Lancer, Astro Gridders Teaming Up in 2017 East-West Contest

The storied, vibrant, and historic rivalry between all of the sports teams from Londonderry High School and Pinkerton Academy is a long and intense one which always draws attention and crowds.

And it’s also certainly a special thing when athletes from the two local schools get to work together for a cause.

That will be the case once again this Friday evening, June 30, when recently-graduated Londonderry High and Pinkerton football players don the same uniforms and work together in an effort to get the New Hampshire East team a third consecutive victory in the sixth annual CHaD NH East-West High School All-Star Football Game at Saint Anselm College.

Former Londonderry Lancer gridders Jake Stevens, Peter Navarro, and Zac Garside and Pinkerton Astros Nico Buccieri and Austin Fields will be on the same side as they aim to help the East contingent even the annual series at 3-3 with a victory.

The West gridders won the first three games in 2012, 2013, and 2014, but the East crews snagged victories of 29-15 in 2015 and 28-14 last June in making the series tally 3-2 to date.

The East team will be coached by Laconia High School head man Craig Kozens, and his assistants will include Londonderry High head coach Jimmy Lauzon. The West crew will be directed by former longtime Manchester Central head football coach Jim Schubert.

The game is a major fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, better known to many folks in the Granite State as CHaD, with the major effort having raised some $1.3 million in the first five years.

The intrastate game features the two, 40-member squads which were selected from nominations taken from head football coaches during the previous fall.

To be eligible for nomination, an athlete must compete for a New Hampshire high school football program recognized by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA). Each NHIAA division is represented by at least one athlete, and each school may not have more than five athletes selected as all-stars. The teams are divided based on geographic location into an East squad and a West squad; routes 3 and I-93 serve as the dividing line.

The teams began their practices last Friday, June 23, with Team East at Manchester Memorial High School and Team West at Manchester West High.

Kick-off for the contest is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday night, and tickets are $10 each.

The CHaD all-star gridders enjoyed a real treat during their training sessions in the form of a visit from Londonderry High graduate and Houston Texans’ standout tight end Ryan Griffin.

After graduating from LHS the 6-foot-6, 265-pound football star went on to a superb college career at the University of Connecticut before being drafted by the Texans in 2013. The four-year NFL veteran had a career year in 2016.

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