Pelham’s senior All-State running back Bruce Vieira had his game face on last Friday night against Kearsarge, but even though Vieira ran for 210 yards and scored three touchdowns, the Cougars might better remember the 5-foot-8-inch, 175-pound back for the vicious hits he laid on them on defense. Corey Peterson would only have one carry on the night for two yards, but it came into the first quarter and saw him score, putting Pelham up 6 - 0 after the extra point kick failed. Pelham’s defense was dominating the line of scrimmage, and with 2:41 left in the opening quarter, Vieira took off on a 36-yard scamper all the way to the end zone, which now gave them a 12 - 0 cushion after another extra point was missed. With only 16 seconds left in the first quarter, Vieira lit it up again as he stormed 56 yards for his touchdown of the night. Vieira then took the ball in from three-yards out for the two-point conversion to put the Pythons up 20 - 0 heading into the second quarter. Pelham had two other serious chances to score at Kearsarge’s two and four yard line, but couldn’t cash in, and the Cougars finally got on the scoreboard with 38 seconds left in the half when Don Hodgdon scored from six yards out, but the extra point was blocked, giving Pelham a 20 - 6 halftime lead.
Pelham seemed to go away from the offense that they were running in the first half, and Kearsarge would force Wayne Parisi to punt four times in the second half, while the Cougars started to get their offense rolling. They marched down the field and looked like they would score midway through the third quarter, but a super interception by Corey Peterson snuffed that drive out, and Peterson took it at his own goal line and ran it out to Pelham’s 35-yard line. Kearsarge came back down the field with four minutes left, and this time quarterback Jack Morgan hit end Thomas Prohl with a two-yard touchdown pass, and the extra point narrowed Pelham’s lead to 20 - 13. Bruce Vieira has always had a flair for the dramatic times in his career at Pelham, and after Pelham ran the ball back to midfield on the kickoff, Vieira took a pitch and outran the entire Kearsarge team 50 yards for what would turn out to be a game-saver. Pelham now had a 26 - 13 lead with two minutes left, but Kearsarge came right back down the field and scored with 38 seconds left when Morgan hit Ryan Jenkins with a five-yard touchdown pass to make it a 26 - 20 game. Kearsarge then tried the onsides kick, but they kicked the ball out of bounds to let the Pythons secure their sixth win of the season against no defeats. Pelham coach Tommy Babaian thought his team could have played much better, especially in the second half. Babaian said, “We had some kids who played okay, and Bruce was big for us, and Peterson had a big pick, but we did not play up to our capabilities. We’re making little changes this week in practice because we have to be ready for St. Thomas. They have a nice little quarterback and some talented ends and backs, but I think our kids will respond. I think we’ll be just fine!” The Pythons will have a lot of work to do in practice this week because Saturday afternoon they have to go to Dover to take on 7 - 0 St. Thomas for “The Battle of the Unbeatens,” with the winner securing the number one seed in Division V with only two weeks to go in the regular season.
Last week coach Jen Nugent’s Python volleyball team had the unenviable tasks of going against the 11 - 4 Milford Spartans on Wednesday before the No. 1 ranked 14 - 1 Gilford Golden Eagles came to town for a match Friday night. The Pelham girls not only held their own against Milford, but they almost stole the third game. Milford took the first two games 25 - 16 and 25 - 13, but the Pythons took the Spartans into overtime of the third game before dropping a hard-fought 26 - 24 decision.
Christine Downs had eight hits and a couple of kills, while Sara Jo Fuller rejected five shots at the net. Jacque Moore had five hits and a kill, Emma Notini played a superb game on defense and freshman Broghan Gilligan did a terrific job of setting up her offensive teammates.
Friday night the No. 1 team in Class I, the 14 - 1 Gilford Golden Eagles, came to town and swept the three-game set, but the Pythons didn’t go down without a fight. Junior Jacqui Perry had eight digs, six hits, five blocks, and three kills to lead the Pelham girls, but she had plenty of support. Freshman Kathryn Mostone was moved to middle hitter due to injuries, and she did a super job with six digs and served three for three. Moore had nine digs and 11 hits, including one kill, and Downs had 18 hits, four digs and a kill. Jordan Fleckenstein had five digs, Kelsie Kenney had a lot of digs on defense, and Gilligan spent her night handing out assists to her teammates. The Python girls were to wrap up their season this week, as they were to host John Stark Regional and then travel to Somersworth for a match against the Hilltoppers.
