On Friday, the Monadnock Regional High School football team knocked off the reigning NHIAA Division III champions, Trinity High School, 26-13.
Now, waiting for the Huskies in the semifinal round are the No. 1-seeded and undefeated Pelham Pythons. The two teams will meet at Pelham High School Saturday at 3 p.m.
Pelham will be playing on a short week after having to delay their first-round match-up against Campbell High School because of a positive COVID-19 test at the school.
The Pythons initially forfeited the game, but, after the decision was overturned, Pelham defeated Campbell, 35-0, putting up 220 rushing yards on 30 attempts. Senior Jake Herrling ran for 98 yards.
Pelham has been a powerhouse all season, outscoring its opponents 167-13 during a 5-0 regular season. So, what’s the key to taking down a powerhouse?
“It’s us,” said Monadnock coach Ryan Avery. “We have to play well. We have to make sure we don’t make mistakes. Make sure we don’t get any penalties, make sure we don’t fumble the football. Things that are in our control.”
The No. 2 Huskies come into the match-up as the underdogs, but that hasn’t affected their confidence.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” said senior tight end Victor Lotito. “We’re going to play hard.”
At the same time, they understand who they’re going up against.
“It’s cautious optimism,” said senior offensive tackle Dylan Cashman. “We’re confident that we’re able to put in the work during the week and show what we’ve been working on all season on Saturday.”
The Huskies themselves have had a successful fall, finishing the regular season 4-1. Senior quarterback Nate Doyle has led Monadnock under center all season, and understands what’s at stake heading into Saturday.
“This could potentially be our last game playing on this team, and if we don’t go hard no matter what, it will be our last game,” Doyle said.
Doyle and senior wide receiver Zion Carroll have done some damage together throughout the season, but the Huskies aren’t limited to that connection.
“That’s the good thing about our team, there is no one guy,” Avery said. “We have multiple running backs, we have receivers that can catch the ball, Nate can throw it and he can run it. We don’t build our team around one guy. It’s a team effort.
“You can’t just load up against one guy. If you stop him, we’re just going to give it to somebody else and he’s going to hurt you, too,” he added.
That depth could be crucial in Saturday’s game.
“It’s a group of guys that produce, and that makes it hard to defend,” Avery said.
The bottom line? The Huskies are facing a team that nobody seems to be able to touch this year, but they’re ready to lay it all on the line come Saturday.
“We’re going to leave it all out there,” Lotitio said. “That’s for sure.”