October 24, 2014

Saint Anselm looking to rebound Friday


Saint Anselm vs. Assumption

When and where: Friday (7 p.m.) at Multi-Sport Stadium, Worcester, Mass.

Team records: Saint Anselm is 5-2 overall (4-2 in the Northeast-10); Assumption is 4-3 overall (4-2 in the Northeast-10).

Noteworthy: These teams are in a three-way tie with New Haven for third place in the Northeast-10. ... Saint Anselm has lost two in a row since a 5-0 start and has been outscored 97-47 in those two losses. ... Assumption enters this contest on a three-game winning streak. ... Saint Anselm quarterback Yianni Gavalas leads the Northeast-10 in passing yards per game (323.4). The Hawks also lead the league in rushing touchdowns with 18. ... Assumption ranks first among Northeast-10 teams in sacks with 25.

Plymouth State vs. Framingham State

When and where: Saturday (noon) at Currier Field, Plymouth.

Team records: Plymouth State is 1-5 overall (0-4 MASCAC); Framingham State is 5-1 overall (4-0 MASCAC).

Noteworthy: This is a matchup between teams at opposite ends of the MASCAC standings. ... Framingham State has won four in a row. Plymouth State will be attempting to end a four-game losing streak. ... The Rams, the No. 1 team in the MASCAC preseason poll, are No. 3 in this week's New England Division III Poll. ... Framingham State quarterback Matt Silva is tied for the league lead in TD passes (16). ... Plymouth State running back Mark Hennessy has run for a team-high 275 yards this season and is tied for fifth in the MASCAC with four TDs. ... The Panthers rank third among MASCAC teams in time of possession (30:54).

Franklin Pierce vs. Navy

When and where: Saturday (noon) at Sodexo Field, Rindge.

Team records: Franklin Pierce is is 2-3 in the Collegiate Spring Football League; Navy is 5-0 in the CSFL.

Noteworthy: Navy enters this game ranked No. 1 in the CSFL in scoring defense (13.8), rushing defense (5.8) and rushing offense (242.4). Navy is also second in scoring offense (38.6). ... Franklin Pierce is third among CSFL teams in total defense (284.4) and sixth in total offense (262.0). ... Franklin Pierce running back Andrew Jean has run for a team-high 434 yards on 91 carries this season. He has scored four TDs.

Dartmouth vs. Columbia

When and where: Saturday (1:30 p.m.) at Robert K. Kraft Field, New York City.

Team records: Dartmouth is 4-1 overall (2-0 Ivy League); Columbia is 0-5 overall (0-2 Ivy League).

Noteworthy: Dartmouth has won three in a row since losing to UNH. ... Columbia is seeking its first victory since the 2012 season. The Lions have lost their last 16 games. ... Columbia's No. 1 problem this season has been its running game. The Lions rank last among FCS school in rushing yardage per game (45.8). ... Dartmouth has been outgained in each of its five games. ... Dartmouth's Dalyn Williams is third among Dartmouth QBs in career TD passes with 28. Jay Fiedler holds the record (58).

UNH vs. Stony Brook

When and where: Saturday (3 p.m.) at Cowell Stadium, Durham.

Team records: UNH is 5-1 overall (3-0 CAA); Stony Brook is 4-4 overall (3-1 CAA).

Noteworthy: The UNH offense will be facing a stiff test since Stony Brook leads the nation -- FBC and FCS schools -- in total defense (220.5 yards per game). The Seawolves have allowed nine touchdowns and nine field goals in their eight games. ... Stony Brook has won three in a row and allowed 13 points in those three victories. ... UNH is 3-0 at home this season and has outscored its opponents 129-49 in those three games. ... UNH has a 2-0 record against Stony Brook, which joined the CAA in 2013. ... Stony Brook leads the CAA defense (11.0 ppg.), but the Seawolves are ninth in scoring offense (15.0 ppg.).

Media Blitz: Teams have one eye on postseason

High School: Playoff picture clearing up >> Union Leader

High School:
Locals fighting for playoff spots >> Laconia Citizen

College: UNH looks to extend winning streak >> Foster's Daily Democrat

October 23, 2014

The State of Football: Week 8

Roger Brown

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While many of us have expended a fair amount of energy this week trying to put the pieces of the playoff puzzle together, that won't be the focus of this column. Instead, we'll take the opposite approach and look at three teams that should make the playoffs, but may not receive an invitation:

1. Loser of the Salem/Londonderry game
These teams will meet next week in Salem. The winner will earn a playoff berth and face Pinkerton Academy in the Division I South championship game. The loser will likely complete the regular season with a 7-2 record, finish third in the conference and not qualify for postseason play since only two teams from each conference will advance.

