The annual Queen City Jamboree took place on Friday night at Gill Stadium in Manchester, kicking off the 2014 NH high school football season. Here are the final scores, followed by a recap of each game.
Merrimack 21 Souhegan 0
Salem 21 Trinity 8
Memorial 20 West 12
Goffstown 15 Timberlane 0
Bishop Guertin 27 Central 0
Pinkerton 14 Concord 0
Merrimack 21 Souhegan 0
Merrimack looked solid. They jumped on the board with a 55 yard TD pass from QB Justin Grassini to TE Ian Roberts. Grassini got good protection from his o-line on the play and he made a good throw to a wide open Roberts, hitting him right in stride. The PAT was good, and it was 7-0 Merrimack with 3:46 left in the 1st quarter.
Souhegan gets the ball back, but after making a 1st down run Merrimack was able to knock the ball loose and recover the fumble, giving the Tomahawks possession on the Sabers' 24 yard line. Merrimack was operating out of the shotgun. Grassini made a 2 step drop and connected on his second TD pass of the game, this time hitting Kyle Talbot from 10 yards out. Both PAT's were good by kicker Kyle Newman, and it was 14-0 Merrimack with 1:53 left in the 1st quarter.
Souhegan got the ball back, but Trevor Lacey made a big play on 'D' for Merrimack, with a good pursuit and tackle for a 10 yard loss. Souhegan was led by QB Mike Mancini and head coach Mike Lochman. Justin Weise made a good tackle for Merrimack, who has good size up front with Andrew Stockhausen and Eric Cabral.
Merrimack possession now, and Souhegan's Kees Grondstra made a good tackle for a loss. Then Grassini completed a short pass to Andy Degrasio, who sprinted to the end zone from 27 yards out. It was now 21-0 Tomahawks with 10:49 left in the 2nd quarter. Souhegan turned it over on downs on the next possession. Merrimack gets the ball back, but Aaron Stonebraker (coolest name at the jamboree) makes a strong hit on 'D', including 4 WR's and 1 RB."
"Grassini is only a sophomore" pointed out Merrimack head coach Coach Laurendi. "I think he's a talented kid. He has good composure for a kid his age. He has a lot of potential. After a slow start we got a big sack on 'D' to get momentum, and then got the big pass play for a touchdown. Most of our skill guys on offense are back."
Salem 21 Trinity 8
Salem jumped on Trinity early, scoring 2 quick TDs to go up 14-0. Austin Homsey returned the opening kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown. Salem quickly got the ball back, and Charles Sibanda scampered 35 yards for another Blue Devil TD. Trinity gets the ball back, but Salem's Doug Maroun made a nice tackles for a loss.
Salem got the ball back, but Trinity standout Ryan Boldwin made a good hit. Then Salem QB John Cerretanni hit a receiver coming across the middle of the field for a 56 yard TD pass. It was a good throw on the run, while avoiding Trinity's pass rush. That made it 21-0 Salem with 1:41 left in the 1st quarter.
Salem dominated the 1st quarter, but Trinity played much better in the 2nd. Will Sheppard made a tough run up the middle for the Pioneers, then QB #17 connected with Boldwin for a 12 yard completion down to the 1 yard line. Trinity back #36 ran in the touchdown, and Sheppard ran in the 2 point conversion. It was now 21-8 Salem with 9:46 left in the 2nd quarter.
On Salem's ensuing drive Matt Loffredo made a great run, sprinting 55 yards for a TD, showing good vision and speed. But the play was called back due to holding on Salem. Then the Blue Devils drive was stalled, as Keegan Williams made a good hit, Sheppard made a good hit for a loss of yards and then Williams made another good tackle. Salem responded with a good run up the middle by Solomon Ortiz for a 1st down. But then Sheppard made another good hit and Boldwin made a punishing hit behind the line of scrimmage (possibly the biggest hit of the night). That forced Salem to attempt a 29 yard field goal, which was no good.
"I think we're progressing" said Salem head coach Bob Pike. "Austin (Homsey) has gotten stronger and faster. He's going to have a great year. As a team we still need to block better and come off blocks better on defense."
Memorial 20 West 12
Daquan Henclewood is an explosive back with good speed. He burst through the middle of the defense for a 1st down run. Then Crusaders junior QB Mitchell Coy connected with Nkongolo Harmel who made a nice grab. West responded as their big man in the middle Matt Giles made a good tackle. West is coached by first year head coach Vance Sullivan. Isaac Velez capped the drive for Memorial, scoring on a 5 yard TD run on a quick burst up the middle. Coy hit Sam Gilot for the 2 point conversion and it was 8-0 Memorial with 6:04 left in the 1st quarter.
West got the ball back trying to answer, but Gilot made a great hit. West QB Zach Allard is a little guy but has good speed and toughness. Neither team had much size up front.
