Boston High School: Goffstown

New Hampshire football preview

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
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New Hampshire's high school football season will kick-off Wednesday, when teams are allowed to hold their first practice in preparation for the 2013 season.

New HampshireFootball in the Granite State has a drastic new look this year. The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association scrapped the six-division format it had used since 2008 in favor of three larger divisions that have four conferences in each division. The divisions are still based on enrollment and here's how the teams were divided:

Division I
  • East: Exeter, Winnacunnet, Dover, Spaulding and Timberlane.
  • West: Keene, Nashua North, Nashua South, Bishop Guertin and Alvirne.
  • North: Concord, Manchester West, Manchester Central, Manchester Memorial and Bedford.
  • South: Pinkerton, Salem, Londonderry, Goffstown and Merrimack.
Division II
  • North: Kennett, Hanover, Plymouth, Laconia and Lebanon.
  • South: Milford, John Stark, Windham, Souhegan and Trinity.
  • West: Monadnock, Con-Val, Hollis-Brookline, Sanborn and Kearsarge.
  • Central: Portsmouth, Pembroke, Merrimack Valley, Kingswood and St. Thomas.
Division III
  • South: Pelham, Campbell, Bow and Somersworth.
  • Lakes: Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, Gilford, Winnisquam, Franklin and Newfound.
  • West; Raymond, Epping-Newmarket, Bishop Brady and Farmington/Nute.
  • East: Mascoma, Newport, Fall Mountain and Stevens.

“From the conversations I've had, more coaches like the new alignment than don't like it,” Manchester Memorial coach Peter Colcord said. “I''m just not happy that we've gone down from tenB (regular season) games to nine. That's a lot of work, and you want to play as many games as possible.

“I also understand that you can't please everybody.”

New Hampshire teams will no longer have room for a non-league game, so the Pinkerton-Brockton rivalry is among the casualties of the new alignment.

Eight teams will make the playoffs in each division (two from each conference), so the number of playoff teams (24) is the same as it was last year, when four teams qualified from each of the six divisions. The top two teams from each conference will meet in the quarterfinals. Teams will be reseeded for the semifinals using a point-rating system that will factor in each team's record and strength of its victories. A victory over a strong team is worth more that a victory over a lesser opponent.

“I like it,” Nashua South coach Scott Knight said. “I'm not one of those guys who's afraid of change.

“The only thing I don't like is the two teams in one conference playing in the (quarterfinals). I don't see why you have to play a team twice in a 20-team division. I'd like to play different teams in the playoffs.

“After this year I'm sure they'll tweak it, but we're definitely headed in the right direction.”

TEAMS TO WATCH
Here are 10 teams that should be in the hunt for a championship this season:
  1. PINKERTON ACADEMY -- The Astros have the state's premier running back in senior Manny Latimore, who rushed for 1,477 yards last season.
  2. NASHUA SOUTH -- South quarterback Trevor Knight, a three-year starter, has committed to the University of New Hampshire.
  3. EXETER -- The Blue Hawks are seeking their third straight Division I title.
  4. WINNACUNNET -- The Warriors won last year's Division II championship. They make the move to Division I this year.
  5. CONCORD -- If there's a surprise team in Division I this season it will likely be the Crimson Tide.
  6. PORTSMOUTH -- Clippers are also stepping up in class (to Division II) after winning the last two Division III championships.
  7. TRINITY -- Quarterback Carmen Giampetruzzi is headed to Boston College … to play baseball.
  8. PLYMOUTH -- Plymouth coach Chuck Lenahan has guided the Bobcats to 19 state titles.
  9. BISHOP GUERTIN -- There's plenty of talent left over from a team that reach the Division II semifinals last fall.
  10. BEDFORD -- The Bulldogs competed in Division III two years ago, moved to Division II last year and are in Division I this season.
MEET THE NEW BOSS
First-year head coaches this season: Mark Phillips (Alvirne), Dante Laurendi (Merrimack), Rob Pike (Salem), Jeff Hunt (Spaulding), Rich Bergskaug (Hollis-Brookline), Brian Pafford (Portsmouth), Mike Lochman (Souhegan), Greg Gush (Campbell), Vance Sullivan (Manchester West), Jeff Kaplan (Franklin) and Chris Marden (Gilford).

