MUCH LIKE the Heisman Trophy seems to be awarded to a quarterback every year, New Hampshire’s Gatorade Player of the Year in football has become an award usually won by a player from an NHIAA Division I school.
Gatorade has been honoring a Player of the Year since 1985, and nine of the last 10 NHIAA players who won the award played for Division I schools. The lone exception? Plymouth Regional’s Garrett Macomber, who was the winner in 2016.
Note: New Hampton School’s Jake Kiley was the 2011 winner. (Allowing prep school players to be candidates is a column for another day.)
The list for those who are curious:
2018: Ryan Toscano (Bedford)
2017: Andrew Duval (Goffstown)
2016: Garrett Macomber (Plymouth)
2015: Connor Bourque (Goffstown)
2014: Eric Fairweather (Londonderry)
2013: Trevor Knight (Nashua South)
2012: Tyler Grant (Exeter)
2011: Jake Kiley (New Hampton)
2010: Max Jacques (Salem)
2009: David Zocco (Nashua South)
2008: Billy Ferriter (Nashua South)
This year’s winner may come from a non-Division I school, however. In fact, if you were asked to predict this year’s winner and were given the choice between all of the Division I schools and the field (players from Division II, Division III and Division IV schools), you’d be wise to take the field. Here are five non-Division I players who put themselves in the conversation with strong Week 1 performances:
• Gavin Urda (Milford): Urda, a quarterback/defensive back, ran for 257 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries during a 35-21 victory over Hollis/Brookline. He completed 1 of 2 passes for 19 yards, and also intercepted a pass.
• Colby Quiet (Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton): Quiet, a running back/linebacker, scored six touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving and one on a 90-yard kickoff return) in a 43-0 triumph over Laconia. He gained 210 yards on 10 carries and recorded 10 tackles, including three tackles for loss.
• Luke Manning (Souhegan): Manning, a quarterback/receiver/defensive back, showed his offensive versatility in a 34-25 victory over St. Thomas by completing 4 of 8 passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns; running for 82 yards and a TD on 18 carries; and catching three passes for 42 yards and a TD.
• Keegan Mills (Campbell): Mills, a four-year starter who lines up at running back and linebacker, opened the season by rushing for 121 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries in a 30-0 victory over Somersworth.
• Carter Vedrani (Campbell): Vedrani, a tight end/linebacker, caught nine passes for 124 yards in Campbell’s win against Somersworth.
Some strong Division I candidates are sure to emerge as well this season, so we’ll just have to see how things play out.
• Tim Guers, who finished his college basketball career as the leading scorer in the history of the Saint Anselm College men’s basketball program, signed a contract last week to play professional basketball for the Ringwood Hawks, a professional team in Australia.
• Darren Haydar, one of the best hockey players to wear a University of New Hampshire uniform, will have his jersey retired by the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals before Milwaukee’s Feb. 21 game against the Chicago Wolves. Haydar helped Milwaukee sweep Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the 2004 Calder Cup Finals, the only professional championship in the organization’s history. Haydar is still Milwaukee’s all-time leading AHL scorer (276 points). Nashville selected Haydar in the ninth round of the 1999 NHL Draft. He was named the AHL Rookie of the Year in 2002.
• Manchester native Tony Trisciani won his first game as a college head coach when Elon beat The Citadel 35-28 Saturday. Trisciani, who attended Manchester Memorial, is in his first season as Elon’s head coach.
• The New Hampshire Basketball Coaches’ Organization will induct six former high school coaches into its first Hall of Fame class during an Oct. 13 ceremony at the Red Blazer Restaurant and Pub in Concord. John Fagula (Nashua), Jack Ford (Winnacunnet), Gary Jenness (Groveton and White Mountains), Mike Lee (Farmington), Lang Metcalf (Lebanon) and Danny Parr (Portsmouth and St. Thomas) will make up the first class. Tickets to the event are $30 and can be purchased by emailing Dave Chase at email@example.com.
• Idle Thought: Other than Week 1 this season, wondering if there’s ever been a time when the Pinkerton Academy and Plymouth Regional football teams both lost, and the Manchester Memorial and Manchester West football teams both won during the same weekend.
• Jill Laurendeau Thompson, a Manchester Memorial graduate, finished first overall (men and women) in the Kauai Marathon, which was held Sept. 1. Her winning time was 3:05.07.
• A College Night will be held at Nashua North High School Monday (6 p.m.) for those interested in learning more about college athletics and the recruiting process. All athletes and parents are welcome.