Boston High School: Manchester Central

Lawrence Academy's Garrison commits to BC

June, 26, 2014
6/26/14
5:33
PM ET
Chris Garrison and the Boston College football program had been flirting with each other for a long time before Garrison committed to BC last weekend. So long, in fact, that Frank Spaziani was BC’s head coach when the school offered Garrison a scholarship.

Garrison, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound tight end/split end who will be entering his senior year at Lawrence Academy, said he was sold on BC when he learned what kind of offense BC head coach Steve Addazio has planned for the Eagles in the near future.

“BC has been at the top of my favorites since they offered me two years ago,” Garrison, a Goffstown, N.H., resident, said. “Then a new staff came in and my big question was, ‘How are they going to use me?’

“Everyone knows they were a running team last year with a Heisman finalist (running back Andre Williams). Coach Addazio and Coach Day (offensive coordinator Ryan Day) explained to me the new vision for their offense. They’re building something new at BC. It’s more of a spread offense and they brought in a couple of dual-threat quarterbacks.

“Coach Addazio said he doesn’t like to use the example, but I’ll be playing a similar position that Aaron Hernandez did when he recruited him at Florida. They plan to use me more as a big wide receiver, but I’m sure I’ll still be doing some of the dirty work.”

Garrison, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds at BC camp last week, also had scholarship offers from Maryland, Duke, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Syracuse and Wake Forest. BC was the second school to offer Garrison, after UMass.

Garrison said he felt a connection with Day, who played high school football at Manchester (N.H.) Central and then at the University of New Hampshire. Goffstown and Manchester neighbor each other.

He became the sixth in-state player from the Class of 2015 to commit to the Eagles, joining Shepherd Hill offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom, Brockton lineman Aaron Monteiro, Everett defensive back Lukas Denis, St. John’s Prep tight end Jake Burt and St. John’s of Shrewsbury defensive back Davon Jones.

“After I talked to the BC coaches I spoke to my dad,” Garrison said. “I wanted to commit before next season, so I said, “Why am I waiting?’ The whole recruiting process was overwhelming at times.”

Garrison said his decision came down to Duke or BC. He was at Duke earlier this month.

“I was comfortable with Duke, but I was more comfortable with BC,” he said. “BC was where I wanted to go.”

New Hampshire football playoff preview

November, 7, 2013
11/07/13
9:45
PM ET
The regular season is in the rear-view mirror, and the high school football playoffs in New Hampshire begin this weekend with 12 conference championship games -- four in each of the three divisions. Each game is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.

New HampshireThe conference champions will advance to next weekend’s semifinals. Here’s a look at this weekend’s matchups and the teams to beat in each division:

DIVISION I:
  • East: Exeter (6-3) at Spaulding (6-3)
  • North: Central (7-2) at Concord (9-0)
  • South: Londonderry (4-5) at Pinkerton (7-2)
  • West: Keene (7-2) at Nashua South (8-1)
Analysis: Concord is the only Division I team that navigated through the regular season without a loss, and is clearly the favorite in this division. The Crimson Tide has more offensive weapons than any other team in the division, and has put those weapons to good use. Concord scored at least 34 points in eight of its nine games, and held five of its opponents to seven points or less.

Manchester Central will be Concord’s first hurdle. Concord beat Central 35-6 in Week 1, but Central has won seven in a row since its 0-2 start. Central running back Jesiah Wade has rushed for 2,074 yards this season, and gained 556 yards -- the single-game rushing record by a running back from New England -- against Merrimack earlier this year.

Keene, Nashua South and Pinkerton Academy also look like teams capable of winning this year’s title. Keene has won six of its last seven games and handed Nashua South its only loss two weeks ago (42-28). Nashua South is led by University of New Hampshire-bound quarterback Trevor Knight, and Pinkerton also has a big-play threat in running back Manny Latimore.

It would be a surprise if Londonderry, Exeter or Spaulding advanced past the semifinals, although Exeter is averaging 38 points per game since moving Joey Jones to quarterback. The Blue Hawks have won the last two Division I titles.

DIVISION II:
  • East: Merrimack Valley (7-2) at Portsmouth (8-1)
  • North: Kennett (5-4) at Plymouth (8-1)
  • South: Trinity (7-2) at Windham (8-1)
  • West: Sanborn (5-4) at Monadnock (9-0)
Analysis: There’s a good chance Chuck Lenahan will end his coaching career with his 20th state championship. Lenahan, who has announced his will retire after this season, has a 353-70-1 record in 43 seasons as Plymouth’s head coach. His Bobcats will be at home as long as they last in the postseason.

Plymouth’s biggest threat may be Portsmouth, which used a late rally to post a 27-22 victory at Plymouth earlier this season. Portsmouth lost to Trinity in its opener, but enters the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak.

Monadnock is the only unbeaten team in Division II, but seven of its nine regular-season opponents finished under the .500-mark. Monadnock posted a 27-19 victory over Sanborn, the only playoff team it faced.

Saturday’s Trinity-Windham winner may be the only other team capable of making a deep playoff run. Windham is a junior-laden team that made huge strides in the second half of the season. Windham’s only loss came against Plymouth, but it was a 41-7 setback. Trinity may have more talent than anyone in the division, but will have to win a rematch with Windham to advance. Windham beat Trinity 52-20 two weeks ago.

DIVISION III:
  • East: Bishop Brady (4-4) at Epping-Newmarket (4-4)
  • North: Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough (4-4) at Gilford (6-2)
  • South: Bow (7-1) at Pelham (8-0)
  • West: Newport (6-2) at Stevens (6-2)
Analysis: The two best teams in Division III may be on opposite sidelines Saturday, when Bow meets Pelham. The winner of that contest will be the clear-cut favorite to capture this year’s title.

Bow’s only loss was a 7-0 decision against Pelham in the opener for each team. Bow has won seven in a row since then, and posted three shutouts along the way. Pelham ended a 30-game losing streak last year, but was the only Division III team to finish the regular season unbeaten. The game will feature two of the best running backs in the division in Bow’s Matt Ehrenberg and Pelham’s Chris Medeiros.

