Football season heads into final week as playoffs loom

The final weekend of the high school football regular season looked to be a tumultuous one for both Milford and Souhegan high schools, and it certainly will be.

Friday night, Alvirne High School invades Milford, carrying its own conference title hopes as well as those of both Pelham and Hollis Brookline.

Yes, it’s been that kind of wild campaign, as expected in Division II South.

Milford is the lone 7-1 team in D-II South. The Spartans can be a little bit greedy on their home turf Friday night. Win, and Milford is the lone South Conference champ.

Lose, and it’s at least co-champs with 6-2 Alvirne, but it could be as many as quad champs if the Pythons and Cavaliers win their finales.

All four are bound for the playoffs along with unbeaten Bow, Kennett and Plymouth in the North.

There is good news for 5-3 Souhegan. With the win over West last weekend and the help from Pelham against Saint Thomas, the Sabers now control their playoff destiny.

The bad news is they have to hit the road and face Division II’s only unbeaten – Bow – which has outscored the opposition 305-27 this year. …

Interesting to note that staring down the barrel of Souhegan, Alvirne and Saint Thomas, Hollis Brookline coach Chris Lones said, “I think we are going to run the table.”

The Cavs are two-thirds of the way home, but with Saint Thomas playing for its postseason life, don’t expect that one to come easily.

Here’s how the Sabers knocked off West.

Early momentum proved to be too much to overcome for the visiting Blue Knights of Manchester West as Souhegan pulled out an easy 35-14 win.

Souhegan junior Austin Jain found senior receiver Aidan Casey for what became a 73-yard strike on the Sabers’ first play from scrimmage and the hosts would control the momentum moving forward.

Although Jain’s three straight incompletions on the Sabers’ next drive resulted in a turnover on downs, it only served as a short-term setback, with Jain adding a five-yard scoring throw to junior Luke Manning followed by another touchdown throw to Casey from just over 15 yards out.

Casey’s second score came just one play a facemask penalty erased yet another touchdown throw from Jain to sprawling junior Jake Civiello, but the Sabers’ emanated a clear confidence following their immediate first score, making the second Casey touchdown reception unsurprising.

“Normally we’re a team that likes to defer, but West does such a great job with ball control that we felt like it was important to get a fast start offensively. Of course, any time you get can get a score on the first play, it’s incredibly helpful,” said Souhegan Head Coach Robin Bowkett.

Jain found senior Nick Zampella from 41 yards out for a fourth touchdown pass before the half and Casey would add Souhegan’s final score on the ground, giving a one-yard score to cap a three-play drive sparked by junior Riley Lawhorn’s 90-yard run from scrimmage.

Lawhorn’s huge dash came immediately after the Sabers stopped what had become a 16-play drive for the Blue Knights.