Boston High School: Logan Laurent

Recruiting Notes: Exeter's Laurent commits to UMass

January, 10, 2013
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Know this about Exeter (N.H.) High School kicker Logan Laurent: He's dedicated to his craft.

Recruiting NotebookEven when he was talking to a reporter on the phone Wednesday night, Laurent had a football in the other hand practicing the correct way to drop the ball before a punt.

“I walk around the house with a football in my hand all the time,” Laurent said. “Stuff like that has to be second nature.”

Laurent's dedication paid off this week when he gave a verbal commitment to play for the University of Massachusetts. Laurent said UMass recruited him primarily as a punter and that his scholarship money will kick in starting with the 2014 season.

“They want me to join the program as a walk-on and be a red-shirt next season, then I'll be on scholarship for the next four years,” Laurent said. “That's unless I earn a starting job.”

Laurent helped Exeter win New Hampshire's Division I championship in his junior and senior seasons. The Blue Hawks beat Pinkerton Academy of Derry each year.

"Everything heated up pretty quickly with UMass after the season," Laurent said. "I kind of figured out that I wanted to play close to home, and it's cool that UMass plays its home games at Gillette Stadium.

"(UMass head coach) Charley Molnar has been at some big schools and I loved his energy. I think the program has a lot of promise."

The University of New Hampshire was the only other school that offered Laurent a scholarship. He said Dartmouth, East Carolina, Elon, Minnesota and North Carolina are among the other schools that showed significant interest.

“A lot of the bigger schools wanted me to spend a year in prep school,” Laurent said. “I kind of figured out that I wanted to play close to home. UMass is a little more distance from home than UNH, which gives me some comfort. UNH did a great job recruiting me.”

Laurent, who played varsity soccer as a sophomore, made 41 of his 42 extra-point attempts and four of five field goal attempts last season. Thirty-six of his 54 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

"He really works at it," Exeter coach Bill Ball said. "He travels all over the place to attend camps. He's also really athletic. If we had a decathlon at the school he'd win it. His upside, down the road, could be huge."

Although Laurent was better known for his kickoffs and place-kicking in high school, he said he isn't surprised UMass wants to bring him in as a punter.

“I have the build (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) of someone who will punt and handle kickoffs,” he said. “The smaller, quicker guys are better suited for field goals, because they can get the ball in the air in a hurry.

“They said I'd have the chance to compete for the placekicking job, but I'm just looking forward to playing college football at the highest level.”

COGGINS STILL UNDECIDED
With less than a month remaining before national signing day (Feb. 6), Sacred Hart (Waterbury, Conn.) wide receiver David Coggins is the highest-rated uncommitted New England recruit.

Coggins committed to Boston College in July, but de-committed in September. Coggins missed all of his junior season with an ankle injury, and was suspended for four games last season after his legal guardian received money from former Naugatuck High School coach Rob Plasky. Coggins had announced his intention to transfer to Naugatuck, but remained at Sacred Heart

ARMY STRONG
Everett's John Montelus, a four-star offensive lineman, suffered an injury to his left shoulder during practice last week and played a limited role in the East's 15-8 victory over the West in Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

“I didn't really recover that well, but I did get in there a little bit,” Montelus said. “I was basically blocking with one shoulder. There were a lot of Division I guys and it felt great to play against them. I liked the challenge.”

Montelus, the top-rated recruit in Massachusetts, has committed to Notre Dame.

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

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
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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.

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

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
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There are football players who are kickers, and then there are football players who can kick. Logan Laurent falls into the second category.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's an excerpt from that story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recruiting Notes: Tabor's Montgomery trims list

September, 18, 2012
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Tabor Academy's Tevin Montgomery narrowed his college options to three schools during the summer, and he's almost ready to announce where he'll be playing football next season.

Montgomery, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive lineman, will choose between Boston College, Vanderbilt and Virginia.

“That is the situation, and I think I'll make the decision real soon,” Montgomery said. “Probably within a week or two.”

Montgomery is the top-rated uncommitted recruit from Massachusetts. ESPN Recruiting lists him as a three-star offensive tackle, but Montgomery said he's being recruited to play on the defensive side of the ball.

Montgomery, who didn't begin playing organized football until last year, has also received scholarship offers from Temple, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rutgers, Maryland and Missouri.

“BC, Vanderbilt and Virginia were the three that fit me the best as a student-athlete,” Montgomery said. “They're schools with a lot in common. They all have great academics and a football team that's on the rise.

“BC was my first scholarship offer. They were the school that put me on the map.”

