Panther Pacheco gets the advantage over his Titan friend

Think of this: At one time, Nashua South hard-nosed runner Jaylan Pacheco and Nashua North electric quarterback/halfback Curtis Harris were neighbors.

They could have been on the same South team rather than on opposing sides in the Panthers’ 52-26 Turkey Eve Bowl triumph Wednesday night at icy Stellos Stadium.

“It would’ve been interesting,” Pacheco said after he set the frozen Motta Field turf on fire with 203 yards and five TDs. “It definitely would’ve. It would’ve been a power duo. I would’ve been happy if he came to us. But I wish him the best of luck next year.”

You see, the two have been friends for awhile. But Pacheco will move on to college next year – or the military – and as a senior he showed the sophomore Harris how it’s done in big games. Harris was held to 76 yards on nine carries, 63 of them coming on his only TD run of the night while playing quarterback to Pacheco’s halfback.

“He lived a couple of streets over from me,” Pacheco said. “I think he moved, I’m not sure where. He’s always been a very hard worker, and he has good parents behind him, pushing him.”

It’s no wonder they’re friends, because they are both super kids, well spoken, and passionate about what they do.

It looked like North’s night as they had four big plays, and started the game scoring from their first two plays from scrimmage.

“We had a great start,” Harris said. “And South had some great plays that put them ahead. And we kind of got down with our confidence.”

North’s season, with depletions due to injuries and other factors, didn’t really end the way the Titans had hoped. They finished the regular season 7-2 with an impressive win over Concord back on Oct. 26 but didn’t taste victory after that.

But even though they were beaten by Merrimack 6-0 in overtime in the Division I quarterfinals, they Titans did something the Panthers didn’t, which was make the playoffs.

South got ravaged by injuries in late September, lost four straight, and couldn’t recover in time for a playoff push. But they won their last three, including Wednesday, scoring 160 points in the process.

But not playing any meaningful games in November was tough to endure, especially when their city rival was.

“It hurt a little bit to watch them,” Pacheco said. “They got to go somewhere where I thought our team would be able to go. Curtie has always been like a little brother to me, I grew up with him.

“I’m happy that he got to perform as well as he did this year and I wish him the best.”

Pure class on Pacheco’s part.

“He’s improved himself a lot with speed,” South coach Scott Knight said. “He’s always been a hard-nosed runner.”

Pacheco has another big fan in Titan blue.

“Helluva player,” North coach Dante Laurendi said of Pacheco. “Helluva senior year for him. Obviously got himself in great shape. … He’s a difference maker.

“They did a good job “We knew they were a good team.”

A good team that probably feels it could’ve done better over the course of a season.

“Yeah, I know” Knight said. “You wonder sometimes. You see it at all levels. Look at what my son (Trevor) went through this year at UNH, with injuries to the O-line, himself. You see it in the NFL all the time. Seems like it happens to the (Kansas City) Chiefs every year.

“So it is what it is. That’s the game.”

And, for the 2018 local high school football season, that’s a wrap.

And we can all think of what might have been.

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251,, or@Telegraph _TomK.