Stevens may be the best of the rest. The Cardinals have a do-it-all running back in Donald Pellerin, who is also a threat as a receiver and kick returner.

The legitimate contenders for the Division III championship may end there since Newport and Giflord, the only other teams with at least six wins, were overmatched by the top teams during the regular season. Pelham beat Newport 56-6 and Bow defeated Giflord 42-7.

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

N.H. football squads eye postseason play

November, 1, 2013
11/01/13
3:00
PM ET
The final weekend of the New Hampshire high school football season is upon us.

New HampshireEight teams from each division -- two per conference -- will advance to next weekend’s conference championship games, which will serve as the postseason’s quarterfinal round.

Here’s what’s still at stake in each division:

DIVISION I

Four teams have already qualified for postseason play in Division I: Concord (8-0), Nashua South (7-1), Pinkerton Academy (6-2) and Londonderry (4-4). Londonderry will play at Pinkerton Academy in next weekend’s Division I South championship game.

Keene (6-2) can clinch a playoff spot by beating Alvirne (1-7) Friday. If Keene wins, it will play Nashua South in the Division I West title game. Keene handed Nashua South its only loss (42-28) last weekend.

Spaulding (5-3) and Exeter (5-3) will be the two teams that move on from Division I East if each wins Friday. Spaulding plays at Dover (2-6), and Exeter is home against Nashua North (3-5). If either Spaulding or Exeter loses Friday, the door will be open for Winnacunnet (5-3) to reach the postseason.

The winner of Friday’s game between Manchester Central (6-2) and Bedford (7-1) will face Concord in the Division I North title game.

DIVISION II

Seven of the eight playoff teams have been determined in Division II: Monadnock (8-0), Portsmouth (7-1), Plymouth (7-1), Windham (7-1), Trinity (6-2), Sanborn (5-3) and Kennett (4-4).

Sanborn will play Monadnock in the Division II West title game, and Trinity will face Windham in the Division II South title game.

Merrimack Valley will clinch a postseason berth if it beats Plymouth on Saturday, or if St. Thomas (6-2) loses to Trinity. A St. Thomas win and a Merrimack Valley loss would make it possible for St. Thomas to advance, depending on results of other Division II games this weekend. Either Merrimack Valley or St. Thomas will face Portsmouth in the Division II East championship game.

Kennett will face Plymouth in the Division II North championship game.

DIVISION III

The matchups in two of the four Division III conference championship games are set in Division III: Epping-Newmarket (3-4) will face Bishop Brady (3-4) in the Division III East title game; and Bow (6-1) will meet Pelham (7-0) in the Division III South championship game.

Stevens (5-2) and Gilford (6-2) have also qualified. Stevens will face the winner of Saturday’s game between Mascoma Valley (5-2) and Newport (5-2) for the Division III West title, and Gilford will meet either Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough (4-3) or Winnisquam (3-4) in the Division III North championship game. Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough will advance if it beats Epping-Newmarket on Saturday, or if Winnisquam loses to Newfound (2-5).

NHIAA WEEK 9 SCHEDULE
DIVISION I
Friday
Spaulding at Dover
Nashua North at Exeter
Bishop Guertin at Timberlane
Winnacunnet at Nashua South
Manchester Central at Bedford
Goffstown at Concord
Manchester West at Manchester Memorial
Salem at Londonderry
Pinkerton at Merrimack
Alvirne at Keene
DIVISION II
Friday
Kennett at Kingswood
Pembroke at Mondadnock
Hanover at Portsmouth
St. Thomas at Trinity
Milford at Laconia
Lebanon at Kearsarge
Hollis/Brookline at Souhegan
Sanborn at Windham

Saturday
Merrimack Valley at Plymouth
Con-Val at John Stark

DIVISION III
Friday

Raymond at Stevens

Saturday
Franklin at Bishop Brady
Epping/Newmarket at IL/Moultonborough
Pelham at Farmington-Nute
Winnisquam at Newfound
Campbell at Bow
Fall Mountain at Somersworth
Newport at Mascoma Valley

UNION LEADER/WGIR/WMUR POWER POLL
1. Concord (8-0)
2. Bedford (7-1)
3. Pinkerton (6-2)
4. Nashua South (7-1)
5. Keene (6-2)
6. Manchester Central (6-2)
7. Bishop Guertin (5-3)
8. Portsmouth (7-1)
9. Exeter (5-3)
10. Plymouth (7-1)

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

Historic night for Manchester Central's Wade

October, 6, 2013
10/06/13
2:47
PM ET
When the game was over, no one on the Manchester Central sideline seemed sure of what they had just witnessed.

New HampshireCentral coach Ryan Ray knew running back Jesiah Wade had a big night, but said he had no idea Wade had just turned in a record-setting performance.

“What’s the state record for rushing in a game?” Ray asked after Wade numbers were totaled.

“I think it’s just under 400 yards,” came the reply.

“Not anymore,” Ray said.

Wade, a senior, rushed for 556 yards and six touchdowns on 31 carries during Central’s 56-35 triumph over Merrimack on Friday night.

“I was shocked,” Wade said. “I had no idea (what the rushing total was). I just wanted the win because a loss would have really hurt our playoff chances.

“Have to make sure I give credit to my offensive line. They did all they could and I just put my shoulder down when I got to the second level. It was too slick to be putting any juke moves on.

According to the National High School Record Book, Wade’s total is the 12th best all-time rushing performance nationally (in 11-man football), and the best rushing total ever recorded by a New Hampshire player.

“It was all kind of a blur,” Ray said. “I really had no idea where he was at in terms of yardage during the game.

“We weren’t trying to get him a record. We weren’t trying to to get him a big night. We were trying to do other things so they couldn’t just send 11 guys to get him, but he was our best option on every play call.

“He’s a pretty special player, and a great kid too.”

John Giannantonio of Netcong, N.J. holds the national single-game rushing record. He gained 754 yards against Mt. Lakes in 1950.

