New Hampshire Football Report

Can New Hampshire extend streak?

New Hampshire vs. Vermont

When and where: Saturday (5;30 p.m.) at Castleton (Vt.) University.
Coaches: Brian Grady (Fair Haven) is Vermont’s head coach. Justin Leonard (Kingswood) is coaching New Hampshire.
2015 Result: New Hampshire won, 27-12.
Series: New Hampshire leads 47-13-2.
Noteworthy: It’s been many years since there was any serious buzz about a Vermont victory, but there are many who believe this is the year New Hampshire’s winning streak will come to an end. The Granite State extended that streak to 15 games with last summer’s victory. … Grady was Vermont’s head coach in 2000, when Vermont posted a 47-40 victory (Vermont’s last victory), and he said this Vermont team may be more talented than the group he had that year.  “I would say if you’re talking about the entire roster, this team is probably a little more talented than the 2000 Shrine team I coached,” he said. “I’ve kind of known for a couple years that I wanted to coach (in this year’s game). These kids fit the scheme that I want to run. We’re very athletic on both sides of the ball, and I do like the offensive and defensive linemen that I have.” … Running back Carson Leary (Otter Valley) and wide receiver Lucas Czarnecki (Fair Haven) are among the Vermont players to watch. Leary was named Vermont’s Gatorade Player of the Year after he led Otter Valley to the Division III championship as a quarterback. He finished his senior season with 2,484 yards rushing and 988 passing. He also scored 53 touchdowns (39 rushing). Leary will join the University of New Hampshire program as a walk-on following the game. Czarnecki returned 14 kicks for touchdowns during his high school career. “He’s the most explosive player I’ve ever coached as far as when he gets the ball in his hands,” Grady said. … St. Thomas Aquinas of Dover quarterback Stephen Hedberg will be New Hampshire’s starting quarterback. Hedberg holds the NHIAA record for most TD passes in a season with 35. He completed his high school career with 65 TD passes. Liam Middleton, one of Hedberg’s favorite targets at St. Thomas, was named to the team, but will not play because of a commitment to the Coast Guard Academy. New Hampshire will also be without Windham running back/defensive back Shane Lafond, who has not practiced because of an illness. … Both teams will use the spread offense. Leonard said Kearsarge’s Riley Antle will be New Hampshire’s one-back. … Franklin’s Patrick Kaplan, Bishop Guertin of Nashua’s T.J. Hart, Stevens of Claremont’s Collin Belt and Spaulding of Rochester’s Blake Barbin are New Hampshire’s captains for the game, which raises money to support Shriners Hospitals for Children.  … Leonard has repeatedly said he likes his team’s defense, which features Kaplan up front, Hart at middle linebacker and Milford’s Bryce Walker in the secondary. …  A free internet stream of the game can be accessed at … “This group of kids is not underestimating Vermont,” Leonard said. “They know they’ll be facing some good athletes. It’s going to come down to game-day execution.”

Prediction: Vermont 21, New Hampshire 20


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