Alex Sobrado, #48, picks off a Nashua pass to stop a drive in the second quarter.
The Blue Devil defense has played against three of the best backs in Division I in the last four weeks, and came through again Friday night against Nashua South’s Dave Zocco.Zocco would run for 115 yards on 26 carries, but the Salem defense made him earn every yard and wouldn’t let him into the end zone.It was a perfectly thrown pass by South’s sophomore quarterback Keith Farkus to junior end Matt Valcourt midway through the third period that was to be the only score of the evening.Nashua South looked like it might go right down the field and score on its first possession but Salem sophomore cornerback Max Jacques picked off the pass at the Salem nine-yard line to kill that threat.The Salem offense took over at the end of the first period and drove the ball down to South’s 22-yard line thanks to a long pass from Matt Cannone to Cory Lavallee and some tough runs by Jacques and Chris Najem, but they’d turn the ball over on downs there.South again looked like it would take an early lead midway through the second quarter when Salem punter Darren Brown had a low snap from center and he was tackled on his own 19-yard line, but Jharid Pratt, Anthony Tudisco and Derek Mason shut down the Nashua South offense.Just before the half, Nashua South was on the move again, but this time it was junior cornerback Alex Sabrado, who picked off the pass and returned it to Salem’s 29-yard line.
The halftime ceremonies began with the game being scoreless, and a Salem fan had to be very optimistic after watching the team play terrific defense against the Panthers for the first 24 minutes.Salem received the second-half kickoff and couldn’t move the ball, but South took over on the blue Devil 40-yard line following a poor punt.The Panthers got a first down at Salem’s 18-yard line, but Pratt, Tudisco, and company then dropped Zocco, and Farkus for losses on two straight carries before Farkus found Valcourt open in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown pass with six minutes left in the third quarter.Nashua South’s Zocco ran for more than 50 of his game total 115 yards on first possession of the fourth quarter, and raced 19 yards to the Salem one-yard line.South then lost two yards on a pass, Zocco lost two yards on a carry and he got it down to the one-yard line again before being stuffed by the Blue Devils defensive line on fourth down.Max Jacques carried for five yard and a first down at the 13-yard line.A big eight-yard catch by Brown gave Salem another first down, and Tom Tarallo pulled in a 13-yard catch for a first down at Salem’s 38-yard line.As the clock was winding down, the Blue Devils couldn’t get any closer than a three-yard run by Najem to the Panthers 49-yard line as time expired.
That tough loss leaves Salem with a 2 - 3 record, and a 1 - 3 mark in Division 1 play.Coach Jack Gati was impressed with the guts and determination that his defense showed him on the night.Gati said, “I think we’ve already met the three toughest teams with the best running backs in Division 1 I three of the last four weeks, but we have a very stiff test next Saturday when Timberlane comes here because Derek Furey is probably one of the best backs in Division 2.We have a lot of things to work on with the offense, and I’m hoping we can have a nice week of practice and come out sharp against Timberlane Saturday.I’ve got a great bunch of kids that are all working hard so I think we’ll be OK.”
After losing its first game in almost two years after the game was made up last Tuesday, coach Carol Merchant had her Blue Devil field hockey team back in stride last Friday afternoon when it hit the road for Manchester to battle the Little Green of Central High.Central is one of the most improved teams in Class L this fall and its 5 - 3 record clearly showed that.Salem’s Chelsie Muldowney was the only Blue Devil to score against Pinkerton, and the Astros held the Blue Devils to only four shots on net in the game in that 3 - 1 loss.Well, you had better believe the Salem girls had a couple of inspiring practices on Wednesday and Thursday, because Salem came out flying, but they were only able to take a 1 - 0 lead at halftime, thanks to a Jenn Azarian goal set up by senior Erica DePinto.Azarian struck again for her ninth goal of the season with the assist coming from Nicole Rozumek midway through the second half to make it a 2 - 0 game, but it could have been a lot more.Salem pounded the Manchester Central goalie with 23 shots and she stopped 21 of them while Salem’s junior goalie, Jamie Klufts, was called upon to make only two saves to pick up her fifth shutout of the season.
The Blue Devils record stands at 8 - 1 - 1 which puts them in a three-way tie with Pinkerton and Concord, and Londonderry sits in first place for now.Londonderry was scheduled to come to Salem this Wednesday for a big match, while the Salem girls finish the regular season with three home games coming against Timberlane this Saturday at 11 a.m.Dover comes to town Wednesday, October 15 at 4 p.m., and West comes here Friday, October 17, for a 4 p.m. match.Watch out for the three-time defending Class L champs as the playoffs start in two weeks.
Caitlin Peters scored Salem’s second goal on a penalty kick.