Pelham’s two soccer teams played only one match last week and it just happened to be against Portsmouth. Coach Amy Alfaro’s Python girls faced the 13 - 0 - 1 Clippers in Pelham last Wednesday and this was a terrific game that went scoreless for the first 20 minutes until Portsmouth took a 1 - 0 lead. Sophomore Kayla Soares collected a nifty goal to knot the score at 1 - 1, but the Clippers would get a breakaway goal just before halftime that goalkeeper Alex Kyzer couldn’t do anything about to take a 2 - 1 lead at the break. The Pythons were receiving stingy defense from April Blinn, Sophia Hur, Janelle Gorgon and Page Maloney in keeping the game closer against this powerhouse, but the Portsmouth offense came alive 10 minutes into the second half and rifled off three straight goals. Pelham junior Alex McKinney answered one of the scores with a goal and Brianna Trainor made several super saves, but the Clippers would stay unbeaten.
The Pelham boys had a frustrating loss to Portsmouth too, as this match was scoreless at halftime and neither team could score until there was only 20 minutes left in the match, when the Clippers riped off two goals in two minutes. Pelham freshman Derek DeFranzo would score his first varsity goal to make it a 2 - 1 game, but the Clippers scored two more goals in the closing seconds to take it 4 - 1.
Pelham’s girls field hockey team put together a 5 - 0 - 2 stretch towards the end of the season after starting out 1 - 5, and they almost came up with another upset last Friday afternoon before dropping a tough 2 - 1 decision to powerful St. Thomas. Coach Linda Koehler’s team is one of the most improved teams in Class I, and opposing coaches are taking notice. Earlier in the week coach Koehler’s Python stickers traveled west to Monadnock where they experienced a frustrating first half that had them up 1 - 0 on a goal by Cassie Costello that was set up perfectly by sophomore Kelsie Lynde. Pelham had another four or five real good scoring chances that just missed wide or were saved by the Huskie goalie, but they got things rolling in the second half. Kellie Chadwick gave Pelham a 2 - 0 early in the second half when Lynde picked up her second assist of the game, and a little while later Lynde assisted on her third goal when she crossed a super pass that landed on the stick of Cassie Costello and she one-timed it into the back of the net for a 3 - 0 cushion. The Pelham girls were far from done though as senior Chelsea I’Anson slapped one into the net for a 4 - 0 lead, and Laurie Costa scored another goal to make it a 5 - 0 blowout. The Huskies would score a goal with just four seconds remaining for the 5 - 1 final that gave the Lady Pythons a 6 - 5 - 2 record.
Last Friday, No. 5 ranked St. Thomas came to town for a big game and you could tell why the Saints had a 9 - 3 - 1 record. This was a hard-fought battle between two aggressive teams with plenty of scoring chances for both teams, but it was still scoreless until the Saints were able to sneak a goal past Pelham’s Alex Catalano with four minutes left in the opening half. Five minutes into the second half, Emily Koehler stole a pass and went dribbling downfield and found an open Laurie Costa and Costa buried deep in the rear of the Saints goal to knot it all up at 1 - 1. Saint Thomas went back in front at 2 - 1 with 12 minutes left in the game, but Pelham still stormed the net on a couple of occasions, but couldn’t finish their drives off with scores.
Pelham ends up with the number 13 seed in the Class I tournament, and it’s been a long time since a Pelham field hockey team has made the playoffs. Coach Koehler’s Lady Pythons will travel to Portsmouth this Thursday to meet the 10 - 3 - 1 Clippers in the first round of the tournament, but Pelham has been on fire in their last eight games and have a 5 - 1 - 2 record to prove it. As if this isn’t enough to get excited about, last Friday coach Mary Ellen Costa saw her Pelham J. V. field hockey team finish their season with a 3 - 0 shutout of St. Thomas and that had them finishing up with a 9 - 2 - 3 record. Can you imagine what this team is going to be like next year? Let’s just worry about knocking off powerful Portsmouth in their park on Thursday afternoon, and then returning the favor to Saint Thomas in Dover this Sunday afternoon beginning at 3:30 p.m. in Dover.
