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The Buffalo Wild Wings Championship Scouting Report

By Dave Haley, 11/11/21, 6:00AM EST


Luke Gay and the Wildcats look to pull another shocker against Somersworth (photo by Wayne McElreavy)

 Every year at this time, we turn our championship game previews over to the people who know these teams best, the coaches who have gone against them this season.

 We asked four head coaches to break down Saturday's championship game using blind quotes.

 We will be out covering both games this weekend:

 Colin O'Neil, Matt Swormstedt & I will be in Laconia when Somersworth squares off with Fall Mountain for the Division IV title.

 Pete Tarrier & Shannon Hargreaves will be in Bedford for the Division III championship game when undefeated Pelham takes on the Trinity Pioneers.

 We will have all the highlights plus the post-game interview/celebration with the champs.

 The winners will have the option to hold a championship game watch party at Buffalo Wild Wings.

 These are events we have held with Londonderry, Bedford, Hollis-Brookline, Winnisquam, and many other champions.

 Players, coaches, parents, friends & family get to watch our full game video on the big screen at Buffalo Wild Wings. So we look forward to hosting four more watch parties in the next few weeks.


 Division III playoff bracket and season standings


(1) Pelham vs. (2) Trinity

 Tom Babaian's Pelham Pythons are one win away from earning back to back undefeated Division III titles.

 In their way is a one-loss Trinity team that never got to face Pelham after their October 8th game was canceled.

 We asked our coaches to break down Saturday's match-up at Bedford high school, beginning with the defending champs.

 "Their size and physicality is what jumps out at you," said an opposing head coach.

"They can push your guy off of his spot, and they do a good job executing the game plan. They have size, speed, and athleticism, and that overwhelmed just about all of the teams in our league."

 Another head coach echoed that opinion. "They are on a different level as far as the depth and size of their team."

"In Division III, you're going to have to put a player in a position he's not ready for. Maybe that's because of (the number of players you have) or injuries, but I can guarantee you that you're putting a player in a tough spot. You don't see that with Pelham. They have the depth to put the guys they want in the spots they belong in."

 What players stand out for you when you face Pelham?

 "Ethan Demmons might be the best player in our division, and he's the best player we have faced in some time."

 "Jake Cawthron was a player who looked physical on tape but was way more of a problem when we lined up against him."

 "Kevin Bodenrader was as good as any player we faced, I would put him on equal footing with Demmons, and I came away very impressed with both Alex Carroll & Derek Muise. They just come at you in waves."

 "Noah Coppinger has also been very good for Pelham."

 "They all know their roles and their blocking assignments. They hit the right gap, and they have good chemistry as a team."

 One of the coaches we spoke to talked about the Pythons secondary.

"Their secondary is outstanding, which does not bode well for Trinity because I think they will have to throw the football to have any chance to win. The (Pelham) secondary is very good at tackling in open space."

 What about Rob Cathcart's Trinity Pioneers?

 "They have a lot of excellent skill players," said an opposing coach. "Jimbo Thibault is a very good player for them, as are Devohn Ellis & Mark Nyoma. Rob does a good job at splitting the carries and seems to keep everyone happy."

 "Their strength is in their speed, what I question is if they have the size to compete with and beat Pelham?"

 Another coach talked about the underrated aspects of the Pioneers. "Their QB Jack Service is underrated, he does a nice job, and he can throw the football."

 "They will line up with a full-house backfield and catch you with a play-action pass. They do a nice job of lulling you to sleep. Your defense is focused on the run and they'll hit you with a big pass play and they're not afraid to do it on first down."

 "I can't see (Trinity) winning running the football, I don't think the Pelham defensive line will allow it, but they can move the ball by passing."

 How do you see the game playing out?

 "I think the game will be won on the offensive & defensive lines, and I give a huge advantage there to Pelham."

 "They are just too big for Trinity, and I think the only way they can win is by winning the special teams game, forcing turnovers, and getting into a shoot-out."

 Another head coach talked about the experience Pelham has. "They have been there before, and they have good leadership amongst the veteran players. Tom does a very good job coaching them, and I don't see Trinity slowing them down."


 So who wins the game?

 "Pelham, and it's going to be a blowout."

 "I can't see any scenario where Pelham loses."



Division IV playoff bracket and final standings

 (2) Somersworth vs. (4) Fall Mountain

 A funny thing happened on the way to the Newport/Somersworth rematch…

 Orion Binney's Fall Mountain Wildcats pulled off the shocker of the 2021 playoffs by beating the undefeated defending champions 21-6.

 That sets up a match-up of a pair of teams making their second championship game appearance in the last three seasons.

 We asked two head coaches in the division to break down the two teams and Saturday's match-up, beginning with the Hilltoppers.

 "Their size stands out. Their offensive and defensive lines were the biggest we played all season, and those are two units that have gotten better as the season has gone along," said one opposing head coach.

 "Their offensive line is the strength of their team, and they have the playmakers behind them to gash your defense."

 Another coach we spoke to agreed.

 "The vertical push they get upfront puts you in a difficult position. Gio Arscott and Jacob Gibson just manhandled us when we played them and were able to drive our best players off the ball."

 How about the Hilltoppers vaunted running game?

 "Their feet never stop moving. They run hard, they block hard, and that wears any team down over four quarters. They'll run it on 3rd and long, and when you least expect it, they will throw the ball."

 "Coach (Jeremy) Lambert does an excellent job, and they know when to attack you over the top with play-action."

 "Calvin Lambert is excellent, and they will give him 25 plus touches if they can. Their quarterback Jeff DeKorne is very smart and can also make plays. Either of those players can rip off the big play that changes the momentum of the game."

 "They swarm to the ball on defense and are very disciplined. The ends fill their spot/role and because of that there is no cut back lane for your ball carrier."

 What about fourth-seeded Fall Mountain?

 "Their defense has changed, and it's become a very good unit. Earlier in the season, they had their best players out on edge, and now they have brought them into the middle of that defense. It has made a huge difference."

 "Their linebacker Ethan Rilling is very good, as is their lineman Quinn Healy. When we played them, we were able to move the ball between the '20s but they shut us down in the red zone. That's something to look for on Saturday."

 "Their quarterback Luke Gay is very good, I think he's underrated. He makes good decisions and is a dual-threat. He has a better arm than you think and he has some big receivers he can throw to."

 Another coach talked about what Fall Mountain needs to do on offense.

 "They need to attack Somersworth with sweeps. I don't think they will be able to consistently move the chains by running up the middle; that defensive line is too good."

 "Fall Mountain is going to need to create turnovers, pick their spots throwing down the field, and run to the outside."

 "Short passing routes will be more effective than they'll be running between the tackles. Fall Mountain has some tall receivers; I would get them in one on one coverage and put the ball up for grabs. Let them make a play."

 "Somersworth is difficult to run on, but you can throw on them."

 A fellow coach agreed.

 "If it's a shootout, Somersworth is going to win, but Fall Mountain beat both Mascoma (in essentially a season-ending play-in game) and Newport by holding them to eight points combined."

 "I see Somersworth having success moving the ball, and they'll probably win the time of possession, but can they cash in when they get in the red zone? That's where Fall Mountain's defense is at their best."


 So wins on Saturday?

 "I love the energy Somersworth is playing with. I'll pick them to win, 21-6."

 "I'll go with Somersworth 24-14. The biggest match-up is the Somersworth offensive line against Fall Mountain's defensive line."







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