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A Rise in the Ranks: Hanover Looks for Increase in Numbers

  • Reed Winter, Hanover High senior football player

  • Hanover High junior football player Alex Mosenthal.

  • Connor Stafford, left, laughs with Hanover High football coach Sam Cavallaro and other players Monday after missing a field goal attempt at the end of the Marauders' practice.

  • Will Chambers participates in a defensive pursuit drill Monday during the Hanover High football team's practice. The senior is slated to play on the Marauders' offensive and defensive lines.

  • Hanover High's Moises Celaya practices punting Monday. Despite a back injury that requires him to wear a brace on his torso for 23 hours per day, the junior plans to kick for the Marauders this season.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/16/2016 11:35:02 PM
Modified: 8/16/2016 11:43:45 PM





Hanover — The prospective player was a good-sized boy with a pleasant demeanor. He was introduced to the Hanover High football team by second-year coach Sam Cavallaro toward the end of Monday’s practice. The boss led a series of loud cheers for the lad, then had him participate in a lighthearted field-goal kicking contest that produced razzing and exaltation in equal measure.



Afterwards, Cavallaro hung around to talk to the young man and his mother. The hard sell, with a liberal dose of the coach’s trademark humor and optimism, was clearly on.



Most notable about the scene? The recruit in question won’t play for the Marauders this season. He’s considering joining the town recreation department’s seventh- and eighth-grade team.



“I’d say we’ve made tremendous progress down there,” said Cavallaro, who’s cheering on the junior-high effort to reach 20 players and stave off cancellation of a second consecutive season. Monday’s prospect would be the lower-level squad’s 15th player if he signs up. Only one player signed up for that team last year.



There’s most definitely a building effort underway with the Marauders, who were 2-6 last season and 1-8 during each of the two campaigns before that. Cavallaro has 42 players out for an NHIAA Division II team that opens Sept. 2 at Laconia, but he estimates half his roster never played the sport before high school and knows long-term success without a consistent feeder program will be a struggle.



“My number-one goal is to not lose a (high school) kid,” said Cavallaro, who saw only two walk away after last season. “We have to have a JV program that’s kind of dynamite and can develop kids faster.”



Cavallaro’s first season at the helm was a bumpy ride. His plans for a hurry-up offense had to be mostly scrapped when injuries thinned the herd and the young Marauders’ lack of physical size and strength was regularly exploited. The silver lining is that Hanover, which had only three seniors a year ago, but a dozen this season, brings back almost every starter and has been industrious in the weight room.



“Coach had it open two times a day, three days a week and we took advantage of it,” senior Glen Enneper said. “There was a lack of experience last year. People wouldn’t know where to line up or what type of block to throw or how to tackle correctly.”



Hanover opened last season with a victory over Kingswood, but reality set in the next week with a 44-0 loss to Kearsarge. The Marauders also beat Pembroke, but their six losses were lopsided and they wound up averaging only 12 points per game while allowing 30 per contest.



“The teams we were physically equivalent to, we beat handily,” said Cavallaro, a Hanover assistant from 2011-14. “The teams that physically outclassed us gave us a tough time. I told our guys they really had to get stronger if they didn’t want to go through that again.”



Cavallaro said his team will once more line up in a wing-T offensive formation, but this year will mostly use it to run the flexbone offense made popular by Navy and Georgia Tech. Also known as a triple option or veer attack, the style forces a defense to guard against a fullback draw, the quarterback running along the line of scrimmage before turning upfield with the ball, or a slot back taking an outside pitch from the quarterback.



Senior Connor Stafford returns at quarterback, although junior Alex Mosenthal and senior Reed Winter are also likely to see snaps at a position that takes a pounding in the flexbone. Mosenthal and Winter will often be the slot backs and junior Caleb Putnam the fullback. Receivers are likely to include juniors Mike Staiger and Elliott Kelly and seniors Avery Monahan and Cam Marshall. Senior newcomer Sam Ives has speed, but has never before played football.



The line returns four senior starters in tackle Schuyler Cyrus, guards Enneper and Alessandro Vecchi and center Will Chambers. Sophomore tackle Robbie Putnam is the newcomer.



Defensively, Hanover’s 4-4 scheme features many of the same linemen as on offense, and Enneper and Winter at linebacker. Also slotted to see time at that position are senior Alan Baker and sophomore Simon Roach. Monahan and junior Calen Thomas are the safeties and Mosenthal and junior Mike Mackall are the likely starters at cornerback.



“We’ll cycle our receivers and defensive linemen on almost every play,” Cavallaro said. “We want to have more than 20 players playing regularly because that’s what’s going to build your program.



“Our goal is to be in the playoffs and there’s no reason that’s impossible with the talent we have.”



Winter and Enneper think their program is rising, regardless of its record.



“Sure, football isn’t the main sport here, but we bring pride to what we do and we’re gong to play hard no matter what,” Winter said. “It’s unfortunate there might not be a junior high program, but we’ll do it with the guys we have. We didn’t do very well last year but I had an awesome time and I know me and my teammates improved.”



Said Enneper: “It’s so fun, that’s what keeps me coming back. Wins and losses are only numbers, but the memories that you make on the field with your brothers are forever.”




Notes: Dom Linehan, last year’s starting quarterback and free safety before injuries sidelined him, attended Monday’s practice and said he’ll spend the next year touring Europe with a friend before deciding where to attend college. … Hanover is 15-38 the last six seasons. … Former Marauders head coach Mike Ivanoski, who stepped down following his 20th season in 2014, has returned as the defensive coordinator. … Hanover will again host a preseason jamboree, this time at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23. Woodstock, Hartford, Kearsarge, Burr & Burton, Newport and Newfound will attend. … Dakota Hanchett won an event at a summer linemen’s challenge in Manchester. The sophomore had the fastest time for flipping a truck tire 20 yards. … Cavallaro said Cyrus, a 6-foot-3 behemoth who weighs in the neighborhood of 330 pounds, has attracted recruiting interest from the University of Richmond (Va.), the 2008 NCAA Football Championship Series national champion and a semifinalist last season. … Cavallaro’s sons, Shawn and Jack, are on the football roster at New Hampshire, which visits Dartmouth for the Big Green’s season opener on Sept. 17. Shawn is a redshirt sophomore and a reserve running back and Jack is a freshman tight end who played at Milford (N.Y.) Academy last season.



Tris Wykes can be reached at or 603-727-3227.

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