CHaD All-Star Game Notebook: Team takes priorityBy ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 25. 2018 10:58PM
MANCHESTER — In terms of the top-end talent that will suit up for this year’s CHaD East-West All-Star Football Game, some might say the West has an edge over the East.
The West roster includes the 2016 Gatorade Player of the Year (Plymouth’s Garrett Macomber), the 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year (Goffstown’s Andrew Duval) and Merrimack’s Joe Eichman, who, like Duval, was recruited to play at the University of New Hampshire. Duval and Eichman will report to UNH later this summer.
Of course, talent alone doesn’t guarantee victory in high school football, especially in an all-star game.
“I’m not going to say we have an edge anywhere because I know how good the guys are on the other side,” West coach Eric Brown said. “It (having an edge in talent) really doesn’t matter, I don’t think. Forget about all-star games — that’s high school football, in my opinion. The ability to play as a team is critical.”
The 2018 CHaD game will be played Saturday at the University of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Stadium. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Craig Kozens is coaching the East team for the fourth consecutive year. He has also been the head coach for New Hampshire in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. Kozens said although talent matters, it’s not always the deciding factor when it comes to winning or losing an all-star game.
“It sounds corny, but the team that comes together usually does much better,” Kozens said. “If you have guys who accept their role and go hard in their role, it goes much better. In a game like this, it comes down to ball security and execution.”
Both coaches said they plan to play most of their players primarily on one side of the ball, but each added that there will be a handful of players who they expect to play significantly on offense and defense.
For the West, that group includes Duval (defensive back/slot receiver), Eichman (defensive back/slot), Macomber (running back/defensive end) and Bedford’s Thomas Norfleet (running back/defensive end). Kozens said St. Thomas wingback/defensive back Tim Bouchard, Dover split end/defensive back John Cantwell, Exeter tight end/linebacker Bobby Cliche and Exeter guard/defensive tackle Liam McIlveen are among the players he expects to rotate in on both sides of the ball.
“Our talent is spread out everywhere,” Kozens said. “It’s very even between our linemen and our skill kids. We have good depth and we have some heat coming (Saturday) so it’s going to be important to keep kids fresh.”
For a downloadable .pdf of the CHaD East-West All-Star Game rosters, click the image above.
Brown elected to select a kicker — Hanover’s Moises Celaya — when he picked his team. Celaya will kick for Division III Colby College next season. “He’s putting them in the end zone,” Brown said. “Not always, but pretty consistently. He’s very good.”
Brown said he’ll be comfortable sending Celaya on the field to attempt a field goal from as far as 40 yards.
Londonderry’s Pat Zepf will handle the place-kicking for the East, and Dover’s Cantwell will punt.
NOTES: The East has players from Winnacunnet and Pinkerton — teams that met in last year’s Division I championship game — but Winnacunnet running back Billy Powers won’t play in Saturday’s game (torn labrum). The East will also be without Kennett’s Trevor Mills (patella tendinitis) and Windham’s Hayden Wilson (ACL surgery). … Both teams have been practicing in Manchester this week, the West at Manchester Memorial and the East at Manchester West. Each team will have a walk-through practice at UNH on Friday. … While Portsmouth’s Cody Graham is expected to take most of the snaps at quarterback for the East, Bedford’s Connor Robert and Nashua South’s Sean Holland may split time at QB for the West. “Based on what I’ve seen, they’re equally talented,” Brown said. “I’d like to play them evenly, but someone might get a hot hand so we’ll see.” … Three Division III players will play in this year’s game: Somersworth’s Zach Andrews and Ray Mills for the East, and Newport’s Peter Thibault for the West. … Trinity High School graduate Andrew Lauderdale spoke to each team before Monday’s practices. Lauderdale, who played in the 2012 CHaD game, played at UNH and is now on the San Francisco 49ers’ roster. He told the players to not only enjoy the game, but the entire CHaD experience, and to take full advantage of the opportunity to make new friendships.