NIGHT VISION
Pinkerton Academy in Derry has added lights around its football field and, with one exception, will play its home games on Friday nights this season. Pinkerton's game against Londonderry will be played in Derry on a Saturday night, Sept. 28.

Last year, Pinkerton was the only Division I school without lights.

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 England Roundup: New Hampshire

May, 16, 2013
5/16/13
6:10
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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.

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

September, 2, 2012
9/02/12
9:04
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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.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
12:19
PM ET
The immediate goal for Pinkerton Academy's Astros is straightforward: Finish atop the regular-season standings this winter in Division I boys' hockey.

Sounds cliché, right?

New HampshireTurns out this very dangerous squad from Derry – the preseason pick to finish as rink royalty – has yet to earn a No. 1 playoff seed under nine-year coach Casey Kesselring.

“We've never finished first,” Kesselring confirmed before adding that his 2008-09 title team emerged from the bracket as the No. 4 seed.

Kesselring's club a year ago earned the No. 2 seed. But the Astros were a quarterfinals casualty, stunned at home by arch-rival Londonderry, 3-2.

Considering the talent returning on Pinkerton's roster, expectations are extremely high.

First-line wingers Zach Sanford and J.D. Dudek fuel Pinkerton's high-octane attack. Sanford, a junior, and Dudek, a sophomore, led the team in points a year ago.

Further illustrating the talent this team possesses: Freshman Devin Moore centers the top line.

There's no drop-off with the second line. Junior center Dominic Corsetto skates with classmate Connor Brady and sophomore Brendan Philippon.

Kesselring believes the trio would be the top line for most clubs in the state.

Clearly, Pinkerton's strength is potting pucks. Offensive output should provide insurance for the team's junior goaltenders. Nate Mitchell and Matt Marchman are first-year varsity stoppers.

Of course, the coach isn't the least bit worried about the lack of varsity experience his goalies possess. Nor is he concerned about the preseason bull's-eye painted on Pinkerton.

“It doesn't bother me. It gives the school recognition. It gives the kids recognition,” Kesselring said. “But they don't hand out rings in the preseason.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
9:35
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Bill Ball and his Exeter High Blue Hawks, in their second season competing against the state's largest schools, took the express elevator from cellar to penthouse.

It's one way to explain Exeter's voyage.

New HampshireAs is this: "It's just the ultimate roller-coaster. That's what it is," massive lineman Brad Tiernan said after his team stunned heavy favorite and statewide No. 1 Pinkerton Academy, 23-13, for the Division I championship at Memorial Field in Derry.

The Division I final on Nov. 19 was supposed to be a formality. The Astros, after all, topped the statewide poll since the preseason, securing every first-place vote in the process. They were one win from completing the first wire-to-wire run at No. 1 in the four-year era of rankings.

They were facing a former Division 2 power, but a program that went 0-8 in its Division I debut (1-9 overall) last season.

The Blue Hawks (11-1 overall, 9-1 Div. I) didn't forget those season-long frustrations. But they didn't dwell on them, either.

This team was confident. This team was composed. This team was clutch.

How else to explain the title-game comeback? Exeter erased a 13-3 second-quarter deficit.

Conor Carrier scored the fourth-quarter touchdown that placed Pinkerton in panic mode. The senior's big run off-tackle went for 37 yards and six points. The score snapped a 13-all tie with 7 minutes, 10 seconds left in the season.

Touchback-machine Logan Laurent added the extra point. He also iced the contest with his 23-yard field goal -- a kick preceded by 35- and 40-yard boots -- in the final minutes.

