NHIAA Football: First game of Gill's second century goes to Concord
MANCHESTER – There was a time--the exact year is fuzzy--around the early days of Gill Stadium (then called Textile Field) when Manchester Central and Concord High played a football game with the color red and the name Crimson Tide on the line.
Concord won the battle of red-clads and Central went on to adopt the Little Green nickname and current color scheme. Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of Gill Stadium and as part of the weekend-long celebration, Concord and Central met at Gill Saturday night in another football clash.
If the color had been up for grabs again, Concord would have retained it thanks to a 35-6 win. But the coaches wouldn't want any part of those stakes today.
"No way. I like the green a lot. It seems a little old school (to play for team colors)," Central coach Ryan Ray said. "I wouldn't want to buy a whole new wardrobe. I've invested a lot in green, black and silver."
Concord coach Eric Brown, who played at Central himself, agreed that playing for the team colors and name wouldn't fly today. But the Gill centennial, which continues today at 11 a.m. with a re-dedication ceremony, made him think back on what it was like in the early days of football at the stadium.
"I was thinking about it on the way here when we were taking the bus," Brown said. "I'm sure a hundred years ago when they played, I don't think there were buses so they took the train or whatever. I was wondering what that must have been like."
The Crimson Tide (1-0) came out strong, taking a 7-0 lead with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter and never looked back. Senior running back Walters Ndi broke a 45-yard run for the first touchdown and kicker Kevin Condict hit the PAT kick.
The teams traded possessions into the second quarter until Concord put together a five-play, 35-yard drive to push the lead to 14-0. Crimson Tide quarterback Robert Law found Seimou Smith in the end zone for the touchdown catch with 7:00 remaining in the half.
Smith then came down with another pass, this one from Central quarterback Richie Greely for the interception to set Concord up at the midfield stripe. Senior Marc Gaudet completed this drive with a 20-yard scoring run around the right edge to make it 21-0.
Smith snagged another interception to get the ball back in Concord's hands quickly and John Jellue scampered in from 14 yards out to push the Crimson Tide lead to 28-0 with 3:32 remaining in the half.
The score would not change until more than eight minutes into the third quarter when sophomore Leo Sudieh broke free down the left side for a 62-yard touchdown run for Concord to push the lead to 35-0.
Central (0-1) managed its lone score with 7:50 remaining in the fourth frame when junior Jaqueal Holmes scored on a nine-yard run. Kicker Keegan LaBerge, who scored a goal for the Central soccer team in a 2-0 win over Alvirne at Gill Friday night, had his PAT kick blocked to leave the score 35-6.
Central would get one more possession, but could pull no closer.