Giannantonio rushed for 4,756 yards in eight games that season. That total is the national record for yards rushing in a season.

Wade, who transferred to Central from Campbell High School in Litchfield after his junior season, led the state in rushing with 2,204 yards last season. He had six runs of at least 40 yards against Merrimack and ran for 319 yards in the first half.

“It was an unforgettable night,” he said.

According to the National High School Record Book, here are the top single-game rushing performances in 11-man football:

1. John Giannantonio (Netcong, N.J.): 754
2. Paul McCoy (Matewan, W.Va.): 661
3. Tanner Wood (Conway Springs, Kan.): 659
4. Tony Diaz (Paint Rock, Texas): 621
5. Ronney Jenkins (Oxnard Hueneme, Calif.): 619
6. John Bunch (Elkins, Ark.): 608
7. Rudy Rudison (Houston Marian Christian, Texas): 599
8. DeAndre Hooper (Chicago Austin Community Academy, Ill.): 593
9. Leonard Jones (Denver, Montbello, Colo.): 584
10. Monquantae Gibson (Louisville Moore, Ky.): 574
11. Cory Davis (South Park, Colo.): 564
12. Jesiah Wade (Manchester Central, N.H.): 556
13. Dallas Bernstein (Vallejo Bethel, Calif.): 555

New Hampshire football preview

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
5:46
PM ET
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
PM ET
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

January, 28, 2013
1/28/13
12:24
PM ET
The Division I girls basketball season is more than halfway over, and the question many people are asking is this: Just how good is Pinkerton Academy?

New HampshirePinkerton wasn't mentioned among the favorites when the season began, but the Astros are the lone unbeaten team in the division. Pinkerton raised its record to 10-0 by beating Manchester Central, 71-43, Friday night.

Pinkerton leads a pack of contenders that includes Bishop Guertin (9-1), Nashua North (9-1), Bedford (10-2) and Londonderry (8-2).

“The reality is we have not played any of the top four teams – BG, Londonderry, North and Bedford,” Pinkerton head coach John Barry said. “So not playing the top four teams makes the (10-0) record a little deceptive. We have some serious weaknesses that may show up when we play those teams.

“I'd be stupid not to like (the 10-0 start). We felt it was attainable, but I'm a realist and I'm practical about things.”

Senior point guard Samantha Breslin is the only senior on the Pinkerton roster. The Astros have been winning with a balanced offense, and a defense that has held seven of its 10 opponents to less than 40 points.

“If any one of my players tries to do too much by themselves we have problems,” Barry said. “When they play together, they're good. We're not a team based on one star.”

Any question about where Pinkerton fits in Division I should be answered in the first half of February. On Feb. 1 the Astros begin a four-game stretch that features games against Londonderry, Nashua North, BG and Bedford.

“They will play the top teams tough,” Manchester Central head coach Mike Wenners said. “They're more than capable of beating anybody.”

GAGNE HEADED TO WESTFORD ACADEMY
Adam Gagne has resigned as Salem High School's football coach to become the head coach at Westford (Mass.) Academy.

Salem was 0-11 last season, Gagne's only season as the program's head coach. Gagne teaches and coaches freshman basketball at Westford Academy.

"While I thoroughly enjoyed my time coaching at Salem, the opportunity to teach and coach at Westford Academy was something I had to take advantage of," Gagne said. "I am very grateful for this great opportunity and I'm excited to get started."

Gagne, who lives in Haverhill, Mass, was an assistant coach at Westford Academy under Rich McKenna for three seasons before he was hired to replace Jack Gati as Salem's head coach. Gagne was also an assistant coach at Merrimack College from 2003 to 2009.

McKenna recently became the head coach at Billerica (Mass.) High.

Gati resigned following the 2011 season, after guiding Salem to a 121-77 record and two state championships during his 18 seasons at the school. Gati has also served as the head coach at Trinity (1978-85) and Concord (1986-93). He has a 221-138 career record with four state championships (1987, 1989, 1995 and 2009).

BERLIN MEETING LITTLE RESISTANCE
No New Hampshire high school hockey team has a stronger pedigree than Berlin, which has made 27 championship game appearances and claimed nine titles since 1947. Lack of participation prompted Berlin to drop from Division I to Division III following the 2011-12 season, however, and the Mountaineers have established themselves as the clear team to beat in their new division.

At 11-0, Berlin is the only unbeaten team in Division III. The Mountaineers have outscored their opponents 79-13, and six of their 11 victories have been shutouts.

Connor Jewett is the team's offensive leader. Through 10 games Jewett led the state in scoring with 30 goals and 19 assists.

JENNESS NOTCHES RARE FEAT
White Mountains Regional girls basketball coach Gary Jenness collected his 600th career victory Friday night when White Mountains defeated Berlin, 47-20. White Mountains improved its Division III record to 12-0 with the win.

Jenness, who is in his 39th season as a head coach, guided White Mountains to a 56-51 triumph over Campbell in last year's Division III championship game. The victory ended Campbell's 39-game winning streak and handed White Mountains its first state title since 1999.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
8:48
AM ET
We're more than a month into the Division 1 boys basketball season, and you'd have to dig deep into the league standings before you found a team not capable of winning this year's state championship.

New HampshireEntering Friday night's schedule eight teams are above .500, and all of them seem to have legitimate title hopes.

“Obviously some teams are better than others right now, but there are quite a few teams that could put things together by the end of the year and they could be real dangerous,” Salem coach Rob McLaughlin said. “I see a lot of teams that could cause problems.”

Even Manchester Central (7-0) and Trinity (6-0) – the only unbeaten teams in league play – have a non-league loss against a Division I opponent. Trinity lost to Central in the Queen City Invitational, and Central lost to Manchester Memorial in the same tournament.

Memorial (5-1) is one of four teams with one loss. That group includes Bishop Guertin (6-1), Nashua South (6-1) and Spaulding (6-1). Merrimack (4-2) and injury-plagued Winnacunnet (4-3) round out the top eight.

