Roger Brown's First and 10: Christmas comes early for Keene
Christmas came early for the Keene High School football team, and it came in the form of Nashua North's 14-7 victory over Bishop Guertin of Nashua on Friday night.
Keene, which knocked off previously unbeaten Nashua South 42-28 at home Friday, entered the weekend as a longshot to make the Division I playoffs. Now it will take some unexpected things to happen on the regular season's final weekend for the Blackbirds not to advance.
Keene improved its record to 6-2 and moved ahead of BG (5-3) in the Division I West standings. Keene can clinch a playoff spot by beating Alvirne of Hudson (1-7) at home next Friday.
"Right after we scored our final touchdown the PA guy announced the North-BG score," Keene coach John Luopa said. "The place went bonkers."
If Keene does beat Alvirne the Blackbirds will face Nashua South (7-1) in the conference championship game. The Panthers can secure first place in the conference - and home-field advantage for the conference championship game - by beating Winnacunnet of Hampton on Friday. Winnacunnet needs a victory over South and a loss by either Exeter (5-3) or Spaulding of Rochester (5-3) to qualify for the Division I East playoffs.
Keene is 5-0 since moving Alex Parenteau from running back to quarterback. The Blackbirds are averaging 34.4 points per game during that stretch.
Parenteau completed 20 of 26 passes for 238 yards and four touchdowns against Nashua South. He also ran for 116 yards and a TD.
"I told the kids to just focus on Nashua South," Luopa said. "Don't worry about North, just take care of what you can control. I told them good things happen to teams that continue to work hard."
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Two years ago Pelham was suffering through its second consecutive winless season, but how things have changed.
The Pythons remained the only unbeaten team in Division III by knocking off Campbell 48-13 Friday night in Litchfield, and can punctuate an undefeated regular season by knocking off Farmington-Nute (1-6) next weekend.
Running back Chris Medeiros ran for two touchdowns and passed the 1,000-yard mark in the victory, which raised Pelham's record to 7-0.
"I think every game we play this year is a statement game because of how much we've struggled in the past," Pelham coach Ryan Clark said. "Most of these kids played in the old (Division III) for two years and it was very hard for them, but they got that DIII experience with that DIII speed and caliber of play.
"Medeiros is the one everybody knew about coming into the season because of what he did last year, but we knew we had a lot of weapons and I don't think anybody saw our offensive line coming. It's a phenomenal group that gets better every single day, and the skill guys couldn't do it without them."
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Manchester Central took care of business Friday night by beating Salem 32-20. Central's victory sets up a huge game between Bedford (7-1) and Central (6-2) in Bedford on Friday night.
The winner of that contest will secure a Division I playoff berth and will face Concord (8-0) in the Division I North championship game. The loser will be eliminated from playoff contention.
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Things have been settled in Division I South, where Londonderry (4-4) will play at Pinkerton Academy of Derry (6-2) in the conference championship game regardless of what happens next weekend. Pinkerton beat Londonderry 35-14 in Derry earlier this season.
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Spaulding running back Trey Scott ran for 248 yards during a 42-13 triumph over Alvirne on Friday. Scott, a senior, has run for 1,253 yards this season and has 3,114 yards rushing in his high school career. ... Somersworth's Elyjah Dejoie carried the ball 29 times for 317 yards in Friday's 33-27 overtime loss to Bow. Dejoie tied the game with a 6-yard TD run on the final play of regulation, but the point-after kick was blocked. ... Milford improved its record against rival Souhegan to 2-11 with Friday's 38-7 triumph.
Roger Brown covers high school football for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.