looked at a kid like Kendall, he had the tools,” said Robie, who played football at the University of New Hampshire. “It was whether he had the initiative or the drive. That was the big question.”

No coach disputes that Reyes – a varsity letter-winner in football, basketball and track – was gifted athletically from the time he arrived at North as a sophomore in 2004-05. (At the time, the high school was in its second year of existence and ninth-graders attended various Nashua middle schools, Robie said.)

In fact, multiple coaches can quickly recall Reyes as a teenager. Nowhere near 300 pounds, he was taller than many and quicker than most.

“We certainly remember him because he was such an athlete. And [North's coaches] moved him here, there and everywhere,” said Brian O'Reilly, the 10-time Division I champion head coach at Derry's Pinkerton Academy. “But he was a different body build back then, and he was playing different positions.”

As a 6-foot-3, 210-pound sophomore, and then a slightly bulked-up junior, Reyes played outside linebacker and receiver. Still catching passes as a senior, the Titans turned him into a defensive end.

North's coaches felt they could generate an effective pass rush with Reyes – then 6-4, 230 – playing on the edge.

Plus, defensive end was the position Reyes projected to play at the next level. Various Division I college programs had expressed interest.

Robie said Reyes received scholarship offers from Football Championship Subdivision schools, UNH among them. UConn, new to the Football Bowl Subdivision, also offered a scholarship.

“He was an extremely athletic player,” O'Reilly said, “who reached his potential in college.”

REACHING OUT
When Reyes was being recruited, the process was new to Robie. Trying to help Reyes make the best decision often left North's coach asking himself, and his assistants, the same question:

“What do we do here?” said Robie, initially figuring UNH and the FCS level might be the better fit for his player.

Robie reached out to O'Reilly.

Pinkerton's coach since 1978 mentored several of the state's most heralded high school football legends. Three, in particular, were mid-1980's stars Ryan Mihalko (Notre Dame) and Joe Segreti (Holy Cross), and early-1990's standout Matt Jordan (UMass).

The coaches exchanged e-mails. But Robie never mentioned his player by name.

“I wanted to see if he knew,” Robie said. “I just said, 'I have a young man being looked at by UNH and UConn. I remember the reply was, 'Who's that?'”

O'Reilly's question, however, was followed by a vote for the Big East.

“His response was, 'You never know unless you try,'” Robie said.

BIG EAST BEAST
Reyes red-shirted his freshman year at UConn and began the process of drastically beefing up his body. He started the last four games of the 2008 campaign.

Starts along the defensive line tripled his sophomore season. As a junior captain, he started all 13 games, alternated between defensive end and tackle, and earned an All-Big East first-team selection with 2 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss.

The 46 total tackles he registered as a senior included 4 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss. Such production earned him a second consecutive all-conference first-team nod.

Reyes said the college game quickly taught him to “be more decisive. Always be aggressive.”

“In high school, I was usually one of the fastest guys on the field. In college, that wasn't the case at all,” he said. “I was fast for my position. But you had guys running all over the place.”

MR. VERSATILE
It's no secret why Reyes was selected by San Diego.

“They drafted me because of my versatility. But it's still very early. The more I know, the more I can pick up, the more spots I'll play,” Reyes said before dismissing the notion that he wished the Patriots, owners of the 48th pick, had drafted him.

Robie believes Reyes is suited to play multiple positions, in multiple defensive packages, along the line. He can play in the 3-4 or 4-3. He can stand up or be a threat off the edge. He can drop into coverage on a zone blitz.

The upside for Reyes, in other words, is considerable.

By the ex-Titan's own admission, taking advantage of this enormous opportunity rests squarely on his broad shoulders. He is determined to do it.

“I'm on the furthest team possible from New Hampshire,” Reyes said. “At this point, none of that matters. The opportunity to play on Sunday is the most important thing.”

Marc Thaler is a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter: @marc_thaler.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
4:58
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In a six-day span, the three teams perched atop the statewide rankings for NHIAA boys' lacrosse – all of them perennial powers in the Granite State – suffered setbacks.