“Right now I'd have to say Trinity and Central are the two best teams,” said McLaughlin, who has faced five of the top eight teams in the standings. “At least they're the best teams we've played. Then there are a bunch of teams that aren't that far behind.”

GIVING DEVILS THEIR DUE
No NHIAA hockey team is playing better than Salem, which is 6-0-1 since opening the season with a 1-0 loss to Bishop Guertin. The Blue Devils stretched their winning streak to five games when they beat Exeter 6-1 Saturday.

Salem has been winning with defense. Goaltender Nick Phair has a 1.16 goals-against average – the lowest among Division I goalies – and a .949 save percentage in 233 minutes. Cody Soucy (nine points) and Jake Pappalardo (seven points) lead the offense.

The Blue Devils have outscored their opponents, 29-11.

STAR GAZING
Rosters for the second CHaD New Hampshire East-West All-Star Football Game were released earlier this month. This year's game will be played June 29 at the University of New Hampshire's Cowell Stadium, and will benefit Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (ChaD).

Former Manchester Central coach Jim Schubert will coach the West, and former Concord coach Bob Camirand will serve as the East's head coach. The East roster includes five players from Division I champion Exeter and five from Division I runner-up Pinkerton Academy of Derry.

“As is the case with any all-star game there are some people who are worthy who won't be selected,” Camirand said. “We looked at people who were familiar with the 4-4 defense and running the football from under center out of the Wing-T or the Double-Wing, which is what I hang my hat on.

“The Pinkerton kids and the Exeter kids are familiar with the offense we'll be running so it makes for an easy transition.”

The West won the inaugural game, 44-12, last summer.

“This is an all-star game,” Schubert said. “These are the best senior players in New Hampshire in the eyes of the coaches.”

EAST-WEST ALL-STAR ROSTERS
West players:
David Cannone (RB/LB) Bedford; James Capparell (QB) Bedford; Brian Collins (WR/OLB) Bedford; Dylan York (RB/DB) Bedford; Blake Boudreau (FB/LB) Bishop Guertin; Nick Marino (RB/DB) Bishop Guertin; Seth Gosse (OL/DL) Concord; Tolbert Nemo (RB) Concord; Kody Benwell (FB/TE/LB) Franklin; Nathan Grevior (OT/DT) Franklin; Connor Benjamin (QB/RB/WR) Goffstown; Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris (WR/S) Hanover; Mitch Frick (WR/CB) Hollis/Brookline; Lucas Luopa (QB/DB) Keene; Dylan Drew (RB/LB/DE) Lebanon; Zach Hileman (C/DL) Manchester Central; Troy Pelletier (WR/DB) Manchester Central; Pierre Noel (WR/S) Manchester Memorial; Jared Ombati (RB/DB) Manchester Memorial; Zach Ziemba (QB/DB) Manchester West; Chris Sanborn (TE/DE/MLB) Mascoma; Joe Albina (RB/LB) Milford; Nick Patterson (G/LB) Monadnock; Mike Lynch (OT/DT) Nashua North; Deric Wagner (TE/RB/LB/DE) Nashua North; Stephen Choate (WR) Nashua South; Christian Stack (OL) Nashua South; Matt Tremblay (RB/OL/LB) Newport; Brandon Goodale (FB/HB) Plymouth; Chase Wyman (OG/DT) Plymouth; Tyler Ford (QB/WR/DB) Souhegan; Jake Kennedy (OT) Souhegan; CJ Gosselin (OT/LB) Stevens; Colin Bouchard (OL/DL) Trinity; Ryan Carrier (FB/DL/LB) Trinity; Romeo Masuku (RB/WR/LB/DB) Trinity; Russ Pallas (OL/DL) Trinity.

West coaches:
Jim Schubert (head coach), Mike Bombardier, Eric Brown, Dante Laurendi, Jimmy Lauzon, Paul Lavigne, Bob Leclair, Gerry Tautkus.

East players:
Matt Dow (OL/DL) Dover; Kyle Seawards (RB/WR/DB) Dover; Eric Wilson (TE/LB) Dover; Zach Bosen (TE/DT) Exeter; Tyler Grant (HB/TB/SS) Exeter; Logan Laurent (P/K) Exeter; Jamie Vogt (HB/LB) Exeter; Jameson Whiteley (TE/OLB) Exeter; Conor McDonald (LB) Kennett; David Mahoney (RB/LB) Laconia; Graham Nyhan (TE) Laconia; Troy Ward (FB/DE) Londonderry; Chadd Loring (C/DL) Pelham; Chris Ford (OG/DT) Pembroke; Jake Bernaiche (G/DL) Pinkerton; David Hansen (G/LB) Pinkerton; Chris St. Onge (HB/QB/S) Pinkerton; Matt St. Onge (FB/LB) Pinkerton; Brett Stuart (HB/DB) Pinkerton; Dillon Crosby (RB/OLB) Portsmouth; Rick Holt (DT) Portsmouth; Kurtis Leonard (C/DE) Portsmouth; Drew Francoeur (QB/DB) Somersworth; Tyler Kretschmar (OL/DE) Somersworth; Kyle Hall (OL/DL) Spaulding; Ryan Monette (RB/WR/CB/S) St. Thomas; Joe Richard (G/LB) St. Thomas; Joshua David (RB/WR/DB) Timberlane; Ryan McCarthy (WR/DB) Timberlane; Danny Cannone (RB/TE/OLB/DE) Windham; Kevin Cooney (FB/OLB/DE) Windham; Joe Lorenz (QB/S) Windham; Jordan Cutting (G/OT/NG) Winnacunnet; Christian Dyer (OT/DT) Winnacunnet; Ben Franzoso (RB) Winnacunnet; Ben Gareau (WR/DB) Winnacunnet; Mason Taylor (G/OL) Winnisquam.

East coaches:
Bob Camirand (head coach), Peter Bergeron, Dave Bernaiche, Dan Fallon, Dave Malay, Ken Sciacca.