There are two weeks left in the regular season for Class L girls soccer teams, but the Blue Devils are looking awfully good as they sit in fourth place with a 9 - 1 - 1 record that saw coach Kendrick Whittle’s hard-working crew beat Manchester Memorial in Salem 2 - 0 last Friday, and then head to Nashua this past Tuesday and handed the Bishop Guertin Cardinals a 3 - 1 defeat.The Crusaders were a very good team, but Salem’s stingy defense and midfield play never let the Crusaders get any shots on Blue Devil goalie Sarah Snyder in the first half.Midway through the first half Salem would get the only goal it would need from sophomore Gina Righini, when this 90-pound stick of dynamite took a nice pass from Bridget Klecan and buried the ball in the back of the Memorial goal.
The Blue Devils stretched their lead to 2 - 0 by halftime, as co-captain Caitlin Peters buried a long bomb from about 25 yards out in front of the goal that hit the top crossbar and ricocheted straight down on the Crusader goalie and into the net.It was such a laser that the official took about five to seven seconds to realize that the ball had ended up in the rear of the Crusader goal.Salem got tremendous defense from Hannah Larochelle and Christine Gossen, and Sarah McCook looked very good in some extended playing time for the last six minutes of the first half.Liz Edgerton is still playing each game like it’s the Class L final, and so is co-captain Courtney Russell and Cassie Chase.
Chase would be at her best this past Monday afternoon in Nashua where she gave the Blue Devils a 1 - 0 lead in the first half when she converted a super pass from Righini.Snyder would allow one cheap first half goal that would tie it at 1 - 1 at intermission, but Chase would score again in the second half, and teammate Kayla Provenzano would add an unassisted insurance goal that would give the Blue Devil girls a nifty 3 - 1 win for a Class L 9 - 1 -1 record with five regular season games left.This Saturday at noon, the Salem girls will host 4 - 5 - 1 Timberlane as they look for their 10th win of the fall season.Remember folks, this is a team that went 6 - 10 - 1 last season, and it doesn’t have a lot of seniors on it this year!
A come-from-behind-win for Pinkerton didn’t really phase Salem girls volleyball coach Dan Young last week.He didn’t like losing the first match of the year to the Astros, but he was far more concerned about how his Salem girls would play this week against 7 - 1 Londonderry and 9 - 0 Nashua North.Wednesday the Lancers were in town for a match, and Salem senior Amanda Saab entered the night with 483 kills for her two-plus years playing at Salem High.Saab collected kill No. 500 in the third game against Londonderry, as Amanda and her teammates swept the Lancers by 25 - 21, 26 - 24, and 25 - 17.Saab had 19 kills on the night for the 8 - 1 Blue Devils and teammate Becca Weiss pitched in with 13 kills.Saab also had five blocks at the net and served for five points.Sophomore Sarah Scott had 32 assists and Casey Peters did a great job of coming through with a dozen points off her serves.While the Salem girls were happy with that win, they weren’t about to celebrate, because two nights later they had to go to Nashua North, which had a 9 - 0 record and had given the Pinkerton girls their only loss of the season last week.
The Titans didn’t even let the Salem girls get situated off the bus, before they jumped out to an early lead and ended up beating Salem 25 - 23 in the first game.Young called the girls together and Saab and company would put on a serious surge for the rest of the evening, as Salem took the next three games to win the match three games to one.Saab would have another 19 kills on the night, but more importantly, she would serve for 25 points with her infamous “Jump Serve” and 11 of them would be for aces.Saab got some help at the net from Nicole Boucher, who had eight kills, and Weiss added five kills, while freshman Kerry White came into the game and had five big blocks against the taller Titans.The Salem girls will have a very busy week this week, as they were supposed to host Exeter earlier in the week before heading to Rochester to meet unbeaten Spaulding and then hosting a very good Timberlane team Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Salem’s Homecoming Weekend.
Marilyn Campbell, Kathy Pettoruto. and Annette Johnson
There was something in the air last Thursday morning that told me I was going to be in for a very special day as I drove up the long driveway at Campbell’s Scottish Highland’s in Salem where the Class L golf tournament would take place for all 19 Class L teams.As I walked around the back of the patio I had to go over to the green behind the patio to see what was transpiring, and who better to ask that owner Marilyn Campbell and her long time friend Annette Johnson, as both were sitting in a chair huddled up in warm jackets.Campbell told me that she thought the young Salem kids were doing very well, and when I bumped into Salem coach Ben Adams he said the same thing and gave me kind of a raised eyebrow.
I got sidetracked for the next 15 or 20 minutes because longtime Salem people were coming by to talk with Campbell and Johnson such as former Salemite Carol Dozibrin, who is the athletic director at Winnacunnet, Bob Royce who is the athletic director at Pinkerton Academy (who used to be at Salem High in the late 1980s), and Gary Fitz, the Telegraph sports writer whom I played ball against many years ago.While it was overcast, and chilly with a brisk little wind, I bumped into several Salem High parents along the way including Mrs. Pettoruto, whose son John was one of Salem’s co-captains.I told them I was very superstitious and I didn’t want to go adding up scores before they became official, but around 1:30 p.m. NHIAA tournament director Ricky Dichard called everyone together on the back patio where the big scoreboard was located, and with the help of assistant tourney director Ben Adams they started filling in the scoreboard with individual scores.