Montgomery won't be in uniform when Tabor opens its season this weekend. He's still recovering from ankle surgery that was performed in August. He said he expects to miss Tabor's first three games.

Montgomery said he'll likely announce his college choice before he plays in a game this season.

“I was going to take official visits, but now I think I'll just take an official to the school I commit to,” Montgomery said. “I think I've made up my mind. I just want to make sure it's the right decision.”

Staying in-state: New Hampshire's top prospect in the Class of 2013 came off the board Saturday when Souhegan's Jake Kennedy committed to the University of New Hampshire.

“I knew UNH was going to be a very comfortable place for me,” Kennedy said. “I love the school and I know the football program is great. They win a lot of games, and staying in-state was definitely a factor for me.

“I also felt very comfortable with Coach McDonnell [UNH head coach Sean McDonnell]. There's no BS. With him it's what you see is what you get.”

Kennedy, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive tackle, also had offers from Massachusetts, Colgate, Fordham, Holy Cross, Maine and Rhode Island. He said he strongly considered Fordham and UMass as well.

“They were both a close second, but I always felt more comfortable at UNH,” Kennedy said. “I've wanted to go there for a while. I was just waiting to see what else might come along.”

Kennedy also plays varsity basketball for Souhegan, which is located in Amherst.

“Jake did all he could in terms of being thorough and diligent in terms of looking at all of the schools,” Souhegan coach Mike Beliveau said. “I don't know if he'll project to be an offensive tackle or an offensive guard, but he moves real well for a 280-pound kid. He's a finisher in terms of his blocking. He doesn't take a play off. He plays hard on every play.”

The Wright stuff: Although Holy Name running back Quron Wright is on pace to break the school's career rushing record (5,037 yards, held by Emil Igwenagu), Holy Name head coach Mike Pucko is having difficulty convincing college coaches that Wright can play at the next level.

The problem, Pucko said, is Wright's height.

“We list him at 5-7, 165 pounds, but he's closer to 5-5,” said Pucko, who played at the University of Connecticut. “The kid is the real deal, but because of his height I'm having a hard time selling him to people. He can dunk a basketball and he runs a legit 4.5 (40-yard dash), but these guys don't want to take a chance on a kid his size.”

Pucko said he has at least two other college prospects on his roster: senior Basit Dennis, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound two-way tackle; and senior Dan Kegbeh, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound defensive back.

“Dennis is from Liberia, and he'll probably get the best shot of the three,” Pucko said. “Kegbeh is the center on the basketball team. He's got a huge upside. Donnie Brown [Connecticut's defensive coordinator] thinks he could be a I-A player. He's got 4.39 speed, and he's a hitter too.”

Wright entered this season with 3,637 yards rushing, and has gained 446 yards on the ground in Holy Name's first two games. He's in his fifth season of varsity football, and his fourth as a starter.

“He'd be a steal at the Division II level, but I know he can he can play higher than that,” Pucko said.

Ineligible receiver? The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference is scheduled to announce Thursday whether or not Sacred Heart (Waterbury) wide receiver David Coggins will be eligible for the 2012 season.

Coggins, who committed to Boston College in July, missed last season with an ankle injury. He and another Sacred Heart player, Javon Martin, attempted to transfer to Naugatuck after the 2011-12 school year, but Sacred Heart refused to release either player's transcript because each had an outstanding tuition balance.

Naugatuck coach Rob Plasky was then put on paid leave after it was alleged that he violated CIAC rules by giving money to the players who wanted to transfer. Plasky resigned one day after he was placed on leave.

Coggins, a three-star wide receiver, returned to Sacred Heart, but was not allowed to play in Thursday night's 46-0 loss to Woodland.

Footnotes: La Salle Academy running back Josh Morris, Rhode Island's Gatorade Player of the Year last season, has offers from Bryant, Valparaiso, Monmouth and Brown. Morris said he's also receiving interest from BYU, Louisiana Tech, Pennsylvania, Yale, UNH, Villanova, Holy Cross, Towson and Massachusetts. He's rushed for 285 yards and has 145 receiving yards in two games this season...Exeter (N.H) placekicker Logan Laurent made each of his seven point-after kicks and put the ball in or out of the end zone on each of his kickoffs during Friday night's 49-0 victory over Manchester Central. Laurent has been offered a scholarship from UNH...Ansonia (Conn.) running back Arkeel Newsome, one of Connecticut's top prospects from the Class of 2014, rushed for 197 yards and five touchdowns on nine carries in a 66-26 victory over Torrington last Friday. Newsome set Connecticut's single-season rushing record when he ran for 3,763 yards and scored 62 TDs last season.