Tyler Grant touched the rock 31 times. He totaled 120 yards in Exeter's old-school straight-T offense.

Jamie Tymann tossed a second-quarter touchdown to Lucas Gajewski. The 15-yard strike sparked the 20-point run to the title.

The toss was the second of Tymann's five attempts. Exeter's senior signal-caller entered the final with just 29 pass attempts on the season.

But defense was the biggest difference-maker. Grant, Carrier, Ethan Joyce and Brian Henry led Exeter's disciplined perimeter defense. It surrendered 77- and 78-yard touchdown runs to Emmitt Smith in the second frame, but little else.

Exeter celebrated its sixth championship under Ball, who capped his 19th season at the helm. The coach previously won five Division II championships in 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2007.

"To get this done is just amazing," Ball said. "It's amazing."

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New England Roundup: New Hampshire

May, 28, 2011
5/28/11
1:37
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Round-trippers that clear the fence at Campbell High are a rarity. They're so rare, in fact, that nobody associated with the Litchfield school's softball program remembers a single batter going yard.


Correction: Nobody remembers a single batter going yard before May 13.


New HampshireThat's when sophomore designated hitter Chelsea Caynon slugged her way to a career-defining contest. Her 3-for-4 day at the dish included three towering home runs tagged in consecutive at-bats.


“I kind of thought all of them were lucky because nobody has done it before,” Caynon of her Friday the 13th fireworks, the last of which was a walk-off that clinched a 13-1 Division III mercy win over Alton's Prospect Mountain High.


Caynon said she was mobbed by teammates after circling the bases for the third time. Her last blast, in the fifth inning, capped Campbell's 13-run outburst over three frames.


Campbell's No. 3 hitter connected in the third, fourth and fifth innings and knocked in five runs. The lasers all landed in the same spot, well beyond the left-field fence stationed 250 feet from home plate.


Coach Laurie Gatherum, in her sixth year at the helm, estimated the shots sailed 260 feet.


“When Chelsea comes up to bat, I get as far away from the third-base box as I can. She's come close to killing me. She's a dead-pull hitter,” Gatherum said. “I get as close to the out-of-play line as possible.


“I almost want to warn the third baseman to back up. If she gets a piece of the ball, it's going.”


Caynon's powerful performance actually carried into her next game. She went 1-for-3 with a homer against Hopkinton High, giving her four taters in a span of seven at-bats.


But Caynon isn't a stereotypical all-or-nothing power hitter. She closed the regular season with one strikeout in 64 plate appearances.


She also posted a .500 average (28-for-56) with eight walks, five home runs, one triple, 10 doubles, 25 runs scored and 32 RBI. Her production helped the Cougars clinch first place with a 15-1 record.


“I would say she is the best hitter that the program has ever had, as far as consistency and power,” Gatherum said.


That's saying something. Caynon is, after all, just a sophomore.


“I wasn't really trying to hit three in row,” she said. “I was just waiting for my pitch.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

February, 9, 2011
2/09/11
3:10
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Mike Kelly's dream of playing Division I college football turned nightmarish before the high school campaign built any momentum.

New Hampshire“When it happened (last September), I got down. Like anyone else would,” Kelly said of the Week 2 foot injury that ended his senior season for Nashua's Bishop Guertin High, the eventual Division II three-peat champion. “It just didn't seem possible.”

Nor did this: Verbally accepting a partial scholarship offer on Jan. 27 to play football for the University of New Hampshire, which competes in the Football Championship Subdivision's super-competitive Colonial Athletic Association.

“Knowing most colleges go off senior tape, I didn't think it would be enough for colleges to assess me,” said the 5-foot 9-inch, 176-pound talent, a projected slot receiver, kick- and punt-returner, and possible cornerback for the Wildcats. “I was nervous about that. In one game, to seemingly have (my dream) taken away, it was a hard thing to come to grips with.”

