The 2016 Londonderry High football team had a number of reasons to be pleased with the play of its defense throughout the campaign. But the offense was another story for a Lancer contingent which won just two of its nine contests and failed to make the Division I playoffs.
Coach Jimmy Lauzon’s LHS grid crew then got whacked by graduation on both sides of the ball, with key players like monster defender Zach Garside and key offensive pieces like Jake Stevens and Cam MacDonald receiving diplomas and moving on to college football.
But lessons learned during their nine games of 2016 still stand out strong in the memories of Lauzon and his returning assistants, and it’s safe to say that an emphasis is being put on distinct parts of the game with the 2017 crew.
“We will have to take care of the ball better than we did last season,” said Lauzon, a former Manchester West quarterback who graduated from football-less New England College in Henniker before returning to the game in coaching. “Our defense played well just about every week last season, but our offense continuously put them in bad situations by turning the football over. We also need to get back to being able to run the ball well. We will be young for the most part, but if offensively we take care of the ball and are more balanced and we continue to play good defense, we will be in games.”
The team’s key returnees from last fall are seniors Adam Wilkinson (a wide receiver and defensive back), Connor Dubois (running back and DB), Jack Connors (WR/ linebacker), Ben Johnson (quarterback/RB/DB), and Mike McAlister (QB/ DB/punter), and juniors Jake Holland (RB/DB) and Pat Hagearty (lineman).
Other senior varsity returnees include Pat Zepf (tight end/WR/defensive end/kicker), Jake Dionne (captain and RB/ LB), Shane MacEachern (RB/ DB), Josh Yancey (lineman), Alex Boucher (LB), Matt Furlong (TE/DE), and Dylan Walsh (WR/ DB).
Returning juniors who are expected to play significant roles include Jack Ogden (offensive lineman/ LB), Ben Psaledas (OL/LB), Ty Belville (OL/ LB), Tim Bajek (OL/LB), Nate Gehris (OL/LB), Evan Cormier (QB/DB), Josh Berube (OL/DL), Zack Chau (DB/RB), Cam Storace (RB/LB), and Brendan Bedell (lineman).
The list of the promising newcomers includes a number of sophomores who are expected to have an impact, and that bunch includes Jeff Wiedenfeld (RB/DB), Cole Keegan (WR/DB), Alex Tsetsilas (WR/DB), Cooper Bartlett (OL/LB), Blaine Hopkins (OL/DL), Ty Kayo (RB/ LB), and Mike Watts (OL/DL).
Incoming sophomores who may have an impact include Jake McEachern (QB/DB), Matt Jones (SB/ DB), and Cam Babine (lineman).
Lauzon, whose squad opens its campaign Saturday night, September 2, against Bishop Guertin in Nashua, doesn’t think his crew will have anything like an “easy” game this autumn.
“Every team in our division is good. There are no easy weeks on our schedule,” said the coach.