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NHIAA Football: Salem routs Nashua North, locks up the South

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 21. 2017 1:24AM

Salem coach Rob Pike 

SALEM — With 2:33 remaining in the first half and the Salem High School football team leading Nashua North 32-7 Friday night, a fan in the Nashua North stands shouted out: “The Pats were down by 25 once.”

It was wishful thinking, as nothing that resembled New England’s Super Bowl comeback took place in this contest.

Senior halfback Josh Sibanda ran for 237 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries to help Salem secure the Division I South title with a 60-14 victory.

“They’re an explosive football team and we didn’t do the things we needed to to help ourselves,” North coach Dante Laurendi said. “’We played with some pretty good effort, just not great execution.”

Dom Paci added 101 yards and two TD runs for the Blue Devils (8-0). Salem’s other touchdowns came on a 9-yard run by Adam Maroun, a 40-yard pass from quarterback Matt Soldano to tight end Michael Langmaid, a 35-yard run by Brandon Wall and a 4-yard run by Dylan McKeon.

North (4-4) took a 7-0 lead on a 75-yard pass from quarterback Mike Loveless to Austin Ouellette on the third play from scrimmage, and a 45-yard interception return by Ryan Ali in the second quarter.

“We have tough kids all across the board,” Salem coach Rob Pike said. “We have some great athletes in Josh and Matty, but it seems like every kid we put out there, 25 or 30 deep, are tough football players. They all compete really hard. That’s their best attribute, I think.”

Salem’s victory plus Nashua South’s win over Londonderry put the final pieces into the Division I South/West playoff bracket. Londonderry (6-2) will play at Salem in two weeks, and Pinkerton Academy (6-1) will open the postseason at Nashua South (6-2).

Salem and Londonderry will also wrap up the regular season against one another next weekend, and Pike said although his team has nothing to gain in the standings, he will approach that game like any other.

“I just never think that the playoffs are the be-all, end-all,” Pike said. “You only have so many football games. Just play them the best you can and try and win. That’s that. We’ll play and try to win.”

The Blue Devils led 39-14 at halftime, and 46-14 after three quarters.

Laurendi said physical play is one of many things that stands out about this Salem team.

“They play great defense,” Laurendi said. “They run around, they’re fast, and yet they have great weapons on offense. Everybody knows Sibanda, but they can hurt you in other ways. I think this is a real confident football team that’s clicking on all cylinders.”

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