NHL EYES SANFORD
Zach Sanford, who helped Pinkerton Academy win the 2012 Division I ice hockey championship, was among the players listed on the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's mid-term rankings, which were released on Jan. 15.

Sanford, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound forward, was listed at No. 83. He is currently playing for the EJHL's Islanders Hockey Club, and had three goals and 15 assists through 24 games.

Sanford, an Auburn resident, had 69 points in 21 games last season – he collected at least one point in every game -- and collected a goal during Pinkerton's 3-2 triumph over Manchester Memorial in the Division I championship game.

EPPING'S STANLEY JOINS ELITE GROUP
Senior Frank Stanley became the seventh Epping High School boys basketball player to score 1,000 career points when he tossed in 25 during a 66-29 victory over Wilton-Lyndeborough on Jan. 11.

Stanley, an undersized center, finished the game with 1,001 career points.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report. He has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Runners of the Year announced

January, 11, 2013
1/11/13
5:27
PM ET
The Gatorade state girls' cross country Runners of the Year award were announced on Thursday.

Here are the winners from across the region:

CONNECTICUT: BRIANNA LENEHAN, SR., NORWICH FREE ACADEMY
The 5-foot-2 senior raced to the State Open championship this past season with a time of 19:09. Lenehan also won the Class LL state title in 18:51 and took first at the Eastern Connecticut Conference Championships. She earned a ninth–place finish at the New England Cross Country Championships.

Lenehan has maintained a 3.91 GPA in the classroom. Also a nationally-ranked Irish step dancer, she has volunteered locally on behalf of both youth running events and toy drives for underprivileged children.

“Brianna was phenomenal this year,” said Norwich Free Academy head coach Kara Kochanski-Vendola. “She was very focused on what she had to do to be successful and she put in so much hard work, not just in season, but all summer.”

Lenehan will attend Columbia University this fall, where she will compete in cross country and track and field.

MAINE: BETHANY BROWN, SR., WATERVILLE
The state’s reigning Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Brown raced to the Class B individual state championship this past season with a time of 17:56.32, leading the Purple Panthers to sixth place as a team. Also the Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year as named by The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel, the 5-foot-4 senior captured seventh place at the New England Cross Country Championships in 19:18.60 and finished 11th at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships in 18:42.3, clocking the state’s fastest time at both events.

Also an aspiring poet, Brown has maintained a 4.27 weighted GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 1 in her graduating class. She has received her school’s Renaissance Award, given to students who excel in academics, service and character on behalf of the national Renaissance Program. A Student Ambassador for incoming transfer pupils, Brown has also donated her time promoting science studies in local fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms.

“Bethanie distinguishes herself from her competition through her exceptional focus,” said Waterville head coach Rob Stanton. “She sets very high goals and works relentlessly to achieve them.”

Brown has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at the University of Connecticut beginning this fall.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: ELIZABETH CONWAY, SR., CENTRAL
The 5-foot-7 senior raced to the Division 1 individual championship this past season with a time of 18:45, leading the Little Green to fifth place as a team. Also the two-time Runner of the Year as named by both the New Hampshire Cross Country Coaches Association and Union Leader, Conway recorded a second straight runner-up finish at the Meet of Champions in 18:32.9, placed fourth at the New England Championships in 19:09.01 and finished 13th at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships in 19:06.70.

Also an accomplished violinist and skier, Conway has maintained an A average in the classroom and ranks No. 1 in her graduating class. A member of the World Language, Tri-M Music and National Honor societies, she has performed ballet in a local production of The Nutcracker and served as managing editor of her school newspaper. Also an active member of her church community, she has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics.

“She’s phenomenal,” said Larry Martin, head of the New Hampshire Cross Country Coaches Association. “Distance running requires an extraordinary amount of focus, so the most amazing thing about her is that she did it while she’s No. 1 in her class, an All-State violinist, the lead in the Nutcracker at the Palace Theater and the editor of her school newspaper. Everything she does, she’s No. 1.”

Conway remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

RHODE ISLAND: EMMA McMILLAN, SOPH., BARRINGTON
The 5-foot-8 freshman raced to the All-State Meet individual championship this past season with a time of 18:22.99, leading the Eagles to the state title as a team. A First Team All-State selection as named by the Providence Journal and Rhode Island Track Coaches Association, McMillan also led Barrington to the team championship at the Class A state meet, breaking the tape in 18:35.33. McMillan placed third at the New England Cross Country Championships in 19:07.13 and took seventh at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships in 18:43.6. She finished 11-0 during the regular season.

Also an accomplished swimmer, McMillan has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom. A member of her school’s choral ensemble, she has donated her time on behalf of her church and as a youth swimming instructor.

“Emma’s trajectory as a cross country runner has been unparalleled among her peers in Rhode Island,” said Barrington head coach Annmarie Marino. “This past season, she was our No. 1 runner, leading her team to an undefeated season. Emma runs for the shear fun of the sport. Her composure as a newcomer to the sport was an example for all to see. Whether covered in mud, sweat, or red in the face from an all-out effort, Emma always wore a smile and offered an encouraging word to her teammates and competitors.”

VERMONT: ELLE PURRIER, SR., RICHFORD
The 5-foot-2 senior raced to her third straight Division 3 individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:38. Vermont’s two-time returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Purrier also won the New England Cross Country Championships in 18:42 and the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championship with a time of 18:09.4 in 2012. She finished 17th nationally at the NXN Final.

Purrier has maintained a 3.92 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of food drives for the hungry, youth sports programs and blood-donation drives.

“Elle’s ability to stay focused is exceptional,” said Richford head coach Andrew Hathaway. “She’s achieved a lot in running thus far, but running is a part of the whole that does not dominate her life.”

Purrier remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

December, 14, 2012
12/14/12
4:07
PM ET
The high school ice hockey season arrived last week, and with it came controversy.

New HampshireThe issue that created headlines involved Shelby Herrington, a junior at Bishop Brady High School in Concord. Herrington has played varsity hockey for Bishop Brady's boys team the last two years, and intended to do so this season as well. Bishop Brady formed a cooperative girls hockey team with Trinity High School in Manchester this year, however, and the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association declared Herrington ineligible to play for the boys team.

