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NHIAA Football: Exeter re-loads

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 09. 2017 9:12PM
Exeter High School lineman Will Froumy runs through drills during football practice Wednesday afternoon in Exeter. It was the first day of high school football practices across the state. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

According to the National Federation of High School Associations, participation in high school football dropped by 25,901 players from the 2015 season to last year, but you wouldn’t know it by the number of football players at Exeter High School on Wednesday.

Including freshmen, 145 Exeter players attended workouts on the first day NHIAA football teams were allowed to practice.

“They’re the best kids around,” Exeter coach Bill Ball said. “Disciplined, coachable, committed — and I have a coaching staff that’s second to none.

“Numbers-wise we’ve been lucky. We’re one of the few teams that has a sophomore team. They play an eight-game schedule every Wednesday. If you’re here at Exeter you’re not going to be watching. You’re going to play.”

Exeter has come up short in each of the last two Division I championship games, and is among the Division I favorites again this season. Exeter returns five starters on each side of the ball, but that’s a deceptive number because the Blue Hawks rotate players at so many positions.

“We have guys who have played a lot who weren’t starters,” Ball explained. “When you play multiple guys (at one position) it’s a huge help. Let’s say you play four guys at guard, and one of them is out with a broken ankle or for whatever reason. You’re not looking for someone to put in. It’s business as usual. “

The NHIAA doesn’t allow a football player to participate in a full-contact workout until his sixth practice.

Ball, who is in his 25th season as Exeter’s head coach, said this may be his biggest team in terms of physical size. The line will be led by 6-foot-6, 282-pound Will Froumy, who committed to Syracuse earlier this summer.

Cody Morissette, a three-sport athlete who will attend Boston College on a baseball scholarship, is penciled in as the team’s starting quarterback. Morissette is a pitcher/infielder in baseball, and a guard on Exeter’s basketball team. He served as Kyle Ball’s backup at QB in each of the last two seasons.

“First off we have a lot of kids,” Morissette said. “We’ll have a lot of kids helping us get better. We have a good core group of kids back from last year. I’ll have some big guys protecting me.

“We’re looking forward to this year. We want to get back to UNH (site for the championship games). We believe we have a team that can go there and win it this year.”


Bedford, which went 12-0 last season and beat Exeter in the Division I championship game, returns 11 starters, including eight on offense. The key returnees include linebacker Spencer Adams, quarterback Connor Robert, wide receiver Noah Chaberek, center Josh Koellmer and tight end/slot receiver/linebacker Harry LeGoullon.

Plymouth, last year’s Division II champion, will build around running back/defensive end Garrett Macomber, who was New Hampshire’s Gatorade Player of the Year last season. Macomber scored the game-winning touchdown with 16 seconds to play in Plymouth’s 27-24 victory over Bow in the Division II title game. He rushed for 2,373 yards and scored 26 touchdowns last season, when he also recorded 55 tackles and eight sacks.

Stevens of Claremont, last year’s Division III champion, returns four starters on each side of the ball. One player who didn’t return, however, is quarterback Henri Bourque, who set school records for passing yards (2,010) and passing touchdowns (20) last year. Bourque, who would have been a junior at Stevens, will be attending the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Mass.

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Each of the four Manchester high schools that offer football will again participate in the Queen City Jamboree, which will be held Aug. 25 at Gill Stadium. This year’s matchups:

Trinity vs. West (3:30 p.m.); Salem vs. Goffsown (4:30 p.m.); Nashua North vs. Memorial (5:30 p.m.), Timberlane of Plaistow vs. Central (6:30 p.m); Londonderry vs. Bedford (7:30 p.m.) and Souhegan of Amherst vs. Concord (8:30 p.m.).