Boston High School: Max Jacques

Jacques delivers NH 11th straight Maple Sugar win

August, 7, 2011
8/07/11
12:33
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WINDSOR, Vt. –- Some years the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is won with size. This year it was won with speed.

The Vermont defense spent much of Saturday's game chasing New Hampshire running back Max Jacques, and didn't have much luck catching him. Jacques, who can run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, set a Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl record by rushing for 265 yards on 26 carries in New Hampshire's 45-21 triumph.

Jacques, who scored three TDs, broke the record set by former Plymouth High School standout Mike Boyle, who ran for 206 yards in the 2004 game. Boyle went on to play at the University of New Hampshire.

“I can just say without my line I couldn't have done that,” Jacques said. “I saw yesterday in the Shrine book that the record was 206 (yards) and I told the line, 'Guys, let's go break a record. It's your record too.

“I just tried to keep my feet moving. Keep the legs pumping and when I saw daylight I took off.”

Jacques, who led Salem High School to the Division I championship as a junior, will play at Marist College in the fall. He gained 178 yards on 16 carries in the first half.

“He's just outstanding,” Vermont coach Jim Provost said. “Every time he touched the ball my heart was in my throat – for good reason. We just couldn't get our hands around him. He knows how to follow his blocks and when you have a line like that to run behind, that's what happens.”

It was the 11th consecutive victory for New Hampshire, which now holds a 43-13-2 edge in the series.

Vermont was within seven, 21-14, at halftime, but New Hampshire took control by scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter.

The first second-half TD came on a 66-yard pass from Winnacunnet quarterback Steve Cronan to Bishop Guertin running back Mike Kelly on New Hampshire's opening drive in the quarter. Kelly will play at UNH this season.

Following a Micah Morton interception, Timberlane's Nick Lawrence capped a 12-play, 87-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run. Laconia's Kyle Behan made the the fifth of his six point-after kicks to make it 35-14 with 4:07 left in the quarter.

Jacques followed with a 43-yard touchdown run –- his third of the game –- on New Hampshire's next possession.

“Can't say enough good things about Max,” New Hampshire coach Chris Childs said. “At halftime the kids said, 'Let's pound the rock, coach.' That's what our attitude was in the second half. You could see late in the third quarter that their defensive linemen were starting to hang their heads. They were starting to get worn down.”

Vermont quarterback Christian McCormick (Rice Memorial) completed 22 of 48 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times. Vermont, which took a 7-0 lead on the game's opening possession, ran the ball six times for 18 yards.

Vermont wide receiver Troy Davine caught seven passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Kareem Hines (South Burlington) scored Vermont's other TD on a 64-yard catch.

Lawrence scored New Hampshire's other TD on a 3-yard run with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. New Hampshire led 21-7 at that point.

Cronan rushed for 69 yards on five carries, and completed three of six pass attempts for 92 yards.

Jacques set the rushing record with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. His three touchdowns tied a Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl record held by seven other players.

Jacques also holds the Salem High School record for career rushing yardage (4,559).

New Hampshire also set the record for team rushing yardage (441).

“At halftime I thought we were in the game,” Provost said. “Then we didn't do the one thing we said we needed to do, and that's stop them on their first drive (in the second half).”

“I hoped that we could have controlled the ball by having a little bit more of a possession-type of game, so we could get more first downs, tire the defense out and keep 22 (Jacques) on the sideline.”

NH going for 11 straight in Maple Sugar Bowl

August, 6, 2011
8/06/11
5:26
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MERIDEN, N.H. -- New Hampshire will enter Saturday's 58th Annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl in a familiar role: as the heavy favorite.

Vermont hasn't beaten New Hampshire since 2000, and Vermont's offense and defense can share the blame for the current 10-game losing streak. New Hampshire's last 10 victories have come by an average score of 32-10.

Containing New Hampshire's running game may be the key to an upset Saturday. New Hampshire has completed two passes in the last two years – one TD pass in each game – but has won those games 40-6 (2009) and 34-20 (2010).

“Generally speaking, if we can force them to throw the ball that's a win for us,” Vermont coach Jim Provost (Champlain Valley Union) said. “Absolutely, I think New Hampshire is a run-oriented offense. If we can contain their running game that's gonna bode well for us.

“The key for us defensively against what we anticipate seeing from New Hampshire is to be disciplined in our assignments. We really need to play team defense and try to force some turnovers. Make them uncomfortable as early as possible.”

Making the New Hampshire offense uncomfortable is coach speak for making New Hampshire pass the football. New Hampshire has attempted nine passes in the last two years and although two were good for touchdowns, two others were intercepted.

New Hampshire will run the Wing-T offense, and Winnacunnet's Steve Cronan has been named the team's starting quarterback.

