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NHIAA announces pairings for unusual football postseason

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/26/2020 8:54:06 PM
Modified: 10/27/2020 11:18:38 AM

The NHIAA has announced pairings for its four-division postseason football tournaments and finalized game times.

Unlike all other postseason play under the NHIAA’s guidance this fall, the matchups announced on Sunday were set up by record, and some teams had to compete in play-in games this past weekend just to qualify for the playoffs.

The NHIAA is still using regional brackets to minimize travel in the opening rounds.

Here’s a preview of the three games Upper Valley teams will play this weekend with finalized kickoff times:

D-II Preliminary Round:Hanover (4-1) at Lebanon (4-0)

Saturday, 4 p.m.: The Raiders will host their archrival barely a week after they cruised to a 41-0 win over Hanover at Merriman-Branch Field. This time around, they get the chance to host with more than just bragging rights on the line.

The Marauders will have to make some adjustments on offense to get some momentum to their rushing attack — led by Seamus Murphy and Ben Williams — because they’ll be trying to score on a Lebanon defense that hasn’t surrendered a point to an opposing offense since the first half of its season opener.

Lebanon made it all the way to the D-III title game a year ago before falling to Trinity, and that postseason experience may prove helpful come Saturday.

Hanover coach Sam Cavallaro thinks his team just wasn’t ready last Friday to play at Lebanon’s speed, saying that the Raiders didn’t hesitate when making decisions on the field.

Cavallaro believes a solid week of preparation can get the Marauders up to speed.

“We’re excited that we got them,” the sixth-year coach said. “I think there’s a lot of things that we can do differently and better if you go across our scheme — offense, defense and special teams.

“To be honest, the fact that we just get another game is awesome.”

D-III Quarterfinals:Laconia (0-4) at Stevens (1-3)

Saturday, 1 p.m.: The Cardinals turned the ball over four times in their loss to Newport in the regular season finale, and coach Paul Silva knows that can’t happen again when Laconia rolls into town.

He also knows that although the Sachems are winless, their spread offense was without starting quarterback Karter Greenwood for two games.

“People might make the assumption they’re not good, but it’s quite the opposite,” said Silva, who led his team to a championship in 2016. “The teams they’ve played have won 12 total games in a shortened season; they’ve played some very good competition. I think our offense can move the ball against anybody if we execute, but we can’t turn the ball over and think we have a chance to win the game.”

D-IV Quarterfinals:Mascoma (1-3) at Newport (4-1)

Saturday, 1 p.m.: The Tigers rolled the Royals in the season opener for both teams back on Sept. 26, a 53-10 victory at Mascoma.

“I feel after the last two games that we are playing our best football, forcing a lot of turnovers,” Newport coach John Proper said. “They’re going to have a different gameplan. You can’t judge a team off the first game of the season.”

Mascoma gets the tall task of stopping a Tigers offense that has outscored opponents 199-37 in five games. Newport made the move from D-III to D-IV this season.

“They’re very fast off of the ball and their offensive line is huge,” said Royals coach Kyle Colburn, who picked up his first playoff win as a head coach against Newfound last weekend. “They do everything very well. It’s going to be tough one.”

Pete Nakos can be reached at

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