New Hampshire Football Report

The State of Football: Week 12

Garrett Macomber/Courtesy photo

Here’s one person’s definition of a star player: Someone with exceptional ability who plays his best when his team needs him the most.

Plymouth fullback/defensive end Garrett Macomber fits that description. Macomber intercepted a pass in the final seconds of fourth-seeded Plymouth’s game against top-seeded Windham last Saturday. It appeared the interception would seal Plymouth’s win, but the play was erased when Plymouth was penalized for roughing the passer — a penalty that moved the Jaguars into field goal range.

Then when Windham attempted what would have been the game-winning field goal, Macomber blocked the kick as time expired. That completed Plymouth’s 20-18 upset victory.

“If you look at the season he’s had I could make a case that he’s the best player in Division II,” Plymouth coach Chris Sanborn said. “That’s not a slight to Pizzotti (Windham’s Victor Pizzotti) and McQuarrie (John Stark’s Drew McQuarrie). Milliken (Lebanon’s Ryan Milliken) is very good too.”

Macomber, a 5-foot-10, 230-pound junior, enters Saturday’s Division II championship game against seventh-seeded Bow with 2,195 yards rushing and 24 rushing touchdowns on 246 carries this season. Defensively, he has 40 tackles (28 solo), six sacks and two fumble recoveries.

“And we don’t inflate stats,” Sanborn said.

Macomber set the school record for rushing yards in a season this year. Kyle McAulliffe held the previous record (1,738). If Macomber can find the end zone Saturday he will also set the school record for touchdowns in a season. He currently shares that record with Mike Boyle.

“He’s very powerful and explosive,” Sanborn said. “Solid as a rock. He gets hit and he still gets 4, 5 yards —  6 yards. He’s dominant on defense.”

The Plymouth/Bow game is one of three state championship games that will be played at the University of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Stadium on Saturday. The lineup:

Division III (11 a.m.): Stevens (8-2) vs. Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough (8-2)

Division II (2:30 p.m.): Bow (9-2) vs. Plymouth (9-2)

Division I (6 p.m.): Exeter (10-1) vs. Bedford (11-0)

Perhaps Macomber’s most impressive athletic achievement came during his sophomore season, when he played five — FIVE — varsity sports. He competed in football, indoor track, wrestling, lacrosse and outdoor track. Although he had never wrestled before, Macomber joined the wrestling team after Plymouth heavyweight Aaron Evans suffered a knee injury that looked like it might force him to miss the rest of the season. When Evans returned, Macomber surrendered his spot to allow Evans to wrestle in the Division II meet.

“We had talked to him about wrestling before,” explained Plymouth wrestling coach Todd Austin. “We used to call Aaron Evans ‘Diesel.’ We saw [Macomber] in the cafeteria, went up to him and said: ‘Hey Garrett, you know Diesel hurt his knee.’ He said, ‘Yup, I’m in. I’ll do it.’ Just a great move by him.”

Very much looking forward to watching Macomber play Saturday.

At any rate, with the utmost confidence … this week’s selections:

Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough  28, Stevens 26

Expect the Cardinals to stay with the Lakers step for step, but I-L/M returned 16 starters (eight on each side of the ball) who played in last year’s Division III championship game. That big-game experience may be the difference.

Plymouth 20, Bow 14

It’s been an unpredictable season in Division II, which is one of the reasons we have a No. 4 seed facing a No. 7 seed for the title. You have to give Bow credit for getting here in its first Division II season. You also have to give Plymouth credit for overcoming so many injuries this season. Plymouth has traveled the tougher path — the Bobcats beat St. Thomas (last year’s champion) and previously unbeaten Windham in the postseason — and that may be worth something.

Bedford 20, Exeter 17

The Blue Hawks will have a game plan that gives them a chance to win. No doubt about that. The key may be how well Exeter can pass the ball (yes, you read that right). Still, it’s tough to pick against the only undefeated team in the state, especially when the Bulldogs are so good on defense.


Last week: 3-3.
Record to date: 230-51.

The State of Football, a commentary on New Hampshire high school football, appears each Thursday throughout the season. Follow Roger Brown on Twitter: @603SportsMedia.




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