On Sunday, October 26, beginning at 3 p.m., the Pelham/Windham Razorback Midgets will begin their playoff run when they host the 5 - 2 Nashua Elks at Muldoon Park. Coach Kevin Jean’s Razorback Midgets beat the Elks 32 - 8 during the regular season, but their biggest win came last Sunday at Muldoon Park, where they were pitted against the 6 - 0 Seacoast Titans. The Titans had a monstrous team that looked like their line was bigger than most high school teams around here, but as we all know in Pelham, size doesn’t necessarily matter.
It only took Razorback quarterback Dean Joyce 2 1/2 minutes to take the lead as he tossed a perfect 35-yard touchdown pass to a streaking Kevin Cheam for the first score. Joey Perrone kicked the two-pointer and the Razorbacks had a quick 8 - 0 cushion. The Titans had beaten the Nashua Elks during the regular season and came into this game also at 6 - 0 and looking for the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs, but the Razorback defense would have none of that. Evan Sage caught another super 40-yard pass from Joyce to get his team out of bad field position and the Razorbacks got some real big runs from James Beaulieu. The main reason why this team was getting big gainers on the ground and through the air, was because of the magnificent work done by the Razorbacks linemen. Center Andrew Koch, guards Corey Alberito and Kevin Ciampa, and tackles Zach Breton and Devin DeCarteret were simply blowing the much bigger Seacoast linemen off the ball and keeping them away from Joyce.
Cheam would pull in another 25-yard scoring aerial from Joyce with 6:30 to play in the first half for a 14 - 0 lead over the Titans. Cheam came up with a big interception near the end of the half, and Joey Perrone killed the Titans chances in the final seconds of the first half, by picking off another pass for a 14 - 0 halftime lead. Neither team would score in the third quarter, but the Razorbacks Mike Boardman intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards to the Titans 33-yard line. The Razorbacks upped their lead to 22 - 0 early in the fourth quarter when Joey Perrone ripped off a 40-yard touchdown run and then booted the two-point kick. The Razorback’s hard-hitting Anthony Spirou closed out the scoring when he busted into the end zone from two yards out to make a 28 - 0 final. Jean and his assistants will hope for a big week of practice from the team in preparation for the playoff semifinal round Sunday at Muldoon Park against the Nashua Elks, starting at 3 p.m.
New England Gymnastics Training Center of Hudson competed in the first State Sectional of the season. Many gymnasts reached their goals by getting scores of 33.00 or higher to qualify for the upcoming State Meet, with many NEGTC gymnasts placing in the top three spots. The girls’ scores:
Dakota Cummings, Pelham, placed fifth with all-around score of 34.15. She received a 9.35 on vault (second tie place), 9.0 on bars (first place), 7.85 on beam (eighth place tie), 7.9.50 on floor (11th place).
Cloverlyn Willis, Pelham, placed seventh with all-around of 33.350, 9.10 on vault (fifth place tie), 8.825 on bars (third place), 7.375 on beam (11th place), 8.05 on floor (ninth place).
Cassandra Zaino, Pelham, placed third with all-around of 34.175, 8.825 on vault (first place), 8.7 on bars (first place tie), 8.55 on beam (second place), 8.1 on floor (fifth place).
Ali Otis, Windham, placed first with all-around of 35.600, 9.3 on vault (first place), 8.7 on bars (first place), 8.325 on beam (first place), 9.275 on floor.