New HampshireNo. 1 Bishop Guertin High of Nashua, No. 2 Pinkerton Academy of Derry, and No. 3 Exeter High actually combined to lose five contests between April 16 and 22.

Bishop Guertin lost just once. But it was the biggest stunner. BG wasn't expected to lose an in-state matchup this spring. The two-time defending Division I champion is extremely talented and very, very deep.

But BG isn't invincible. Hanover High – No. 1 as a result of its 14-9 upset win April 20 – proved it.

“They beat us in two state finals (2007, 2009). Other than Hanover, nobody has beaten us, in New Hampshire, in the playoffs since 2007,” BG coach Chris Cameron said. “There was no reason for us to take them lightly because they're a quality program.”

Cameron's club was without UMass recruit Bob Fahey. BG's shut-down close defender sat out the second half of Guertin's previous game, a 14-8 win at highly ranked Needham (Mass.) High, with an ankle injury.

Guertin's coach, however, didn't use Fahey's absence as an excuse. BG still boasted four other close defenders recruited to play college lacrosse.

The Marauders led at the end of every period. Attackman Alex Krass (two goals, three assists) and midfielder Christian Wolter (four goals, assist) played with purpose. Christian Johansen and Ryan Brigham (11 of 25 faceoff wins) added three goals apiece.

Goaltender James Washington settled down nicely after BG scored the game's first goal in the opening 30 seconds. The senior made 15 saves.

“They were pretty happy. But (their post-game reaction) wasn't like they won the state championship,” said Hanover coach Jeff Reed, whose club from the state's Upper Valley was blasted by BG, 15-3, in the April 10 season-opener at Nashua's Stellos Stadium. “They reacted like it was a big win, but not 'the win.' They know there's a bigger goal at the end.”

No. 2 Pinkerton twice lost to teams known as the Lancers.

The Astros started their three-game week with an 11-9 league loss April 16 at arch-rival Londonderry High. The tough stretch closed with a 14-9 home loss April 21 versus Longmeadow (Mass.) High.

Maintaining focus was an uncharacteristic problem for Pinkerton in both losses.

Furthermore, offensive production almost exclusively came from the attack. Josh Gallant tallied three goals and three assists at Londonderry; Dom Corsetto went for three goals and an assist against Longmeadow.

“Maybe a little of it is conditioning. We could not get our faceoffs in the second half and we could not pick up ground balls,” Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said after the Astros lost to Longmeadow, which erased a 4-1 first-period deficit. “It's the same thing as the Londonderry game.”

Exeter's defeats, in a sense, were understandable. The Blue Hawks, in a four-day span, lost competitive contests to the teams ranked ahead of them: BG (9-6 on April 16) and Pinkerton (8-6 on April 19).

Goaltender Jake Pleadwell (18 saves) stood tall against an early Pinkerton onslaught. Close defenders Jamie Vogt, Joe Moser and Zach Adler also enabled the Seacoast squad to pull within striking distance.

“The fact that we went down to BG, 3-0, and they never quit, and then we were down, 5-1, against Pinkerton and made it a game, it shows their resilience,” Holly said. “That's the one thing you can take out of it.”

Here's one lesson, stressed by BG's coach, that is applicable to every power program:

“There are too many good teams out there,” Cameron said. “We can't just show up and expect to win.”

(Read full post)

Recap: No. 18 Longmeadow 14, Pinkerton (N.H.) 9

April, 21, 2012
4/21/12
4:31
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DERRY, N.H. -- Dylan Kelleher dreaded the idea of making the 2-hour bus ride back to Longmeadow High after losing to the same Granite State boys' lacrosse power for the fourth consecutive season.

The senior attackman's four goals – and a monster effort from his teammates – helped ensure a far different outcome in the latest meeting with Pinkerton Academy.

Kelleher contributed to a 12-goal second half for the No. 18 Lancers, whose emphatic 14-9 win Saturday at Memorial Field snapped a losing streak to the Astros that started in 2009.

