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D-V Football Championship: Somersworth eyes revenge

Somersworth head coach Dan Hodsdon made no excuses for his team's 21-14 regular season overtime loss to Monadnock in Swanzey this year.

"We didn't deserve to win that game," said Hodsdon. "Monadnock came out aggressive on both sides of the ball and penalties on our part, including one in overtime on a play we scored on, cost us. We're going to have to play better to beat a very good football team."

The top-ranked Toppers (8-1), searching for their first football title since 1997, will have a chance to avenge its only loss when it hosts the Huskies (7-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the Division V state title.

"Our town is excited because we haven't hosted a championship game since 1996," said Hodsdon. "I can't tell you how many people have stopped me during the week just to talk about the game. Nothing would make me happier than for us to win the state title in front of our home fans."

But Hodsdon knows it won't be easy. In the regular season game, Monadnock held Somersworth to minus-10 yards on offense in the first half. The Huskies led 14-0 before the Toppers mounted a strong comeback with two scores in the final 2:20 in regulation play.

"It speaks well for our team that we didn't quit in that game, we kept battling to the end," said Hodsdon. "But we still ended up losing the game. Now we've got to come out Saturday and execute better for 48 minutes instead of 24."

The main weapons for Somersworth are quarterback Drew Francoeur who is a threat to score on every play, and running back Josh Ream. Francouer scored on a 39-yard touchdown run against Monadnock.

"Drew is one of our leaders and he's had a great year for us," said Hodsdon. "He's a smart football player with a lot of experience. Josh plays with a lot of emotion. He cuts back against the grain better than most backs. When he gets his rhythm going, we just keep feeding him the ball because he has a knack of finding the holes and gaining a lot of yards."

The game mostly likely will be won at the line of scrimmage, said Hodsdon.

"Field position is going to play a big part in this game because you have two very good defenses," he said.

Monadnock enters the game allowing 77 points all year, coming off an impressive 14-6 semifinal win against Kearsarge in North Sutton last week. Somersworth has given up just 84 points all season.

"Monadnock's front defensive line applied good pressure in that first game and we didn't deal with it very well," said Hodsdon. "Monadnock did a good job of disrupting our offense, penetrating our backfield. They dare you to throw the ball on them."

Hodsdon also said senior leadership from his players like tight ends Darren Glore and Kevin Clougherty will be important on Saturday.

"This is the last time our seniors will be playing football for Somersworth and I have no doubt they will be ready to play this game," said Hodsdon, who knows something about playing for state championship at Somersworth.

Under former longtime head coach Jim Keays, Hodsdon's four-year career (1991-1994) saw the Toppers win three state crowns (1991-93) and a runner-up crown in 1994.

"Our alumni are excited, I know some players from that era are planning to attend this game on Saturday," said Hodsdon. "Our school has a proud football tradition that goes way back. This is a solid football town. Like I said before, we don't have to make a three-hour bus trip to Swanzey. It's good to be home where we know we're going to get great support from our fans. It's definitely an advantage for us."


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