New Hampshire Football Report



New Hampshire Football Report’s version of the three-point stance:

Point No. 1: If you follow high school football outside of New Hampshire you may be familiar with Rush Propst, who was wildly successful — and controversial — when he was the head coach at Hoover (Ala.) High School, the program featured in the MTV series Tw0-A-Days. After leaving Hoover, Propst turned Georgia’s Colquitt County into one of the top programs in the country.

Last year Milton High School, a football program with little tradition and no state championships, knocked off Propst’s Colquitt County team in Georgia’s 7A state championship game. Some called it the biggest upset in the history of 7A football.

Adam Clack was in his second season as Milton’s head coach last year. The first thing he did when he took over the Milton program was look for a way to get some added exposure for his program. What he really wanted was to enter his team in one of the many national games/events that feature teams from different states. These events are popping up just about everywhere across the country.

“That was a big initiative of mine when I got to Milton,” Clack said. “Milton has a real rich pedigree in a lot of things, but the football has always been OK. We needed to start putting these kids in big events.”

What he found was the Freedom Bowl, a three-day, 12-team event that was looking for a home — and found it in Milton High School. Ironically, Hoover is one of the six teams that will compete in this year’s Freedom Bowl, which raises money for wounded warriors and their military families.

“I’m not saying we won the state championship because we played in the Freedom Bowl or the Corky Kell (an event that features top teams from Georgia), but the lights aren’t quite as bright at Mercedez-Benz Stadium when you’ve played in events like that,” Clack said.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that it might be time for New Hampshire to look into some type of high-profile event that could kick off the high school football season. Maybe have two or three of New Hampshire’s top teams take on some out-of-state competition (maybe from other New England states?) at a facility like Nashua’s Stellos Stadium or Exeter’s William Ball Stadium. Give the proceeds to a charity or another worthwhile cause.

It would take a lot of planning, but might be worth the effort.

Point No. 2: Here’s one game that stands out on the Week 1 NHIAA schedule: Windham at Bedford (7 p.m.).

These are two of the top programs in the state, and both will enter the 2019 season with a first-year head coach. Former Kearsarge coach Zach Matthews replaced Derek Stank at Bedford, and Jack Byrne was elevated from assistant to head coach when Bill Raycraft left the Windham program.

In addition to taking over as the athletic director at Malden (Mass.) Catholic, Raycraft will serve as the school’s interim football coach this season.

Point No. 3: Now that the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl has become competitive — Vermont has won the last three games after losing 15 in a row — those who run the game have to do something about the game’s location. By most accounts, Castleton (Vt.) University has done a phenomenal job hosting the game, but it’s just too far for New Hampshire fans to travel year after year. The attendance has been good thanks to a large Vermont turnout, but the interest in New Hampshire just isn’t there like it once was.

The obvious solution would be to move the game back to Dartmouth. If that’s too expensive, perhaps alternating sites in New Hampshire and Vermont every year would work. The game could remain at Castleton, but every other year it would be played in New Hampshire at a place like Saint Anselm’s Grappone Stadium.

The game has gained momentum in Vermont over the past few years. Now it’s time to reignite the interest in New Hampshire.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login