November has arrived, and so have the playoffs
There’s a different feeling in the air.
The air is crisper. The ground harder. The wind shaprer.
That November football playoff feeling.
There’s a lot slew of local teams involved this week; it may be the most the area has seen in recent years as we await the pairings from the NHIAA today. A lot of different scenarios.
We wonder what we’ll see this year. We remember the Merrimack Mud Game vs. North. Alvirne’s great run to the Divison II finals. Heartache for the Tomahawks at Bedford. It all ended with a tough finals double dip at UNH, Campbell on a last second field goal in Division III, Alvirne fading in the second half in Divison II.
And now? Now we wait and see whether or not North’s Curtis Harris and his left knee will be healthy enough to compete for the Titans who will likely face Merrimack this Saturday at Stellos Stadium.
“Hopefully Curtis Harris will get good news on his knee,” Bishop Guertin coach John Trisciani said. “If he’s not playing, that changes the playoff picture completely. It will be interesting to see.”
Trisciani will be spectator, because despite a 6-3 record, his Cardinals are not in the playoff picture due to a myriad of tiebreakers we won’t sort through. It looks like Guertin is the only local area team not practicing on Monday, and that’s a shame.
Trisciani gathered his players down by the scoreboard after Saturday night’s Dover game, and an emotional final meeting followed an emotional win.
“It was disappointing not to get in the playoffs,” Trisciani said. “The team kind of felt the playoffs started for us a few weeks ago, because we had to win out to at least have a shot.
“I think they’re pretty happy they could end on a good note. Six wins is pretty big here; it was two wins last year, and one win the year before. They’re really happy. They got to end senior night, at home, with a win, so I don’t think there’s any complaints.”
“We may not have been a playoff team and that does stink because we would’ve loved to be together one more week as a family,” Cards senior running back/linebacker Ethan Holt said. “But we got to look back at a really good season, I think that speaks to Coach Trish’s coaching (Trisciani) with all the adversity we had to face.
“And you know, if our only losses came to three playoff teams (Exeter, North, Merrimack) and we beat one (South), it’s a pretty good season, I think.”
Some teams make it, some teams don’t. Last year, Nashua South and Guertin had to sit and watch other locals go at it. It wasn’t easy.
“I think when teams make the playoffs, there’s a sense of accomplishment there,” Trisciani said. “Ultimately, it’s another game but it’s against a really, really good team. It challenges your staff, your kids, it’s definitely an achievment.”
Trisciani will see as many games as he can. He comes from a football family.
“I’ll watch them all,” Trisciani said. “A lot of those coaches are people I admire and look up at. I’ll be following them.”
If you follow the Panthers, you’ll follow them to Exeter. Certainly a different feeling from a year ago when they watched. Different year, different team.
“I like our aggressiveness,” Knight said. “For the most part this year we’ve been a pretty physical team. I like the fact that we can play physical.”
Exeter didn’t make it last year either, remember?
“We weren’t happy the way it ended a year ago,” Exeter coach Bill Ball said, “and did something about it.
“It’s going to be a 48 minute game, it’s going to come down to the end, and that’s what it’s going to be.
“That’s playoff football.”
Get the heavier coats and gloves out and enjoy the halftime hot cocoa.
November is here.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.