Good thing Kelly, a Merrimack resident, enjoyed a career contest in the season-opener. Guertin routed defending Division I champ Salem, the heavy preseason favorite to repeat, 48-21.

Kelly was impossible to contain.

The top weapon in BG's spread-option attack totaled 310 yards of offense and five touchdowns. His 17 carries generated 193 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 117 yards, including a 65-yard catch-and-run TD on the season's first play from scrimmage.

Running a crossing pattern toward the left sideline, Kelly snared in stride Steve Cuipa's 20-yard toss and hit high gear. He burned past Salem's secondary for the final 45 yards.

It was vintage Kelly, who a year earlier scored three touchdowns in Guertin's Division II title-game clincher.

“He's gifted. He's got tremendous speed. And on the football field, speed is everything,” BG athletics director and head football coach Tony Johnson said, noting Kelly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds before injuring his foot. “(UNH coaches) looked at his ability to change directions, excel quickly, sustain speed for a long period of time. They were interested in him in spring of his junior year.”

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New England Roundup: New Hampshire

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
11:47
PM ET
Watching game film Sunday night allowed Dan Legro to analyze his undefeated team with nearly one-third of the boys' hockey season now history.

New HampshireMerrimack High's fourth-year coach, during a brief break from studying tape, discussed why his team is 5-0 in Division II.

“You can beat a team that's better than you, if you refuse to lose for 45 minutes,” Dan Legro said. “I think it's a mental thing.”

Mental toughness certainly fueled the team's two league wins since returning from the holidays.

Far from sharp at winless Bedford High on Jan. 6, the Tomahawks worked a 4-3 comeback victory at St. Anselm College's Sullivan Arena. Legro said his team was lucky to beat the first-year Division II Bulldogs.

Yet the real eye-opener took place two days later.

Merrimack hosted perennial power and preseason favorite Dover High, then 3-1, at Manchester's West Side Arena on Jan. 8. The Tomahawks orchestrated a 3-2 overtime win.

The score alone, however, doesn't do Merrimack's most recent win justice. It's all about the details.

Legro's boys twice trailed by a goal. That put the pressure on Merrimack to keep its deficit from doubling. Dover entered the matchup with per-game averages of 5.5 goals scored and two tallies allowed.

Standout senior Erik Glendye (team-high 13 points) twice set up Merrimack's equalizing goals by classmate Casey Bourque and junior Chris Fortin. Glendye also buried the game-winner just 2 minutes, 32 seconds into OT. Glendye's sophomore sibling, Brett, stopped 35 shots in net.

There's more.

Legro carries 18 skaters, including three goaltenders, on his varsity roster. Under ideal circumstances, that leaves him with 15 skaters to call upon.

Injuries reduced the coach's depth chart to 12 skaters for the matchup with Dover. First-line center Chris Kinney, who's second on the team in points, did not play.

But wait. There's still more.

Tapping into his team's mental toughness and superb conditioning, Legro shortened his bench after the first period.

He played only three defensemen – Bourque, and juniors David Downie and Rutger Tupper – for the second period, third period and OT.

He played six forwards in that same span. Glendye, Fortin, sophomore Dom Valluzzi and freshman Connor Powell were mainstays on the ice. Senior Marcus Poudrette and freshman Mark Feeney split time.

Considering Merrimack is the league's lone remaining unbeaten, has it sent a message?

“I don't know,” Legro said. “We just happened to win five games. We have a lot of improvements to make."

One such area is the power play. Merrimack is capitalizing with less frequency than last year's team that opened with seven straight wins.

And as the Tomahawks move closer to matching last season's strong start, Legro is preaching the need to play with even greater focus. Despite starting 7-0 last winter, the 'Hawks finished 11-7. They were a first-round playoff casualty.

“Our goal is to be playing in the Verizon,” Legro said, referring to Manchester's Verizon Wireless Arena, site of the Division II title game. “Right now, I don't see us as a championship team. Yet.”

