First & 10
Roger Brown's First & 10: Bishop Guertin game plan foils Exeter
WHAT separates Bishop Guertin of Nashua coach Travis Cote from every other high school football coach in New Hampshire?
Well for one thing, Cote has a winning record against Exeter: 1-0.
BG knocked off Exeter — the No. 1 team in last week’s Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll — 21-14 in overtime Saturday night at Stellos Stadium. It was the first meeting between the programs since Cote became BG’s head coach in 2011. In his 10 years of coaching, including seven at Manchester West, Cote had never Exeter.
Cote called the victory one of the highlights of his coaching career. “Besides the state championship (BG beat Dover for the Division II title in 2011) this is the next best one for sure,” he said. “I used to watch BG and Exeter battle from the outside when they were the dominant teams in Division II and it felt good to renew the rivalry.”
BG took the lead for good when sophomore Jackson Housman hauled in a fourth-down TD pass from quarterback Tom Hurley in overtime. After stopping Exeter on its overtime possession, No. 8 BG (3-1) celebrated its third consecutive victory.
It was Exeter’s first Division I loss since a Week 6 setback against Pinkerton Academy of Derry in 2011. Ryan Kelly scored two TDs for the Blue Hawks, who dropped to 3-1.
Exeter was one of three teams in last week’s Power Poll that lost Saturday. No. 5 Pinkerton knocked off No. 10 (tie) Londonderry 35-14, and No. 9 Plymouth defeated No. 7 Trinity of Manchester 35-14.
This week’s Power Poll was released this morning.
Cote said BG devised a game plan similar to the one Winnacunnet of Hampton used in a 35-34 loss to Exeter two weeks ago.
“We studied that film where Winnacunnet had some success throwing against them,” Cote said. “We didn’t think our run game would be effective because we didn’t feel we could line up toe to toe with them. They’re tough tackle to tackle.”
Hurley completed 21 of 30 pass attempts for 142 yards. Housman caught nine passes for 43 yards.
“I would say Tom Hurley came of age,” Cote said. “He stepped it up when we needed him too.”
PINKERTON’S victory Saturday night was its 14th in a row against Londonderry. That includes playoff wins in 2006 and 2008.
Star running back Manny Latimore led Pinkerton with 193 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 24 carries. He also returned the second-half kickoff 95 yards for a TD.
It was Pinkerton’s third straight victory since opening the season with a 14-12 loss to Bedford.
“Are we good enough to win — to beat the big ones? Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly said following Saturday’s game. “I don’t know right now, but I know we’re getting better.”
PLYMOUTH (4-0) stamped itself as the team to beat in Division II with its triumph over Trinity (3-1). The Bobcats took the lead on their first offensive possession and turned in a dominant defensive performance at Gill Stadium.
A fumble set up Trinity’s first TD, and then the Pioneers scored after Plymouth pulled its defensive starters. Plymouth led 35-6 at one point.
“Who knows, maybe we’re a little better than I think we are,” Plymouth coach Chuck Lenahan said. “Maybe we’ll win one more game.”
Roger Brown covers high school football for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.