2. Concord
Concord would not be in the playoffs if the postseason began today, since the Crimson Tide (5-2) is in third place in Division I North behind Bedford (7-0) and Manchester Memorial (5-2). Bedford has wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the conference. Concord must finish with a better record than Memorial to get in because Memorial's 14-13 victory over Concord gives it the tiebreaker edge. Memorial will face Exeter on Friday and Goffstown next weekend. Concord will finish with Portsmouth on Friday and Exeter next weekend. Concord better plan on winning twice and hope someone can hand Memorial another loss.

3. Trinity
The Pioneers (4-2) trail Windham (6-0) and Milford (4-2) in Division II West. Although Trinity beat Milford 38-13, it's possible that Milford will make the playoffs over Trinity if the teams finish the regular season with identical records. Since teams in the same conference do not play the same non-conference opponents in Division II, that division uses the NHIAA Football Point Rating System to select playoff teams. The point rating system rewards teams for beating strong opponents.

The feeling here is that the regular season should be used to identify the top eight teams in each division and reward each of those teams with a playoff berth. The playoff format in Divisions I and II (the top two teams from each of the four conferences qualify) isn't accomplishing that goal.

One solution, as has been written here before, would be to reduce the number of conferences in Divisions I and II from four to two. That way teams could all play the same schedule (every team would play each team in its conference once) and the top four teams from each conference would make the playoffs. Teams could be selected by won/loss record, and ties would be settled by head-to-head results.

Division III is already using a similar model, so perhaps this is something for the NHIAA Football Committee to consider in the offseason. 

At any rate, with the utmost confidence ... this week's selections:

Continue reading The State of Football: Week 8.

Stony Brook winning with stingy defense

Allen Lessels
UNH Insider

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The UNH football team saw this Stony Brook defense coming.

The Seawolves bring their physical and touted defense to town on Saturday to take on No. 3 New Hampshire and its high-powered offense at Cowell Stadium in a 3 p.m. game.

The Wildcats look to keep pace with Villanova atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings. UNH has won five straight to improve to 5-1 overall and is 3-0 in the league. Villanova, which plays a nonconference game against Morgan State this weekend, is 6-1 and 4-0.

Stony Brook wants to hone in on the frontrunners, too. The Seawolves have won three straight and are 4-4 overall and 3-1 in the CAA.

UNH beat Stony Brook, 31-13, last year on the road.

"You watch film on them and they're a very physical bunch," said senior running back Nico Steriti. "We knew this last year playing them. They were a new CAA team and you kind of underestimate those types of teams. We found out real quick last year playing against them.  They were real physical. They flew around and we knew this team would be good coming back this year."

The Seawolves have been outstanding on defense. They are allowing just 11 points a game to lead the CAA in scoring defense and lead the league and country with just 220.5 yards allowed a game.

"You find out a lot about your opponent throughout the game and how they react to certain things," Steriti said. "They were the type of defense last year that yeah, we had some success as an offense and we made some plays, but they were very stout. They had some hits where they had d-linemen folding in very athletically where other teams may not have been able to do that. Their linebackers were great in blitz, great in the open field making tackles. Those are the types of things you recognize in a good defense."

The Seawolves have been better than good in a three-game win streak in particular at Towson, 14-3; home against Maine, 19-7; and at Elon, 14-3.

Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore figures his team will have its hands full with the Wildcats, who average 37.7 points a game.

"I think we're fairly complete," he said. "We're not great in every area by any means. We don't have 11 all-league players. But I think we do enough things covering the ball. I think we can do enough things rushing the passer. We can do enough things in the trenches and cover some of those run plays. I think we're difficult to attack, but I'm sure New Hampshire will find their ways and we will be challenged tremendously."

Full Story

Media Blitz: Stony Brook will bring nation's top defense to Durham

College: Stony Brook will look to run >> Union Leader

Proctor looks to stretch winning streak

This weekend's New Hampshire prep school games: 

Tilton (1-5) at Hebron Academy (2-3)
Saturday, 3 p.m.
Tilton has allowed at least 45 points in four of its five losses. Hebron has lost three in a row since a 2-0 start.

Hyde, Maine (1-4) at Holderness (2-3)
Saturday, 3 p.m.
Holderness allowed 58 points in each of its last two games. Hyde has been held to 42 points in its last four contests, all losses.

Groton (2-3) at St. Paul's (2-3)
Saturday, 3:15 p.m.
St. Paul's has lost three in a row since opening the season with back-to-back wins, and has surrendered 113 points in those three setbacks.

