Roger Brown's First and 10: Plymouth-Trinity a dream matchup In Division IV
The teams that reached this year's Division IV championship game each got the matchup they wanted.
Top-seeded Plymouth (10-0) has a chance to win the title by beating Trinity, a program that knocked off Plymouth in last year's championship game. Second-seeded Trinity (9-1) earned another shot at Plymouth, the only team that beat the Pioneers during the regular season.
The teams will meet Saturday (1 p.m.) in Plymouth.
"It'll only be tougher this time," Plymouth coach Chuck Lenahan said after the Bobcats beat fourth-seeded St. Thomas 42-17 in the semifinals. "They're a big, powerful football team with a lot of athletes. There's nothing they can't do on offense."
Plymouth scored the game's first 29 points en route to a 36-14 victory when the teams met in September. Priority No. 1 for the Pioneers on Saturday? Eliminate turnovers. The Pioneers turned the ball over four times in the loss.
"Going up (I-93) you know it's going to be a tough game automatically," Trinity quarterback Carmen Giampetruzzi said. "Once one thing went wrong, a bunch of stuff went wrong, and it got away from us real fast. We have to take care of the ball and we should be all right."
"In the first game, turnovers definitely hurt us, but they outplayed us," added Trinity coach Steve Burns."They had the lead and they put us in a position where we had to get away from what we do."
Lenahan has won 344 games as Plymouth's head coach, but had never beaten Trinity until this year. The Bobcats are 1-3 against the Pioneers.
"They do what they do," Burns said. "They're going to stay on blocks. They're going to run the ball hard. They're going to play physical. Plymouth is a phenomenal football team."
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THIRD-SEEDED Monadnock of Swanzey (7-2) will be seeking the program's first state title when it meets top-seeded Somersworth (8-1) in Saturday's Division V title game.
This is the third time the Huskies have reached a championship game. Monadnock lost to Plymouth in the 1985 Division III championship game (24-0), and lost to Milford in the 2003 Division IV championship game (27-16).
"The kids are excited," Monadnock coach Linwood Patnode said. "I don't think I'll have to give any Knute Rockne speeches."
Somersworth will be seeking the program's 15th state championship, and its first since the Toppers beat St. Thomas for the Division III championship in 1997.
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NO TEAM made a bigger turnaround this season than Mascoma of Canaan, which will face Franklin in the Division VI championship game.
Mascoma finished last season with a 2-7 record, but earned the program's first playoff berth this year. Top-seeded Mascoma (8-2) will meet second-seeded Franklin (8-2) at Hanover High School, which was also the site for Mascoma's 42-6 triumph over Newfound in the semifinals.
Mascoma posted a 26-13 victory over Franklin in Week 1. Franklin had won the four previous meetings between the programs by a combined score of 213-16. Franklin prevailed 71-0 in 2009, and 60-0 in 2010.
Three of the six semifinal-round games scheduled for Saturday will involve teams that also met last weekend.
In Division I, third-seeded Nashua South (6-4, 5-3) will play at second-seeded Pinkerton (9-1, 7-1). The Astros beat South 40-20 last Friday. The winner will meet either top-seeded Exeter (9-1, 8-0) or fourth-seeded Manchester Central (6-4, 5-3).
In Division II, fourth-seeded Bishop Guertin (5-4, 5-3) will travel to Hampton to face top-seeded Winnacunnet (9-1, 7-1). Winnacunnet's Ben Franzoso returned from injury to rush for 232 yards in a 28-14 victory over BG last Friday. The winner will play either second-seeded Bedford (8-1, 7-1) or third-seeded Keene (8-2, 6-2).
In Division III, fourth-seeded Goffstown (6-4, 5-3) will meet top-seeded Souhegan (9-1, 8-0). The Sabers beat the Grizzlies 32-27 at St. Anselm College on Saturday night. The Goffstown/Souhegan winner will face either second-seeded Milford (7-3, 6-2) or third-seeded Portsmouth (7-2, 6-2).
"Goffstown has a diverse offense and one of the state's most explosive offensive players (quarterback Connor Benjamin)," Souhegan coach Mike Beliveau said. "We really have to play a much better football game in order to get to the championship game."
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THE best quarterback matchup this weekend may take place in Division II.
Bedford's James Caparell has thrown for 1,905 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. He's also run for 401 yards and eight TDs.
Keene's Lucas Luopa has completed 101 of 178 passes for 1,597 yards and 20 TDs. He's also carried the ball 70 times for 622 yards and seven touchdowns.
Bedford won the regular-season meeting, 25-24, in Keene.
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Roger Brown may be reached at email@example.com.