Nashua area high school football teams finding their way
It’s early, and a lot of local high school football teams are still feeling their way along.
“I think everybody’s in the same boat,” said Nashua High School North coach Dante Laurendi, whose Titans looked like a much different team in Saturday’s 48-22 rout of Goffstown than they did losing to Bedford by 24 points a week earlier. “Everybody’s still trying to get their footing. We’re still trying to figure out who we are and continue to grow.”
Nashua South coach Scott Knight is enjoying watching his offense look a little different than it has in past years. It scored 26 points in a season-opening loss to Concord and 33 the other night in a win over Bishop Guertin.
“We know we’ll evolve into something,” he said. “Going into this year I thought we’d play pretty good defense and grind it out a little bit. We’re becoming that. … We’re a work in progress.”
“I know we have a ways to go,” Laurendi said. “It’s tough to judge everything in openers; it’s obviously not as bad as it looks or as good as it looks. (Saturday) we capitalized but we weren’t as disciplined. We just have to keep forging ahead.”
Two down, seven games to go for the locals.
In Saturday’s win, North running back Curtis Harris rushed for 188 yards, well over 100 more than the previous week. It was how he did it that was impressive – with great blocking up front by the Titans’ offensive line.
“They do a lot of good stuff to get him the ball, and they do good stuff around him, too,” Goffstown coach Justin Hufft said. “Their line is very good, they’re opening the holes for him. It’s not a one-man show.”
“I think O-line wise we did a little bit better job, we settled down,” Laurendi said. “They were good up front. They did a great job.”
Laurendi credited the line of seniors Harley Ciardi, Garrett Hillard, Vincent Priore, Josh McElligot, and sophomores Anthony Carron and Spencer Whiting for taking control of the game in the second half and giving Harris the room he needed. Harris did, too.
“I have to thank my lineman for getting all those good blocks and opening the holes for me to be able to score,” he said.
If the Titans can get that kind of work done up front, they could be formidable. They struggled with holding calls in the first half, but not in the final two quarters they seemed to be taking it out on the Grizzlies.
“To come out and establish (the run) and respond in the second half was pretty good,” Laurendi said.
The Titans, who next host Manchester Memorial on Friday night at Stellos Stadium, lost a key return man and cornerback, sophomore Xavier Provost, to a collarbone injury.
“He had good returns (vs. Goffstown), and he’s a real good cornerback for us,” Laurendi said. “It (long term loss) would hurt.”
Knight laments his team’s two fumbles the other night, but certainly has to be happy with his junior quarterback Dante Young, who completed 10 of 14 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown Friday night.
Young was in a battle for the starting spot and apparently has won the job.
“I thought Dante did a great job throwing the ball,” Knight said. “And settling down. It’s his second varsity start, and he ran the ball pretty good. He’s getting better.”
South lost sophomore receiver Tyler Armeen, who injured his collarbone when tackled at the end of a 70-yard reception that took him inside the 10 the other night.
“We’re not real deep in that position,” Knight said. “We were scrambling a little bit and had to move some things around.”
Knight feels good about his 1-1 team, which visits Keene next Friday.
“I like this team,” he said. “I like our heart. I think we have pretty good chemistry. We play hard.”
The 0-2 Cardinals are reeling, but part of the their feeble offensive output against South – zero points from the offense – could be attributed to losing junior running back Ben Plumley to a possible foot injury, and sophomore Joey DaSilva to a leg bruise.
“We’ll see,” Cards coach John Trisciani said of their possible returns, as the Cards prepare to visit Concord this Friday.
The other part of their offensive downfall, particularly with the running game? The Cards’ first string unit had just 32 rushing yards Friday night in the 33-8 loss to South.
“It’s one of those thing where it didn’t look good from the sideline,” Trisciani said. “I don’t overreact until I look at the film, but I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to see.
“It’s an effort that isn’t up to our expectations. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but that’s kind of what I’m thinking from the sideline. It becomes a pride thing. … You’ve got to go out and block and you’ve got to play to the whistle. It’s going to be something we’ll have to evaluate.”
Any evaluation of junior linebacker Jacob Scholefield have to be that he’s a player who can set the tone for Guertin’s defense, given the way he’s been playing – when he can stay on the field.
“Expectations are high for him,” Trisciani said. “He cramped up last week, he cramped up again this week. There’ll be a focus on taking care of your body, staying hydrated and making sure you’re doing the right things. … He’s a two-way starter for us, we definitely need him on the field.”
Lost in a sea of penalty flags from Friday night’s Merrimack win over Memorial was the fact that the Tomahawks showed a bundle of diversity on offense.
Eight different receivers had catches from James Dowling, including Zach Twardosky and Tristan Wood, who had two apiece.
Garrett Murray caught the longest ball, a 45-yard TD pass. Ben Eichman had a sweet catch-and-run, while Nate Harris added 25-yard hookup.
Jared Dyer and Matt Lindsay added 14-yarders.
On the ground, it was Adam Thornton leading with seven carries for 79 yards, while Eichman and Wood combined for 71 yards on 10 carries.
Tough break for the Cavaliers, who had a tight one Friday night at Hanover.
Hollis Brookline headed to Hanover Friday night a bit short-handed without field-goal kicker Andy Basque.
Basque’s No. 1 spot in the fall is soccer, and he was busy helping the Cavaliers to a 1-0 soccer win over Souhegan.
HB probably could have used him in the 20-14 loss with several drives dying inside the 20.
“He’s kicked them from over 40 yards in practice,” said coach Chris Lones.
Fortunately, Basque will be around for most games, especially the important ones late in the year.