High School Notebook: It’s all about change at Concord
It’s the season of change in the Capital City, and not just the autumnal splash of color and the grab-an-extra-sweatshirt mornings.
There’s a change on the scoreboards around Memorial Field, Rollins Park and in the Concord High gym. Four of the Tide’s teams who struggled some last year and failed to make the postseason have started off on a tear.
Let’s start with the football team, the most successful of the four last year, going 6-4 (4-4 within Division I). The Tide began this season with a 35-6 victory over longtime rival Manchester Central, a team it lost to by two touchdowns a year ago. It followed that up with a 52-13 whipping of Salem. And both games went to running time – when a team leads by 35 or more points after halftime.
It’s a veteran bunch that holds high expectations for this season, but despite the eye-popping numbers, Concord is keeping an even keel and not getting ahead of itself.
“It’s great,” quarterback Rob Law said of the 2-0 start, “but we like to forget about the win(s) and take it week by week. The first day of practice (Monday) we start thinking about Merrimack,” the Tide’s opponent this Friday.
On the other side of Memorial Field, the boys’ soccer team is returning to its perch near the top of the Division I standings, starting the season 3-1-1. The three wins surpasses last year’s total (2-13-1) already. The Tide has allowed just two goals in those five games, with the loss a 1-0 setback to two-time defending champion Manchester Central. Concord is averaging 3.6 goals per game.
Likewise, the Concord field hockey team has already bettered last year’s totals on a couple of fronts. In last Wednesday’s 5-1 victory over Nashua South, the Tide scored as many goals as it did all last season and brought its season total to seven in three games. At 3-0, its three victories is also one more than all of last year, when the team went 2-12.
Back at the school, the Tide volleyball team got off to a 3-0 start, equalling last year’s win total (3-15) in its first three matches. The team did suffer its first loss on Friday to Pinkerton, but looks to regain its momentum tonight at Merrimack.
The buzz of the early football season has been the shift from six divisions to three, and whether or not the smaller schools will be able to compete with the larger schools some are now matched up against. Well, through two weeks, the answer is a resounding yes.
Sure, it’s still a small sample and there’s plenty of season to go, but here are some figures from Weeks 1 and 2.
∎ Of the 34 games pitting schools previously in different divisions against each other, the once smaller-division schools have actually won half, going 17-16 with one result not reported.
∎ In Division I, last year’s D-II teams have gone 4-6, with Winnacunnet, Bedford, Merrimack and Keene all posting victories against longtime D-I schools.
∎ Division II has seen the most “upsets,” with former smaller-division schools winning 10 of 16 matchups. And that includes a pair of games where former D-V teams beat former D-III teams – Sanborn over Hollis-Brookline, and Monadnock over Souhegan.
∎ Division III (with one game not reported) is nearly even, with former D-VI schools winning three and losing four against former D-V teams. And that doesn’t include Fall Mountain, a school that had to play only a JV schedule last year because of a lack of numbers. This year, the Wildcats have started 2-0.
Too wet for volleyball?
No, it’s not beach volleyball with a rain-out. It’s indoor volleyball with a flooded gym.
The John Stark volleyball team has yet to play a home match this season, having its first two scheduled affairs in Weare postponed because of a flooded gym.
The team has been able to practice there, but it’s not sufficiently restored to be conducive to a competitive match. What does that mean for the Generals? Well, the fourth week of September sees them playing four matches in six days, thanks to the two rescheduled dates. After a regularly-scheduled match against Trinity on Sept. 23, they’ll play Hanover in a makeup on the 24th and Franklin in a makeup on the 25th, then finish the week with a regularly-scheduled match against Mascenic on the 28th.
The good news is all four matches that week are at home … weather permitting.
(Sandy Smith can be reached at 369-3339 or email@example.com.)