“I think it's gonna be awfully tough to completely shut them down,” Provost said. “The only way we're gonna be able to do that is to keep their offense on the sideline. We gotta control the ball.”

Saturday's game will be played at Windsor (Vt.) High School. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

New Hampshire has won 27 of the last 30 games and leads the series 42-13-2.

New Hampshire has three running backs on its roster who will play Division I (FCS) football this fall: Bishop Guertin's Mike Kelley (UNH), Salem's Max Jacques (Marist) and Lebanon's Cody Patch (Dartmouth). Patch suffered cracked ribs during practice at Kimball Union Academy, but has been cleared to play.

“I think running back is our deepest position,” New Hampshire coach Chris Childs (Lebanon) said. “We've got three Division I kids back there. We'll just have to see how Cody feels.”

Provost tried to run the ball against New Hampshire when he was Vermont's head coach in the 1990 Shrine Game. New Hampshire prevailed 35-0 that year.

Vermont will run a spread offense Saturday. Among Vermont's key weapons will be Rice Memorial quarterback Christian McCormick and Hartford fullback Trevor Wood. McCormick, Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year, completed 262 passes for 2,619 yards and 37 touchdowns last fall, when he guided Rice to the Division II championship. He was intercepted three times.

“I really think the key for us is getting pressure on the quarterback,” Childs said. “We expect them to throw the ball all over the place and we can't let him sit back there and pick us apart. From what I've been told he can really throw the ball.”

Proceeds from the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl benefit the Shrine Hospitals in Boston, Montreal and Springfield, Mass.

“We're the underdog obviously,” McCormick said. “We haven't won in 10 years, but we're a new team and they're a new team. It's not like it's the same teams playing every year, so as a team we think we're in a good enough position to try and win. The confidence is there.”

New England Roundup: Vermont

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
2:06
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Rice Memorial quarterback Christian McCormick knows all about Vermont's drought in the annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

VermontHe knows Vermont hasn't posted a victory since 2000, and that only one of New Hampshire's 10 victories since then has come by fewer than 14 points (New Hampshire won 23-20 in 2007).

He also knows that just about everybody is picking New Hampshire to win again when the teams meet Saturday (2:30 p.m. kickoff) at Windsor High School. Vermont trails in the series 42-13-2.

“We're the underdog obviously,” McCormick said. “We haven't won in 10 years, but we're a new team and they're a new team. It's not like it's the same teams playing every year, so as a team we think we're in a good enough position to try and win. The confidence is there.”

Vermont will rely heavily on McCormick, Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year. He completed 262 passes for 2,619 yards and 37 touchdowns last fall, when he guided Rice to the Division II championship. He was intercepted three times.

Vermont is expected to use primarily an air attack on Saturday. That's the offensive strategy that produced a 47-40 triumph in 2000. Since then, however, Vermont has failed to score more than seven points in the game six times and has been shut out twice. The average score of New Hampshire's last 10 victories has been 32-10.

“They're a little bigger obviously, but we're gonna use what we have,”McCormick said.

What Vermont has is a bunch of good receivers for McCormick to throw to, and a big back in Hartford's Trevor Wood.

“We're expecting them to throw the ball all over the place,” New Hampshire coach Chris Childs (Lebanon) said.

It seems likely that Vermont will have to score a lot to win, but the key to a Vermont victory may be how well the Vermont defense performs. New Hampshire has scored at least 34 points in six of the last 10 games.

“The key for us defensively against what we anticipate seeing from New Hampshire is to be disciplined in our assignments,” Vermont coach Jim Provost (Champlain Valley Union) said. “We really need to play team defense and try to force some turnovers. Make them uncomfortable as early as possible.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
1:54
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Among golfers his age, who's better than Keene's Chelso Barrett?

New HampshireNobody in New Hampshire, that's for sure.

Nearing the start of his junior year at Keene High, Barrett finished runner-up at the 64th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship from July 18-23. The 16-year-old's sensational run in Bremerton, Wash., ended with a 6-and-5 setback in the tournament's 36-hole final at Gold Mountain Golf Club.

Barrett's dream finish on the 7,111-yard, par-72 Olympic Course was denied by Dallas 17-year-old Jordan Spieth, also the 2009 champion.

“It was disappointing coming in second. But at the same time, it was really big because I got (three) exemptions for USGA events in the future,” Barrett said from Fort Wayne, Ind., on the eve of the Junior PGA Championship Aug. 2-5. “I lost the tournament, but it wasn't really a loss.”

Spieth last year eliminated Barrett in the Round of 64. This summer, the Texas teenager became just the second golfer in the championship's history to win multiple titles. He joined Tiger Woods, a three-peat junior amateur champ from 1991-93.

Securing a spot in the final required Barrett bump considerable competition from the bracket. Taking lessons last February from Craig Shankland at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., paid off.

