As local football teams get ready for Week 3, one is looking to keep up its hot streak while others are hoping to bounce back from tough losses.
Here’s a look at what awaits them this weekend:
Lebanon (2-0) at
Game time: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Summary: Counting the playoffs, the Huskies are on a 14-game win streak as they return home to Swanzey Center for the first time this season.
While the defending Division III champs have outscored opponents 92-6 through the first two games, they know they can’t rest on their laurels as they face their second straight playoff team from last year.
While Monadnock soundly defeated Somersworth, last year’s No. 8 seed, 46-0, Lebanon, last year’s No. 5, is coming off a big win over Trinity, last year’s No. 3, 21-7.
Key matchup: Monadnock ball carriers vs. Lebanon defense
According to Coach Ryan Avery, the turnover battle will play a big role in the outcome of this game. That means it’ll be up to guys like running backs Lincoln Blodgett and Justin Joslyn and quarterback Nate Doyle to hold onto the ball, as well as keeping the Huskies’ offense moving.
Player(s) to watch: Linemen Joey Drew, Dylan Cashman, Victor Lotito, Wyatt Guyette
Blodgett and Joslyn may be the ones racking up the gaudy stats on the run, but ask Avery points out the key to the Huskies’ consistent attack is the guys setting the blocks for them.
Coach’s corner: “They’re a really good team, so we’ve gotta be ready to play.” — Ryan Avery
Keene (0-2) at
Nashua South (1-1)
Game time: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Summary: A duel between two teams trying to find their offensive identities.
On one side, the Blackbirds have scored just three touchdowns through their first two games, but on the other, the Purple Panthers have managed just 10 points and are coming off a shutout loss to Bishop Guertin.
Key matchup: Keene pass rush vs. Nashua South pass offense
The Panthers showed a fairly balanced offense leaning slightly more on the pass, according to Keene Coach Linwood Patnode. Thus, the onus will be on guys like linemen Travis Emery and Lincoln Davis to pressure the quarterback and disrupt the Nashua offense.
Player(s) to watch: Quarterback Tucker Brown
So far, Brown is responsible for all of Keene’s touchdowns, having thrown for two in Week 1 and rushed for one in Week 2.
He’ll be facing a higher frequency of man coverage against Nashua South, and he’ll need to step up his game to navigate it while receivers like Clint Maleski and Cal Sault work to get separation.
Coach’s corner: “I think we probably match up against a team like [Nashua South] better than the Exeters of the world, but it’s not changing very fast in that we’re still inexperienced and we’re so young in critical spots. We’re not a whole lot better football team than we were last week, although I think we’re a little better, because I think we’ll get a little bit better every week. It’s not gonna come in leaps and bounds, it’s gonna come in baby steps.” — Linwood Patnode
Hollis-Brookline (1-1) at ConVal (1-1)
Game time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Summary: The Cougars had a rough fall back to Earth following their season-opening win over Kingswood, losing to Souhegan last weekend 41-0.
On the flip side, the Cavaliers took a step forward, going from 35-21 season-opening loss to Milford to a 48-14 win over Hanover.
Key matchup: ConVal pass defense vs. Hollis-Brookline pass offense
The Cavaliers bring a lethal duo of brothers to their spread offense with quarterback Riley McQuilkin and receiver Kaden McQuilkin. The Cougars will be trying to limit the mobility of the quarterback with guys like outside linebacker Liam Denehy and defensive end Haven Lambert, while newly-moved cornerbacks Peter Wetherill and Justin Burns try to cover the receivers.
Player(s) to watch: Kicker/defensive tackle Fabian Steinberg
Steinberg, a German exchange student, has been trained enough in the ways of American football to play more than just special teams, according to Coach Robert Klauss, and has earned a spot on the starting defensive line.
He’ll play a key role in trying to limit Hollis-Brookline’s attack.
Coach’s corner: “We’re still perfect at home, I reminded our players of that. I think we match up must better against Hollis-Brookline than we did against Souhegan, and I think that this is going to be a lot closer than most of the state D-II people think it’s going to be.” — Robert Clauss
Fall Mountain (0-2) at Franklin (1-1)
Game time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Summary: The Golden Tornadoes got their offense moving last week, pounding Farmington for a 48-29 win.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats are still looking to get their offense going, having scored one defensive touchdown in a Week 1 loss to Raymond and two kick return touchdowns in a Week 2 loss to Winnisquam.
Key matchup: Fall Mountain run defense vs. Franklin run offense
Jake Beaupre leads a strong rushing attack for the Tornadoes, and Coach Orion Binney said he’ll be looking for his players to set the edge and tackle better than they have in previous weeks to try and contain Beaupre.
Player(s) to watch: Running back Isaac Westover, fullback Morgan Wilbur
With the Wildcats relying on sophomore quarterback Luke Gay, Westover and Wilbur will be asked to carry the load, so to speak, as Fall Mountain tries to get its offense moving this week.
Coach’s corner: “It’s not gonna be easy, we’re gonna have to play really good football to win, but I think we might match up a little bit better with them, so we’ll see.” — Orion Binney