Roger Brown's First & 10: Crimson glide
AS EXPECTED, Concord High School was a unanimous choice as the state’s No. 1 team in the final Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll, which was released Monday morning.
Concord improved its record to 12-0 — the first unbeaten and untied season in the program’s history — by trouncing Pinkerton Academy of Derry 42-14 in Saturday’s Division I championship game. It was Concord’s first state championship since 2000.
Although it had a dominant defense, Concord will likely be remembered best for its ability to overwhelm teams with its offense. The Crimson Tide scored a school-record 509 points (42.5 ppg.).
“We knew we had a good senior class and we were pretty talented, but we took one thing at a time and let it happen,” Concord coach Eric Brown said following Saturday’s victory. ”I think it was probably the third or fourth game when we realized we were pretty good. Pretty explosive.
“I expected our offense to execute a little better than we did the first time we played Pinkerton (a 21-14 victory in overtime). “Scoring 42? No, I didn’t think that, but I did think we’d do better than the first time we played them.”
No one on the Concord offense turned in a more impressive season than junior quarterback Robbie Law, who was not intercepted in 149 pass attempts. He completed 100 passes for a school-record 1,623 yards and 18 touchdowns.
In addition, wide receiver Seimou Smith set the program’s record for yards receiving in a season (726).
“He’s really efficient,” Smith said when asked about Law. “Behind (Nashua South’s) Trevor Knight, Robbie Law is one of the best quarterbacks in the state. He does everything right. He reads defenses well. Without him our offense wouldn’t be anything. He does a great job running this offense.”
Pinkerton, which lost in the Division I championship game for the third consecutive season, finished No. 2 in the poll. Keene (No. 3), Nashua South (No. 4) and Exeter (No. 5) round out the top five.
Plymouth, which beat Portsmouth 21-14 in overtime Saturday to win the Division II championship, is ranked No. 6. It was Chuck Lenahan’s final game as Plymouth’s head coach.
Lenahan guided the Bobcats to 31 championship games in his 43 years on the Plymouth sideline. The Bobcats prevailed in 20 of those 31 contests.
Bedford, the only team in the poll that didn’t qualify for the playoff, is No. 7, followed by Portsmouth at No. 8 and Manchester Central at No. 9. Central will face Trinity of Manchester on Thanksgiving.
Bow, which beat Stevens of Claremont 20-6 in Saturday’s Division III championship game, entered the poll in the No. 10 spot.
Running back Manny Latimore finished his high school career as Pinkerton’s all-time leading rusher with 4,142 yards. Matt Jordan held the previous record of 4,099 yards.
Latimore scored 64 career touchdowns, four shy of the school record set by Ryan Mihalko. Latimore helped Pinkerton reach the Division I championship game in each of his four seasons, but the Astros were 1-3 in those four games.
“Making it to the championship in all four years is a great accomplishment, but I wish I could have won at least one more,” Latimore said. Latimore said he will likely play prep school football next year.
LENAHAN on the possibility of coaching the New Hampshire team against Vermont in next summer’s Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl: “I haven’t looked that far ahead. I haven’t thought about it. That’s really a no-win job. I’d have to speak with my staff. A lot of things would have to happen before I even considered it.”
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.