In just his second Junior Amateur, Barrett started strong. He carded a 36-hole, 1-under-par 143 (69-74) during stroke play. It lifted him to the Round of 64, where the tourney's format turned to match play.

Andrew Bonner of Ripon, Calif., was the first foe Barrett sent packing. The final score was 1-up.

The next win really fueled the teen's momentum.

Barrett defeated defending champion Jim Liu, 2-up. The Smithtown, N.Y., native was attempting to join Woods as the only other repeat king.

“After he beat the defending champion, I was shocked,” said Chelso's father, Hugh, New Hampshire's 1980 state amateur champ. “It's done so much for him. He was basically unknown (in major college golf) before that.”

But the upset was an attention-grabber. Barrett, whose surname is well known at Keene's Bretwood Golf Course, ousted Liu with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.

The first of those back-to-back birdies applied the pressure. Barrett sank a 6-foot putt after striking a wonderful approach from 165 yards.

The second birdie cemented Barrett's victory. Liu needed a final-hole win to extend the bout. His tee shot proved troublesome, however, forcing him to concede No. 18.

“Basically, my bad shots weren't that bad,” Barrett said of the key to his near-No. 1 finish. “I didn't hit it great in the finals, but up until that point, I hit it solid. I kept the ball in play.”

He beat William Zalatoris of Plano, Texas, 2-and-1, in the Round of 16. Thus, he met his goal to reach the Round of 8.

Then, he exceeded personal expectation. He beat William Starke of Chapin, S.C., 1-up, in the quarterfinals.

He also beat Colombia's Nicholas Echavarria in 19 holes to survive the semifinals.

In the final, Barrett built a 2-up lead through two holes. But a double-bogey on No. 3 combined with Spieth's birdie on No. 6 squared the match.

Spieth took his second lead by winning the 13th hole. He didn't trail again.

Losing to Spieth, competing in his last junior event, wasn't a complete downer for Barrett. Advancing to the final match earned him exemptions to the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 22-28 in Erin, Wisc., and next year's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship July 9-14 in Midway, Utah.

But he's most excited about the third exemption – earned by achieving his goal to make the quarterfinals cut.

He's assured a spot in next year's Junior Amateur, which takes place July 16-21 at the Golf Club of New England.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

May, 13, 2011
5/13/11
1:29
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It's a head-scratcher of the highest order.

New HampshireTony Johnson, among the Granite State's most successful head football coaches, will not return for his 18th season at powerhouse Bishop Guertin High, the three-time defending Division II champion.

Also the Nashua school's athletics director for the past four years, Johnson announced his stunning decision on May 6. He first broke the news to his assistant coaches and student-athletes.

Word spread quickly.

Pinkerton Academy head football coach Brian O'Reilly – whose Division I champion Astros play yet another much-anticipated season-opening crossover contest with BG this fall – said his reaction was complete disbelief.

“Tony has obviously done an exceptional job at Bishop Guertin,” said O'Reilly, entering his 34th season at the helm in Derry. “When I think of Bishop Guertin football, I immediately think of Tony Johnson.”

O'Reilly, whose program is a 10-time Division I king, isn't alone.

On this topic, easily obtainable answers exist to four of journalism's five W's: Who?, What?, When?, and Where? The fifth question is much tougher to explain.

Why?

“My passion is coaching,” said Johnson, who will remain BG's athletics director. “But really, (BG officials) wanted me to focus on being AD.”

Four years earlier, Johnson became AD in addition to coaching football. He said his performance in both roles has been reviewed annually.

Johnson, a Guertin graduate (1977), simply said the powers-that-be wanted him to focus more attention on all sports programs.

Minus any details, which haven't emerged from behind Guertin's doors, this move is baffling. Guertin fields championship-caliber teams in a variety of fall, winter and spring sports.

Let's see how much longer Guertin football remains a force. Johnson and his loyal assistants are a big reason for BG's stranglehold on Division II.

Johnson took over in 1994, fresh off a winless campaign. BG reached the final in 1997, the first of 10 title-game trips under Johnson's tutelage.

The Cardinals finally finished No. 1 in 2004, securing their first crown since Johnson starred for the school's 1975 title team as a junior.

Johnson's juggernaut has won six of the seven state championships since 2004. All that separates the Cards from seven straight titles is, quite possibly, a controversial pass interference penalty late in the 2007 final against Exeter High. The infraction gave Exeter life, and led to a 14-13 comeback decision.

“It will not be the same,” O'Reilly said. “Whoever follows (Johnson) is behind the 8-ball.”

That's because the successor will work in a giant shadow cast by the former coach, still serving as AD.

“We'll open this thing up. We're going to do an open search,” Johnson said. “I owe it to my kids to find the best coach I can.”