Proctor Academy (4-1) at Pingree (3-2)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Proctor, which will be trying to extend its winning streak to five games, has scored at least 25 points in every game this season. Proctor is 2-0 on the road. Pingree allowed 69 points in a loss to New Hampton last weekend (69-21).

Phillips Exeter (1-4) at Cushing Academy (0-5)
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Phillips Exeter ended a four-game losing streak by beating Deerfield 25-20 last weeked. PEA has scored 38 points in its five games and has been shut out three times. Cushing hasn't done much on offense this season either. Cushing has scored 27 points in its five games.

Note: New Hampton has a bye this weekend.

October 22, 2014

UNH extends offer to Central Catholic's Balsamo

Central Catholic running back/safety Mike Balsamo has received a scholarship offer from the University of New Hampshire. 

Balsamo (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) also has offers from Wofford and Bryant. Balsamo was an All-Merrimack Valley Conference selection at defensive back last season, when the Raiders won the MIAA Division 1 State Championship.

October 21, 2014

Some teams have no room for error


October 20, 2014

UNH remains at No. 3

The Sports Network FCS Top 25
College Football Poll
Team (First-place votes)2014 RecordPointsPrevious Rank
1.North Dakota State Bison (152)7-038481
2.Eastern Washington Eagles (2)7-136762
3.New Hampshire Wildcats5-134023
4.Coastal Carolina Chanticleers7-033534
5.Villanova Wildcats6-133045
6.Jacksonville State Gamecocks5-129966
7.Montana Grizzlies5-229417
8.Southeastern Louisiana Lions6-226838
9.Illinois State Redbirds6-0244810
10.Montana State Bobcats6-224329
11.McNeese State Cowboys4-2218111
12.Fordham Rams6-1212912
13.South Dakota State Jackrabbits5-2175918
14.Bethune-Cookman Wildcats6-1173316
15.Chattanooga Mocs4-3158417
16.Richmond Spiders5-2155819
17.Youngstown State Penguins5-2149221
18.William & Mary Tribe4-3119115
19.Eastern Kentucky Colonels6-1109713
20.Southern Illinois Salukis5-3101414
21.Harvard Crimson5-071125
22.Indiana State Sycamores4-356322
23.Northern Iowa Panthers3-440220
24.Sacred Heart Pioneers6-1390NR
25.Albany Great Danes5-2221NR
Others receiving votes: Bryant 119, Charleston Southern 114, Liberty 113, Missouri State 87, Western Carolina 56, Sam Houston State 40, Northwestern State 40, Grambling State 37, Dartmouth 30, James Madison 29, Wofford 22, Alcorn State 22, Delaware 21, Central Arkansas 21, Bucknell 21, North Carolina A&T 21, Jacksonville 20, Stephen F. Austin 14, Tennessee State 14, Western Illinois 13, Presbyterian 13, Northern Arizona 12, Cal Poly 11, Yale 10, Southeast Missouri State 10, Furman 9, South Carolina State 8, Samford 7, Idaho State 3, Monmouth 3, Duquesne 1, Lamar 1.

DiCesare powered Portsmouth past Winnacunnet

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Charles Sibanda (Salem)
Ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns on 18 caries in a 28-0 victory over Merrimack. Gained 128 yards and scored all three TDs in the first half.

Connor DiCesare (Portsmouth)
Quarterback completed 18 of 38 passes for 469 yards and five TDs in a 50-36 triumph over Winnacunnet.

Loden Formichelli (Portsmouth)
Caught nine passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Winnacunnet.

Christian Serrano (Winnisquam)
Rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns and returned a kickoff 68 yards for a TD to help the Bears beat Epping-Newmarket 43-12.

Saikou Bah (Trinity)
Gained 172 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 28-24 triumph over Souhegan. Also had an interception that set up his game-winning TD midway through the fourth quarter.

Kurtis Jolicoeur (Windham)
Ran for 153 yards and scored two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in a 28-14 victory against Pelham.

Stephen Hedberg (St. Thomas)
Completed 11 of 16 passes for 205 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Saints past Kingswood 48-15.

Elyjah Dejoie (Somersworth)
Running back rushed for 354 yards and four TDs during a 39-22 victory against Bishop Brady.

Eli McGuire (Fall Mountain)
Ran for three touchdowns to help Fall Mountain end an 11-game losing streak by beating Newfound 56-12.

Will Pollard (Kennett)
QB Completed 7 of 12 passes for 176 yards and two TDs in a 42-8 victory over Lebanon.
Coaches who would like to submit candidates for Helmet Stickers can do so by emailing the player's name, position and statistics from the most recent game to rbrown@nhfootballreport.com. The information must be received no later than 9 a.m. on the Monday following the game.