Herrington challenged that decision and a court order allowed her to begin the season with the boys team. A final ruling on whether or not the NHIAA is within its rights to prevent Herrington from playing with the boys team is expected later this month.

Robert Carey, Herrington's attorney, has argued that the NHIAA is attempting to deny Herrington a spot on the boys team solely on the basis of her sex.

If the court rules in Herrington's favor there is concern that other talented girls will attempt to play for boys teams – thereby weakening the girls sport -- and that some boys may even attempt to skate with the girls.

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, NHIAA executive director Patrick Corbin sent a letter to Bishop Brady that included the following:

“If a sport is offered for boys and a comparable sports is offered for girls, then the girls must play on the team of their gender. There is no consideration or provision that accounts for competitiveness or ability in the by-laws.”

Another female, Danielle DiCesare, played for the St. Thomas Aquinas (Dover) boys team in 2007-08, the first season the NHIAA offered girls hockey as a varsity sport. DiCesare women's college hockey at Princeton.

FOOTBALL CHANGES SHAPE
New Hampshire high school football will have a different look next season, when the state will scrap the six-division format that has been used for years and place its 57 varsity teams in three divisions.

Eight teams from each division will qualify for postseason play, which will create an additional round of playoffs. Four teams from each of the six divisions advanced to the playoffs last season.

Critics of the old alignment argued that there was no need for six divisions – and six state champions – in a state the size of New Hampshire.

“We already have teams that are not very happy with it, but we have to give something a shot here,” said Plymouth coach Chuck Lenahan, who is a member of the NHIAA football committee. “Hopefully it works out well. We have a lot more flexibility with it. Maybe we'll have to tweak it a little, but I think it's good that we're trying something.”

Student-athletes transferring from one school to another is not uncommon, but in no sport has player movement been the major focus of a season preview as it is in high school basketball.

HAWK TALK
Guard Dimitri Floras returned from prep school (Kimball Union Academy) to lead Merrimack to the Division I boys basketball championship last season. If the Tomahawks win another title in 2012-13 they'll have to do it without Floras, who is now suiting up for Vermont Academy.

Although Manchester Central is the consensus favorite in Division I, Merrimack's backcourt will make life tough on Merrimack opponents. Sophomore point guard Austin Franzen has transferred from Bishop Guertin and will team with junior Eric Gendron to form one of the best guard combinations in the state.

ANOTHER TITLE IN THE CARDS?
Bishop Guertin of Nashua won last year's Division I girls basketball state title, and the Cardinals entered this season as the overwhelming favorite as well.

BG returned five starters from its 2011-12 championship team, including junior point guard Jamie Afterburner and Boston University-bound forward Meghan Green.

BG opened its season with a 91-36 victory over Salem. Last year's championship was the school's first in girls basketball.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

September, 28, 2012
9/28/12
5:04
PM ET
Rising star J.D. Dudek was considering verbal full-scholarship offers from Hockey East schools Maine and New Hampshire when the league-rival Eagles swooped in.

New HampshireBoston College matched the offer. Dudek didn't hesitate to accept.

“The hockey is, obviously, pretty incredible there,” Dudek said of BC, the defending NCAA Division I national champion and rink king in three of the past five years. “I'd love to pursue my career there.”

[+] EnlargeJ.D. Dudek
Courtesy of Dudek familyBC hockey commit J.D. Dudek
The 16-year-old resident of Auburn, N.H., verbally committed to BC on Aug. 23. It was shortly after he returned from a sensational performance at the Five Nations Tournament in Chomutov, Czech Republic.

Dudek – whose father is New Hampshire college football legend Joe Dudek – scored three goals for the United States Under-17 Select Team. The 5-foot 11-inch, 175-pound forward twice scored game-winning goals.

Team USA went 4-0 and won the tourney featuring clubs from the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland.

“The showing I had ... I'm just ecstatic with what the coaches and people think of me now,” said the high school junior, who transferred to Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H., after two year's at Pinkerton Academy.

The talented teen helped lead the Derry, N.H., school to its second NHIAA Division I boys' hockey title as a sophomore. He scored 20 goals and 34 assists, played the point on the power play and served as the team's top penalty-killer.

Pinkerton coach Casey Kesselring, a former hockey standout at Merrimack College (Class of 1998), said the attention his former player received was strictly from skating with the national team.

“USA hockey has a pretty good model to identify players,” Kesselring said. “You try out for Team New Hampshire. They pick the team. Then you go to the New England festival. They pick Team New England. I know he was one of the highest-rated at that camp.

“When you're at a national camp,” Kesselring added, “all the Division I coaches are there.”

Dudek said he plans to complete his junior and senior years at KUA. He will remain in contact with BC coaches, and decide whether to join the Eagles directly out of high school or play junior hockey for a season.

Dudek's father – who became a national name at Division III Plymouth State University – said he never received Division I college interest as a high school athlete. The elder Dudek, of course, graced the Dec. 2, 1985, cover of Sports Illustrated as “The thinking fan's vote for the 1985 Heisman Trophy.”

“It all happened so quickly,” the former PSU star said of his son's recruitment. “A year ago, if you told me J.D. would have schools interested in him playing Division I hockey, I'd say you were crazy. He stepped it up at the USA camp, and it was fast forward from there.”

QUEEN CITY CONTROVERSY

The fact there's only one regular-season all-Manchester matchup per year – the result of the Queen City's four high schools no longer all playing Division I football – generates considerable buzz.

But this year, talk leading up to the Week 5 Central-Memorial clash focused on possible sanctions related to a player's transfer between schools.

A sophomore living in Central's district transferred to Memorial. The boy's father, in an unpublished interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, said the reason was related to playing time – specifically, receiving it.

Transferring for athletic purposes violates Section 4 of By-Law Article II in the “NHIAA Handbook.”