JOHNSON'S PREPARED STATEMENT
BG's former head coach read this statement to select media members after informing the football team of his decision to leave the sideline:

“My heartfelt thanks goes to the thousands of young men I have had the honor of coaching and teaching over the past 17 years. I want to thank my loyal coaches, thousands of great parents, alumni and friends of BG for their contributions in achieving an unparalleled record of winning football games, developing outstanding scholar-athletes, and to their dedication of the highest principles of good sportsmanship and citizenship.”

CLIPPERS CLOSE TO RECORD
Portsmouth High's baseball team (10-0) is close to tying the national record for consecutive wins.

The three-time defending Division II champion won its 73rd consecutive game on May 11. The Clippers beat Amherst's Souhegan High, 9-3.

But it was Portsmouth's 70th straight win that stands out. It certainly qualified as nail-biter baseball. The Clippers clinched a 4-3 comeback win against Dover's St. Thomas Aquinas High on May 2.

Pitching ace Keegan Taylor was tagged for a first-inning home run that placed the Clippers in a 2-0 hole. Jordan Bean, STA's top hurler and Taylor's teammate on the celebrated Portsmouth Little League squad that reached the national semifinals of the 60th World Series in 2006, belted Taylor's third toss of the game.

Portsmouth's third-inning four-spot erased the deficit.

Bill Hartman cracked an RBI double. Matt Feeney ripped a two-run single. Taylor tripled to plate Feeney with the game-winning run.

Taylor threw a four-hitter on 100 pitches. Northeastern's recruit recorded 10 strikeouts and walked one.

The current win streak record-holder is Michigan's Homer High, which beat 75 teams in a row, according to the National Federation of State High Schools Association.

If the Clippers defeat Durham's Oyster River High on May 13, they'll play for a share of the record on May 16 at Kingston's Sanborn Regional.

The potential record-breaker game is May 18 at Pembroke Academy.

LANCERS LOCKED IN
Londonderry High survived a fierce five-game stretch from April 30 to May 11, which kept its state-best girls' lacrosse win streak alive. The streak reached 48 straight games with a 14-4 Division I win over arch-rival Pinkerton on May 11.

It was Londonderry's lone lopsided win in the 12-day span.

The Lancers (11-0) edged the Bay State's Duxbury High, 12-11, on April 30. They worked a 10-8 comeback win at Pinkerton on May 3.

Three days later, Londonderry beat Concord High, 8-6. The Lancers kept the Crimson Tide off the scoreboard for the final 22 minutes, and erased a 6-2 second-half deficit.

They again faced Concord on May 10, and topped the Tide, 12-9.

From front to back, the Lancers displayed their balance. Attackers Leah Walter and Julia Wasserman, midfielders Jenny Thompson and Alexa Bedell, defenders Amy Johnson and Lindsay Conroy, and goalkeeper Crystalle Parent all made critical contributions.

“All the stuff we've been trying to teach throughout the year is just starting to come into place,” Londonderry coach Bob Slater said. “This is when we wanted it. This is when we needed it.”

SCHOLAR-ATHLETES HONORED
Twenty-nine seniors from schools throughout the state were the honored guests at the 24th annual Joe Yukica New Hampshire Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame scholar-athlete dinner on May 4.

The number of standouts – celebrated by 200-plus members of the state's football community at the Executive Court in Manchester – tied the record set last year. At least one school from each of the six New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) football divisions was represented.

A five-man selection committee from the Yukica foundation chose from nearly 50 candidates nominated by their coaches. Prerequisites for consideration included football talent, good grades and high character.

This year's winners included:
  • Chris Almeida, Souhegan (Amherst)
  • Jared Barczak, Trinity (Manchester)
  • Nick Kepka-Calvetti, Souhegan
  • Matthew Cannone, Salem
  • Sam Carney, Hanover
  • Tim Croteau, Nashua North
  • Stephen Cuipa II, Bishop Guertin
  • Joseph DiPalma, Salem
  • Keith Farkas, Nashua South
  • Benjamin Fee, Winnacunnet (Hampton)
  • Dan Folger, Bishop Guertin
  • Nick Hession, Souhegan
  • Jake Holmes, Laconia
  • Max Jacques, Salem
  • Brandon Karkhanis, Nashua North
  • Jim Kemos, Bishop Guertin
  • Kevin Kosiorek, Mascoma (Canaan)
  • Doran Logsdon, Laconia
  • Anton Marinchik, Nashua North
  • Sam McClain, Bedford
  • James Murphy, Nashua North
  • Cody Patch, Lebanon
  • Jack Pearl, St. Thomas Aquinas (Dover)
  • Jonathan Roth, Lebanon
  • Michael Seaman, Epping
  • Luke Somers, Pinkerton
  • Matthew Sullivan, Winnacunnet
  • Michael Sullivan, Winnacunnet
  • Nicholas Sullivan, Newport
STARS TO SHINE
The Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) recently announced plans for New Hampshire's first East-West high school football all-star game. The inaugural contest is June 23, 2012, at the University of New Hampshire's Cowell Stadium.

