Hanover Grad Makes Quick Recovery in CHaD Football Game
Stevens High graduate Donald Pellerin gives his coaches a thumbs-up sign after receiving their defensive signals Saturday during the New Hampshire East-West High School All-Star football game. Pellerin, who saw time at linebacker and on special teams, helped the West to its third consecutive victory, 24-7. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover High graduate and ballcarrier Shawn Cavallaro cracks heads with Pinkerton's Matt Madden during Saturday's New Hampshire East-West All-Star football game. The third annual contest, held this year at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, was won by the Cavallaro and the West, 24-7.
Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Manchester — Shawn Cavallaro didn’t receive the most valuable player award after Saturday’s third annual New Hampshire East-West High School All-Star football game at St. Anselm College. However, a solid case could have been made that No. 4 should have been hauling off the hardware after the contest, which benefited the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.
Despite a hamstring injury that forced him to wait until Saturday morning to declare himself fit to play, Cavallaro carried 13 times for 54 yards and two touchdowns as his West squad rolled to a 24-7 victory that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate.
Signed to play at the University of New Hampshire beginning this fall, Cavallaro scampered 27 yards for his first score, which put the West up, 12-0, in the ninth minute. He then bulled a yard for his second touchdown, which increased the score to 18-0 early in the second quarter. Concord linebacker Marc Gaudet was named MVP after contributing a West-high six tackles and an interception.
“I really didn’t think I was going to play when I got here today,” said Cavallaro, who tweaked his hamstring making a hard cut on a sweep during a Tuesday practice. “But the trainers did a great job with it. I wasn’t at 100 percent, but it felt pretty good.
“With the injury, it was tough to run outside, so they used me more between the tackles and the linemen did a great job all day.”
Cavallaro, a three-year starter at quarterback for Hanover, will also play in August’s Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl game between New Hampshire and Vermont at Dartmouth College. The next day he reports for the start of preseason camp at UNH, where he’s not sure if he’ll suit up at slot receiver or defensive back.
“I felt pretty natural at running back,” he said. “You have plays designed for you and you can go inside or outside. Quarterback’s a whole different position and I love being the leader on a team, but playing running back is a great, new step and they might think of playing me there at UNH, so it’s good to practice it.”
Cavallaro’s West side was dominant from the start and the statistics mostly reflected it. The West outgained the East, 332 yards to 131, and outrushed its foe, 192-35. The East managed only eight first downs to the West’s 19 and had four passes intercepted. The East did have a three-minute edge in possession time, but that was partly because the West scored quickly on several occasions.
“Our coaching staff did a great job of not making our offense too complex,” Cavallaro said. “There were a lot of guys on the other team with chips on their shoulders, but we were confident coming in.”
Cavallaro said the temperature, which was in the high 80s at the stadium and higher on its artificial turf, didn’t prove too challenging. After starting on offense and defense at Hanover, playing only on one side of the ball Saturday was a luxury, he added.
“I felt pretty fresh in the fourth quarter,” he said. “I think a lot of guys felt the same way.”
Joining Cavallaro on the West roster were Stevens’ Donald Pellerin and Kai Kleyensteuber and Lebanon’s Austin Pelletier. Pellerin saw time on special teams and at linebacker, where he assisted on three tackles. Kleyensteuber played four series at defensive end, but wasn’t credited with any stops. He and Pellerin will also play in the Shrine game next month.
“It was a faster pace and more intense, with a lot more big hits,” Kleyensteuber said. “You know everyone on both sides can play their position well, so you have a lot more trust in people.
“When we saw (the East players) at the banquet, we thought they were pretty big and we didn’t anticipate this score, but speed kills and we hit them with it pretty hard.”
Pellerin said he was surprised to play at linebacker and not defensive back, but embraced the challenge of being slightly undersized for the position. He plans to attend Plymouth State in the fall, but doesn’t plan to play football.
“I thought they’d move me back with the (NHIAA’s) three divisions being combined and my being a little smaller,” Pellerin said. “But I had a lot of fun playing for (linebackers coach Dave Rozumek). He played in the NFL (with Kansas City for four seasons) and he’s a loud, intense guy who’s a lot of fun.”
Pelletier saw limited time at receiver and had a pair of errant passes thrown his way.
Notes: Cavallaro said he expects to play running back or slot receiver in the Shrine game. He said he chose UNH over the University of Maine. … Kleyensteuber, who will study engineering at UNH and doesn’t plan to play football, wore fabric “spats’ around his ankles and the tops of his cleats that were emblazoned with the Superman logo. … Gaudet was a two-way starter for Concord, the undefeated NHIAA Division I champions. He plans to play this fall at East Stroudsburg (Penn.) State. … West quarterback Trevor Knight, a Nashua South product headed to UNH, completed 4-of-14 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Other game participants signed by the Wildcats were Plymouth’s Jared Kuehl and Kyle Reisert. … The dividing lines for the game’s East-West format are Route 3 and Interstate 93, which means players from Nashua, Manchester and Concord are all on the West. … The West won the first annual game, 44-12, and last year’s contest, 13-7. Both of those clashes occurred at UNH’s Cowell Stadium, but it’s being remodeled this summer. … The West didn’t choose a kicker while making out its roster and it showed, as the team missed one conversion kick, had another blocked and was twice denied on attempted two-point conversation passes.
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3227.