With Stellos Stadium occupied, BG truly home for Sept. 23 game
The Bishop Guertin High School varsity football team is coming home.
They’ve been away for a long time, at least three decades, perhaps longer.
But for the first time in that span, since the Cardinals hosted a makeup of a postponed game with Exeter, Guertin will play a varsity football game at Elliott Field.
It’s been a field complex used mainly for varsity practice and sub-varsity football games. But Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23, at a time still to be determined, the Cardinals will host Keene in a varsity football game.
Guertin can’t use Stellos Stadium that day because of the all the Nashua High School North-South Battle of the Bridge contests in various sports, which begin in the morning and go until around 9 p.m.
Two years ago when that was the case, also against Keene, the Cards were able to play at Saint Anselm College’s Grappone Stadium. But when the situation arose again, Guertin coach Jeff Moore suggested to athletic director Pete Paladino that the Cards look into playing it right at the school.
“It was like, ok, where can we play the game?” Paladino said. “(Moore) said he’d really like to play a home game, so could we play Thursday night? Keene couldn’t play Thursday night (at Stellos), so we just said, hmmm …
“So Jeff said, ‘Have we ever played a game here at BG’s field?’ I said ‘Not to my knowledge. It’s in pretty good shape, the only bad thing is there’s not a whole lot of stands, the scoreboard’s not really up to snuff. There’s not a platform for the (assistant) coaches to view, and there’s no press box, obviously. So I thought about it, it might be like a homecoming. There’s a girls soccer game earlier in the day.”
As of yet, a time hasn’t been picked, but Paladino is thinking 3 or 3:30 p.m., but will check to see what time is best for game referees/officials. Keene, Paladino said, is fine with the idea.
The game vs. Exeter was played on a Monday afternoon at Guertin due to a rainout at Holman Stadium, during the Dick Piwowarski coaching era.
Paladino said the school is going to try to organize other activities around it.
“We’re going to get some bleachers, bring them in, try to generate a little excitement and have some fun,” Paladino said. “If it doesn’t go well, the next time there’s a Battle of the Bridge (conflict), we’ll go ahead of time with a Thursday night.
“We contemplated Sunday, but I didn’t really want to go that way. Hopefully it ends out well.”
Things are looking up for girls soccer in the Souhegan Valley in Division II with both Souhegan and Milford enjoying strong starts.
Tuesday night’s 1-0 Sabers win showed both have a lot to offer.
First, Souhegan is adjusting nicely to new coach Dan Wyborney, who left the Nashua North job to be able to coach in the town where he lives.
“It’s a great group of kids,” he said. “The task has been put out to them, they take it on, they do well with it. They’re still learning, they’re learning about me, about what I want them to do. There’s going to be some bumps and bruises along the way with that, but they’re great. It’s a great group.”
Wyborney’s first messge to his players when he took the job was one of reassurance.
“I just told them I wasn’t here to rebuild,” he said, “but put my stamp on what was here, make it better, make it be competitive and do what we need to do. We have nine seniors on the roster. It’s not a rebuilding year because we’re trying to go as far as we can with what we have.”
Maggie Dix, Abbi Estabrook, and Samantha Jay, all midfield/forwards, are recognizable senior names; Jay actually missed last year with injury and is back.
Meanwhile, the Spartans are doing it with youth. They’ve got three freshmen on the roster (Syd Thibault, Mikayla Thompson and Rachel Gizzonio) after making the tourney last year with eight wins. And this year the Spartans won their first three.
“In the past we’d win here, lose there,” Milford coach Russ Matthews said. “But there’s a really good cohesion here; these girls have all played together.”
And the youth is talented.
“Our middle school team has produced Tri-County championships for the past four years, so we’ve got soccer players coming through the system,” Matthews said. “And it’s really, really good. That’s why we’re able to put three freshmen on varsity, because they can play.
“And there’s no letdowns. We can sub anyone off the bench.”
Impressive was the speed and breakaway ability of Thibault.
“There’s some good stuff to come from her,” Matthews said.
And, you figure both the Sabers and Spartans as the season continues.
In Division I field hockey, locally Bishop Guertin is off to a 3-0 start, and Cards coach Steve Duprat loves his team’s depth, which can get production from a senior like Katie Lupo or a sophomore like Sarah
Duprat played a lot of young players a couple of years ago, and is doing the same thing now. But the ironic thing is while it’s good for the future, it’s also helping the present.
“These girls have basically been together for three years,” Duprat said. “A couple years ago we brought up a lot of sophomores for depth and they just kept plugging away, and now the juniors are doing the same thing. Next year, we’ll be right back where we are right now.
“We have those lines that can interchange. It doesn’t matter whether it’s my first group or my second group, they’re both pretty good.”
That’s the haves. Nashua North, South (winless) and Merrimack (1-2) haven’t been so lucky. The Titans, for one, know they are in for a learning season.
“Our team has a lot of new players and very few returning players,” North coach Chloe Audesse said. “So we are really utilizing game time to work on different skills and overall improve our game through play against competitive teams.”