The game will benefit CHaD and the Kristen's Gift fund for pediatric oncology.

Each team's roster will include 36 players based on nominations made by their head coaches. Players must compete for schools recognized by the NHIAA.

Every division will be represented by, at minimum, one athlete. A maximum four players may be chosen from a single team.

Route 3 and Interstate-93 are the dividing lines that create the “East vs. West” matchup.

“The team of organizers that we’ve assembled will do a masterful job in premiering the state's only all-star football game,” event founder Nick Vailas said in a written statement. “New Hampshire football will be elevated by this platform, and players should aspire to make the teams' rosters in order to showcase their skills in an event that will raise awareness and funding for CHaD and Kristen’s Gift.”

GRANITE STATE GREATS
  • Bedford High goalkeeper Austin Lauzier made at least 20 saves in consecutive Division II boys' lacrosse contests on May 7 and 9. He stopped 21 shots in a 17-10 loss at Souhegan on May 7. He made 20 saves in an 11-8 win over Portsmouth two days later.
  • Jack Dowst, a midfielder at Manchester's Derryfield School, totaled seven goals and three assists on May 9. His 10-point effort paced the defending Division III boys' lacrosse champion in a 13-10 win over Lebanon High.
  • Pinkerton's Ryan Feney was a double threat on the baseball diamond May 9 at Rochester's Spaulding High. He struck out nine batters and hit a two-run homer in his team's 5-3 Division I win.
  • Mickenzie Larivee and Meggie Whitney each recorded five goals and an assist in Souhegan's 19-3 Division I girls' lacrosse win over Manchester Central High on May 10.
  • Julia Nolan led Litchfield's Campbell High to a 1-0 Division III softball win over Conant High of Jaffrey on May 11. She fanned 14 batters and celebrated her 100th strikeout of the season.
  • Oyster River girls' basketball star Danielle Walczak, a scholarship recruit for the University of Maine, secured a spot on Parade Magazine's 35th annual All-America high school team. The 6-foot 1-inch center will be profiled in the publication's May 15 issue.
Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News. He can be reached at marc.thaler@gmail.com. You can read his blog, "New Hampshire GameDay" and follow him on Twitter @marc_thaler.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
5:53
PM ET


MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Manchester High School West's Valentine's Day victory made basketball coach Nick Moutsioulis wish his wallet could support a team trip to the Magic Kingdom.

"If I could pay for every one of the girls to go, I'd do it in a heartbeat," said Moutsioulis, his reference to Disney World and the visit made by the Super Bowl MVP after winning the biggest of games.

New HampshireYou see, West entered its Feb. 14 girls' hoop contest lugging a 77-game losing streak that dated to the 2007-08 season opener. But after three consecutive winless campaigns, and another 14 straight losses this winter, the Blue Knights stopped the frustration-filled skid with a 38-33 Division II road win at Pelham High.

"I'm still processing it. I don't even know how to react to a win," said 5-foot 8-inch forward Emily Colon, one of three seniors on West's varsity team that features just eight active players.

West's low participation in athletics isn't limited to girls' hoop. The loss of Bedford student-athletes to the opening of Bedford High in 2007 has affected most sports programs at the school.

The exodus that eventually shrunk West's population from 2,000-plus students to roughly 1,100, took place over several years. But West's ability to compete in most sports quickly declined.

Colon and classmate Brooke Brown were freshman call-ups to the varsity in 2007-08, West's first winless campaign. Routinely losing was a foreign feeling to these stars of the streak-snapping win; as ninth-graders they led their freshman team to a 12-4 record.

"We tried not to think about the negative," said Brown, a 5-foot-11 center, noting the team became the punchline to jokes that spread throughout the school.

Over time, however, staying positive proved tough. One winless season grew into two, which reached three last winter.

But worse than the lopsided losses -- and jokes generated by them -- was the sinking feeling caused by looking into the stands during home games.