“Last year, they came out and smashed us right away (15-7). Two years ago, they beat us in overtime (12-11), which was unfortunate,” said Kelleher, whose club improved to 7-0. “I'm not really sure about my freshman year, but I know we lost (17-8).

“This is my senior year,” he added. “My goal was to beat Pinkerton. Finally.”

After the first period, Pinkerton appeared poised to win in a rout. Joe Appolonia (two goals) one-hopped a shot that gave New Hampshire's No. 2 team the lead just 34 seconds into the contest.

The Astros possessed the ball throughout the first frame. They forced turnovers with timely stick checks, won ground balls, recovered nicely when caught out of position, and built a 4-1 lead.

“We came off the bus a little slow. Down, 4-1, it showed the character of the team to battle back,” Longmeadow coach John Rauseo said. “We outscored them, 13-5, after the first quarter. That's a nice win.”

Momentum began to shift in Longmeadow's favor just before halftime.

Coming out of a timeout, Bennett Leveillee (three goals) scooped a deflected pass and, atop the crease, popped a quick shot past Pearce Connal (eight saves). It was the period's lone marker, registered with 12.2 left on the clock.

Pinkerton (4-2) regained its three-goal cushion after the break. Evan Sweeney charged in uncontested after Cody Desmarais forced a turnover at midfield.

Then, the game-changer: An unnecessary roughness penalty on the Astros. The flag was thrown a moment after the Lancers were whistled for a cross-check.

“It was 5-2 when we get the penalty on them and we decide to retaliate because we were upset that the kid pushed us down, and kicked the kid in the face to get the matching penalties,” Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. “They scored two quick goals and the game wasn't the same after that.”

Leveillee buried his chance in 5-on-5 play. Keegan Dudeck (three goals, assist) fired from the top of the restraining box. The goals, scored in a 41-second span, pulled the Lancers within 5-4.

But they were only heating up.

Leveillee again capitalized on a ground ball with a quick pick-and-pop near the crease. Kelleher finished an easy catch-and-shoot from the left post to briefly give the Lancers their first lead.

Drew Kelleher was also instrumental, particularly in the second half. The sophomore took 19 of the game's 27 faceoffs. He won possession for his team 10 times.

Pinkerton's Dom Corsetto (three goals, assist) whipped a game-tying, man-up goal past Glenn LaFountain (seven saves), the unsung hero of the third period. The senior stopper made point-blank saves on Josh Gallant and Peter Field midway through the stanza to prevent Pinkerton from stopping the onslaught.

Longmeadow simply crushed it in crunch time. Eight goals. Five different goal scorers.

Ryan Coombs (two goals, assist) pulled the Astros even at 7-apiece with a long-distance submarine-style shot from the top-right corner.

But, as the clock dipped under 11 minutes, Eric Barsalou (two goals) snapped the deadlock. The Lancers, on top for the third time, didn't relinquish the lead.

Instead, they poured it on.

“Pinkerton is always a good challenge for us,” Rauseo said. “It helps us gauge where we are.”

Where might that be?

“We're 7-0,” Rauseo said. “That's all I know.”

Recap: Brockton 21, Pinkerton (N.H.) 14

October, 15, 2011
10/15/11
5:58
PM ET
DERRY, N.H. -- Saturday afternoon's 21-14 victory over Pinkerton Academy not only breathed some life into the Brockton High School football team, it saved Brockton coach Peter Columbo some money as well.

As Columbo noted after the game, the victory came on a day when his father, former Brockton coach Armond Columbo, celebrated his 80th birthday.

“That's all he wanted was a win, so now I don't have to buy him anything,” the younger Columbo said.

Junior quarterback Austin Roberts provided a spark for the Boxers, who entered the contest with a 2-3 record. Roberts, who was inserted the lineup when starting quarterback Paul Mroz was injured during last weekend's victory over Fitchburg, completed 14 of 22 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns. He seemed to come up with a big play whenever Brockton needed one.

