In above photo, Londonderry’s Colby Ramshaw sacks Pinkerton Academy quarterback Nathan Campos during the teams’ playoff matchup on Nov. 6 at Lancer Park. Ramshaw is a key player for the Lancers.

SO WHAT KIND OF GAME can we expect to see when Londonderry and Winnacunnet meet at Exeter High School on Saturday (1 p.m.) with the Division I championship on the line?

Although both offenses are very good, both defenses are great. That means it could be a low-scoring matchup where one big play may be enough to carry a team to victory.

“I agree 100 percent,” Londonderry coach Jimmy Lauzon said. “I expect it to be a defensive-type of game where we have to play to our strength, which is defense, so we’re definitely playing the field-position game as we’ve tried to do the last two games against Pinkerton and Salem. If our offense can put our defense in a good position, whether it’s giving them a lead or good field position, I think that will play a crucial role.”

Winnacunnet (11-0) allowed an average of 9.0 points per contest in its first 11 games. Only Goffstown, which dropped a 33-20 decision to Winnacunnet during the regular season, has scored more than 14 points against the Warriors.

Londonderry (10-1) allowed an average of 10.7 points per game through its first 11 contests. That number shrinks when you eliminate TDs not scored against the Londonderry defense (special teams, interception return, etc.). The Lancers didn’t give up more than 13 points in any of their regular-season victories.

“They don’t have many weaknesses,” Winnacunnet coach Ryan Francoeur said when he was asked about Londonderry. “It’s not like they have a sensational standout player anywhere necessarily — you’re not looking at a Peyton Strickland (of Goffstown) or someone along those lines — but they’re solid across the board. Solid special teams, solid offense, solid defense. Like a lot of teams, they play off energy and I feel like if they play well early they could be tough to deal with.

“Their defense has been the most consistent part of their team, in my opinion, but their offense is pretty darn good, too. They don’t make a lot of mistakes on offense and defensively they’re pretty stingy.

“Barring big plays — significant turnovers, special teams touchdowns — in terms of the offense putting it in I think it’s maybe three scores wins it.”

Winnacunnet enters the game ranked No. 1 in the Union Leader Power Poll. Londonderry is No. 2.

This will be the first meeting between the teams since 2018, when Londonderry’s 38-34 victory ended Winnacunnet’ 18-game winning streak.

Londonderry is seeking its eighth state championship. Winnacunnet has won six titles.

“I think the two kids we’re gonna have to focus on are the quarterback (Drew Heenan) and No. 11 (split end Andrew Kullman),” Francoeur said. “We’re looking at (Kullman) as their No. 1 big-play threat, and with Heenan, you better wrap up because he bounces off everybody and he’s quicker than most people give him credit for.”

Winnacunnet had five drives of at least 10 plays in last weekend’s 21-14 triumph over Exeter in the semifinals. The Warriors were 10 of 13 on third down in that game, and had a huge edge in time of possession (36:24 to 11:36).

“We’ve seen their offensive system (veer) a handful of times,” Lauzon said. “It’s very unique. When they have the guys, they’re very tough to stop.

“They’re fast on defense. From what I can see, they have four really good linebackers. Defensive line is stout inside with 75 (LeBron Miller) and 66 (Jacob Fredericks) … two athletic defensive ends. DB-wise really good. No. 11 (Dominic Gould) is good on both sides of the ball. Dangerous anytime he touches it, and in the return game.

“We’re happy to have the chance to play for a championship.”


Top-seeded Timberlane (11-0) will be the favorite when it faces third-seeded Milford (8-2) in Saturday’s Division II championship game at Pinkerton Academy, but the Spartans will be a live underdog.

Timberlane beat Milford 21-14 in Plaistow when the teams met during the regular season, but the Owls trailed 14-7 entering the fourth quarter of that game.

Plymouth is the only team that faced both No. 8 Milford and No. 6 Timberlane this season. Timberlane beat Plymouth 28-13 during the regular season, and Milford beat Plymouth 35-21 in the Division II quarterfinals.

Here’s what Plymouth coach Chris Sanborn had to say about Saturday’s matchup:

“I give an advantage to Timberlane up front on the line,” Sanborn said. “Timberlane is very good on both sides, and they have so much depth. In a way they’re a Division I school with so many kids and (Timberlane coach) Kevin Fitzgerald does a good job of using that depth to his advantage. Some of their better players don’t play a lot on offense so they’re fresh for the fourth quarter. They don’t get worn down and that’s just such a huge advantage.

“Coaching-wise I think (Milford) coach Keith Jones will come up with some stuff and execute. Keith was pretty patient on offense against Lebanon (in the semifinals) and I think he has to be patient again. He has to keep Timberlane (offense) off the field. He has to control the ball. I think the way you attack the Timberlane defense is to go right at them.

“I think Milford needs a break or two (to win). They need a couple bounces to go their way. It would be good for Milford if they could get Timberlane frustrated, out of their game and maybe get them to throw it, because they don’t throw the ball very well. Timberlane hasn’t really had to make any adjustments this year on offense or defense. Does that come back to hurt them? I don’t know.”


Winnacunnet assistant coach Mike Bombardier coached with Lauzon when both were assistant coaches at Manchester West. Bombardier also coached at Bishop Guertin and Londonderry — under Lauzon — before he moved to Hampton and joined the Winnacunnet staff.


Saturday’s championship games will bring an end to the high school football season in New Hampshire. There will be no Thanksgiving games in Manchester or Nashua this year. Trinity was scheduled to play at St. Thomas on Tuesday night, but that game has been canceled.

“Both schools got together and decided that because of injury and illness on both teams it would have been a watered-down version of the game, and decided to cancel,” Trinity coach Rob Cathcart said.

Trinity and St. Thomas began their Thanksgiving series in 2019 with a Trinity victory. Last year’s game was canceled because of COVID.