(Read full post)

Tags:

Basketball, New Hampshire, New England Roundup, Plymouth Regional (N.H.), Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, Hanover (N.H.), Salem (N.H.), Nashua North, Bedford (N.H.), Jeff LaCoste, Trinity (N.H.), Concord (N.H.), Steve Cuipa, Bishop Guertin (N.H.), Max Jacques, Eric Muite, Steve Cronan, Pinkerton (N.H.), Cody Patch, Ryan Moran, Luke Somers, Mike Mazzola, Chris Childs, Doug Gregory, Newport (N.H.), David Madol, Barry Chooljian, Zach Bridson, Matt Morris, Nate Lawrence, Ben Tammany, St. Thomas Aquinas (N.H.), David Owens, Mike Kelly, Milford (N.H.), Dimitri Floras, Matt Sullivan, Manchester West (N.H.), Nick Moutsioulis, Pelham (N.H.), Emily Colon, Brooke Brown, Sarah Soucy, Lebanon (N.H.), Windsor (Vt.), Kimball Union (N.H.), Taylor Russell, Keene (N.H.), Zach Hunnewell, Joel Pacheco, Joe DiPalma, C.J. Woods, Matt Ammann, Tyler Baulier, Merrimack (N.H.), Nick Corbett, Dover (N.H.), Winnacunnet (N.H.), Kyle Wilson, John Forte, Max Goudreau, Nick Hession, Souhegan (N.H.), Brian Liamos, Hollis/Brookline (N.H.), Sam McClain, Brendan McKenna, Kyle Behan, Laconia (N.H.), Sam Carney, Jeff Gratiano, John Doran Logsdon, Jonathan Roth, Thomas Baxter, Kearsarge (N.H.), Zachary Knight, Stevens (N.H.), Robert Ramirez, Brendan Demo, Gilford (N.H.), Jacob Ford, Franklin (N.H.), Josh Stout, David Boisvert, Todd Bircher, Al Miclovic, Brandon Lahaye, Gary Mayo, David Pfeifer, Oyster River (N.H.), Alex Jones, Joe Lane, Ellie Thompson, Jahmar Gathright, Andre Williams, Molly McCabe, Monadnock Regional (N.H.), Gubby Naronha, Cathly Leibowitz, Timberlane Regional (N.H.), Jake Kappler, Andrew Tanner, Shane Tremblay, Londonderry (N.H.), Dan Roger, Tanner Burke, Dominic Farrar, Tyler Elworth, Manchester Memorial (N.H.), Dave Garcia, Goffstown (N.H.), Zach Schofield, Mike Sarette, Peter Shea, Mal Shea, Caleb Cejka, Zach MacPherson, Casey Quinn, Ryan Cohen, Mike Ponchak, Mike Sullivan, Jeremy Nault, Randy Cleary, Tyler Dustin, Dakota Simula, John Stark Regional (N.H.), Josh Medeiros, Warren Greenhalgh, Carleton Kleinschrodt, White Mountains Regional (N.H.), Windham (N.H.), Tyler Siverhus, Gage Fenton, Bow (N.H.), Pete LaRiviere, John Lefebvre, Jeff Cole, Ryan Manasian, Jonathan Scheidegger, Sanborn Regional (N.H.), Eddie O'Malley, Newfound Regional (N.H.), Dan Mak, Campbell (N.H.), Olivia Bogaczyk, Courtney Thompson, Alex Halle, Abby Clark, Spaulding (N.H.), Liz Rowan, Cody Bond, Colton Castonguay, Madison Goldstein, Josh Paige, Chris Moquin, James Montgomery, Josh Morgan, Mascenic Regional (N.H.), Pittsburg (N.H.), Colebrook (N.H.)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
1:30
PM ET
Concord High caught a few teams by surprise during its postseason run to the Division I boys' hockey championship a year ago.

New Hampshire"We certainly got hot in the tournament," said Concord coach Duncan Walsh, recalling his team's run to the title as the No. 4 seed. "I don't think anyone thought Concord was going to win it."

The Crimson Tide's rink rivals won't be fooled this time around. The Tide is the preseason team to beat.

"You've got to start with Concord. They've got a lot of guys back," said Pinkerton Academy of Derry coach Casey Kesselring, whose Astros, as defending champs last season, were ousted in a wide open semifinal round that also featured Nashua's Bishop Guertin and Exeter. "They lost a key piece in (Division I Player of the Year) Kevin Marceau. But they have the Lacasse brothers back."

Pat Lacasse is Concord's top returning playmaker. Nick Lacasse leads a veteran defensive group. The twin brothers are among 16 of 20 returning players from the program's first title team since 1999.

"Goals are going to come harder than last year," Walsh said. "Last year, we had a dominant first line. There weren’t many games they didn’t get two or three goals. I don’t think we’ll get four or five goals (per game), but we might get two or three."

Concord's first line projects to be Pat Lacasse, the lone returning first-liner from last season, and Chris Acres and Pat Cannon. It's on the other end of the ice where the Tide has fewer question marks.

Nick Lacasse, Taylor Lebell and Dustin Walsh earned the bulk of ice time along the blue line during the 2009-10 campaign. Goaltender Brendan Garrett is also back from the surprise squad that ousted top-seeded BG, 4-3, in the semifinals and blanked No. 3 seed Exeter, 1-0, in the final.

