Bow football aims for return to Durham in deep, competitive Division II

  • Bow gathers after a 27-24 loss to Plymouth during the Division II championship game at the University of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Stadium in Durham last November. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor file

  • Bow’s Jack Corriveau (44) breaks away from the pack for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during the Division II championship game at the University of New Hampshire Wildcat Stadium in Durham last November. Corriveau returns to the Falcons for his senior season in 2017. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor file

  • The Bow High football captains (from left): QB Matt Harkins, OL/DT Nolan Filteau and RB/LB Ben Kimball. Missing from the photo is running back Jack Corriveau. Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Friday, September 01, 2017

BOW – It’s a common practice for coaches to tell their kids to ignore the media reports. Stay focused on the next game and don’t let outside distractions impede progress.

At Bow High, it’s a different story. Coach Paul Cohen wants his players to not only think about what the headlines will say, he wants them to take control of the narrative.

When the Falcons began pacing up and down a steep bank behind Bow High during a preseason conditioning session, Cohen had something for them to think about.

“I want you to think about what you want the headline to be for that article (after) Saturday,” Cohen told the group. “What do you want the guy at WMUR on TV to say Saturday night? What do you want the Concord Monitor to say? What do you want the Union Leader to say? What do you want MaxPreps to say? What do you want to be the first statement of your year?”

“Statements” get thrown around a lot in high school football, but it’s not cliche for the Bow Falcons. They made a real impact, a statement if you will, to the entire landscape of Division II last season. Their first year in a new class, the Falcons immediately became one of the division’s great powers. The team came three points shy of another state championship, falling, 27-24, to a very good Plymouth squad that upset top-seed Windham in the semifinals.

Bow essentially started from scratch in 2016. Sure, they had a 2013 state title in their pocket and a semifinals appearance in 2015, but that was all in Division III. Who they would be in Division II was unknown. As the regular season passed and the calendar turned to November, Bow had solidified itself in the upper echelon of the division.

The Falcons intend to stay there.

“Our goal is to make it back to Durham, so we’ve been working hard this offseason,” said senior quarterback Matt Harkins, a second team All-State selection last year. “A lot of people have been in the weight room. I’ve never seen this many people all offseason in the weight room. It shows a lot of commitment throughout the team, and I’m really happy about that.”

Harkins has taken on captain duties with first team defensive All-State pick Nolan Filteau (DL), second team offensive pick Jack Corriveau (RB), and senior running back / linebacker Ben Kimball.

Like any new season, Bow has some holes to fill. The largest was left by first team All-State pick Nate Alford, an intimidating big body at tight end and a favorite passing option for Harkins. Another is Alex Berube, a second team All-State pick on the offensive line. His younger brother, Andrew, tipping the scales to 260 on his 6-foot-3 frame, should help fill that spot nicely.

But with the core of its playoff-tested group returning, the Falcons are poised to make another run through the regular season and get back to Durham.

“I think we’ll be fairly well balanced,” Cohen said. “I think we have the proverbial stable of running backs and that hasn’t changed. We graduated a bunch but there are a bunch that moved up, so we have five, six, seven different running backs to choose from. We have a versatile quarterback. We have a pretty good sized offensive line.”

There will be some new faces on the line but they’ll be complemented by experience in the trenches with tackles Filteau and Berube, guard Jack Tellifson and tight end Justin Porath. Filteau is 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 220 pounds, while Tellifson is in the neighborhood of 200 pounds. The offensive line showed some grit in Bow’s semifinal game against Hanover last fall where the Falcons were mostly outsized in the trenches, but the boys found a way to open holes that led to a pair of key touchdowns in the 38-24 win.

Harkins proved his ability as a passer and his command of the offense last season. Corriveau, Kimball and junior Matt Borak return as experienced ball carriers. An injury sidelined Kimball last season.

“We have a lot of good backs back and some younger ones coming up so we should be pretty good in the running game,” Kimball said. “We’re a two-dimensional offense that can run the ball and put it in the air.”

On the defensive side, Filteau is back at tackle along with Berube. Porath lines up at defensive end and Corriveau anchors the stable of linebackers. Senior Matt Scanlon will press the receivers at cornerback and junior Jack Wixson will see the field at safety.

