Milford vs. Souhegan
AMHERST – As far as football rivalries go, there may be no fiercer one than Milford and Souhegan in Division II.
Throw in the fact that one of the team’s highest hopes for this season will likely be shattered in a defeat – each has two losses and a third wouldmake reaching the playoffs mighty difficult – and you can expect fireworks on Friday night (7 p.m.) in Amherst.
“All I know is that it’s my last chance to play them,” said Milford senior Dylan Salisbury. “My goal is to beat them senseless on every play. And I know after this, I’m never going to have the opportunity to play them again.”
At 2-2, Milford has a solid foundation to build on. The defense has played well, the offense has played better of late behind Zach King.
And Salisbury is banking on recent history to help aid the Spartan cause as well.
“The last three years, we’ve pretty much dominated,” said Salisbury. “When we lost our first two games we had things pretty much in front of us. We have to keep winning, no matter what. This rivalry is huge in every sport, but football is by far the biggest. All I know is it’s going to be a dog fight.”
At 1-2, the hosts from Souhegan are in a similar spot. Like Milford, the Sabers’ two toughest regular season foes are in the rear-view mirror.
But if Souhegan can’t get on some kind of winning roll, all the optimism of the preseason will have been wasted.
“It’s more than just a rivalry game, it’s bigger than just a football game,” said Souhegan speedster Dante Savo. “It’s a rivalry game. It’s a ‘Hope for Gus’ game (see below). The whole town is going to be coming out for this one.”
Savo noted that both of the Saber losses could have been wins.
“We should have beaten St. Thomas and Windham was more of a grind,” he said. “The losses have been hard to take.
“Coach has talked to us about it, though, and we know. We’re looking to go 1-0 every week, the rest of the season, taking it one at a time.”
MORE THAN JUST A FOOTBALL GAME
In conjunction with the Milford at Souhegan football game, the Ethics Forum and the Souhegan Athletic Department are joining forces to host a Night of Giving for New Hampshire Tackles Hunger and Hope for Gus.
New Hampshire Tackles Hunger is a statewide effort by high schools to fight hunger by helping local food banks to obtain donations of non-perishable food items. The designated game against Milford will be the site where community members may make donations to help those local residents who are less fortunate, as all donations will be given to S.H.A.R.E.
Organizers are asking for the community’s support in this effort. As an incentive, each person attending the game on Friday will gain admission through a donation of non-perishable items (minimum of two items per person) such as peanut butter, jelly, tuna, soups, pasta, sauce and canned fruits/vegetables (no glass containers please).
Cash donations also will be accepted. For those who are unable to attend the game but would like to donate, donations may be dropped off at the Welcome Center at Souhegan High School any time prior to Friday.
Hope for Gus is a charitable foundation that raises funds to contribute to finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The Souhegan High School Ethics Forum, a student-led organization, aspiring to broaden the worldview of students, has embraced a Hope For Gus week to raise money for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
The Hope for Gus Foundation is a charitable foundation created by Steve and Tonya Dreher. Steve Dreher is a teacher at Souhegan High School whose son, Gus, suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder that gives him progressive muscular weakness, currently without a cure. It is the goal of the foundation to raise funds in order to support medical research in the hope one day a cure will be found.
With the recent advancements in research, the foundation believes it will have a cure within the next 5 years. The Forum and the Hope for Gus Foundation work hand in hand to put on a week of activities in the last week of September to raise as much money as possible for the foundation for its final push to ending this disease.
Throughout this week, the school will sell Hope for Gus shirts ($10 for short-sleeve, $15 for long-sleeve) with all the proceeds going toward the foundation. The SHS varsity football team also will have its home opener the Friday, where you can sign up for pledges to donate to the cause. This week devoted to Gus and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy will be topped off by the 2018 Hope for Gus 5K and Color Fun Run to take place Saturday at Souhegan High School. Registration for the races will be 8:30-10 a.m. ,with the color runs starting at 9 and 9:30 a.m. and the 5K starting at 10 a.m.
Milford (2-2) vs. Souhegan (1-2)
WHERE: At Amherst
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
LAST WEEK: Milford 41, West 14; Windham 30, Souhegan 20
LAST YEAR: Milford 26, Souhegan 14
FYI: Looking at the Division II standings with eight teams currently holding 0 or 1 losses, it feels like the loser of this one will be in deep, deep trouble playoff-wise. Milford has righted the ship after a rugged 0-2 start. Souhegan has to be the best 1-2 team in the state. The Sabers pushed Windham to the limit on Friday night. That just doesn’t happen in Jaguar country. Windham did not have a 100-yard rusher. Milford knows a little something about defense, too. Maverick Dodier and Co. are allowing 16.5 points a game. Folks, the seasons hang in the balance, and these rivals don’t like each other anyways. This one should be a war.