Pelham Pythons Football '07

Sat, Nov 17, 2007 12:30 PM @ Pelham
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Playoff Game
Gilford 0 7 7 0 7
Pelham 7 7 0 7 21
Jan Seeger, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Pelham super-fan still searching for missing “Reebok pump”

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Saturday, November, 17 By Hector Longo
Staff writer

Courageous, bordering on crazy.

How else could you describe Pelham High senior Jamie Vaiknoras picking up the school’s flag and doing a victory lap on the Harris Track | right through the Gilford sideline | as time wound down in the Pythons’ 21-7 state championship win?

Perhaps, you could add expensive to the list.

Two-thirds of the way down the Gilford sideline, Vaiknoras was accosted by a pair of rather large, rather zealous Eagles’ fans, who bumped the Pelham hoop/baseball standout around a bit.

Vaiknoras turned the other cheek, probably knowing he was treading in enemy territory, but the confrontation, while painless, was costly.

One of his Reebok Pump hoop sneakers fell off in the mini-fracas and the Gilford fans weren’t in the giving mood.

Vaiknoras hobbled back to Pelham territory for the final minute and the post-game celebration, wearing only the one sneaker.

“Hey, sneakers can be replaced, but a championship is forever,” said the Pelham senior.

As of 30 minutes after the game, the shoe still hadn’t been returned. Hopefully, he’ll get it back by the opening of basketball tryouts, a week from tomorrow.

For now, Vaiknoras at least gained the respect of his fellow athletes.

“He’s the man,” said sophomore halfback Josh Luciano. “But that’s just Jamie.”

Hats off to Pelham Shortly after the final whistle, Pelham assistants Dean Joyce and Kevin Jean broke out championship baseball caps that read “Pelham Football ... State Champions ... 1-0.” Imagine that. Tom Babaian, a coach with deep Belichickian tendencies | “team first, take them one at a time, etc.” | had coaches on his staff come up with championship merchandise before the title game was played.

“I didn’t let them make the hats,” said Babaian. “I would have killed them if I’d have known what they were doing. They told me after the hats were made.”

The hats were a gigantic hit, absolutely sweet lids, but what if, you know …

“Kevin Jean, he had the mindset of going 11-0 all year,” said Bruce Vieira. “If we lost, he said we’d have to burn them. We’d have been in big trouble.”

Sensational Soph. Vieira finished the year with 31 touchdowns and 1,419 yards on 169 carries, but Pelham used the two playoff wins to showcase the talent around him.

And boy did those players on the periphery deliver. Last week, it was quarterback Joe DeAngelo and halfback/linebacker Tyler Gantt leading the way. Yesterday, nobody played bigger than sophomore Josh Luciano, who excelled on both sides of the ball.

The Pythons spotted something early in Gilford’s reactions to Bruce Vieira. That left Luciano some open space, and the sophomore exploited it.

“I didn’t (know how much I’d get the ball) but, when I got it, I ran with it as hard as I could,” said Luciano. “They were keying on Bruce, I got the ball and made some big runs, got a touchdown. It was great.”

That was only half the story. With Vieira roaming the middle on pass defense, Gilford stayed away and instead tried to attack Luciano on the corner. The sophomore was up to the task.

“That’s why I’m out there,” he said. “I like it when they’re coming at me, and I got an interception today.” Luciano did a nice job of stating the obvious as Pelham has a whopping 17 starters back next year.

“Next year, we’ll be even better, we’re coming back with a big bang, even better than this year,” said Luciano. Too much trash talk

Gilford finishes its fifth varsity season in history at 9-2.

The Eagles, playing in their first title game, learned a valuable lesson about the power of the press.

Pelham’s coaching staff traveled upstate to some bulletin board fodder and found plenty in the Laconia newspaper. “All the shots they were taking at us this week, saying how they’d beat us,” said Luciano. “We took it and ran with it.”

Speaking of running with it, did you see the extra hop in Bruce Vieira’s stride?

“Their coach said in the Laconia paper that they shut down Vieira,” said the Python junior, who was held to 16 yards in the regular season meeting. “This time, I came out flying. I had a little bit more edge to me."

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