Cohen was impressed with the play of sophomore Steven Guerrette in Bow’s final scrimmage against St. Thomas last week. Guerrette, a 6-foot sophomore, saw some varsity time as a freshman last year and should have a bigger role in the defense at linebacker as well as another option at running back. Tanner Cammett, a senior running back and linebacker, has also had a good preseason and should see more time on the field.

“We’re looking pretty solid,” Filteau said. “It’ll be a big shoe to fill from last year, but I definitely think we can do it.”

John Stark

The Generals had to grow up quickly last year when star quarterback Drew McQuarrie sat out the last two games with a shoulder injury, and his younger brother, Parker, took over behind center. Now, Drew is beginning his career in Division I football at Boston College. Back in Weare, Parker, a junior, is about to embark on his first full season as the starting quarterback for the Generals.

Coach, and father, Rod McQuarrie said he’s never seen Parker as motivated in preparation for the football season as he’s seen in the last few months.

“The way last year ended, Parker has worked his butt off all offseason and did camps and did whatever he could to get better,” Coach McQuarrie said. “Five years ago it was tough to get him to practice. But now, he’s getting me outside every day throwing passes, so it’s fun to see how he’s coming into it.”

There has been a clear and linear progression for Stark these last few years. The Generals reached the playoffs last year on their 8-1 regular season record, improving from 5-3 in 2015. Their season ended in the first round in a 27-21 loss to Bow, who would eventually reach the title game. Besides Drew, the Generals lost a few other stars to graduation including Kyle Booker, the team’s top tailback. But Coach McQuarrie has been impressed with the progress of junior running back Bo Lyons. The Generals also added Jake Cole to the backfield, who arrives from Trinity after the program there canceled its season due to low numbers on the roster. Manny Biskaduros is another solid option to carry the ball, as well as senior Nick Wheeler, who Coach McQuarrie called “one of the best blockers in the open field that I’ve seen.”

Cooper Gorski, a two-time All-State selection, and Leif Mailloux and Jacob Fitts leave big shoes to fill at receiver, but Vedin Fowler and Jack Baumann should fill those roles well. Senior Zach Handy, an All-State first team selection last fall, will anchor the line from both sides.

Stark added 15 players with its freshman class with a total roster size right around 50.

“Guys are just working their butts off,” Coach McQuarrie said. “The program is where we want it to be.”


Sachems Head Coach Craig Kozens is in a good spot with eight starters returning to both sides of the ball. After missing the playoffs last year and finishing with a 5-4 record, Laconia hopes its return of experience players will lead to a playoff berth.

But Kozens admits the team is undersized, though the Sachems will try to make up for it with quick feet and smart football.

“We have a lot of team speed and athleticism, but we lack size,” Kozens said. “Hopefully we’ll be in playoff contention come late October.”

Senior Riley Roy will be the centerpiece of the offense at quarterback. Drew Muzzey, a second team All-State player, could make waves in his senior season as the primary option out of the backfield for Laconia. He’ll be flanked by Bradley Weeks and Jacob Steele as other ball carriers.

At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, senior Ryan McCrea will be a big target at tight end for Roy.

Caleb Hounsell, Bryce McCrea, Ben Beliveau and Stephen Towers give Kozens an experienced group on the offensive line. Hounsell also returns as a defensive tackle while Towers and Noah Shastany will come off the ends. Weeks, a First team All-State pick, will anchor the linebackers and contribute on offense at fullback.


Head Coach Josh Marzahl and the upperclassmen are trying to establish a winning culture in the Gilford-Belmont football program.

Coming off a tough 1-8 season, their first as a co-op program, the Golden Eagles want to keep things simple and hopefully add a few more tallies to the win column this fall.

So far, the attitude is right where Marzahl would like it to be.

“You would never think they went 1-8 last year with how positive the team has been in the preseason,” he said.

Marzahl quickly pointed to one of his senior captains, Ethan Ormes, a burly presence on the offensive and defensive line at 6-foot-6, 330 pounds. Ormes is a fourth-year starter who Marzahl said personifies the kind of leader he hopes to continue cultivating in the program.

“His work ethic, always one of the first on the field and won’t leave until everybody else goes,” Marzahl said. “It’s the kind of mentality we’re looking for. He can take a group of kids and work on them with something if we need him to. It’s like having a coach on the field, which is always great to have.”

