LAST SEASON, the Salem High School football team advanced to the Division I semifinals without running back/linebacker Josh Maroun, who sustained a season-ending knee injury during the Queen City Jamboree. The Blue Devils were also without running back/linebacker Riley Mulvey for a good chunk of the season after he broke his hand during a loss to Londonderry.
Both of those players will be on the field when Salem faces Londonderry on Saturday (10 a.m.) at Trinity Stadium in Haverhill, Mass. The game features the No. 1 (Londonderry) and No. 2 (Salem) teams in the Union Leader Power Poll.
“Having those guys healthy certainly helps,” Salem coach Rob Pike said.
Maroun, a senior, rushed for 529 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore. Mulvey, who is also a senior, looked as good as new when Salem (1-0) opened its season with a 41-0 victory over Manchester Central last Friday. He returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, returned an interception 35 yards for a TD, and scored on a 7-yard run. All three TDs came in the first half of a game in which Salem didn’t attempt a pass.
“We have to stop the run,” Londonderry coach Jimmy Lauzon said. “We all know that’s what they want to do.”
Salem isn’t playing any games on its home field this season because the school’s track is being renovated. Saturday’s starting time was moved up to reduce the threat of the EEE virus.
Londonderry opened its season with a 48-6 triumph over Concord last Friday. Quarterback Jake McEachern passed for three touchdowns and ran for another in that victory. McEachern completed 5 of 6 passes for 86 yards and ran for 69 yards on seven carries.
“The QB (McEachern) is really good, but they’re good everywhere,” Pike said. “They have good players across the board. Their defense is fast and aggressive and they have some big kids up front.”
Pike was on Lauzon’s staff when Lauzon directed the East to a 17-13 victory in last summer’s CHaD New Hampshire East-West All-Star Game.
The Salem/Londonderry winner will be the only unbeaten team in Division I South. Pinkerton Academy, Timberlane and Windham all lost last weekend.
“For the most part they do what they do,” Lauzon said. “We kind of know what to expect, but they don’t make too many mistakes execution-wise. It’ll be a challenge to score. It’s gonna be a tough one.”
Head for the border
Other than next Friday’s game against Concord, which was moved to Concord’s Memorial Field, Salem will play the rest of its “home” games (Pinkerton, Bedford and Memorial) in Haverhill. Salem’s game against Pinkerton will start at 2 p.m., but its matchups with Bedford and Memorial will both be played at night.
A few notes about Trinity Stadium, which has an artificial turf playing surface:
It was built with bricks from two demolished factories.
A grandstand for baseball was built in 1921 and torn down in 1991.
Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig both played in exhibition games at the stadium.
The New England Patriots, then the Boston Patriots, held their first scrimmage at Trinity Stadium.
Pioneers visit Lebanon
The best game on this weekend’s undercard may be tonight’s matchup between Lebanon and Trinity in Lebanon. The Raiders and Pioneers both returned 17 starters from teams that made the playoffs last year, and they figure to be two of the strongest teams in Division III.
Both teams opened the season with lopsided victories. Lebanon beat Newport 49-6, and Trinity beat Kearsarge 47-0. Trinity quarterback Peter Alisandro, a junior, passed for three touchdowns and ran for another in his first varsity start for the Pioneers.
Power Poll history
Teams that have finished No. 1 in the Power Poll since the poll’s inception:
2008: Nashua South
2009: Bishop Guertin
The Division I championship game has featured the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the poll in each of the last eight years, and nine times overall.
When running back/linebacker Colby Quiet scored six touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving and one on a 90-yard kickoff return) during Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton’s 43-6 triumph over Laconia on Saturday it had some wondering about the NHIAA record for touchdowns scored in a season. The answer. Souhegan’s Sean Jellison, who scored 41 touchdowns during his junior season. Jellison also owns the NHIAA record for career touchdowns with 103, and the NHIAA record for career rushing yards (5,890).
Astros’ Day likely out
Pinkerton Academy lost running back Brady Day to a shoulder injury in the first half of Saturday’s 35-29 loss to Goffstown. Brian O’Reilly said it’s unlikely Day will play tonight against Manchester Memorial.
Day is a three-sport athlete (baseball, basketball and football) and has committed to Kansas State to play baseball.
“We should have a good team this year, but we’re missing so many people right now — and we’re not going to get them back (for the Memorial game),” O’Reilly said. “We’ll see about the third week and hopefully by Londonderry (Week 4) we’ll have our full team back.”