High School Football
---- — A funny thing happened as Windham High lamented the loss of its one and only quarterback, Joe Lorenz, to graduation.
There simply was no mourning period.
“We knew (Brendan McInnis) had the talent, but seeing him put the time in outside of our organized workouts let us know he was prepared to take his game and the team’s to another level,” said Windham coach Bill Raycraft of Lorenz’ replacement.
“He has done that.”
McInnis, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior, caught the eyes of onlookers as early as scrimmages in August. He’s been money, week in and week out, as the Jaguars rolled through an 8-1 regular season, claiming the top spot in New Hampshire’s Division 2 South conference.
Saturday, he and his Windham mates will host rival Trinity in the South title game at 1 p.m.
“We knew coming into the season we were going to be young, having graduated 18 good players last year and returning only one starter,” said Raycraft. “But as the season has gone on, each of them has continued to develop and get better.”
No Jaguar has been as dangerous as McInnis, who continues to rip through teams with his arm and his legs.
McInnis cracked the 1,000-passing yards barrier last week and has thrown 12 TD passes. Meanwhile, on the ground, he’s up over nine yards per carry at 68 for 634 yards on the year.
And now he’ll look to take the Jags further than they’ve ever been, that is, to a state title.
“From both statistically and leadership view, he has been very good,” said Raycraft.
“He puts the pressure on the defense to account for him, both from a throwing and running threat and in our offense he may be the lead blocker at times.
“He is as good as there is in the area, the best part is there is still room for growth and he knows that and is willing to put the time in to get it done. I have no doubt the recruiters will be taking notice during the offseason.”
Division 2: David looks for upset
With only three unbeatens in the state left, Sanborn Regional travels to the mightiest of the mighty in Division 2, Monadnock Regional for the West conference title game.
How is Sanborn — still in Kingston last time we looked — in the West conference? It’s taken a season and nobody in the Granite State has bothered to fire out an explanation.
The Indians just say “we’ll take it” and have gone from a team that was decent at best in August to one of the state’s potential upset specials here in the playoff.
No team fought harder with the Huskies in the regular season, with Sanborn losing by a TD.
“I think we’re a much better team now, too,” said senior running back Mike Rich.
“We should be able to play with them again. They load the box against the run. I think if we throw the football a little bit, we can win.”
A converted receiver, Rich has been one of the many bright surprises this fall for coach John Welch’s crew.
“Beating them would be real big,” said Rich. “I mean we really have done much in football at the school. A win here would be huge.”
Perfect, with something to prove
Pelham High coach Ryan Clark says the best two teams in Division 3 will meet at Harris Field on Saturday.
Somehow, like Sanborn’s jaunt to the West conference in D2, Bow (just Northwest of Concord) found its way to the South.
The 8-0 Pythons host 7-1 Bow in a rematch of a September tango, taken by the Pythons, 7-0.
“Two completely different teams than the ones that met back in September are going to play on Saturday,” said Clark. “It’s been a very long season. Both teams are much better in every aspect of the game. B
ack then, I don’t think either of us were predicted to make the playoffs. Now we are the top two teams ranked in the division.”
Pelham might be the favorite in one that promises the chance to be an instant classic.
Astros, Lancers loaded with questions
For those of you wondering, Londonderry High coach Jon Rich wasn’t tanking last week vs. Salem.
With its playoff spot locked up, the Lancers didn’t rest anyone. They played and were beaten by the 3-6 Blue Devils.
“No one rested,” said Rich. “We had three turnovers and nine penalties. You’re not going to win many games like that.”
Pinkerton host rival Londonderry Saturday with the Division 1 South title hanging in the balance.
If Londonderry is doubting itself and whether it might belong on a playoff field, you have to wonder what the mindset is over at Pinkerton.
The Astros’ offense, for most of the year, has been Manny Latimore. But the all-stater missed the last game-plus with a leg injury. Asked about his superstar this week, Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly went a little Belichickian on us.
“Manny is Manny,” the coach said. “All of our injured from last week are progressing.”
Still, after pummeling Londonderry, 35-14, on Mack Plaque weekend, you wonder if the Astros might not take this one as serious as they should,
“It is on the coaching staff to prevent complacency. We have been down this road many times over the years,” said O’Reilly. “Turnovers are something you can never rely on. They can change the dynamics of a game. We will be ready to play 4 full quarters and beyond, if necessary.”
Stop with the ‘E’ word
Some quality film editing from the Central Catholic coaching staff, along with Acton-Boxboro’s ability to shine on screen, will keep the Raiders to their task. At least that’s the gameplan laid down for the week by head coach Chuck Adamopoulos.
“To be honest there hasn’t been any (Everett) talk at all this week,” said Adamopoulos of the famed Crimson Tide, the likely foe for the winner of tomorrow night’s North semifinal between the Raiders and Colonials at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium.
“A-B looks very strong on film, so they know they have a tough opponent.”
A-B’s only blemish is an early season loss to unbeaten Natick, so the Raiders had better be at the absolute top of their game.
They have been, at least offensively lately, averaging 49.3 points a game in the last three.
And wrapping it up
Don’t forget there are still two other area teams alive in the Eastern Mass. playoffs, and each is a No. 1 seed.
In Division 2, Haverhill’s nasty defense will be called upon again tomorrow night to try and shackle Lincoln-Sudbury at Trinity Stadium. Meanwhile, Saturday in Division 4, top-seeded Pentucket hosts Watertown at 1:30.
Much like the Hillies, it’s defense first in Sachem country.