“[Roberts] has emerged,” Columbo said. “He had to start some games two years ago as a freshman. Paul came out of nowhere last year and led us to eight wins, and [Roberts], to his credit, kept working and waiting for his turn, and it came up last week.

“He's a great leader. He knows our system and he knows how to make plays. I can't coach what he does once the ball's in play. We're gonna ride it.”

After Pinkerton fullback Kevin Davies scored on a 1-yard run to help the Astros build a 14-7 lead early in the third quarter, Roberts responded by throwing two touchdown passes to senior Jerrod Shelby. Shelby's second touchdown catch came on a 3-yard pass with 3:45 to play.

“Get the ball to you playmakers I guess,” Roberts said. “He's a great playmaker.

“We all talked about how great of a team Pinkerton is. We knew if we could come out and beat them it was going to send a message to all of Massachusetts that we're back and we're rolling.”

Pinkerton took the lead when Davies scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, but Brockton answered when Roberts hooked up with Lucas Depina for a 60-yard touchdown pass with 10:34 left in the half.

“We feel good because that's a great football team,” Columbo said. “I don't know who's gonna contest them up here. We knew that we needed to make a statement that we can play with the good teams.”

THE BIG PLAY
Pinkerton, the No. 3 team in ESPN Boston's New England top 10, shredded the Brockton defense when it opened the third quarter with a six-play, 79-yard scoring drive that handed the Astros a 14-7 lead.

Pinkerton was on the move again the next time it had the ball, but a personal foul resulted in a 15-yard penalty after the Astros had moved the ball to the Brockton 22-yard line. The drive stalled when Pinkerton failed to convert on a fourth-and-nine play.

Brockton took possession on its own 18 and moved the ball 82 yards on 20 plays to tie the game.

“We came out in the second half and were able to motor right down the field, and we did it again until we got that 15-yard penalty,” Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. “[The penalty] was the biggest play in the game because of that fact that it stalled us and then they went on a 20-play drive.”

Brockton converted on three fourth-down plays during the 82-yard drive. One of the conversions was a 10-yard run by Roberts on a fourth-and-10 play. Roberts extended the ball forward as he was falling to the ground and picked up the first down by about two inches.

“Give them credit,” O'Reilly said. “They kept going for it on fourth down … and made them all.”

DEFENSIVE POSTURE
Pinkerton entered the game with a 6-0 record and had outscored those six opponents 251-50. The Astros had scored at least 41 points in each of their five league games.

Pinkerton had 14 plays of 10 yards or more against Brockton, but none of those were scoring plays.

“This is the first team to adjust to our offense,” O'Reilly said. “Defensively they did some nice things against us. They did some stuff that no one else has done. People will try to copy it, so we'll need to take it to the next level.”

FEELING NO PRESSURE
O'Reilly said an ability to put pressure on Roberts hurt his team.

“We knew that [Roberts] brought an entirely new dimension to the Brockton team,” he said. “He is a difference maker. Had they gone with the original quarterback you wouldn't have seen this today. We couldn't get any pressure on him. We're gonna have to work on some pass-rushing situations because there was way too much time for him to throw the ball.

“We didn't get any heat on him and when we did have a chance to sack him he ran around our ends. He was the difference today.”

NUMBERS GAME
Brockton has won nine of the last 10 meetings with Pinkerton. The Boxers have a 12-4 edge in the series, which began in 1996.

BROCKTON 21, PINKERTON 14
Brockton (3-3) 0 7 0 14
Pinkerton (6-1) 7 0 7 0

1st Quarter

PA – Kevin Davies 1 run (Ryan Coombs kick), :58

2nd Quarter
Bro-- Lucas Depina 60 pass from Austin Roberts (Depina kick), 10:34

3rd Quarter
PA—Davies 1 run (Coombs kick), 10:18

4th Quarter
Bro—Jerrod Shelby 3 pass from Roberts (Depina kick), 9:50
Bro—Shelby 3 pass from Roberts (Depina kick), 3:45.

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