New Hampshire Football Report

Team of the Week: Pelham

Pelham Pythons

Top-seeded Pelham extended the program’s winning streak to 41 games by beating second-seeded Plymouth 35-6 in Saturday’s Division II championship game. Entering the weekend, Plymouth was tied with Garden City, N.Y., for the fourth longest active winning streak in the country.

Saturday’s victory handed Pelham (11-0) its fourth straight state championship. The Pythons won the Division III championship in 2020 and 2021, and beat Souhegan in the Division II championship game last year.

“Most of them (the seniors) were here from the very beginning, so they’ve seen it all,” Pelham coach Tom Babaian said. “The senior leadership (stood out). The kids who needed to step up (Saturday) really stepped up. I thought we played a pretty good game.”

Pelham’s last loss came against Plymouth in the 2019 Division II quarterfinals. Plymouth owns the longest winning streak in state history (57 games). That streak ended in 2010.

Entering the weekend, John Millege Academy of Milledgeville, Georgia owned the longest winning streak in the country (60 games).

Pelham surrendered the game’s first touchdown, but gave up nothing after that.

Dom Herrling had two touchdown runs and intercepted two passes for the Pythons, who completed the season with an 11-0 record and prevented their opponents from scoring more than eight points in 10 of those games.

“Plymouth is a big team,” Herrling said. “They hit us in the mouth. They scored first and we knew we had to come back harder. Our defense always plays a big role whenever we play big games. After that one score they didn’t score any more. The defense held tight.”

Pelham recorded six shutouts this season and held their three playoff opponents to a total of 14 points.

Herrling’s TDs came on runs of 14 and 15 yards. The first TD helped the Pythons take a 14-6 lead with 2:13 remaining in the first half, and the second TD plus Colby Crear’s PAT put Pelham up 21-6 with 6:38 remaining in the third.

Pelham’s other TDs came on a 56-yard run by Connor Travis, a 1-yard run by quarterback Nick Muise and a 70-yard run by Jake Ciulla. Pelham led 14-6 at halftime and 21-6 entering the fourth.

Plymouth (10-2) opened the scoring on a 9-yard TD run by Tristan Patridge early in the second quarter, but the Bobcats had five passes intercepted in the loss. Four of those came in the fourth quarter. Plymouth failed to complete any of its nine pass attempts in the second half.

Justin Bowlan also had two interceptions for Pelham. Nolan Monette recorded Pelham’s other interception.

Pelham allowed 49 points all season.

“This feels really good,” Babaian said. “This was a big one for us. It just caps off a year where people doubted us. People didn’t think it was the same team coming back and we ran the board.”


The NHFR Team of the Week is sponsored by MG Sports. Contact MG Sports owner Michael Garczynski at for your fundraising needs. Those who would like to help New Hampshire Football Report promote football in the Granite State can do so by purchasing an NHFR XTRA Membership or by making a donation below. Your support is appreciated.

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