Memorial possession, and Henclewood broke loose for a 28 yard TD run. It was a good, hard run by Henclewood, again showing blazing speed and poor tackling by West. This time the 2 point conversion was no good, and it was 14-0 Crusaders with 52.7 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter.
West ball, and Allard nearly had his pass picked off but receiver Eric Lescatre leaped up to make a tremendous, acrobatic catch. But then Allard's next pass was intercepted, as Velez made the pick and returned it 56 yards for the TD. Again the 2 point conversion was no good, and it was 20-0 Memorial with 11:00 left in the 2nd quarter.
West ball, and another good hit by Gilot, who was one of the better linebackers we saw on Friday night. The Blue Knights were forced to punt. Memorial ball, and a good catch and run after the catch by Harmel. But then Memorial fumbled and it was recovered by West.
West tried to capitalize on the turnover. But big lineman Tom Grant made a nice tackle in the backfield. West attempted a 29 yard FG but the kick came up just short. Later on, West got the ball back but again it was Gilot delivering a big hit.
That's when West started to turn it around. Allard hit senior Prince Gbaley for a 20 yard completion who was wide open in the back right corner of the end zone for West's first TD. The PAT was no good, and it was 20-6 Memorial.
Memorial got the ball back, but Gbaley made another big play for West, leaping up and making a terrific catch to intercept the pass by Coy. West ball now, and again it's Allard-to-Gbaley for another good pass and catch. Then Lescatre made a great diving catch with 3 defenders draped all over him. Allard capped the drive with a 30 yard TD pass to Jhoneston Goncalves. It was a good, strong throw by Allard. The PAT was no good, and it was 20-12 Memorial with 2 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.
West attempted an onside kick, but Memorial was able to recover. The Crusaders hold on for the 20-12 win.
"We're thin on the o-line and d-line right now" explained Manchester Memorial head coach Peter Colcord. "Clay Legault is out with a rolled ankle and our starting center has a fractured thumb. Tom Grant is just coming back from a hip injury. The big teams Concord and Pinkerton will be tough, but we'll give it everything we've got."
Goffstown 15 Timberlane 0
Goffstown was clearly the better team in this match up. They jumped on the board very early. Connor Bourque, a small but very speedy and tough RB, broke off a big run to get into Timberlane territory. Then Bourque sprinted 47 yards for the touchdown. Timberlane blocked the PAT, and just 30 seconds in it was already 6-0 Grizzlies.
Timberlane had some problems offensively, playing without starting RB Tyler Furey. Goffstown was playing tough defense too though, as Brockton Hines made a good hit and Justin Wanner made an interception on a diving grab, picking off Timberlane QB Jason Hughes.
Goffstown was way back on their own 12 yard line. QB Matt Collins (filling in for injured starter Casey Gervais) connected with speedster Christian Marquis on a short pass. Marquis took it the distance - 88 yards for the TD, but it was called back for holding on Goffstown. Then Collins' pass was picked off by Zach Thibeau for Timberlane.
Later Timberlane got a big play on 'D' as Lucas Appleton made a sack. But then Marquis made a nice catch coming across the middle of the field for a 25 yard gain. Timberlane has some hard hitters in their secondary. Then Goffstown scored on a 16 yard TD as Bourque caught a short pass, spun off 2 tackles and ran it in. The PAT was no good, and it was 12-0 Goffstown with 11:29 left in the 2nd quarter.
Timberlane ball and a good hit by Goffstown's Zach Comeau. Goffstown gets the ball back and Collins hits WR Paul Teixeira who made a nice grab. Teixeira is a big, strong receiver, he's tough to bring down in the open field. Later, Teixeira made another nice catch, this time holding on after he got hit hard by a Timberlane DB. Then Samuel Heindrich kicked a 40 yard FG to make it 15-0 Grizzlies with 3:50 left in the 2nd quarter.
Timberlane kept battling, as Hughes connected with freshman Jacob Post on a 15 yard completion. Then Post made a good run up the middle. But then Peyton Bickford sacked the QB and freshman Andrew Duval made an interception for the Grizzlies.
"Connor Bourque is an explosive player" commented Goffstown head coach Justin Huft. "We didn't block well for him and he still made plays on his own. Gervais has a separated shoulder, we're not sure when he'll be back. Collins has only been in there at QB for a day and a half."
Bishop Guertin 27 Central 0
In this game BG looked really good, Central did not. BG grinded out a long drive on their first possession. Zach Lansing and Jorge Gomes made good tackles for Central. But then Kelvin Rivera broke off a nice run up the right sideline for BG for a 1st down. BG QB Jordan Hiscoe connected with TE Matt Theriault for a 10 yard gain, and then Hisco threw a 31 yard completion to Jackson Housman. Housman capped the drive with a 7 yard TD run up the middle. Chase Hughes kicked the PAT, and it was 7-0 BG with 4:46 left in the 1st quarter. Housman is much bigger and stronger than he was last year, as well as faster.
