Coaches are talking up HB and Milford in DII
Will things be different this year in New Hampshire High School football, or do we round up the usual suspects?
Well, in Division I that may be the case. There may be some changes in the other two divisions, but it will all have to play out beginning Friday.
Here’s a bit of a look at each division:
Exeter has to be hungry after falling short in last year’s Division I state title game, 7-0, to Bedford. The Blue Hawks will have Cody Morissette at quarterback, and while baseball is his game, he’s a pretty good football player, too. Another familiar name will be running back/defensive back – Brayden Lowery. It doesn’t give the opposition comfort that Blue Hawks coach Bill Ball told the New Hampshire Football Report that, “This may be the biggest team we’ve had here.”
Bedford brings back Connor Robert as its quarterback, and that’s half the battle. The Bulldogs will be strong again. Nashua South, of course, will try to break into that cluster, as will the Panthers’ non-conference opening night opponent, Salem. The Blue Devils return about a half dozen on each side of the ball, including running back Ben Genest.
Also watch out for Goffstown, with as many as a dozen starters returning from a playoff team, split on both sides of the ball. And no one expects Pinkerton Academy to miss the playoffs two years in a row.
The way the playoffs are set up, the West and South conferences will square off in the postseason on one side, while it will be the North and East (Seacoast) in the other. That means there won’t be a Bedford-Exeter rematch in the finals.
“Salem’s going to be a tough team,” South coach Scott Knight said. “It’ll be a test right out of the gate.”
Everyone thinks of Hanover as a soccer school, but last year the Marauders made the Division II semis, losing to eventual champion Bow. They have as many as 14 starters back, including defensive tackle Caleb Putnam and back Alex Mosenthal.
But can the Marauders break into the Bow-Windham club? Many feel Bow will be the team to beat again this year, with 13 starters back, including backs Mark Borak and Jack Corriveau. Windham, though, has as many as 14 returning starters, including quarterback Cody Potter. The Jags looked like a title cinch and lost in the playoffs.
Think that could happen again?
Coaches also are talking up locals Milford and Hollis Brookline. And Souhegan has a lot back, with an energetic new coach. Plus, don’t forget about traditional powers Kennett and Plymouth. Division II is going to be ultra-competitive this season, especially in the South Conference.
Many think after a down year, the area’s own Campbell Cougars could be a title contender.
But who else? Defending champion Stevens is said to have only four starters back on each side of the ball, but most of those are linemen, which can’t hurt. Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, which lost in the finals, appears to have only a handful of seniors.
Same for Monadnock, which went unbeaten in the regular season but lost to Stevens in the semis.
Watch out for Kearsarge, which is said to have seven starters back on each side of the ball, but it will miss top graduated player Justin Norris.
Looks like this might be the right year for a Cougar comeback.