A RARE OCCURANCE
The boys' basketball team at Jaffrey's Conant High rarely loses. That's what made the team's 47-43 Jan. 7 setback at Mascoma Valley Regional of Canaan such a shocker.

It snapped Conant's 46-game league win streak.

The five-time defending Division III champion Orioles last lost to a league rival in the season-opener of the 2008-09 campaign. Stevens High of Claremont ended Conant's state-record 63-gamer.

CULLEROT CONNECTS
Katie Cullerot, a senior guard for the girls' basketball team at John Stark Regional of Weare, connected for her 1,000th career point on Jan. 4. She needed just four points and recorded them all in the first quarter of her team's 58-23 Division II home win over Pembroke Academy.

Stark's 21-year coach, Wayne Thomson, said Cullerot joined Beth Chartier (Class of 1993) and Justine Nims (2004) as the program's 1,000-point scorers.

“Katie had over 200 points as a freshman and she averaged 350 her next two years,” Thomson said. “All three (1,000-point scorers) played pretty good roles as freshman. I think you need to do that these days to get to 1,000 points.”

Set to play women's hoop at Assumption College, Cullerot first sank two free throws. She hit quadruple figures for her career with an “And 1” bucket resulting from a baseline drive.

Prior to Stark (4-2) playing in a holiday hoop tournament, Thomson knew Cullerot needed 52 points to reach the magic mark. He said she closed within 16 points during Stark's third game of the tourney.

As she moved closer, Thomson brought the matter to the team. The options were to let Cullerot reach 1,000 points on the road or pull her from the game and celebrate at home.

The vote was unanimous.

“You have to be pretty consistent for four years,” Thomson said of the formula for scoring 1,000 points. “You have to be good enough to get quality playing time – and score.”

GO-GO-GOFFSTOWN
Plenty of basketball teams like to push the pace. But the boys' squad at Goffstown High is hitting another gear altogether.

The Division II Grizzlies (4-1) are averaging 93.8 points per league win. In their four victories, they twice cracked 100-plus points in regulation.

They beat ConVal Regional of Peterborough, 102-65, in the Dec. 17 season opener. They beat Hanover, 108-94, on Jan. 7. They also netted 101 points in a holiday tourney win over Kennett of Conway.

Here's what makes Goffstown's point production most impressive: Regulation games are just 32 minutes (8-minute quarters).

That means the Grizzlies are netting a shade more than three points per minute.

“It goes back to the Loyola Marymount days in the 1980s,” said second-year Goffstown coach Justin Gorham, a 20-year hoop mentor from California. “It's one pass, two passes and shoot. You're taking as many shots as you can get. We try to get 80 to 90 shots a game.”

Eleven Grizzlies earn playing time in the fast-paced system Gorham installed this season. Goffstown, which dropped from Division I, doesn't have much height. But it has plenty of scorers.

Seniors Alex Wageling and Ryan Lange, junior Connor Shaw, and sophomore Jake Mount average double-figures in Gorham's high-octane offense.

“Everybody gets to play and everybody gets to shoot. Everybody gets a green light,” Gorham said. “Our goal is to run everybody down and outscore you.”

NO SLOWIN' DOWN
The graduation of three-time Gatorade New Hampshire Player of the Year Tiffany Ruffin (Boston College) and fellow Division I women's college hoop recruit Emily Siegart (St. Francis), along with several other key contributors, certainly hasn't slowed Winnacunnet.

Hampton's four-time defending Division I girls' basketball champion continues to win – and win big.

The Warriors are 6-0 in league play. Their average margin of victory is 23.8 points.

All told, the Warriors have won a state-best 54 consecutive NHIAA games.

Returning starter Samantha Corcoran, a 6-foot senior forward, is fueling Winnacunnet's continued dominance. Corcoran and Kirsten O'Neil are averaging double figures.

