New Hampshire Football Report

NHIAA Previews: Division II

2020 Preview

Teams in the division:

East: Gilford/Belmont, Kennett, Kingswood, Merrimack Valley, Pembroke Academy, Plymouth, Sanborn, St. Thomas and Timberlane.
West: Bow, Hanover, Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton, Hollis-Brookline, John Stark, Lebanon, Milford, Souhegan and Manchester West.

2019 champion: Hollis-Brookline. The Cavaliers won the program’s first championship by beating Plymouth 24-13 in the Division II championship game.

Top storyline: A deep division gets deeper. In addition to its usual strong programs, Division II has added two teams that made the playoffs in Division II last season (Lebanon and Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton) and Timberlane has dropped down from Division I.

Players to Watch: Cody Bannon, QB/DB (Plymouth), Sr.; Seth Baylus, DL (Merrimack Valley), Jr.; Blake Bergerson, WR/DB (Hollis/Brookline), Sr.; Tim Bonagura, DL (St. Thomas), Sr.; Will Boyle, OL/LB (Souhegan), Sr.; Xavier Burpee, RB/KR/CB (Manchester West), Sr.; Alex Cheek, QB (Gilford/Belmont), Sr.; CJ Childs, RB/LB (Lebanon), Jr.; Parker Coleman, QB/DB/KR (Kennett), Sr.; Quinn Connors, OT/LB (Hollis/Brookline), Sr.; Jake Currier, OL (Merrimack Valley), Jr.; Joe D’Ambruoso, RB (Plymouth), Sr.; Blake Descoteaux, RB (Gilford/Belmont), Sr.; Cody Eastman, OL (Kennett), Jr.; Jordan Escabi, TE/LB (Manchester West), Sr.; Bobby Graustein, DL (Kennett), Sr.; Sean Griffiths, DL (Plymouth), Sr.; Cole Johnston, RB/DB (Plymouth), Sr.;  Alex Karpawich, OL/DL (Souhegan), Sr.; Travis Knouse, RB (Merrimack Valley), Jr.; Cooper Larrabee, TE/DE (Bow), Sr.; Riley Lawhorn, RB/LB (Souhegan), Sr.; JJ Luchsinger, OL (St. Thomas), Sr.; Luke Manning, WR/QB/DB (Souhegan), Sr.; Mike Maroun, OL/DL (Souhegan), Sr.; Nick Matthews, OT/DT (Timberlane), Sr.;  John Mitchell, LB (Gilford/Belmont), Sr.; Curtis Nelson, WR (Gilford/Belmont), Sr.; Robert Olson, WR (Timberlane), Sr.; Kyle Perry, WR/DB (Kennett), Sr.; Nate Quinn, RB (Pembroke), Sr.; Adam Rayhan, DB (Hollis/Brookline), Sr.; Andrew Robbins, TE/LB (Bow), Sr.; Trevan Sanborn, WR/DE (Plymouth), Sr.; Adam Slater, OL/DL (Hollis/Brookline), Sr.; Adam Stewart, Slot/DB (St. Thomas), SR.; Jack Stone, WB/WR/DB (Lebanon), Jr.;  Mark-Andre Thermitus, RB/DE (Hollis/Brookline), Sr.; Caleb Vlack, DB (Timberlane), Sr.; Benjamin Wagner, OL/DL (Hanover), Sr.

Key game: Gilford/Belmont at Plymouth (Oct. 24) in the East; and Hollis-Brookline at Souhegan (Sept. 25) in the West. Plymouth returns many of the key pieces from last year’s Division II runner-up, and Gilford/Belmont has a strong senior class and figures to take a step forward in the win column this season. Souhegan is one of the more talented teams in the division, and Hollis-Brookline will be vying for another trip to the Division II championship game if it can find a suitable replacement for Sander Wimmer at the quarterback position.

Noteworthy: After a two-year stint in Division I, Alvirne has returned to Division I. Pelham, a playoff team last season, has also left the division. The Pythons are now competing in Division III. … All 18 teams are expected to make the Division II playoffs. There will likely be play-in games between the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in both the East and the West a week before the quarterfinal round. Division II teams will play some teams from outside the division during the regular season. … St. Thomas has changed head coaches twice since last season. Ryan Lent was named interim head coach when former coach Ryan Brown became the athletic director at Bishop Guertin, but Lent resigned earlier this month. Ed McDonough was hired to replace Lent last week. McDonough has most recently coached at two Maine high schools (Traip Academy and Wells). … Week 1 games: Hanover at Fall Mountain, Stevens at Lebanon, Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton at Bow, Merrimack Valley at Bishop Brady, St. Thomas at Gilford, Kennett at Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, Pembroke at John Stark, Sanborn at Pelham, Timberlane at Plymouth and Hollis-Brookline at Souhegan.


Note: Here are links to the NHFR TOP 50 (top 50 players in the state) and the NHFR Preseason Top 10 (teams). These are available only to XTRA members.)

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