Nashua’s Gosselin a vital option

During his four years at the Merchant Marine Academy, Nashua’s John-Leon Gosselin has crisscrossed the globe. During the year at sea that is part of the curriculum; he’s had stopovers in Egypt, the Philippines, Italy, Singapore and the South of France.

But when it comes to football, the senior fullback only goes in only two directions, north and south.

In a triple-option offense that includes two quick tailbacks, Gosselin does most of his work between the tackles. And he’s good at it.

The 5-foot-10, 230-pound Gosselin has the size and strength to break tackles and gain extra yards, and still retains some of the speed that made him tough to catch as a high school running back at Nashua High School North.

“Last year, I was actually up to 245,” Gosselin said. “I might have overdone it in the weight room a little.

“This year I’m back to 230 and I feel a little faster.”

He looked fast last Saturday, rushing for 146 yards in 22 carries while scoring three touchdowns in a 43-37 victory over rival Coast Guard. With the game tied 30-30, Gosselin’s last two touchdowns gave his team a 43-30 lead.

A 14-yard carry late helped them retain possession and kill the clock in the final minute. He was named the Liberty League Offensive Player of the Week.

“He wants the ball in critical situations,” USMMA head coach Mike Toop said. “Even if he’s out of the game, if it’s fourth-and-1, he’s on me to put him back in.”

Gosselin spent his freshman year learning a new offense and adjusting to the academic rigors and military discipline required at the school.

“Academically, the school is very challenging,” said Gosselin, who will graduate with a degree in Marine Engineering and Ship Yard Management. “We’re up at 5:30 every morning, marching at 7, classes all day and studying all night.”

For Gosselin, one of the toughest challenges of his four years was staying in shape while at sea. Outside of some free weights and maybe a treadmill, there weren’t a lot of workout options on a container ship.

Gosselin worked his way into the starting lineup four games into his sophomore season and wound up with 874 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was second in the league in rushing. Last year he finished with 1,023 yards, third best in the league.

“He came in as a tailback and has done a nice job transitioning to another position,” Toop said. “What’s great about him is he understands the game and what we need in certain situations.”

Gosselin had been following the progress of former high school teammate Kendall Reyes, now with the San Diego Chargers. But with an early wake-up call, he didn’t catch the Chargers’ opener, which began Monday night at 10:15.

“We’re all proud of Kendall, coming out of New Hampshire and doing what he’s done,” said Gosselin, whose brothers Noah and Gabriel play for Nashua North. “But I have to be very focused on here. There isn’t much time for anything else.”

Gosselin will have a lengthy military obligation when he graduates, with either one of the five branches of the military or as a licensed marine officer with an eight-year commitment to the Naval Reserve.

STEPHEN CUIPA

Sophomore quarterback Stephen Cuipa of Merrimack completed 16 of 20 pass attempts last Saturday for the Saint Anselm College football team in a 24-14 loss to Assumption.

In two games he’s completed 22-of-38 passes for 164 yards. He’s yet to throw an interception.

ASHLEE DAOUST

Ashlee Daoust, a junior from Brookline, is currently third in kills and first in service aces for the Southern New Hampshire University volleyball team.

In 28 games, Daoust had 51 kills and 15 aces.

KIRSTEN PERROTTA

Kirsten Perrotta, a freshman from Hudson who graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Tyngsborough, Mass., is the leading setter so far for the Plymouth State University volleyball team.

In eight matches Perrotta has 184 of the team’s 259 assists. She’s fourth on the team in service aces with eight.

KYLA GUSTAVSON

In six games so far, junior outside hitter Kyla Gustavson of Nashua is second in both kills and block assists for the St. Anselm College volleyball team.

Gustavson, a former Nashua High School North standout, has 35 kills and has assisted on seven blocks.