The rule “assists in the prevention of students switching schools in conjunction with the change of athletic season for athletic purposes; (and) impairs recruitment and reduces the opportunity for undue influence to be exerted by persons seeking to benefit from a student-athlete's prowess.”

The schools are under investigation by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA), the state's governing body for interscholastic athletics. Officials from both schools were instructed to submit reports that NHIAA executive director Pat Corbin will review.

Corbin, who said he has received conflicting reports from several sources, is expected to make a decision on possible punishments before Week 6 games on Oct 5 and 6.

Forfeiting wins is a possible penalty, as is a three-year postseason ban for either or both schools.

The bulk of responsibility lies with the school receiving a transfer student. In this case, Memorial needed to file a waiver affidavit for NHIAA approval.

Central principal Ronald Mailhot said his school followed student-transfer procedure.

Memorial principal Arthur Adamakos, who took a sick leave last spring and did not return until the 2012-13 school year started, told the Union Leader “we goofed on” the paperwork process. Adamakos, a longtime Queen City principal, said he has always abruptly ended any conversation with individuals seeking a transfer for athletic purposes.

The player – whose name was withheld from publication in the statewide newspaper – was deemed ineligible to play in the Central-Memorial game.

'COMPETITION FOR A CAUSE'

Windham's Jaguars sold “Black Out Cancer” t-shirts and purchased alternative jerseys for their Sept. 24 Division IV football game against St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Jags – donning all-black uniforms with green numbers – won the Week 4 clash between last year's Division V finalists, 51-16. They also raised $3,000 for the American Cancer Society's “Coaches vs. Cancer” program.

The fundraising goal was $2,000, said Bill Raycraft, Windham's head coach and athletics director.

STA head coach Eric Cumba, whose team's many supporters wore white t-shirts in support of the fight against cancer, called the game “competition for a cause.”

Windham used portable lights to play the Friday night game. Raycraft said the head count was tough to estimate.

“It was deep around the field,” Raycraft said. “I know the principal said there were no parking spots left. It was a packed house.”

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.

Recruiting Notes: Tabor's Montgomery trims list

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
6:52
PM ET
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, 18, 2012
9/18/12
11:04
AM ET
“V” is for Victoria – as in Victoria Arlen.

New Hampshire
Arlen won four medals – including gold – during a highly successful journey to London for the 2012 Paralympic Games from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9. Swimming for the U.S. national team, the 17-year-old competed in five events at the Aquatics Center and, in addition to grabbing gold, won three silver medals.

She placed second in her first three events, and closed out her run with a gold medal-winning time of 1 minute, 13.33 seconds in the women's 100-meter freestyle on Sept. 8.

The time set a world record. Arlen broke the previous mark, which she owned, by 1.41 seconds.

The Seacoast star celebrated second-place finishes in the 50-meter freestyle (35.32), 400-meter freestyle (5:20.18) and 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay (4:24.57).

Arlen missed by less than 1 second qualifying for the eight-swimmer final in her fourth event, the 100-meter breaststroke. She completed the race in 1:59.67. Hungary's Fanni Illes (1:58.83) edged Arlen for eighth place.

The fact Arlen participated in competitive swimming – on a world stage, no less – is nothing short of miraculous. She was diagnosed as an 11-year-old with transverse meylitis, which affects the spinal cord. The disorder resulted in Arlen's paralysis from the waist-down.

“I succumbed to a vegetative state for three years, and I couldn't walk, talk, eat, move or communicate,” Arlen told New England Cable News in June. “And I was told I wasn't (going to) make it.”

Shortly before the Games, Arlen was briefly ruled ineligible to compete. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) questioned the severity of her disability.

The ruling, appealed by U.S. officials, was overturned. And Arlen returned home with a handful of hardware.

Here are four messages Arlen recently posted to her Twitter page (@Arlenv1), one for each of the medals she earned:

– Sept. 8: “Gold medal and world record in the final race tonight! #pumped #cannotbelieveit”

– Sept. 10: “That moment when (you're) bringing your carry on through security with 4 London 2012 medals and they stop you & search your bag #uncommon”

– Sept. 11: “Officially have 1,001 followers!!! Woohoo #thanksforthesupport #MuchLove”

– Sept. 13: “That awkward moment when (you're) stopped in the Grocery store to take a picture and you have nothing but junk food in your cart..;) #dontjudge”

NEW LEAGUE, NEW COACH
Bedford is moving up to Division I this winter for boys' basketball – and Mike Fitzpatrick is going with the Bulldogs.

A fixture on Manchester's high school hoop scene since 1991, Fitzpatrick spent the past four seasons at Manchester Memorial. But, he told the New Hampshire Union Leader that player commitment waned. Fitzpatrick cited the decision several players made to forgo summer-league games for AAU.

It didn't sit well with Fitzpatrick, who decided to find another opportunity.

The Bulldogs, Division II finalists last season, opened their doors.

“Everything happens for a reason, and I'm happy to be in Bedford,” Fitzpatrick told the statewide newspaper. “I like the challenge of taking a program that's entering its first season in Division I. They've got good talent, and it's going to be fun coaching those players.”

It isn't unrealistic to think Fitzpatrick could fuel for Bedford a first-year Division I run to the final. His first season at Memorial produced a runner-up finish. City rival Trinity won the 2009 title, 50-25.

Fitzpatrick led another Manchester rival, Central, to state championships in 1996 and 2000.

GREAT GET
Southern New Hampshire University recently hired Bob Slater as an assistant coach for the women's lacrosse team.

Slater spent the previous seven seasons as a high school head coach at Londonderry. He turned the NHIAA Division I Lancers from punching bag into the state's premier program.

From 2006-12, Slater amassed a record of 108-25-1 (three championships). The Lancers reached the state semifinals six times and appeared in four consecutive finals from 2009-12.

Londonderry celebrated a championship three-peat from 2009-11. The program also set state record win streaks for consecutive overall triumphs (51) and consecutive victories versus NHIAA opponents (59).

While Slater was at the helm, more than 30 of his players continued their careers in college.

