DURHAM — Plymouth Regional High’s dream of taking home its second championship in a row was not to be. The Bobcats were defeated by Merrimack High School in the championship game of “Granite State Challenge.”

Playing for the Merrimack High Tomahawks were captain captain Scott Peyton, Alex Jobin, Troy Church and Nick Gacharna, joined by alternates Andrew Peyton and Aidan Remick. The team was coached by Sara Campbell and Linda Mandra. Merrimack High enrolls around 1,174 students. Merrimack defeated Newfound Regional High, the Academy for Science and Design and Souhegan High School on the way to the final game.

Playing for the Plymouth Regional High School Bobcats were captain Rhys Harris, Michael Cathy, Erek Bickford and Rhianna Herlihy, along with alternates Ben Kresge and Mason Earick. The team was coached by Jay Fogerty. Plymouth Regional High enrolls around 634 students and serves Plymouth, Ashland, Holderness, Campton, Rumney, Wentworth, Warren, Ellsworth, Waterville Valley and Thornton. Plymouth defeated Dover, Manchester Central and Bow High School on the way to the final match.

The two teams went head to head in the first round but at the end of the round Plymouth led by a score of 150-120. Merrimack found its footing and ended the second round leading by a score of 320-230. The alternates joined their teammates for the 60-second round. Plymouth chose the category “Pen Names” and correctly identified nine out of 10 pen names or real names of authors, missing only on Lewis Carroll. Merrimack chose the category “Into the Woods” and correctly answered nine out of 10 questions whose answer included the word wood, missing only on a question about the director Ed Wood. At the end of the round, Merrimack had a lead of 410-320.

In the final round of the game, correct answers are worth 20 points, but an incorrect answer costs a team 20 points. The teams both played an aggressive final round and with just under 30 seconds left in the game Merrimack led 550-540. Merrimack ended the game correctly answering questions about the census, the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” and Ronald Reagan and won the game 610-540.

Merrimack High coach Sara Campbell can now bring home a championship to match the one her husband, Bernie Campbell, brought home in 2018 as the coach of Salem High.

Granite State Challenge games were pre-recorded in January.

Granite State Challenge features New Hampshire’s top high school academic quiz teams as they demonstrate remarkable teamwork, quick thinking and smarts to beat the clock and buzz in first on this iconic New Hampshire game show. The game emphasizes quick recall of math, science, social studies, language arts, and fine arts facts — along with questions about current events, entertainment, sports and New Hampshire.

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