October 24, 2008
still in playoff hunt
GOFFSTOWN - The Grizzlies are still growling.
Remarkably, Goffstown High continues to claw for the final Division III playoff spot. The Grizzlies appeared headed for high school football hibernation very early this season.
Yet after a sluggish September (1-3) that included a 1-2 start in league play, Goffstown (3-3 D-III, 3-4 overall) can crash the postseason party with two more triumphs. The Grizzlies must beat Pembroke (2-4, 2-5) tomorrow and defeat contender ConVal of Peterborough (4-2, 5-2) in next week's regular-season finale.
Punching that postseason ticket is completely under Goffstown's control. Help from other teams isn't necessary.
"Early in the season, we knew we weren't playing well," said Goffstown head coach Rob Cathcart, whose squad lost to D-III playoff teams Souhegan of Amherst and Portsmouth, and D-IV Hanover. "Even though it was frustrating to go through the losses, there was always that strong sense of an ability to right the ship."
Goffstown returned just four starters from last year's near-playoff team in Division II "" seniors Allen Finn, Tom Foote, Jamie McGarry and Jim Waller "" which explains those September struggles. The team's new cast needed time to build cohesion, particularly along the offensive line and throughout the defense, Cathcart said.
Linemen Foote, Finn, Mark McCallum, Nick Francoeur and Matt Poisson, and tight ends Dan Seasholtz and Jackson Crosby are providing the push in Goffstown's smash-mouth Straight-T offense, Cathcart said. In turn, Jake Staffiere is finding room to run. The junior running back has five 100-yard rushing games this season.
The Grizzlies opened October punishing a pair of non-playoff teams. Goffstown posted its top single-game point totals in program history with wins over John Stark of Weare (53-14 in Week 5) and Bedford (48-0 in Week 6).
Forcing timely stops on defense also keyed the turnaround. Foote, a four-year starter, has 133 career tackles. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound standout is expected to finish his career as the program's all-time leading tackler, Cathcart said.
"This team could've gone in the wrong direction and pointed fingers "" all the things football players do when things don't go the right way," Cathcart said. "But they kept persevering, looking to the next game. And they're playing well."