Belowski’s infectious spirit helps lift Souhegan into football playoffs

AMHERST — He probably didn’t know it, but Palmer Belowski once held the Souhegan High School football season in his own two hands.

The senior, unseated by a junior in the preseason as starting quarterback, faced an interesting dilemma way back in August.

He could pout, moan and slam first-year coach Robin Bowkett for the choice, probably taking half of the talented senior class with him and most likely spoiling the Sabers’ hopes before Week 1.

Or he could accept what was best for the program, continue to fight — for all his teammates — and prove exactly the kind of leader he could be, again for the betterment of the team.

Which did Belowski choose?

Well, let’s put it this way. 5-3 Souhegan, after a two-year absence, returns to the playoffs this week, heading to 8-0 Plymouth on Saturday for the Division II quarterfinals.

“We had a junior (John Lohnes) who came back after not playing last year. It was fair, he earned the job, and he’s been lighting it up all season,” said Belowski, who ran for a pair of TDs in the regular-season finale against Hollis Brookline.

“I’m just happy being able to help the team wherever I can.”

Belowski has played all over the field, on both sides of the ball, starting on defense at corner, safety and linebacker and on offense in the backfield and at receiver.

“It’s been a great year. We’ve come together a lot more than I ever expected,” said Belowski. “We have a lot of seniors, and we are very tight.

“It is very cool. There was dedication that everyone said they were going to have. These guys have actually followed through with it. A lot of people talk, but we realized what we have here and we’ve made the most of it.”

Belowski, who has already committed to playing lacrosse next year at Keene State, says that he and his Saber teammates are currently cherishing their time together.

Every game could be their last, and for someone like Belowski, who has been playing football for 12 seasons, that hits home, and it hits hard.

“It’s a scary moment. Every game I look at my friends, and we realize it could be our last,” said Belowski. “It’s been really cool, watching my friends, our guys doing all they can to keep it going, every game, every practice.”

The Sabers should have their hands full with No. Plymouth, the defending state champion. But they realize opportunity is there.

“We all know they’re the best team, but we also know they’re beatable,” he said.

“Our whole team is very excited. We have a lot of energy going into this week.”

Milford finishes at 2-6

Give credit to the Milford High senior class, which fought to the very end by closing out the year with a 42-30 loss at unbeaten Plymouth.

It was the first time all year an opponent came within two scores of the Bobcats, who had been beating teams by an average of 32.8 points a game.

Gavin Urda, only a sophomore, scored three touchdowns for the Spartans. Milford finishes the year at 2-6.