That’ll come in handy with this year’s team, as the Eagles have 25 freshmen on their 45-man roster. Marzahl sees that as a good indication for the program’s future. Building toward more success is already in the works.

“Our program is pretty hungry for some wins and we believe we can do better to compete this year,” he said. “I think we’re better than last year, I think we’ve improved. We’re still young, but those kids will be a handful for teams in years to come.”

The Eagles had to say goodbye to their top rusher Dominick Troiano, but Marzahl is confident Dylan Gansert can carry the load. Brandon Cole and Tanner Woods will lead the receiving corps. Greg Lyndon will be on the delivery as quarterback.

Merrimack Valley

The dilemma Jim Coll and his coaching staff face this season is the balancing act of teaching football to the scores of underclassmen while also integrating a system that can put the Pride in position to win games.

“We’re very young and very inexperienced,” Coll said. “But that does not mean we’re throwing in the towel by any stretch.”

The Pride graduated three All-State players last spring. In preseason, the Pride took a heavy blow when their best offensive and defensive lineman, Tanna Valliere, went down with a fractured ankle. He’ll be out for the season, eliminating what Coll thought could have been an All-State fall for the sophomore. But that’s the positive part of the situation: he’s only a sophomore.

“We had a rough camp,” Coll said. “We lost a lot of individual battles against Somersworth and Goffstown and Milford. (Valliere) was the only one that consistently won battles on both sides of the ball. He looked dominant.”

MV should be in good shape for the 2018 season when Valliere returns and a core of players grow a year older with a season of experience. That’s what this fall is about: improving the roster and growing the program.

Chase Keyser makes the move from receiver to quarterback for his sophomore season. Coll said he has a “decent arm” and “a lot of potential.”

“He should be okay,” Coll said.

Ricky Hazeltine is a hybrid slot receiver and tailback who Coll predicts to have a strong fall.

“Ricky is going to be something special this year,” he said.


Coming off a 1-8 season, the Spartans are just trying to win a few more games. But with a young team and 36 players on the roster, there’s still work to be done.

“We’re young and need to mature as the season progresses,” second-year Coach Larry McElreavy said.

McElreavy arrived in Pembroke last season after coaching Newport to a pair of Division III championship game appearances in 2014 and 2015. Newport took the crown in 2015 and McElreavy made the move to Pembroke to try and kick-start a winning culture with the Spartans.

It hasn’t been easy. Pembroke struggled in his first year but the program could make strides in its second season under McElreavy’s tutelage.

Eleven starters are back in green this fall with seniors Alex Pratt, Theo Trott, Sean Wood and Cam Gaduti. Juniors Cody Godwin, Brandon Jawidzik, Mason Illies and Ben Lewis are joined by sophomores Seth Chouinard, Austin Wallace and Nate Cassidy.

Watch for Jack Schaefer (RB/DB), Scott LaChance (WR/DB) and Jaden Moore (RB/LB) to help elevate the team with more defined roles.


Coach Jay Wood enters his fourth season with the Redhawks as the team heads into its second year as a varsity program.

The program has a lot of potential down the road but it will take time to develop. H-D/Hopkinton is in a better position than other start-ups, though. It produced a pair of All-State players last season in Liam Flanagan and Henry Yianakopolos – the latter is playing football for Division I Rhode Island this fall.

The goal for the Redhawks this season is to be competitive in every game, and hopefully grab and few wins along the way.

“Everyone has a great attitude and is bringing a good work ethic this fall,” Wood said. “We are overall a very young team and inexperienced.”

Caleb Yianakopolos returns for his junior season at quarterback. The Quiet brothers – Carter (senior) and Colby (sophomore) – will come out of the backfield along with senior Aidan Horne. Kevin McCaffrey is a returning junior lining up at guard and linebacker along with Jordan Berrocales at running back and defensive back.

Wood has his eye on freshmen Mike Oberheim (QB/DB), Jonathon McMahon (OL/LB) and Jackson Davis (TE/DE) to make an impact this season. Juniors Thayer Maughan (OL/DT) and Reed Tanavusa (TE/LB) will see the field, as will sophomores Charles Veitch (OL/DT) and Jack Horne (TE/DB).

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3339, nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)