Look for Trevor Knight to throw the football Friday night
Our game of the week coverage takes place in Nashua Friday night when Pete Tarrier, ‘The great’ Jon Kesty & I bring you Exeter against Nashua South.
You can then re-cap all the Friday night games and look forward to Saturday’s with us on the highest rated high school sports show in the state, The New Hampshire High School Football Show, which you can listen to right here on our website or on WGIR 610 AM in the Manchester area and 96.7 FM on the seacoast.
Exeter (3-1) at Nashua South (4-0)
The coverage of Exeter is sponsored by Chad Fletcher at Blue Water Mortgage
Coach Ron Auffant of Winnacunnet showed teams the blue print to scoring on Exeter’s vaunted defense when his quarterback IngHao Veasna ran a spread offense that produced over 300 yards passing in a 35-34 overtime loss at Bill Ball stadium two weeks ago. Thirty miles down the road in Nashua they were apparently paying attention as Bishop Guertin quarterback Tom Hurley dropped back to pass a season high thirty times seven days later in a 21-14 overtime win over the Blue Hawks. Instead of trying to hammer the ball into the best defensive line in Division I teams are wisely spreading their playmakers out and having success getting Exeter’s defense in one on one coverage in space.
It’s all wonderful in theory but the issue is not everyone has a quarterback like Veasna and Hurley that can sling the ball thirty times with that rate of success. Pinkerton and Bedford don’t and Concord might not either…..but Nashua South does.
UNH head football coach Sean McDonnell is a terrific guy from all accounts but he’s not handing out scholarships to every kid spotlighted here or on WMUR. He saw in Trevor Knight an athlete who can both play multiple positions for him and also potentially be a future starting quarterback. Knight will throw to a receiving group that includes Robbie Smyth, Josh Perry and back-up quarterback Malik Langa. Defensively they will stack the box and dare Exeter QB Zach Pafford to throw the ball. He likely won’t, this is an Exeter team with the best running attack in Division I and their Hall of Fame head coach Bill Ball is hardly the re-invent the wheel type.
The style that is more effective wins and the winner takes a big step toward multiple home playoff games down the road.
Winnacunnet (3-1) at Spaulding (2-2)
This one may be for a playoff spot as the Warriors and Fighting McIsaac’s both have designs on the #2 playoff spot in the sub-division behind defending champion Exeter. Yes I realize it’s so early in the fall that you haven’t even bought a Halloween costume yet but this is the new reality of re-alignment. Winnacunnet knew the moment they lost to Exeter that they were going to get another shot at them if they took care of business in games against Spaulding, Dover and Timberlane. A win here for the Warriors means even a loss to either Timberlane or Dover likely still gets them in so as far as high stakes in the first week of October go this is as big as they get.
A nearly vacant Winnacunnet rushing attack was given a huge boost with the emergence of Seth Edwards a week ago (16 carries for 140 yards and a TD) in a closer than expected win over Alvirne. That is a crucial piece of news for this team because they’ll need that kind of balance on offense to win in the playoffs. The Raiders (they’re not really the Fighting McIsaac’s but I’m not against a name change) rely almost exclusively on their running attack and feature one of the best backs in the division in Trey Scott (87 carries for 551 yards).
Winnacunnet looked like a top 5 team in the state in the loss to Exeter but have whistled past the graveyard (copyright Michael Felger) in narrow wins over Alvirne and Nashua North teams that are a combined 1-7 on the season. Spaulding feels like they should have won last year’s match-up between these two teams and if the Warriors look past them they’re going to lose.
A 35-34 overtime loss on the road to a team as good as Exeter is something to be proud of, unless it ends up being the highlight of your season. In that regard Winnacunnet still controls their own destiny but a lot will be determined Friday night in Rochester.
Milford (3-1) at Windham (3-1)
If you read this column every week and listen to our radio program every Saturday morning you’ve heard me profess ad nauseam that Division II has a clearly defined top 3 teams (Plymouth, Trinity & Portsmouth currently in that order) and a battle for that fourth spot between Milford, St. Thomas and Windham. So here is your Division II version of a one game wild card playoff.
A loss here for Milford hands tie-breakers to both Trinity (whom they lost to in week 2) and the Jaguars. A loss here for Windham would make an October 26th meeting with Trinity a must win and so like the scenario we laid out above for Winnacunnet & Spaulding, a lot can be determined by week 5 of the regular season.
Bill Raycraft’s Windham team has spread the ball among running backs Kurtis Jolicoeur (224 on 30 carries), Kellin Bail (224 on 39 carries) and Shane Lafond (208 on 22 carries) and first year starting quarterback Brendan McInnis (389 yards passing on the season). Milford counters with their all-state quarterback Harrison Urda (258 yards on 30 carries) and running back Evan Perrin (397 yards on 32 carries).
Stevens (2-2) at Mascoma (2-1)
Good one Saturday as the Division VI runner-up from a year ago hosts a Stevens team that made the Division V semifinals a year ago. The Cardinals had to replace all-state performers Logan Batchelder and C.J Gosselin (Players’ lounge alumni) and have improved quickly behind Donald Pellerin (628 yards on 122 carries),quarterback Ryan Tanguay (315 yards passing), Nathan White (10 catches for 136 yards) and a defense led by Pellerin, Kai Kleyenstauber (23 tackles) and Robbie Knight (23 tackles).
Defense will be the key this weekend against one of the best rushing attacks in Division III. Mascoma has returning all-state backs in Kyle Kosiorek and Shane Pierce and have averaged over 34 point per game. Winner here owns a tie-breaker that could come in handy when playoff berths are handed out in November.