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Marc Thaler's First and 10: Memorial coach faces blitz

Manchester Memorial head coach Peter Colcord spent the back half of this past week in distraction-prevention mode.

News of a potential eligibility violation involving a player on his roster — and possible sanctions that may result from it — forced Colcord to answer many questions.

Talk about facing a blitz. It came from players and assistants alike.

&#';First of all, there's nothing we can do if (a punishment) comes down (from the NHIAA). Everything is out of our hands,&#'; Colcord said before Saturday's game against No. 6 Central, the school from which the player transferred last April. The Little Green triumphed, 42-13.

Colcord said he believed the likelihood of Memorial receiving a multiple-year ban from the Division I postseason — certainly a worst-case scenario for any program — is unlikely. As for forfeiting wins, or receiving another sanction entirely, Memorial's mentor said he is practicing what he is preaching.

&#';We've got to keep the faith, that good things will happen and our players will be allowed to participate,&#'; he said.

Colcord stressed that his team could only control how it played in Week 5 against Central, a squad widely considered one of the league's top high school teams.

No sense in wasting energy contemplating off-the-field scenarios that may — or may not — play out.

&#';We're talking about kids. They bounce back from a lot of things,&#'; Colcord said. &#';These kids, they trust me and believe in me.&#';

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SEVENTH-RANKED Concord faced arguably the toughest Week 5 test: defending champion and No. 2 Exeter, coming off a three-point loss to fierce Seacoast rival Winnacunnet of Hampton.

&#';It didn't seem like they had any let-down at all,&#'; said Concord head coach Eric Brown, whose team lost, 28-0, Friday night on the Seacoast. &#';They are tough. And very physical.&#';

Concord (3-2 overall, 2-2 Div. I) played with similar toughess — at times.

Defensive linemen Dylan Naylor, Alex Cohen, Kris Skinner, Seth Gosse and Wyatt LaBombard applied pressure, though it wasn't consistent.

Brown said Exeter (4-1, 3-0 Div. I) extended drives with third- and fourth-down conversions. Quarterback Ethan Joyce, and running backs Tyler Grantand Jamie Vogt were difference-makers.

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NASHUA SOUTH on offense routinely faced managable down-and-distance situations Friday night at Stellos Stadium in Nashua.

It was the biggest reason head coach Scott Knight said his Purple Panthers returned to their point-scoring ways, and recorded a 30-17 win over Gate City rival Nashua North.

&#';We were second-and-10, third-and-11 the whole game (at Concord). We could never run our offense,&#'; Knight said while explaining South's three-point scoring output from Week 4. &#';We need those second-and-5's, third-and-4's, so we can do what we do.&#';

What No. 10 South (3-2, 2-1 Div. I) can't continue to do is commit penalties, particularly while waiting for big boys Bobby Manganello and Christian Stack to return from injuries.

&#';We had 35 yards in penalties on the first two drives (against North),&#'; Knight said. &#';You can't move the ball if you're going backwards.&#';

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SOMETHING FOR voters to consider as they fill out their Week 6 Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll ballots: No. 1 Winnacunnet needed two overtimes Saturday to survive sub-.500 Dover, 31-24.

The Green Wave (1-4, 1-2 Div. II) previously lost to No. 2 Exeter and No. 4 Bishop Guertin of Nashua by a 27.5-point average. Are the Warriors (5-0, 3-0 Div. II) still No. 1-worthy?

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TORRENTIAL RAIN Friday night in Rochester didn't keep No. 8 Keene from shutting out host Spaulding.

Despite losing four of eight fumbles, the Blackbirds (4-1, 2-1 Div. II) scored a 6-0 win on the strength of disciplined defense. Linebacker Hunter Wilkinson held his ground, particularly when the Red Raiders (1-4, 1-3 Div. II) ran the bootleg.

Cornerbacks Matt DelVecchio and Tom Galanes provided containment on the edges.

Keene head coach John Luopa said Spaulding's offense advanced inside the 30-yard line once in the second half.

&#';Our defense, which didn't play well at different points the previous week (in a 25-24 home loss to Bedford), stepped up,&#'; Luopa said. &#';We were physical. It was a physical game. And the conditions were awful.&#';

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Marc Thaler covers high school football for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News. He co-hosts the &#';N.H. Sports Show&#'; Saturday morning on WGIR-AM 610 and the Seacoast's 96.7. Send e-mails to and follow him on Twitter: @marc_thaler.


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