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 makes history

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Saturday, November, 17 By Hector Longo
Staff writer

PELHAM, N.H. | For all its explosiveness and flash, the 2007 Pelham High football team will meander into the history books forever thanks to 48 minutes of plain old, nasty, gritty, helmet-smacking defense.

The Pythons, who entered yesterday's Division 5 state title game a perfect 10-0 finished the job in a dream season, stifling second-seeded Gilford, 21-7, before a crowd of about 1,400 at the Harris Family Field. It's the first state football championship for the Pelham program, which began varsity play in 1993.

"Last time we played them, it went back and forth," said Python junior Bruce Vieira of the regular season finale, a 13-12 Python win. "This time, we were loose and made sure. We came in and drove it right down their throat. Our defensive line did an incredible job. We stuffed their run and made them throw. That's what we wanted to do."

Rendered virtually one-dimensional (Pelham held Gilford to 83 yards on 33 carries with only 29 rushing yards in the second half),| the Golden Eagles were repeatedly turned away when it counted.

The Pythons, leading 14-7, turned away the visitors when Josh Luciano picked off a Colby Athanas (13 of 29, 159 yards) pass in the end zone with one second left in the first half.

It was a moment the Pythons wouldn't forget.

"That was the breaking point, a 14-7 lead going into the half | our kids were not going to give that up," said Pelham coach Tom Babaian. "Our kids were determined to keep that lead and we did."

Frenzied when Gilford went to its spread, passing formation, Pelham attacked first and came up with big play after big play.

Senior captain Max Roth had a pair of sacks and 11 tackles on the day, including a key stop for a loss on fourth-and-short, sticking Eagle assassin Eric Dean (15 carries, 42 yards) in the backfield.

Linebacker Wayne Parisi set up the only score of the second half, nailing Dean on a swing pass and stripping him of the football at the Eagles' 2.

A play later, it was Vieira plunging in from the 2, making it 21-7 with 7:05 left.

McColgan, Bill Helliwell, David Wesson and the rest of the Pythons all delivered up front, from the opening snap. Offensively, Pelham did just enough early to get Gilford back-pedaling.

Vieira, who finished the day with 132 yards on 22 carries for 1,419 yards in his junior season, got the party started with a 31-yard dash up the gut on the Pythons' opening possession, a 7-play, 62-yard march.

"Bruce is a special kid," said Babaian. "He proved once and for all that he's the best player in the division. He took the game on his shoulders in the second half and ran away with it."

Luicano had no idea his number would be called so much on offense, but he made the most of it with 61 yards on eight attempts.

His 31-yard TD run in the second quarter, complete with a sweet dive to the pylon, was the Pelham offensive play of the day.

"He was just a game-day decision to put in as a starter," said Babaian. "He stepped up big time. He's only a sophomore. I just had a hunch on how his running style would be against this defense."

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1 Story Comments

0         iheartjack101

I can't describe how proud I am of my boys! They deserve this victory and I can't picture a group of young men more worthy of this achievement. Go Pythons! Vierra- you were amazing!

Report! #1 11/18/2007 05:57 PM