Congratulations to the Windham Soccer Association U14 Boys team for their big wins in the 2008 Columbus Day Tournament. They played five matches in three days, going 5 - 0 with four shutouts, and scoring 13 goals while only conceding one. In the semifinals, they beat Londonderry 2 - 1 in overtime. Their championship game victory, 1 - 0 in double overtime, was against the then number one-ranked team in the entire state of New Hampshire. The U14 boys are now ranked fifth in the state, 91st in the region and 375th nationally. A special thanks goes out to the coaches and parents for their support.
On Saturday, October 18, the Windham Middle School Boys Soccer Team held a Can Drive at Griffin Park to supplement their ongoing efforts at the Middle School. Roughly 200 cans were collected at the Harvest Day celebration. This total added to the collection at Middle School gets the boys closer to their goal of covering the length of a soccer field with cans to support the needs of our local Shepard’s Pantry. The Can Drive continues through the end of October, and any donations can be dropped off at Windham Middle School.
The boys would like to thank Windham Soccer for their help in publicizing the event, as well as Windham Recreation Director Cheryl Haas for her support in organizing the event.
Casey Coupe, Tucker Lippold, Alex Whitehead, Chris Ferri, Michael Sheahan, Noah Arling, Coach Mike Hachey, and Chris Ulbrich teamed together for a worthy cause.
The Mitey-Mite Green came into their last game of the season wanting to end on a strong note against another 6 - 1 Keene Knights team and match last year’s Mitey-Mite Green team total with seven wins. The boys did not disappoint even after falling behind 7 - 0 after Keene’s opening drive. The defense held Keene on their second drive and the offense came to life after a sluggish start. Cam Santos got the Green on the scoreboard when he faked a reverse to Tyler Longo which got the defense to bite and followed tenacious blocking by the ‘Patriot’ Line of Tyler Mercier, Robbie Furman, Chris Rozzi, Austin Chausse, Nick Cunio, Timothy Anderson and Austin Wentzel to the outside. There he had teammates Freddy Stamatatos and Tommy Hanifan waiting for him with a wall as Santos bobbed, weaved and lumbered into the end zone for a 60-yard TD run. Then the Green defense led by the line of Kyle Surprenant, Cameron Homsey, Shane McCarthy Eric Mayer, Santos and Chausse pushed the Knights back, and forced one of two first half turnovers. When the ball went back to the offense, Timothy Anderson took a sweep left and followed the tough blocking from the ‘Eagle’ line of Surprenant, Justin O’Connor, Ryan Marotta, Chausse, Joey Katin, Chris Barsalou and Santos combined with his back mates of Hanifan, Zach Koch and Eric Mayer to zigzag his way into the end zone. At halftime and with 20 minutes left in the season, the Green went on a mission by dedicating the game to their teammate Cameron Walsh who has been out with a broken leg and the defense forced two more turnovers by the Knights. Led by Case Foster, Charlie Beneze, Alex Rivera, Anthony Suppa, Kameron Priestly, Cunio, Stamatatos, Santos, Koch and Hanifan, the defense hit everything that moved, and Knight ball carriers were left with four or five Razorbacks on top of them on each play or with Anderson throwing them down by the jersey with one hand, which he did on two occasions. Santos extended the Razorback lead to two scores when he took a perfect 10-yard pass from Hanifan and followed a key block from Joey Bemister to outrun the Knight defenders for his second score of the game. The Green finished the season at 7 - 1 and gave all their fans, parents, coaches and each other, another great year in Mitey Mite football.
The Razorbacks concluded the regular season undefeated at 7 - 0 with a 28 - 0 shutout victory over the previously undefeated Seacoast Titans. Kevin Cheam and Dominic Dumas hauled in touchdown catches from Dean Joyce, and Anthony Spirou and Joey Perrone scampered in for touchdowns. Corey Alberico, Zach Breton, Andrew Koch, and Kevin Ciampa blocked extremely well against a much larger defense and created some nice holes. The Razorback defense stepped up their game to shutout the high scoring Titans offense. Outstanding efforts were turned in by Mike Boardman, Evan Sage, Brett Bailey, James Beaulieu and Devin DeCarteret.
The Razorbacks will play next Sunday in the semi-finals.
11-0 Pythons Win State Title over Gilford - 2007 State Division V Football Champions
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