"In my opinion, it's Concord, Hanover, Pinkerton and Bishop Guertin. Those are the usual suspects," Exeter coach Jim Tufts said. "But Concord is the defending champ. Their starting goalie is back, and those twins are really good."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

October, 13, 2010
10/13/10
2:42
PM ET
There were two ways — for one game, anyway — to view the reigning Division I football finalists after their first meeting since last year's title game.

New HampshireDefending champion Salem and Nashua North could have conducted a seminar on scoring, or they needed to take a course on tackling.

The latter best described these talent-rich teams in Week 5. Each squad's defense did a disappearing act in Salem's 67-54 home win at Grant Field.

“It was a great basketball game today. Great basketball game,” North head coach Jason Robie said with supreme sarcasm on Oct. 2, before attempting to explain how his then-No. 2 Titans posted 54 points and lost by 13.

No, several overtime sessions didn't help produce this points pile-up. All 121 points were scored in regulation (12-minute quarters in New Hampshire).



Save for one play – a 103-yard interception return for a touchdown by North's Andre Williams – defense was sub-par. And that's being kind.

Salem set single-game program records for points scored and allowed. North set a record in the points-allowed department.

“I, never in my life, in all my coaching years, would believe we played an ugly game and scored 67 points,” said Salem's defensive-minded head coach, Jack Gati, after his then-No. 5 Blue Devils won the tough-to-stomach contest.

How ugly was it?

Nine of the 15 offensive scoring drives, including five for North, lasted five plays or fewer.

Salem scored the game's first 34 points in the opening 13 minutes, four seconds. It led at halftime, 54-28.

The preseason picks to again meet in the league final combined for 1,356 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns. Salem gained 712 all-purpose yards and tallied 10 touchdowns. North notched 644 yards via the run, pass and return game.

Salem's Max Jacques, the New Hampshire Union Leader Player of the Year last season, recorded 338 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns. The senior halfback's totals included 224 rushing yards and four scores, and a program-record 90-yard punt-return to paydirt.

Jerickson Fedrick added 169 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Matt Cannone threw for 120 yards. Abner Rodriguez took a kickoff 83 yards to the house.

North's Williams stopped the 34-point blitz with his pick-six. He also rushed 21 times for 181 yards, including a 49-yard burst to the end zone.

Brandon Karkhanis accounted for six scores, two on QB keepers and four through the air. Anton Marinchik (five catches for 109 yards, two TDs), Eric Muite (four catches for 72 yards, TD) and Jamar Gathright (two catches for 66 yards, TD) combined for four touchdown grabs between 20 and 47 yards.

"I think when you don't have an experienced group like we had last year, it's difficult going in and out of your base defense to a special defense for spread (offense) teams," Gati said. "We've just got to get better at that because we face spread teams and we face traditional teams."

Gati's group rebounded in Week 6 with a 48-7 win over Division II Timberlane Regional of Plaistow. Salem, currently No. 3 in New Hampshire, stands at 4-2 overall and 3-1 in Division I.

Now No. 6 in the state, North (3-3, 3-2) faced a tougher foe. The Titans lost to current No. 4 squad Nashua South, 38-21, in Week 6, meaning this statement from Robie after the Salem game still applies:

“We can do one of two things: We can keep reading the articles saying we're a terrible defense,” Robie said. “Or we can say 'This one's behind us,' let [the media] talk about that, and try and fix what's broken. We'll do the latter.”

GANG GREEN
Manchester Central dominated the Manchester Cross Country Championships at Derryfield Park on Oct. 12. Alexandra Conway won the girls' race, and Sam Gagnon, Zack Chabot and Sean Brown recorded the same winning time in the boys' run.

Central, as a result, clinched girls' and boys' XC city titles for the third straight season, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Conway ran the 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 45 seconds. She finished 68 seconds ahead of her closest competitor. Gagnon, Chabot and Brown completed the run in 17:02. Teammate Matt Becker was one second off the pace.

MONUMENTAL MARKER
Striker Eric Jayne scored his 10th goal of the season on Oct. 5. The tally helped Hanover beat Concord's Bishop Brady, 5-0, in Division II boys' soccer.

Jayne's marker was significant. It was the 43rd goal of the senior's career, which set a new program record. The previous career goal-scoring record stood since the mid-1960s.

Hanover (11-0-0) and Division III Gilford (13-0-0) are the state's only unbeaten/untied teams.

CHAMPIONS CROWNED
Golf was the first fall sport to finish its season, making it the first to crown champions.

Keene (Div. I), Bedford (Div. II) and Moultonborough (Div. III) celebrated team titles. Keene's Chelso Barrett, Bedford's Jake Nutter and Gilford's Chris Houston won boys' individual crowns in Divisions I, II and III, respectively.