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

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

September, 2, 2012
9/02/12
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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

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
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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."

(Read full post)

Recap: Pinkerton (N.H.) 42, Exeter (N.H.) 16

October, 7, 2011
10/07/11
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EXETER, N.H. -- Here's one reason why time of possession can be a misleading statistic: Pinkerton Academy had the ball for 39 seconds in the second quarter Thursday night and still managed to outscore Exeter by 21 points during that 12-minute span.

Pinkerton ran three offensive plays in the quarter and scored a touchdown on each. It was part of a 42-16 Pinkerton victory that had some in attendance wondering if the Astros are the best team in New England.

“Offensively we nickled and dimed enough to hang, but defensively we didn't hold up,” Exeter coach Bill Ball said. “If you miss those guys they go, and they go real fast. That's a very good team.”

With Pinkerton leading 7-3, fullback Kevin Davies scored on a 67-yard run. Senior running back Emmitt Smith scored the two other second-quarter touchdowns. His TDs came on a 96-yard run and a back-breaking 80-yard run with 13.9 seconds left in the half.

Smith finished the game with 289 yards rushing and four touchdowns on eight carries. He also scored on a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter. His last rushing attempt came with 9:42 to play.

“We've been really working on getting to the outside and I had a clean corner for most of my runs, so I was able to run as fast as I could and usually in a straight line,” Smith said. “We can hit quick. That really knocks the air out of you. “

Pinkerton, the No. 3 team in ESPN Boston's New England Top 10, led 35-3 after three quarters.

The victory raised Pinkerton's record to 6-0 overall, and 5-0 in Division 1. Exeter, which entered the contest as the only other unbeaten team in Division I, dropped to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in Division I.

“Speed is a wonderful thing to have,” Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. “Emmitt Smith is track fast obviously. There isn't anyone in this division who can contend with him. There is no one that is as good a speed running back as Emmitt Smith. No one, because Emmitt can block, Emmitt can run, Emmitt can catch and Emmitt can cut back. So I'm happy to have him on our team.”

Backchecking: Davies, a 240-pound senior, also scored three touchdowns in the victory and ended his night with 114 yards on seven carries.

In addition to his 67-yard TD run in the second, he opened the scoring on a 3-yard run in the first quarter, and added 4-yard TD run on Pinkerton's opening possession of the third.

“The real secret to our team is that Kevin Davies is a beast,” O'Reilly said. “If you don't pay attention to him he's fast enough to run by you and he's obviously tough enough – he likes to run over people. For defensive backs that causes problems. Most defensive backs don't like to see that coming at them.”

Sophomore Manny Latimore, Pinkerton's No. 3 running back, may be the best college prospect on the Pinkerton roster. Latimore gained 68 yards on six carries against Exeter.

“The only thing wrong with Manny is he's a sophomore and Coach O'Reilly doesn't let him have the ball as much as the other guys, but Manny will be around for the next two years after this,” O'Reilly said.

Numbers game: The Astros have outscored their six opponents 251-50, and have scored at least 41 points in each of their five Division I victories.

Pinkerton has already navigated the toughest part of its schedule. The Astros beat Nashua South 56-14 and dismantled Salem 49-14. Nashua South, Salem and Exeter each have one loss.

“We're hard to contend with because we can go left, right, up the middle and we can throw the ball a lot more than we do, I just don't want to do that,” O'Reilly said. “There isn't much we can't do as far as what part of the field can we hit. We can do that if we really have to.

“I knew we had a good team, but yes, I am continuously surprised how our kids keep answering the bell week after week after week.”

Mass. appeal: Brockton is next on Pinkerton's schedule. The Boxers, who are 1-3 and have been shut out twice, will make the trip to Derry, N.H., Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest.

“Now we'll get ready for Brockton,” O'Reilly said. “We'll give the kids three days off this weekend and then they come to our place next Saturday. I'll go watch them [Saturday night] at Fitchburg.”

PINKERTON 42, EXETER 16

PA (6-0) 7 21 7 7 --– 42
EX (5-1) 3 0 0 13 --- 16

First Quarter
P – Kevin Davies 3 run (Ryan Coombs kick)

Second Quarter
E – Logan Laurent 23 field goal
P – Davies 67 run (Coombs kick)
P – Emmitt Smith 96 run (Coombs kick)
P – Smith 80 run (Coombs kick)

Third Quarter
P – Kevin Davies 4 run (Coombs kick)

Fourth Quarter
E – Tyler Grant 1 run (kick blocked)
P – Smith 23 run (Coombs kick)
E – Ethan Joyce 5 run (Laurent kick)

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