Our resident Division III football expert looks back at the top players, coaches and games of the 2013 season...
Player of the Year
Matt Ehrenberg #16 Bow RB/DB- He is only a junior but he was the best player on the best team in the division.
He rushed for close to 1,500 yards on the season but where he was the difference maker was on the defensive side of the ball. He played the safety position at 12 to 15 yards deep and covered the field from sideline to sideline. He allowed Bow to crowd the line of scrimmage with 8,9,10 defenders knowing that Matt was going to pick up anything that slipped through that very tough defense. He was a Ronnie Lott type safety!
Jake Valinski #66 LB Epping- Newmarket- A tackling machine, could start for any team in the state!
Joe LeClerc #24 RB/LB Epping-Newmarket- a work horse running the football.
Chris Mederios #8 RB/DB Pelham- along with Pellerin best pure running backs in the division.
Donald Pellerin #8 RB/DB Stevens- carried his team at times, the main reason Stevens made it to the Championship game.
Matt Tetu #22 RB/LB Bishop Brady- solid player should make an all-star team next summer.
Kyle Kosiorek #11 RB/DB Mascoma- 4 year starter for the Royals. Help build that program.
Chris McKenna #14 OB Campbell- Best QB in the division.
Coach of the Year
Paul Cohen Bow- loses first game of the season to arguably the 2nd best team in the division Pelham and runs off 10 in a row all the way to the division crown.
Ryan Clark Pelham has brought a once very proud football town back to respectability.
Game of the Year
The season opener Somersworth at Stevens a 2 OT nail biter won by the Cardinals 31-25.
Story of the Year
In all of New Hampshire football has to be the realignment to 3 divisions and the legend Chuck Lenahan going out on top winning another state championship in division 2. How fitting that Lenahan and his Plymouth Bobcats move up to division 2 and beat a very good Portsmouth program. If there was anyone that could find any criticism of Plymouth over the years it had to be why doesn't Lenahan move up and play at a higher level. To his credit he stuck to his guns and rightfully so. He had his team play at the level appropriate to the size of his school. Some of the previous state champions in the higher divisions should be thankful he did. If Plymouth moved up they wouldn't have won as many championships but most certainly a few of the bigger schools would have less championship banners hanging in their gyms.
As far as the 3 division format...
keep it the same alignment but take the conference winners and then the next 4 best records regardless of conference.Seed the 4 conference winners 1 through 4 and the next 4 teams seed 5 through 8 based on record and the point system. One other thing- first tiebreaker has to be head to head! The D2 finals should have been in Portsmouth or a neutral site if that is the direction for next years championship Saturday!
Unsung Hero of the Year
Paul Silva head coach of the Stevens Cardinals. What makes football such a great high school sport is people like Paul. They teach are young kids the most important qualities that they need to take from the game of football. Commitment, hard work, and family. Paul has had to overcome two devastating losses in the last 2 football season's. Paul lost a coach at the beginning of last season and this season he loses his father mid-season, Ralph Silva a long time coach in the Claremont sports community. Paul leads by example and teaches the kids that life deals everyone sadness but you have no other choice but to fight on. I was rooting for Paul last Saturday but it wasn't meant to be. What Paul has taught his kids is far more important than winning football games.
Early Favorites in 2014
Newport and Bow are in next year's championship game! Both teams bring back a ton of kids that have playoff experience and will be a year older and stronger! I can't wait!