South dominates local CHaD Football selections
If you enjoyed watching Nashua High School South play football this past season, you’ll get another chance to see part of the Panthers’ talented senior core in late June.
A whopping five Panthers led the local contingent named the the CHaD East-West High School All-Star Game, set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 at the University of New Hampshire.
The list starts with Telegraph Player of the Year, Panthers quarterback Sean Holland, who threw for over 2,500 yards and 24 TDs, and rushed for 968 yards and 10 TDs this past season. The other four Panthers joining him are all purpose receivers Derek Holland and Alex Amigo, two-way lineman Derek Chiavelli, and running back-linebacker Jarret Bieren.
A total of 11 locals are on the team, which will be coached by Concord High School head coach Eric Brown.
Holland isn’t the only local quarterback on the team. Also selected was Bishop Guertin quarterback Sam Raitt. He’s one of two Cardinals as the lineman who helped keep him upright in the pocket, Sam Colantuoni, also made the West squad. He will definitely stand out at 6-3, 295.
Merrimack also has two players, dynamic running back Joe Eichman, who also can play corner, and two-way lineman James Murray.
Souhegan and Milford each have a representative, both of them linemen. The Sabers’ Justin Ward is on the squad along with the Spartants’ Michael Boucher.
The East squad will be coached again by Laconia’s Craig Kozens. The teams will gather for the first time on Sunday for an orientation, a CHaD (Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock) tour. They’ll meet some of the patients who receive the benefits of the dollars raised by the game – some $320,000 since the game began.
Tonight has some interesting basketball, not the least of which is the North-South girls-boys doubleheader, perhaps the most anticipated of the Battle of the Bridge events. The two schools went into Thursday with South leading the competition 5-3, and there were three sub-varsity game scheduled. Game times are 5:30 p.m. for the girls game, and 7 p.m. for the boys, both at Nashua North.
The girls actually faced each other in a non-Bridge Battle game a week ago Tuesday with North coming out on top, 49-40, thanks to a 22-3 run and 20 points by Danielle Upton. North is now 4-5 while South is at 4-4. The Titans have dominated the rivalry in recent years but the teams are a little more evenly matched this season.
The boys teams were hoping to face each other in the finals of the Chick-Fil-A tourney, but that didn’t materialize. South is hoping to snap a three game slide after starting out 3-0; the Titans are 1-5 after an 0-4 start.
In another interesting hoop event, Bishop Guertin alum and former Cardinals boys basketball coach Jim Migneault will step into the Colligadome on Friday as an opposing coach for the first time since he and the school parted ways in late June of 2016. Migneault is in his first year as the head coach of the Trinity Pioneers, hired to rebuild the program. Trinity is off to an 0-8 start while his former team is also struggling at 1-7.
“I think it’s going to be interesting,” Migneault said of his return. “I still have a lot of friends who work there, a lot of the kids who played for me, their brothers are playing now. So I think it will be interesting. It’ll be a good word for it.”
Migneault’s team is young, like the Cards, and are learning his system on the fly. This BG game kind of crept up on him. It won’t feel as strange to return, he said, as what was the home bench when he coached the Cards is now the visitors bench.
“I’m on the same side I was for nine years and I can still look up at the wall where my mother used to sit,” Migneault said with a smile. “It’ll be a good thing, I think.”
Migneault likes Trinity. “Real good kids, great administration,” he said. “I think it’s been really good.”
In another interesting boys game, Merrimack will be hosting Alvirne, coming off its big 45-44 win the other night over Londonderry, while the 6-2 Broncos suffered just their second loss the other night vs. Bedford. The 4-4 Tomahawks are hoping for the return of their head coach, Tim Goodridge, who had to miss that big win on Tuesday, saddled with a bad flu bug. It was the first game Goodridge has ever missed on the job after some 450-plus contests, he said.
Trying to think warm thoughts? The final major spring coaching hire for the area could be soon upon us, as Campbell athletic director Jarod Mills says the school is close to naming a replacement for retired longtime – and highly successful – baseball coach Jim Gorham.
“We’re very close” Mills said. “We should have somebody in place hopefully by the end of this week.”
Mills said about eight or nine candidates either formally or informally applied, the informal ones basically didn’t follow through after a few emails back and forth.
“We didn’t have as many (candidates) as I would have thought,” Mills said. “But we did have a few quality candidates.”
One of those that has been mentioned along the rumor mill is former Nashua High School North coach Will Henderson. Henderson embarked on an administrative career, but is said to have missed coaching and is back to teaching, currently at Manchester Central.
Meanwhile, Mills said the players are doing a good job of staying in shape without a coach. “The kids have been doing workouts for quite a while,” he said. “I know the kids are excited.”
Still on basketball, the Bishop Guertin girls out-of-state experience gets even more interesting on Saturday.
That’s because at 2 p.m. the Cardinals host the current top-ranked team in Connecticut, private all-girls Mercy High School of Middletown, Conn. Mercy, 12-0 going into an in-state game Thursday night, just moved up to the top spot in the state’s rankings this week from its previous No. 2 position.
The closest game the Tigers have played was a 50-40 win in the second game of the season. Keep in mind that for the Cardinals, three of their four losses have been to out of state teams (the other to Bedford). Guertin, which still has potential tough games ahead against the likes of Manchester Memorial and Pinkerton, is risking a fifth loss. But the program’s philosophy, again is this will make the players stronger.
“It’s another great test for us,” Cards coach Brad Krieck said, “and should be a very competitive game.”
Following a second straight win, first over rival North-Souhegan and then Manchester Central-West, the Nashua South-Pelham Kings are back to a position they were in last year: trying to make a second half of the season playoff push.
“We have lost some tough games, but right now we’re focused to trying to make playoffs,” Kings coach Shawn Connors said. “We’ve kind of got eight, nine wins in our vision right now as far as where we need to be by the end of the season to make it there. That’s kind of our guess.
“We’ve got a strong four or five games coming up that are definitely winnable to get to that spot. So we have to stay focused. One of our problems has been we like to play down (to the competiton). We played Concord (a 6-3 loss), we played up, we played amazing. But the second we start playing teams that are lower than us, we play down to their level. We need to not do that.”
Connors said he hopes over the next stretch the Kings can “stay at our pace, our level, unlike the first period (vs. Central) and capitalize. It is tough. We have a great bunch of kids, they just have to run the system right, take away time and space (from the opposition), and we’ll be fine.”