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NHIAA D-II football championship: Farina emerges as key weapon for Plymouth

Special to the Union Leader

November 16. 2017 8:29PM
Nolan Farina. 

PLYMOUTH — There is a second-chance flavor to Saturday’s Division II championship game between undefeated Plymouth Regional and Bow for both Bobcat senior standout Nolan Farina.

Garrett Macomber, who went on to be named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, caught the winning pass to deliver Plymouth’s 12th state title in the last 16 seasons. Farina, out with an injury, cheered from the sideline.

“In the regular season against Bow (last season), I took a low hit and went head over heels,” Farina recalled. “I felt a lot of pressure in my chest when I landed and it turned out I had broken my collarbone. I thought I might be able to return by the playoffs, but it didn’t happen.”

Farina was in uniform for the 2016 championship game, but wasn’t yet able to play.

“I was going to show my support even though I was disappointed,” he said. “I wasn’t the only one out. We had six starters go down last year.”

Farina, at 5 feet 9 inches and 160 pounds, helped ensure a healthy return to Saturday’s final (2:30 p.m., at UNH’s Wildcat Stadium) by starring in Plymouth’s 21-7 semifinal win over St. Thomas Aquinas. He had three interceptions, including a 62-yard pick-six that gave the Bobcats a 7-0 halftime lead.

“My red (scout) team and the coaches prepared me for that,” Farina said. “I was able to read the quarterback and the route.”

In mid-September, Plymouth jumped on visiting Bow early and breezed 42-26.

Farina got the Bobcats rolling on their first possession with an 82-yard touchdown scamper. Moments later, senior Jordan Docen returned a kickoff 95 yards for another score — his first of three TDs in all — and the rout was on.

“I’ve been watching film and they are not the same team we played earlier,” coach Chris Sanborn told his squad on the practice field Wednesday.

“Bow is very good up front,” Sanborn said. “They have a good run game with lots of formations. (Jack) Corriveau, the running back, is very fast and athletic. How well we tackle him will be key.”

The Bobcats have 16 seniors on the roster. Key among them in addition to Macomber and Farina are three-year starters Wes Lambert, Connor Magowan, Jacob Lamb, Isaiah Crane, Docen and quarterback Ben Olmstead (14 TDs, 1 INT).

“Bow must match their physicality,” said St. Thomas Aquinas coach Ryan Brown. “They’re known for averaging over 40 points per game, but they’re more diverse this year and their defense is strong and athletic. Bow gave them a game last year, though, and I bet they feel like they can do it again.”

Perhaps so, but the Farina family connection with Plymouth high school football championships runs deep and wide.

Nolan’s brother Ryan hauled in a touchdown pass in the final minute of the 2012 Division IV final to defeat Trinity 7-0.

Cousin Timmy Farina played in the 2007 Division III title match against Souhegan. His father Bobby and uncles Gary and Don are also past state champions.

“Our feeder program is the ticket,” he said. “I’ve been running this offense since the third grade.”