Lebanon's Colette Schmidt (Div. I) and Newmarket's Chelsea Walker (Div. II) won girls' individual championships.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Londonderry won its final 13 matches last season to clinch the program's first Division I girls' volleyball championship.

The Lancers, now senior-laden, are poised to repeat in their 15th varsity campaign.

Coach Peter Willis and his powerhouse squad are 14-0 this season. They take a 27-match win streak into their showdown tonight (Oct. 13) with reigning runner-up and fellow 14-0 force Spaulding of Rochester.

“One of the big factors in us (winning) last year was this group really played to the moment,” said Willis, who leads eight seniors and two juniors. “They wouldn't get too up, they wouldn't get too down. They were very business-like on the court. In that sense, they really deal well with pressure.”

The breakdown of Londonderry's 14 wins includes 11 three-game sweeps. The remaining matches went four games. That means the defending champ played 45 games, just three games over the minimum.

Identical twins and outside hitters Katie and Megan Schwarz lead the Lancers along with setter Amy Johnson.

The 5-foot 10-inch Schwarz sisters are “both the total package,” Willis said. They consistently lead the team in kills per match. Katie averages 14 per contest. Megan's per-match average is 17.

They're the program's only members of the 500-kill club.

Johnson recently became the second Lancer to record 1,000 career assists. She averages 30 per match.

Lyssa Winslow, Nicole Williams and Shay Collins split time as middle-hitters. All are difference-makers.

“We've certainly met a lot of people's expectations so far. The trick is do we meet our own expectations?” Willis said. “It's a very self-aware group.”

CENTURY MARK
Campbell's Shawna Trunca tallied her 100th career goal in girls' soccer on Oct. 12, according to the school's athletics director, Dan Kiestlinger. Trunca, a senior striker, helped lead the Litchfield-based squad to a 6-0 Division III win over Hillsboro-Deering.

Campbell is 14-0-0 and the only remaining unbeaten/untied team in the state's four soccer divisions. Trunca & Co. have one regular-season game remaining on Oct. 18.

DOUBLE DUTY
Play-calling for Laconia is territory of head football coach Craig Kozens, who serves as offensive coordinator for the Sachems.

In Week 6, however, Kozens doubled as defensive coordinator. Longtime assistant Bob Ewell was recovering from surgery. Ewell's appendix burst one day before Laconia hosted Plymouth Regional, winner of five straight titles between Divisions III and IV.

“It was hectic. I had a lot of help from my assistant coaches,” Kozens told the New Hampshire Sunday News after Laconia beat Plymouth, 30-20. “Because we have a consistent staff of 11 guys, everyone helped me keep my thoughts together.”

Laconia hadn't beaten Plymouth since 1999. The 10-point win on Oct. 8 also marked the first time Kozens, in his 10th year as Laconia's head coach, led the Sachems past the Bobcats.

THE 400 CLUB
Mike Ackerman readily admits he can't recall the details of his first career coaching win.

The reason is understandable. Ackerman, the head coach at Division IV Woodsville since 1977, has won more than 400 boys' soccer matches.

He reached the 400-win milestone when the Engineers defeated Groveton, 9-0, on Sept. 23. His career record through Oct. 12 was 404-134-36, according to UnionLeader.com.

“It's a few,” Ackerman, 57, said while chuckling about the whopping total. “I'm just worried about the team playing well, what the kids are learning from playing, and that they're good people and graduating from high school.

“Four hundred wins is four hundred wins,” he added. “But the important stuff is what they're getting out of their experience, and that it's making a difference in their lives.”

Gilford's Dave Pinkham is the lone member of the 500-win club. Exeter's Jim Tufts has 300-plus wins. They both began coaching boys' soccer the same year as Ackerman.

Longtime Hanover coach George Merrill retired two wins shy of 400. Ackerman said he once asked Merrill why he called it a career with 398 wins on his resume.

“He said, 'You'll know when it's time,'” Ackerman said. “It isn't time yet for me.”

Woodsville won consecutive championships in the former Class S under Ackerman. He also coached his sons, Ryan and Matt, in the late 1990s. His wife, Glenna, never misses a match.

At a recent school assembly, Ackerman said he was presented with a game ball. It marked the accomplishment three-plus decades in the making.

To think, it all started when his original team manager from the '77 season announced during a booster club banquet that Ackerman was close to clinching his 400th win.

“I was just going to let it slide by if I could,” Ackerman said. “But (this year's players) loved dumping a big bucket of ice water over my head.”

Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News and UnionLeader.com. He has been the high schools reporter for football and lacrosse since joining the statewide newspaper in 2006. A graduate of Syracuse University (2000), he wrote about the state's football history for an exhibit at The Hall at Patriot Place. The Bedford, N.H., native has covered the Little League World Series, NCAA men's lacrosse championships, UNH athletics and New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball. He can be reached at marc.thaler@gmail.com.

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