Central ball, but BG's Joe Gaudey made a big hit for a loss. #44 for entral made a tough run up the middle, but then the Little Green were forced to punt. BG gets the ball back and Rivera makes an explosive run up the middle. Then Hiscoe connects with Theriault for an 18 yard TD pass. The PAT was blocked by Central senior Gino Otero, and it's 13-0 BG.
Central ball, but Housman sacks the QB and they are forced to punt. BG goes back to work on offense, and again Hiscoe hits his favorite receiver Theriault for an 10 yard gain. Lansing made another nice hit, this time showing good agility, coming off his block to make the tackle. Lansing has to be pushing close to 300 lbs. but moves well for a kid his size - and he's only a junior. Housman makes a good run, and Rivera caps the drive with an 8 yard TD run. It's now 20-0 Cardinals, with 8:00 left in the 2nd quarter.
Central's starting QB on their playoff team last year was junior Richie Greeley.
"Greeley transferred" said Manchester Central head coach Ryan Ray. "I don't know where he transferred to, but he's not on our team. We had a lot of break downs tonight. Bishop Guertin executed better."
Central fumbled on their ensuing possession, and it was recovered by Hughes, who returned the fumble 41 yards for the touchdown. It was now 27-0 BG, with 7:16 left in the 2nd quarter. Both teams put their backups in soon after that.
"I was in the weight room a lot over the off-season" said Housman. "We worked out a lot as a team to try to get better."
Pinkerton 14 Concord 0
This was the main event. The game of the night. A rematch of last year's Division I championship game (won by Concord). And match up of possibly the 2 best teams in the state again this year. But this time it was Pinkerton who came out on top.
"We got embarrassed by them 42-14 last year in the championship, we took it personally" said Pinkerton QB Jack Hanaway. "We definitely wanted to get payback in this game. I think we sent a message."
Pinkerton had the ball first, and William Scharlotte made a good tackle for Concord. The Astros were forced to punt. Concord ball, and all-state QB Robert Law connects with Walter Szulc on a long pass play. But then the snap goes over Law's head and the Crimson lose much of the yardage they had just gained. Big lineman Hayden Sturdevant (only a junior) made a good tackle. Concord went for it on 4th and 5 but came up short - turnover on downs.
Then the Astros got on the board. Junior tailback TJ Urbanik broke loose for a big run, showing speed and power. Then Urbanik made another good run. The drive was capped by who else but Urbanik, scoring on a run from 7 yards out. It was 7-0 Pinkerton with 4:40 left in the 1st quarter.
Concord ball, trying to answer back. Senior linebacker Justin Poitras made a nice hit for Pinkerton. Fellow senior LB Jason Hansen made a nice hit of his own, tackling a Concord ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. Law's pass was incomplete thanks to good pass coverage by Urbanik.
Pinkerton gets the ball back, and Hanaway immediately zips a 44 yard TD pass over to Riley Cahill. It was a great throw by Hanaway, and he hit a wide open Cahill right in stride. Now it's 14-0 Pinkerton with 1:42 left in the 1st quarter.
"It was play-action" explained Hanaway. "I saw pre-snap that their corner was on the inside, so I knew I could hit Cahill on the outside. It was a great play call by coach."
Concord ball, again looking to answer back. Junior RB Leo Sudieh made a big run, with a nice juke move to break a tackle and showing good speed in the open field. Law then fired a pass on the run to Tyler Martel. Concord was building momentum on offense, but then Law scrambled out of the pocket, got hit, fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Cahill.
Pinkerton ball, trying to build on their lead. But returning all-state defender Wyatt Labombard sacked the QB. Hanaway got back up and hit Hansen for a 10 yard completion. Pinkerton was forced to punt.
Concord ball, but again Pinkerton's defense stepped up big. Poitras made another good hit. The Astros have good size up front as well, with Sturdevant, Noah Robison and Bryson Pacocha all easily over 250 lbs. Senior linebacker Brandon Parent sacked the QB. Pacocha made a good tackle.
The Astros get the ball back, and on 4th and 5 on the Concord 36 yard line Urbanik runs for 5 - just enough for the 1st down. Urbanik makes another good run, and Pinkerton holds on for the 14-0 win.
"We definitely feel good about our chances after this game" said Urbanik. Our big guys up front help us out a lot. It helps me get a good drive off the ball."
Concord head coach Eric Brown is still optimistic about his team's chances.
"Last year was last year, this is a new team we have this year" said Coach Brown. "With that being said, we wanted to prove to them tonight that we are still the team to beat. Even though we lost I take a lot of positives from this game. We just have some kinks to work out on the offensive line. They came at us with a lot of defensive pressure. We need to handle that better."