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Cavallaro hopes to overcome injury


Shawn Cavallaro ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the Boston College football camp last summer, but the East team may not have to worry about Cavallaro’s speed in Saturday’s CHaD East-West New Hampshire All-Star Game.

Cavallaro, a four-year varsity football player at Hanover High School, was penciled in as the West’s starting tailback until he suffered a hamstring injury during Tuesday night’s practice at Manchester Memorial High School. His status remains uncertain for Saturday’s game, which will be played at St. Anselm College (1 p.m.) in Goffstown.

“I can’t believe it because I’ve been looking forward to this game for so long,” Cavallaro said. “I’ll see how it is day to day. Hopefully I’ll still be able to play on Saturday.”

Cavallaro was used as a running back/slot receiver during his freshman season at Hanover, but spent the next three seasons as the team’s starting quarterback. He played running back during the final two games last season.

Cavallaro rushed for 1,429 yards and passed for 2,564 yards during his three years as Hanover’s quarterback, but said running back has always felt like a more natural position. He passed for 25 touchdowns and rushed for 22 during his high school career.

Cavallaro may change positions again next season, when he suits up for the University of New Hampshire. He’s one of four players on the West roster headed to play for UNH. Linebacker/running back Jared Kuehl (Plymouth Regional), defensive end Kyle Reisert (Plymouth Regional) and quarterback Trevor Knight (Nashua South) are the others.

Cavallaro said he’s been told slot receiver and safety are among the positions he could play at UNH.

“They recruited me as an athlete,” Cavallaro said. “That’s one of the reasons I was looking forward to playing in this game, because I could play some running back next year. Really at the end of the day I just want to go to (UNH) camp and play wherever I can help the team and get on the field the quickest.”

Kuehl, Reisert and Knight were named captains for the West on Tuesday. Concord linebacker Marc Gaudet is the team’s other captain.

“They’re four good kids — good leaders,” West coach Paul Lavigne said. “You can tell Kuehl and Reisert are Plymouth kids. They’re well-coached, well-mannered. Whenever we do drills and stuff they’re always toward the front of the pack.”

“I don’t think you’ll find a better athlete on the East or West than Knight. He never has an excuse for anything.”

Cavallaro stayed with Knight much of last week to cut down on the travel from his home in Hanover to practice at Memorial.

“I’ve known Trevor for a couple of years, and the guys from Plymouth and I all played against each other for four years,” Cavallaro said. “We’ve all talked about how well this will prepare us for UNH. We’ve become good friends and that relationship is just going to keep getting stronger.”

Lavigne said he may not know Cavallaro’s availability until Saturday. If Cavallaro can play, he’ll try to help the West take a 3-0 lead in the series. The West won the inaugural game 44-12, and prevailed 13-7 in overtime last summer.

“He didn’t deserve this,” Lavigne said. “I love the kid. He’s a hard-worker. I hope he’s ready.”

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West Notes: Knight passed for 1,800 yards and 19 touchdowns (two interceptions) as a senior, when he also rushed for 1,533 yards and 19 TDs. ... The West will run a Pro-style offense, and a 4-4 defense. ... Lavigne said Concord’s Walters Ndi and Milford’s Mitchell Banuskevich will likely get more carries if Cavallaro can’t play. ... Timberlane’s Shawn Grenier is playing in the game to honor his cousin Caterina Coppola, a CHaD patient who was diagnosed with diabetes at a young age. ... The West has players from each of last year’s three championship teams: Division I Concord, Division II Plymouth and Division III Bow.

rbrown@unionleader.com

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