New Hampshire Football Report

NHIAA Preview: Division II

2023 Preview

Teams in the Division: (East) Bow, Gilford-Belmont, Kennett, Laconia, Merrimack Valley, Pembroke Academy, Plymouth, Sanborn and St. Thomas Aquinas. (West) Hanover, Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton, Hollis-Brookline, John Stark, Manchester West, Milford, Pelham and Souhegan.

2022 champion: Pelham. The Pythons capped a 12-0 season by beating Souhegan, 35-6.

Top storyline: Can anyone beat Pelham? The Pythons enter the season with a 30-game winning streak, which is the fourth longest active streak in the nation.

Players to Watch: Keaton Beck (TE) Laconia; Nolan Beck (OL) Merrimack Valley; J.J. Bright (RB/DB) Souhegan; Treyvon Cannon (WR) Pembroke; Ben Cardoso (DB) Sanborn; Reece Clermont (RB) Merrimack Valley; Gavin Clark (OL) Gilford-Belmont; Neal Downs (OL) Gilford-Belmont; Logan Grant (WR) Gilford-Belmont; Sam Grondin (OL) St. Thomas; Hutch Haskins (LB) Gilford-Belmont; Brayden Hickman (LB) Souhegan; Austin Ingersol (DB) Sanborn; Romy Jain (QB) Souhegan; Roger Lucas (QB) Hanover; Sean Nicholls (DL) Bow; Emmit Nossaman (DL) Plymouth; Byron Parrish (DB) John Stark; Alex Richardson (LB) Laconia; Logan Sanchez (QB) Laconia; Teddy Sumner (WR) Hanover;  Drew Tower (RB) Manchester West; Jeffrey Vidou (RB) Hanover; Tyler Walcott (WR) Kennett; Dontrell White (RB) John Stark.

Key game: Souhegan at Pelham (Oct. 20). The winner of that game could earn the No. 1 seed for the Division II playoffs.

Noteworthy: Eight teams qualify for the postseason in Division II. Playoff teams and seeding are determined by the football point rating with the following exception: The conference champion with the lower point rating will be seeded No. 2 even if a team or teams from the other conference has a better rating. …  Pelham will be led by two-way lineman Memphis Patterson, who is on the Yukica Preseason Player-of-the-Year Watch List. Patterson is among the top defensive players in the state. … Souhegan will have an explosive offense led by quarterback Romy Jain, who passed for 2,145 yards and accounted for 31 TDs last season; and running back J.J. Bright, who rushed for 1,085 yards and 21 TD last season. … Gilford-Belmont quarterback Isaiah Reese, the Division II Player of the Year last season, transferred to Phillips Exeter Academy. … Nick Ford (Laconia), Matt Shaw (Merrimack Valley) and Andrew Provencher (Manchester West) are the first-year head coaches in this division. Provencher took over a team that has one returning starter. … Lebanon will play a junior varsity schedule this season, which left the West Conference with eight teams. Those teams were left with an open date, some of which were filled with non-conference opponents. … Kennett returns four starters on each side of the ball.  … Plymouth graduated seven defensive starters from a team that lost in the Division II quarterfinals, but the Bobcats have six starters back on offense. … Sanborn is a team that could take a huge step forward this season. The Indians were 2-7 last year, but have 16 starters back. … St. Thomas was 3-1 last season when it lost senior tailback/linebacker Trent Salyards and fullback/linebacker Timmy Avery to injury. Both are back this season. … Pembroke will rely heavily on senior quarterback Joe Fitzgerald. … Keith Jones is entering his 23rd season as Milford’s head coach … This looks like the deepest of the four divisons.


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