In week 1 of the New Hampshire high school football season, while the upper divisions were playing games that didn't count the lower division teams were battling it out in games that did.
Two of the biggest games played on Friday night north of Concord were Laconia vs. Hanover in Division IV and Kearsarge vs. Stevens in Division V, with Laconia and Kearsarge both coming away with opening night wins.
Here are some notes on both games, courtesy of our new northern NH football correspondent, 'DC'.
Division IV: Laconia Beats Hanover in a Shootout, 55-33
Based on what I saw last week in the Hanover vs. Kearsarge scrimmage, I was expecting a much closer game in this one. However, Laconia was big, physical and totally dominated Hanover at the line of scrimmage!
Laconia should be a D-IV contender. It's hard early in the season because you haven't seen enough games to get a good read on the teams. But I would definitely keep an eye on Laconia and see how they do over the next couple weeks.
The Sachems have a couple lineman in the 280 to 300 lbs. range, plus a couple of nice running backs who broke tackle after tackle! They were led by junior running back David Mahoney who finished with 158 yards rushing, plus a 90 yard kickoff return for a TD.
The young sophomore from Hanover, QB Shawn Cavallaro had his moments. He had a 60+ yard TD run and a couple TD passes, but he did throw 3 interceptions. Laconia had Hanover well scouted. They had the big boys in the middle and kept 2 guys on the edges. Hanover has only 5 seniors on the roster and start mostly all juniors. They have a year to go, 5-4 is probably what they are looking at!
Division V: Defending Champs Kearsarge Over Talented Stevens Team, 31-28
Kearsarge and Stevens was a very entertaining game, back and forth changing leads. Kearsarge wins on a 43 yard field goal by a freshman in the 4th quarter. Excellent performance for 2 rookie coaches, including Zach Matthews who takes over for Dennis Hoffman (the only head coach the program has ever had prior to this year). Matthews was the Cougar's defensive coordinator under Hoffman.
Big news in this game - Stevens probably loses their playoff hopes, as junior quarterback Logan Batchelder broke his leg in the 4th quarter. He is likely out for the season.
Kearsarge plays Somersworth next week. That game will tell you a lot about how Division V stacks up! Last year when Kearsarge started 2-0 I knew after that the only team standing in their way was St. Thomas. Kearsarge's defense is not as good as last year's unit, which makes them beatable against Somersworth, Bow, and St. Thomas. D-V has at least 4 teams with a shot of winning it!