NASHUA — Nashua South scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away and beat rival Nashua North 27-13 in the rivals’ 16th annual Thanksgiving eve game at rainy Stellos Stadium on Wednesday night.
Nashua South finished at 7-4 after its fourth straight win in the holiday series. South is 12-4 in Thanksgiving matchups and 21-12 overall. The Titans, after opening the season with nine straight victories, lost their final two games to finish 9-2.
Sophomore running back Josh Compoh pretty much summed things up for everyone who was involved.
“I was really anxious to finally play this game,’’ he said. “Our last game was over two weeks ago (Nov. 9) so it seemed like forever to play another game. The waiting around was very tough. But I’m just so happy the way things turned out for us.”
Compoh was the prime star in the Panthers’ offensive arsenal, rushing for scores of 1, 29 and 49 yards. He finished the evening with 163 yards on 21 carries. As a team, South amassed 285 yards of offense while limiting the Titans to 152.
“We have a lot of young talent returning next year, so we just need to go into the weight room together and develop some team bonding and build up some team chemistry,” Compoh said. “I feel that we can be much better next year than this year. It’s important for us to learn to play for each other and not be selfish because football is a team sport. I honestly believe that we can make a strong run towards a championship next year.”
South got things off on the right foot. A blocked punt by senior Jacob Smith on North’s opening series led to Compoh’s first score. On the Titans’ ensuing possession, a fumble was recovered by the Panthers deep inside North’s end of the field. From the 7, senior back Zak Hureau capped the drive with a hard run up the middle to go up 13-0.
From the outset, the Panthers appeared to be champing at the bit to play this contest. A majority of them were on the field for warmups a good two hours before kickoff. On the other hand, North limped into this contest depleted by injury. Several players did not dress, including all-purpose dual-threat quarterback Curtis Harris (knee).
With its offense in limbo for much of the opening half, the Titans finally emerged in the closing seconds before halftime when backup quarterback Sam Nicholls connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Lucas Cunningham to make it a 13-7.
Following a scoreless third, North managed to tie the game courtesy of a Devin Bracetty 4-yard TD run to start the fourth. But the remainder of this tilt belonged to the Panthers and Compoh, who sliced through the Titans defense for a pair of scores and put this one out of reach.
South says goodbye to 16 seniors who played a major role in its success this season. The Panthers will have some work to do in order to get back to the playoffs, but many of their key offensive weapons will be returning. Compoh, his brother Jason, a junior, along with junior quarterback Christopher Keefe should provide a formidable backfield trio in 2020.
“Losing in the playoffs is always tough,” said South coach Scott Knight. “But to see these seniors go out on top is always good. We were able to get some of our younger guys into this game, which allowed us to see what they can do. We can take a lot of things from what we did these last few weeks into next year. I think these last couple of weeks gets us ahead a little bit but we still have a lot of work to do moving forward.”
North, which graduates 10 seniors, has a bevy of weapons besides Harris coming back. They include Cunningham as well running backs Anthony Greene, Ed Bracetty and Devin Bracetty.
“We know that you don’t continue from this year,” Titans coach Dante Laurendi said. “Next year will be a complete start over. There are a lot of things that need to be done so it’s a long time between now and next August. We need to go over things and continue to build on what we did this year. We do have a lot of kids coming back so there is a lot of excitement over that. I think the taste we got this year was good and now we’ll see how hungry we are next year.”