SIZZLING SIGNAL-CALLERS
Four of the state's top quarterbacks in NHIAA football wasted no time dissecting opposing defenses. Senior QBs Connor Benjamin (Div. III Goffstown), James Caparell (Div. II Bedford), Riley Cote (Div. I Manchester Central) and Lucas Luopa (Div. II Keene) were on point in their Week 1 games Aug. 31.

Benjamin had the biggest game, though his Grizzlies lost at Manchester Memorial, 33-32. He erupted for 278 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. He also completed 15 of 27 passes for 229 yards and a score.

Caparell completed 13 of 20 passes for 276 yards and four TDs, as the Bulldogs blasted Milford, 48-7. Bedford's field general finished his night after three quarters. But he did the bulk of his damage before halftime, completing 12 of 17 passes for 267 yards and the four scores.

Cote connected on 12 of his 17 pass attempts. Four of those tosses went for TDs. He finished with 239 yards through the air, and the Little Green unloaded on Timberlane, 32-0.

Luopa was also a dual threat in a 62-27 thrashing of Salem. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 279 yards and four scores. His 12 rushing attempts generated 168 yards and two TDs.

“You keep your eye on it definitely,” Keene head coach John Luopa, the father of his club's QB, said when asked if he's aware of the statewide talent under center. “The way (high school) offenses are going these days, that position is key.”

In Week 2, Caparell added a TD toss to his count. Cote's TD total reached seven.

It was expected Lucas Luopa and Benjamin would duel in Week 3. But the coaches decided to protect all starters from injury by resting them. NHIAA non-league game don't count toward postseason qualification.

It's too bad. Check these two-week totals:

Lucas Luopa – in five quarters of play – is 23-for-37 with 434 yards and six TDs. He ran 17 times for 233 yards and three scores.

Benjamin – in six frames of action – is 24-for-40 with 359 yards and three TDs. He ran 23 times for 421 yards and six scores.

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.

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.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

June, 27, 2012
6/27/12
2:07
PM ET
Fundraising totals between the teams competing in the inaugural New Hampshire East-West High School Football All-Star Game couldn't have been much closer.

New HampshireThe game itself? That's a different story.

West's all-stars – widely considered underdogs for the June 23 contest at the University of New Hampshire – proved too tough. The combination of overpowering offense and dominant defense led to a 33-point halftime lead and 44-12 final score.

Thaddeus “Junior” Brown was toughest to cover. Manchester Central High's 6-foot 3-inch, 180-pound receiver made all four of his catches for 87 yards in the first half. Three receptions went for touchdowns, including a 50-yard down-the-right-seam dagger that helped Team West build a 37-6 halftime lead.

“This means a lot. I worked hard for it,” Brown, the game's first Bo Dickson MVP, said of the trophy he was handed for his efforts. “The coaches helped me out a lot. I just busted my butt for 10 days. The outcome was this MVP.”

Off the field, the outcome of Brown's efforts, as well as the 73 other all-stars, was even more impressive.

Teams East and West combined to raise $51,301.21 for Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) in Lebanon.

Team East was designated the home team. It earned use of UNH football's locker room for winning the head-to-head fundraising contest. Coach Bill Raycraft's players raised $25,751.21 – a mere $201.21 more than West's standouts.

In total, $301,000 was raised for CHaD.

HS All Star Game
BASCTBD by editorial
“These kids came together and did a heck of a job for a great cause,” said Team West coach Keith Jones, whose 6-year-old son, Harris, a CHaD patient, participated in the pre-game coin toss.

Harris was involved in a freak snowmobile accident three years ago. His father has said many times if not for CHaD, right-leg amputation would have been required.

On gameday, the soon-to-be first-grader made an appearance in Team West's locker room prior to warm-ups. It gave the players an additional boost, which carried over to kickoff.

Several playmakers fueled Team West's 37-point first half.

Brown caught a pair of 9-yard TD passes from Manchester West High's Aaron Martin, who also used his speed to sneak inside the left pylon for a 2-yard rushing score.

Merrimack High's Jackson King returned an interception 19-yards for a TD.

Nashua South's Johnny Bieren was crucial to posting a second-quarter safety. He also forced and recovered a fumble on one of his three quarterback sacks.

Central's Stephen Grzywacz – who raised a players-best $5,965 for CHaD – converted five extra points (6-for-6 overall).

East's all-stars committed five of the game's eight turnovers. The favored squad fell behind, 30-0, before Salem High's Jerickson Fedrick returned a kickoff 96 yards to paydirt.

Fedrick, and Pinkerton Academy of Derry stars Kevin Davies and Emmitt Smith, were all neutralized. Combining to rush for 4,649 yards and 57 TDs last fall, the trio managed 99 yards – 28 through two quarters.

Conor Donovan of Division VI cooperative team Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough scored East's second TD early in the third. Derek Paradis of Nashua South answered with an up-the-gut run.

“The first series, I thought we did pretty well. We stopped them (but) right away turned the ball over,” Raycraft said. “That's not the way you want to start an all-star game. From there, we pressed a little bit more than we probably should have and, because of that, created more turnovers.

“But, like I told the kids, I had a blast these last (10) days,” he added. “I couldn't have asked for a better group of kids. It's going to be fun watching where they go from here. The score will fade, but they set the tone for fundraising.”

BASEBALL CHAMPS
Division I: Dillon Emerson's extra-inning hit snapped two droughts, including a lengthy one for Concord High.

The senior's single down the right-field line scored Pat Cannon and gave the top-seeded Crimson Tide a 5-4 walk-off win over No. 3 seed Merrimack High in the state final June 16 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, home of Double-A baseball's New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Emerson's hit snapped an 0-for-4 skid in the title game and earned Concord (18-4) its first crown since 1980. The Tide lost the state final in 2011.

“I was in the dugout upset over all the missed opportunities I had when coach [Scott Owen] came up to me and said, 'Stick with it. You'll get your at-bat and you'll come through.' He was right,” Emerson told the New Hampshire Sunday News.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES