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Time to turn on the lights

Final preparation for high school football teams


With the start of the high school football regular season a week away, today's Queen City Jamboree will serve as the final dress rehearsal for 12 of the state's 57 varsity programs.

The jamboree will be played at Gill Stadium and will feature six games, each consisting of two 12-minute quarters. The schedule:

Souhegan vs. Salem, 3:30 p.m.; Merrimack vs. Trinity, 4:30 p.m.; Manchester West vs. Manchester Memorial, 5:30 p.m.; Goffstown vs. Concord, 6:30 p.m.; Bishop Guertin vs. Manchester Central, 7:30 p.m., and Timberlane vs. Pinkerton Academy, 8:30

The field has 10 Division I teams and two from Division II. Two teams, Concord and Merrimack, were added to the event this year.

"I get calls from four or five coaches every year trying to get in," Central coach Ryan Ray said. "It's a very popular event."

Ray and his staff will likely be paying close attention to the Goffstown/Concord contest that precedes Central's matchup with Bishop Guertin of Nashua, since Central will open the regular season with a home game against Concord on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said he's unsure if linebacker Matt Madden will be in uniform tonight against Timberlane of Plaistow. Madden suffered a torn ACL in Pinkerton's final regular-season game last year. O'Reilly chose not to play Madden, Pinkerton's leading tackler last season, in Saturday's scrimmage at Portsmouth.

"He's perfectly fine," O'Reilly said. "In fact he's playing without a brace instead of with one. But the doctor who did the surgery said, 'Your first time out on a turf field in a scrimmage that doesn't matter — I'd rather you not do that.' In the jamboree, turf field, we'll see. I'll probably let him play."

Six of the 12 teams competing tonight qualified for the playoffs last year.

"It's huge playing in game conditions," Ray said. "Being out on the field under the lights in front of a crowd. The teams that are participating will have a game-speed experience."

rbrown@unionleader.com

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