HS Football Notes: South needs a win, BG takes leap forward
Nashua High School South football coach Scott Knight gathered the troops just beyond midfield as he always does.
The raine was coming down on the Motta Field turf at Stellos Stadium, but it was hardly noticed as Knight had a clear message for his team after a tough 20-8 loss to Manchester Central: Keep working. He told the players they were a special group, that he’s never had a team this young.
For South, it’s clear the growing pains can lead to something better next year. But Knight wants them to develop a winnng attitude, and the only way to do that is, well, win.
“It is (about next year) but we want to be successful this year, we want to get wins now,” Knight said. “They’ve got to learn how to win. That’s taking care of the ball, scoring when you get down (in the red zone).”
The Panthers are 0-5 (0-4 in Division I), and while there were some interesting scores over the weekend, this was one that was a little surprising.
But a closer look showed the Panthers were without some key players, many lost in the second half of the Nashua North game. Back Diego Cabrera, wideout Josh Tripp, and linebacker/guard Ray Kararu, lineman Trevor Stevens, corner Samson Akotey were all out, and arguably their best player, Kyle Emmons, was limited. A lot of those absences severely limited South’s offense as the game went on (just seven total yards in the second half.) “We’re trying,” Knight said. “It’s like we’re throwing stuff against the wall now. We’ve never been like that.”
Frustrating, but there’s no quick answer.
“What can you do? Go back and play next week (Friday at Keene),” Knight said. “Hopefully we’ll get a guy or two back. It would help.”
The other score that had to raise eyebrows was the Bishop Guertin 58-14 rout of Timberlane on Saturday. Nearly 500 yards of total offense. The best day of Cardinal QB Mike MacDonough’s career, throwing for 457 yards. He threw it whenever and wherever he wanted.
Especially to 6-5 receiver Connor Lennon, who caught three TDs among his eight catches for 83 yards. He and MacDonough have been together for four years in the program, but this is their first time connecting on the varsity level.
“We’ve gotten better and better every year,” Lennon said.
“We went out first drive and scored,” MacDonough said. “Then we had a turnover, then we scored again. It was that second score when it all clicked. … I think we can be a good offense.”
A key was MacDonough wasn’t pressured for a couple of reasons. One, Timberlane didn’t send a plethora of defenders but also the Guertin offensive line, inexperienced to start the year, is improving. “I think each week we’re getting a little bit better with that unit,” Cards coach Anthony Nalen said. “They didn’t bring as much pressure, they dropped a little bit more, which I thought helped us a little bit, but when they did (try to pressure) we picked it up. I think we’re getting a little bit better each week from the offensive line.”
Nalen told his team at halftime up 37-14 Timberlane is “a 48 minute football team” and would give them a tough effort. But nothing materialized in terms of a comebac in the second half.
“This is what you envision when you take the job over, you see the guys that we have and you hope they can play like this every (week). But every week it’s a different type of matchup and every week it’s a different opponent.”
And this week it’s Pinkerton, the team that eliminated BG in the quarters last year, in Derry. So it will be interesting.
YOUTH BE SERVED
A lot of sophomores are seeing time around the area, and one of them Friday night was for Alvirne, when soph Ethan Dudley played at quarterback in a 21-10 loss to Salem as senior starter Shawn Boudreau was banged up.
“He played very well for us,” Broncos coach Matt Lee said. “Dudley was sick all week and give us some good snaps.”