HS Football Notebook: Guess who meet at Stellos on Friday
It’s the week that a lot of local high school football fans look forward to – and coaches often cringe thinking about:
Battle of the Bridge Week, Nashua North vs. South.
All the prep work is underway. Today the the Panthers and Titans will go over the film of what they did this past weekend, and then look at film of each other, and the players will likely be counting the hours to kickoff Friday night at Stellos Stadium.
Ironically they’re both in the same situation they were last year, as South goes in 0-3 and North is 3-0
“Get better every week, and we’ve got North next,” Panthers coach Scott Knight said. “We’ll have to pay attention to detail.”
With 13 teams making the Division I playoffs, all is not lost for South – yet. We just have to get on a roll,.” Knight said.
North has been on one. It has beaten Bedford, Manchester Central, and Keene, only the win vs. the Little Green a non-competitive game. South has lost to Bishop Guertin and Windham by 20 or more points, but probably played its best game in a 27-21 loss to Merrimack, even though it was 27-7 early in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers right now are younger than perhaps first thought. Knight had a freshman receiver frequently the other night, Joshua Tripp, and he used his height advantage to grab a TD reception with 48 seconds left.
“It was his coming out,” Knight said with a grin. “He’s going to be a player. He’s just a freshman.”
There are a few sophomores in the lineup, too, and one of their keys is back/receiver Kyle Emmons, who got dinged up during the game but came back to play and also caught a touchdown pass during South’s rally that fell short. But during the time he was out, the Panthers offense struggled.
“Losing him kind of got us out of sync,” Knight said.
Is the Panthers’ start a sign of a young team?
“Not young, but inexperienced,” Knight said. “We have guys on the field that haven’t played a lot of football. It may hurt us a bit.”
WATCH OUT FOR TOMAHAWKS
It’s really Rivalry Week in the area as Bishop Guertin and Merrimack will square off on Friday as well.
What kind of team are the Tomahawks, 2-1 overall, 1-1 in Division I? Like South, they have young players in the lineup as well.
“We try to break the season into thirds,” Tomahawks coach Kip Jackson said. “We’re pretty much where we thought we would be. We still have a lot of kids that are new varsity players – we start five sophomores. I think by the middle of the season, we’ll be much improved. That’s our hope, at least.”
“I think we’re going to get better every week,” said Tomahawks senior back/linebacker Reimello Hyde said, a leader on the team. “And we have. We just have a lot of mistakes to be fixed.”
The Cardinals starters didn’t even play the entire first half, understandably, in Saturday’s rout of Goffstown. But now they’ll have to adjust to playing a much tougher Merrimack team on the road on Friday.
“They’re high school kids,” BG coach John Trisciani said. “There’s going to be a psychological piece to this where you’ve got to kind of tone it back, rev it back up. That is going to be a very competitive game.
“It’s at Merrimack, it’s going to be a short week, play Saturday then play Friday, so we’ll have to let the guys know they’re going to have to get up for this one because it’s going to be a much different game. … A lot of those kids didn’t play in the second half, so we may have to do some more conditioning this week just to make up for some of that.”
WHAT DO THE JVS DO?
Guertin went through nearly the entire varsity roster on Saturday, and wasn’t able to bring most of its freshmen to Saturday’s game. So how do they approach today’s JV game, just two days later, in terms of the physical toll?
“No juniors,” Trisciani said. “We won’t take any juniors, we’ll play all the freshmen and take some sophomores just in case we need them. They (Merrimack) don’t have a freshman team so we’ll try to play the freshmen as much as we can.”
DIVISION III OUTLOOK
In the much smaller Division III (just 10 teams), it seems even though we’e only going into Week Four that there are three near-certain playoff teams: Trinity, Campbell and Monadnock – all 3-0 — and that leaves one more spot to fill. Campbell’s opponent Friday night – the Cougars bring in temporary lights for Homecoming – is Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, and that’s a possibility for that spot, even though it’s only 1-2. It gave Monadnock a hard time in a 22-20 game. Kearsarge is 2-1 and a possibility, and 0-3 Stevens will need to beat Kearsarge Friday or likely be out of contention as the Cardinals also lost to ILM. Yes, it’s that time to start looking at these things.