These games are worth remembering for 2018-19
Sunday we took you on a jaunt throught the Tourney Trail, and with the last day of school for most either today or in the next couple of days, we’re taking you on a trip down Memory Lane: The best games these eyes saw in person during the 2018-19 school year.
HOLLIS BROOKLINE BASEBALL VS. BOW, DIVISION II FINALS
The last shall be first. Maybe it’s because it’s the most fresh in one’s mind, but the 5-4 win for Bow, as unfortunate as it was for the Cavaliers, was a classic.
The lead changed hands five times, including at the end when Riley Elliott smacked a 3-2 pitch from Brandon Hsu into the right field corner at Manchester’s Delta Dental Stadium. There were a lot of momentum shifts, as the Cavs had grabbed leads of 2-1 and 4-3 but could never open it up and it cost them.
CAMPBELL VS. MONADNOCK, DIVISION III FOOTBALL FINALS
Rarely in high school football do we see a game-winning field goal as time expires, let alone in a championship game. But that was the case for Monadnock when, at the Univerity of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Stadium, Huskies kicker Issac Jasinski booted a 27 -yard field goal with a second left that capped an 18-play, 62-yard drive as Monadnock toppled Campbell 15-12 for the title. “We came within a foot or two of that ball being wide,” Cougars coach Glenn Costello said, “and it would’ve been a different ball game.”
That drive was all on the ground, and chewed up 4:56. Cougar Conor Sweeney had two TD runs of 24 and 77 yards in the first half, but that was it for the scoring for the Cougars, who were looking for their second straigh title. Qutie a game.
SALEM BOYS SOCCER VS. NASHUA SOUTH, DIVISION I PRELIMS
This had an incredibly frustrating ending for the Panthers, who were poised to advance to the quarterfinals, leading 1-0 in the final few seconds but under pressure from the Blue Devils. That pressure produced a game-tying goal by Salem’s Lucas Moreno. He headed in a ball with just four seconds left in regulation, and the Panthers were done emotionally, falling 2-1 in penalty kicks. Salem’s Waleaddine Hounane booted the deciding penalty kick. It was a shock, an incredible turn of events.
“It stings, it stings,” now former South coach Joe Morgan said. “You could see it on their faces (at the end of regulation). … We just didn’t put away our chances and that’s what happens.”
NASHUA NORTH VS. MERRIMACK FOOTBALL, DIVISION I QUARTERFINALS
Old time football in the mud, won by Merrimack 6-0 on Ben Eichman’s 4-yard TD run in overtime to send the Tomahawks off to Bedford for the semis and end the Titans’ title hopes No one could gain any traction on the wet, muddy Student Memorial Field, although North had a couple of golden opportunities in regulation but couldn’t punch it in due to penalties, etc.
The Titans got the ball first, but the Tomahawks stopped dynamic back Curtis Harris
“Very frustrating,” said Harris, who needed 30 carries from the QB position to get just 68 yards. “Things that would work in the dry weather, it’s not working in wet weather.”
Ironically North offered to host the game at Stellos and the artificial Motta Field turf in the event the game couldn’t be played. The ‘Hawks smartly declined, wanting to keep the home game they earned and knowing they might have a slight advantage.
“It was a tough game and we fought through it,” Eichman said. “We’re used to the bad field.”
Thanks to the town voting down field turf, teams will have to deal with the “bad field” again this fall later in the season.
NORTH BOYS SOCCER VS. BISHOP GUERTIN REGULAR SEASON
It was fun last fall to watch North’s Sami Dieu Merci and his powerful right foot. It won a game in double overtime vs. Londonderry in early September at Stellos, and it was deja vu a month later vs. Bishop Guertin. His free kick from 25 yards out with 20-plus seconds left in regulation gave the Titans a 2-1 win, made them 9-2-1 and was probably the high point of their season. A possible phantom foul call provided the shot, but this kid wouldn’t miss.
“He has a good strike,” Titans coach Josh Downing said. “When he has the ball on that side of the field, he usually makes it count.”
OTHER MEMORABLES: South beating Dover 3-2 in the Division I volleyball quarterfinals, as it came down to the final set and Paige Garland serving out two points for a 15-13 win in set five. Garland ended up with two aces and 13 service points. Also, Campbell boys soccer semifinal win in penalty kicks over Belmont. And, not for in-game drama but for atmoshphere, Salem’s win over visiting Nashua North in the Division I boys basketball quarterfinals. And, we’ll add Nashua South-Pelham’s 4-2 win over North-Souhegan in boys hockey in late January, as the Kings’ Johnny Pinksten scored at 11:08 of the third period to snap a 2-2 tie, another contest with great atmosphere, this time at Conway Arena.
We’ll see what the 2019-20 school year brings. It’ll be here before you know it.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK.email@example.com