Alvirne heading to Plymouth for rematch
HUDSON — Exit 25 off I-93 might as well come with a disclaimer, “Visiting high school football teams proceed at your own risk.”
Yes, the legend of Plymouth High School football looms that large.
The Bobcats, since the switch to three divisions in the Granite State in 2013, have won four of the six Division II championship trophies handed out, including the last three.
Alvirne High School’s Broncos — newbies in D-II last year — hit the highway on Saturday looking to end Plymouth’s reign and avenge a physical loss on the 2018 title game, yes at the hands of the Bobcats.
“They play Plymouth football,” said Alvirne coach Tarek Rothe, whose 7-3 club ousted second-seeded Milford in the quarters a week ago.
Plymouth, 8-2, had a much longer road excursion in the quarters and faced a similarly stiff task, knocking off No. 3 Pelham on its home field.
“Plymouth football” was certainly at the forefront in the upset as the Bobcats gained just 187 yards of offense but found a way to win, first stuffing a fourth-quarter two-point conversion attempt by Pelham that would have tied things and then intercepting a last-minute Hail Mary pass attempt to seal the shocker.
Against Pelham, Plymouth QB Cody Bannon threw the football just six times – the Cats ran it 48 times – but made them count.
Bannon hit 5 of 6, all to Cole Johnston, for 42 yards and both Plymouth touchdowns.
The one thing Pelham did defensively was stop Plymouth halfback Joey D’Ambrosio, who had just 36 yards on his 17 tries.
Rushing 17 times for 76 yards in the quarters, Bannon is a rugged, tough kid, in the mold of Alvirne’s own Kyle Gora.
Gora is a savvy leader, and despite being just a junior, has been through what feels like a multitude of football wars.
The bigtime atmosphere is nothing new to this warrior of both the gridiron and the wrestling mat.
With chilly temps on a field that took a dusting-plus of snow already earlier this week, the running game should take center stage.
And while Gora is a threat on any keeper, that should mean a hefty dose of Alex Giuffrida, who averaged over five yards a carry in the regular season.
Again, Alvirne’s top traits have been toughness and resilience, two things a football team needs to win in Plymouth in November.