I started adding up the scores as it took a while with 19 teams with eight kids on each team.As we got closer to the end, I noticed Ben Adams was getting a little fidgety with his hands and looking like he was trying to hold something in.When Salem’s last golfer Jeff Cohen’s name was called for a score of 70, I knew that the Blue Devils had won their first-ever Class L title.Soon after, Dichard stepped to the podium and announced that Pinkerton had taken third place with a score of 391, Dover was second at 390, and Salem was the new Class L champion with a phenomenally low score of 375, which means they blew everybody away!It was just about then that the sun came out, and all the Salem kids were congratulating and thanking Marilyn Campbell for being a huge part of their team’s success.
Ben Adams said, “Right from the start, the Campbell family had been the entire reason why there is a golf team in Salem and we owe her and her family a lot.”Marilyn was still seated next to Annette Johnson while I smiled and said, “The first Class L title is finally here,” but Marilyn looked at me and then looked up in the sky and said, “Oh if he were only here to see this,”referring to her husband, Bernie Campbell, who died in November of 1996 only two years after the golf course was completed.All the well-wishers were coming by, and Salem High Principal Billy Hagen and Athletic Director Dave Rozumek came racing in after school had gotten out to congratulate Campbell, Adams, and all of the Blue Devil golfers, but the greatest thing that I saw following the presentation of the Class L plaque to the Blue Devils came from 16 out-of-towners.Nashua South coach Stephen Lane and his 15 Purple Panther golfers all came over to Campbell to shake her hand and congratulate her and every one of them said, “Thank you for having us here Mrs. Campbell.”
It was quite a classy gesture that her eldest son, Bernie, Jr., was just in time to see and it was a fitting end for one historic afternoon for Salem golf and Salem sports, as it gave us our first Class L title of the school year, and remember what Sports Illustrated called Salem High back in early June … the No. 1 sports high school in New Hampshire.
Campbell’s Scottish Highlands was buzzing last Thursday as the Campbell Family hosted the Class L golf tournament among the 18 schools in that division.Coach Ben Adams’ young Blue Devil team finished with an 18 - 6 record, good for fifth place, but his young kids were all excited about playing in this big tournament and they showed it.Bishop Guertin was the defending Class L champ, and Pinkerton, Timberlane, Keene and Dover were expected to make a run at the title, but Adams was coyly smiling when the scores started rolling in about 1:30 p.m.Salem co-captains Corey Keenan and John Pettoruto came in with of 78 and 81 respectively for the 18 holes and senior Devin Redmond had a round of 84.Now the scores of the Blue Devils younger kids were coming in and all Blue Devils fans started to get fidgety as freshman Nick Fairweather shot a phenomenal 74, junior Ed Haroian finished with a nifty 79, and sophomore Ryan Butler also came in with 79.With two Salem scores remaining, sophomore Ryan Greenleaf had a sheepish grin as his score of 74 was announced, and last of all was Salem’s No. 1 golfer, junior Jeff Cohen, who finished the tournament with 70, beaten only by Nashua South’s James Pleat’s 68.
NHIAA Tournament Director Ricky Dichard added the totals and announced the top three schools.Pinkerton took third with 391.Dover got up for the runner-up spot with 390, and the winner for the first time ever, was the Salem Blue Devils who compiled an incredibly low score of 375, capturing their first ever Class L golf title by an amazing 15 strokes!All the Blue Devils were lined up at the back of the outdoor patio and they all took turns walking over to Campbell’s Scottish Highlands owner, Marilyn Campbell, and congratulated her and thanked her for all she had done for the team.After getting interviewed by the only two daily newspapers that were on hand for this big event, Adams said, “I knew when I saw our third score that we were going to win it.Then I had to get on the phone and call Billy Hagen (Salem High principal) and Dave Rozumek (Salem High athletic director) and tell them to come on over after school got out and they were over here in a heartbeat.This is my 11th year coaching Salem golf and Marilyn and the entire Campbell Family and staff have been just tremendous to us and I’m really glad that we could get her this title.This is one of the quietest teams that I’ve ever coached.They just seem to know what to do and what to stay away from, and most of them are all coming back next year.”
The cutoff to see who would go on to Saturday’s second individual round was 79, so that meant that Cohen, Fairweather, Greenleaf, Keenan, Haroian and Butler would be going to the second round, which was an amazing thing in itself to have six kids from one school moving on to the second round.On Saturday’s final round, James Pleat of Nashua South won it when he shot a 145 for the 36 holes, Pinkerton’s Dan Kish was second with 149, Exeter’s Kyle Scammen was third with 149.Salem freshman Fairweather took the fourth spot as he tied at 151 with Dover’s Justin Stafford and teammate Cohen, but finished ahead of them in a tiebreaker.