Tough openers for Nashua North, Nashua South, Guertin football teams
It wasn’t a great Labor Day weekend for high school football in the city of Nashua.
Go just outside the city limits and, well, it’s a different story.
The Nashua High School North and South, as well as Bishop Guertin squads are reeling after two kinds of defeats. North and Guertin are stinging from lopsided losses, while the Panthers are hurting from a tight 28-26 defeat at the hands of Concord.
But Merrimack, Alvirne, Campbell, and Hollis Brookline are all celebrating satisfying season-opening wins.
The Titans showed a bit of a surprise look in their 31-7 defeat at the hands of Bedford, with Curtis Harris often playing quarterback, splitting the time with incumbent Mike Loveless.
“We just went in, trying to get something going back and forth,” Titans coach Dante Laurendi said. “Mike did some good things, Curtis did some good things. Just trying to see what we can do.
“We moved the ball a little bit, but we got to a point where it didn’t matter who was in there, we kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Harris rushed for 61 yards, completed two of four attempts for 10 yards and one interception and also fumbled the ball away on a sack and Bulldog Ryan Toscano’s big scoop and score. Harris was also a yard and a half shy of the end zone on a key first half drive on fourth down, stopped by Toscano.
“We’ve got to play a cleaner game,” Laurendi said. “But I liked our effort, I thought we competed to the end, I thought we fought hard.”
Defensively, Titan Austin Ouellette had a long interception return and linebacker Vincent Priore was a disruptive second half force in the Bulldog offensive backfield and had a sack.
“Vinny had a good game, I liked that,” Laurendi said. “We had some guys make some plays, we had some young guys play well, contributed, their effort. We competed against a very good football team. Our effort was there. We just need to be a little more disciplined in all areas.”
Don’t discount the drive some Bulldog players like Toscano (112 yards rushing) had. Remember, Bedford lost a heartbreaking 34-33 Division I quarterfinal last year to Winnacunnet.
“We prepared for this game for a long time,” the senior Toscano said. “I marked the season, this game on my calendar since last winter, since we lost to Winnacunnet. I was like this is the season, this is our year, this is the season we’re going to strive to do our best for.”
North’s next stop is at Goffstown, which also suffered a lopsided loss, 41-6 at the hands of a high flying Merrimack team.
It will be an interesting game between the Panthers and Cardinals on Friday night at Stellos, as both will be looking to recover from season openers that didn’t got their way.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Trisciani said. “I know the kids are always excited about the Nashua matchups.”
The practice week will be interesting. South has to wonder who to prepare for at quarterback as far as BG is concerned. Cards coach John Trisciani played three on Saturday, but the one who moved the ball the best was sophomore Joe DaSilva.
Guertin had 40 yards and no points in the first half, during which DaSilva played one series. But in the second half, they tripled that yardage and scored two TDs with DaSilva playing regularly, mainly being a solid runner.
” (DaSilva) looked very, very athletic,” Central coach Ryan Ray said. “Don’t take away anything from anyone on the Bishop Guertin team, but yes, he looked very athletic.”
Guertin coach John Trisciani says that Saturday night was a chance to see competition for one of the few times because of the scaled back preseason, and he’ll let things play out even further this week.
” I think there’s going to be competition at practice this week,and we’ll see how the practice week goes,” he said. “We lost a lot of time with the heat situation last week. Hayden Moses (who started) has been a great leader and done everything the right way. We may figure everything out by the end of next week.”
For the first two-plus quarters, trailing 26-0, Guertin was simply overmatched.
” I was told a long time ago as a coach when it’s not going well on the field, the film is never going to look as bad as you think it’s going to look,” Trisciani said. “And if you have a big win, the film isn’t going to look as good as you think it is.
” At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is build something.”
It was noticeable, according to multiple reports, that penalty flags were flying all over the Granite State on Friday night.
Part of it is opening-night mistakes. But it’s clear there were some points of emphasis that the folks in stripes were clearly intent on driving home.
To the point of ridiculousness.
I take you to “The Swamp” in Hollis Friday night where “lining up in the neutral zone” by an inch or so was suddenly a game-altering penalty.
The crew threw it a couple times in the first quarter, and I’m OK with that. Set the tone.
But in a 14-13 game, late in the third, this happened on my sideline:
Milford High faced a fourth-and-5 inside the HB 20. The teams came out and the Hollis corner came up to press cover. He turned to the sideline official and asked if he was lined up OK.
Instead of telling him to back up, the official, thanks to the player asking, threw a flag and handed Milford a first down.
Seriously? Let the kids play, let the kids decide it.
I know it’s “the rule.” But when a game is on the line, discretion is needed. Tell the kid to back up an inch. No harm, no foul.
Officials are humans, not robots. Act like it.
One other glaring note out of Friday night’s Cavaliers’ win over a physical Milford squad was the way HB stepped it up defensively in the second half.
The second quarter had to be discouraging, considering Milford behind its sledge hammer, Junior Ughu, chewed up 77 yards on 15 rushes, putting up a pair of scores.
“We made some adjustments at halftime,” said coach Chris Lones.
The first was moving Ronnie Hillard off the nose and sliding him out to defensive end.
The Cavs then rotated bigger physical types like Jeremiah Lones, Austin Etchells and John Rutledge inside to try and combat Ughu.
Meanwhile, Hillard was a force with his speed, setting the edge and allowing the linebackers to chase to the football.
“Quinn Connors certainly stepped up there,” said Lones. “He scraped well, made good reads and was a strong tackler. And then our guys like (Quinten Wimmer), (Michael) Gillespie and Brandon (Iodice) did what they always do.
“We certainly held up against them inside the tackles, that was a very promising sign, We’ll need that toughness again this week at Hanover. It’s the same mentality. One man can’t block me, two can’t move me.”