MIRACLE-WORKERS
In a span of four days, the Division I boys' hockey team at Trinity High of Manchester recorded two wild wins. Tyler Theodoulou contributed mightily to the back-to-back improbable comebacks.

Trinity's junior forward scored the game-winning goals in both contests.

The Pioneers stunned Salem, 2-1, on Jan. 5. Joe Libby's point-blank shot knotted the game with 5.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Theodoulou delivered the dagger with a redirected shot in OT.

Then, on Jan. 8, the Pioneers erased Nashua North's three-goal lead in the game's final 6 minutes and won, 6-5, in OT.

Libby pulled his club within 4-2. Theodoulou struck for three goals that gave Trinity a 5-4 edge with 90 seconds to play. North netted the equalizer, but Theodoulou struck for his fifth goal of the game in the extra session.

Did the Pioneers use a season's worth of good fortune in those games?

"I don't think of it that way," Trinity coach Mike Connell said. "I think of it in terms of the team finding ways to win, which will help us down the road. We can call on (these experiences) when needed. But I hope we don't need it too often this season."

Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News and UnionLeader.com. He can be reached at marc.thaler@gmail.com.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

September, 15, 2010
9/15/10
3:27
PM ET
There’s a good reason Manchester High School Central’s boys and Keene High’s girls can expect to hear considerable footsteps this fall.

And the fact they compete in cross country is only half of it.

New HampshireThe squads for Central and Keene last week learned they earned the statewide preseason No. 1 ranking, according to New Hampshire Cross Country. The weekly newsletter, in its 16th year, bases rankings on returning runners and team success from the previous season.

“It’s very subjective,” said Larry Martin, co-editor of the newsletter with Amy Sanborn. “But the neat thing is it creates controversy.”

It also paints a giant bull’s-eye on two teams.

“We’ll see if it’s a blessing or a curse,” said 11-year Keene coach Bill Derry, whose Blackbirds finished second in last year’s final poll. “This is exciting and this is neat. But we have to stay healthy, and things have to come together at the right time or the ranking doesn’t mean anything.”

Third-year mentor Mike Hennessy, who co-coaches Central’s boys with Coby Jacobus, echoed Derry’s sentiments. Central’s surge a year ago created enormous expectations.

“I knew we were going to be strong (this season). We made New Englands last year and didn’t have any seniors on varsity,” said Hennessy, whose 2009 team closed at No. 5 in the poll. “What we did last year with sophomores and juniors was surprising.”

Central returns its top seven runners from the team that finished fourth at the ’09 Meet of Champions. Sam Gagnon leads the group. The newsletter ranks Central’s senior with Jeff LaCoste (Bishop Guertin of Nashua), Anthony Anzivino (Pinkerton Academy of Derry), John Conlin (Merrimack) and Jack Collopy (Oyster River of Durham) as top runners.

Seniors Zach Chabot, Max Tucker, Dan Ouellette and Ryan McHugh, and juniors Sean Brown and Matt Becker round out Central’s stellar cast. McHugh is back from a broken right femur suffered in a ski accident last winter.

“Last year, we weren’t even ranked to start the season. Now we have a target on our back,” Hennessy said. “Hopefully it raises their game up.”

Four of Keene’s top five runners return. Chloe Maleski, formerly a girls’ soccer player, is among them.

In her first full cross country campaign last year as a junior, Maleski earned all-New England honors. Garnering interest from Georgetown and Boston College, she is joined by Jacy Christiansen (Mascenic Regional of Ipswich), Kelsey Smith (Exeter), Alexandra and Elizabeth Conway (Central), Brianna Tevnan (Merrimack Valley of Penacook) and Corey Dowe (Coe-Brown Academy of Northwood) as the publication's top runners.

Juniors Brie Boden and Anna Fay, and sophomore Rachel Klaski complete Keene’s quality quartet.

“Our question mark is how big is our (gap) going to be from our first to our fifth runner,” Derry said. “That’s going to be the factor that determines how good we are.”

(Read full post)

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