LACONIA — Laconia High School football coach Craig Kozens said that his players couldn't have been more excited when they took to the new turf field Wednesday for their first practice on the new surface.
''It was like Christmas came early. We've been practicing at New Hampton School and not getting back home until nine o'clock. So it's nice to get back to regular practice schedule'' says Kozens.
The new field at Bank of New Hampshire Stadium will see its first game action this afternoon and evening when the Sachems scrimmage John Stark Regional from Weare, with the junior varsity taking the field at 5 p.m. and the varsity at 7 p.m.
Kozens says there's a lot of excitement about the new field, named for former long-time head coach Jim Fitzgerald, which offers a dramatic new look behind the high school and where the Sachems will open their season on Friday, September 6 when they host Pembroke Academy.
Also new this year is realignment of the divisions on New Hampshire high school football which has cut the number of divisions from six to three and will see Laconia competing in the 20-team Division II.
The new three-division system has basically fused the old Divisions I and II into the new D-I, Divisions III and IV into the new D-II, and Divisions V and VI into the new D-III.
There are four conferences in each division, with the following lineup in Division II, which has 20 teams:
North: Hanover, Kennett, Laconia, Lebanon and Plymouth.
South: John Stark, Milford, Souhegan, Trinity and Windham.
West: Con-Val, Hollis/Brookline, Kearsarge, Monadnock and Sanborn.
Central: Kingswood, Merrimack Valley, Pembroke, Portsmouth and St. Thomas.
Laconia will play the other four teams in the North Conference as well Kingswood, Pembroke and Portsmouth from the Central Conference, Monadnock from the West Conference and Milford from the South Conference.
Eight teams will qualify for the playoffs with the top new teams in each conference meeting in the first playoff round. The four remaining teams will then be seeded using a point system and will meet in the semifinals, with the No. 4 seed playing at the No. 1 seed, and the No. 3 seed playing at the No 2 seed.
Kozens said the new alignment will mean that every game matters and make it much more difficult for teams to advance to the championship game.
He said that both Plymouth and Portsmouth are defending champions under the old format while Trinity of Manchester figures to be one of the top contenders for Division II honors.
Kozens said he's looking for the Sachems to be a competitive team in the division and is hoping to build on the momentum from last year's season in which Laconia won four of its last five games after getting off to an 0-4 start in an injury plagued season.
''We're going to be playing Laconia style football, grinding it out and playing a tough defense. We've got a really hard-working group of players who are growing together as a team.'' says Kozens.
He said that Steven Kemos, an inside linebacker on defense and a fullback on offense, and Efran Nouel, a two-way lineman, are looking good in early scrimmages and that he's pleased with the effort of running backs Jon Pelky and Chris Frontiero as well as lineman Mitchell Bailey.
Adding some power to the running game is Kyle Chaisson, who missed last season and has looked good so far in the pre-season.
Returning as quarterback is junior Matt Swormstedt, who last year completed 22 out of 45 passes for five touchdowns.
Kozens said that Swormstedt, who was only the second sophomore starting quarterback in LHS history, is an intelligent signal caller who knows how to run an offense and adjust to what the defense is doing in front of him.
''It's going to be an exciting season,'' says Kozens, who says that both Plymouth and Portsmouth are defending champions under the old format and, along with Trinity of Manchester, figure to be among the top contenders for Division II honors.
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 08:53
TUCSON, Ariz. — Richard L. Champagne, 72, died at the Tucson Medical Center, on Thursday, August 15, 2013.
Mr. Champagne was born December 4, 1940 in Laconia, N.H., the son of the late Henry J. and Mildred (Ricard) Champagne. He had been a resident of Laconia for many years where he was employed as a molder at Laconia Malleable Iron Co. Inc. He later resided in Florida for a number of years before
moving to Arizona fifteen years ago.
Survivors include two brothers, Henry D. Champagne and his wife, Jean, and Robert E. Champagne and his wife, Shirley, all of Laconia; three sisters, Rita Giguere and her husband, William, of Lakeport; Faye Clark of Belmont and Irene Shirley Bryson of Florida and many nephews and nieces. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a brother, Emile Champagne, and a sister, Betty-Ann (Champagne) Burns.
There will be no calling hours.
Private burial will be in the family lot in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Laconia, N.H.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, N.H. is assisting the family. For more information and to view an online memorial go to www.wilkinsonbeane.com
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
After the previous week's rainout (forth of the season), the Waukewan Ladies League played their August 20 nine-hole round. The ladies demonstrated that drier conditions do contribute to improved scores as 15 of the 46 golfers shot 50 and under. After all the other names were read, Jane Flynn's score of 44 was high-lighted by President Linda Ridlon as the low score of the day. Despite Jane's quiet smile, it was obvious that she was thrilled.
The rest of the story began with Gloria Ferland, Val Langbehn, Jan Pano, Linda Ridlon and Barb Saimond all shooting a 47, an exuberant Sue Connelly shooting a 48, Charlotte Gregory, Gerry McGillicuddy and Brenda Trudeau-49, and Denise Doyle, Laurie Fox, Marcia Ryan, Kathleen Sweeney, and Ellen Vail, all with 50. And speaking of 50, Rose Hansford was the lucky 50/50 drawing winner.
Scorekeepers Kathy Sweeney and Laurie Fox handed Ridlon the names of the other golfers to be recognized. Ridlon noted that there were no "chip-ins" today even though the game of the week was named "Two Low Putts plus Two". This format translated as adding the two low putts of the foursome for each hole, except for the par three's, where three low putts were to be added. With strategy in play for this format, leaving one's ball on the fringe would allow one less "putt" for the putting score and thus more "chip-ins" would be expected. Not the case. The team of Carol Ashton, Val Langbehn, Estelle Smith and Lorrain Rosenblatt accomplished the putting task admirably however, and turned in an impressive total of 30 to win the weekly cash prize.
Rose Hansford was busy adding, "Birdies" to the branches of the Birdie Tree as four golfers scored the one under par number. Gerry McGillicuddy sank a 10 ft. putt on hole 1 for her 3, Barb Saimond sank her putt from 24 ft. away to achieve her 3, and Ellen Vail and Val Langbehn each scored a 2 on the par 3 seventh hole to win their recognition. Val's drive traversed the bunker in front of the green to end up 15 ft. from the pin and Ellen's drive had the same plan in mind, only ended up 3-4 ft. from the pin.
The "contest holes" were all about "long" this week and the two longest drives certainly met that description. Denise Doyle (19 and below handicap division) drove her ball about 200 yds. on hole 6 and Kathy Boselli drove her ball on the 300 yard second hole to a point where she was just a chip shot away from the green. Ellen Vail won the "longest putt" contest on hole 9 with a 19 ft. 1 in. putt that out distanced all the other contestant's putts.
These winners took no time in picking their prize from Carol Ashton's prize table.
The end of the season business was discussed with the upcoming 40th Invitational "Heart of a Woman" taking center stage. Excitement is building for the September 11th event. The New Hampshire American Heart Association will be this year's charity.
Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 07:52
The Gunstock Trail Race Series will be staged over a six week period on Tuesdays (8 a.m.–6 p.m.) and Saturdays (8 a.m.–noon) from Sept. 3 through Oct. 12 at Gunstock Mountain in Gilford, NH. Races (either 5km or 10km) are self-timed. Start and finish lines are located at the Gunstock Nordic Association clubhouse. Weekly results are posted on line and to be eligible for one of the 14 age group awards, a competitor must complete a minimum of four races. The cost for the six race series is $30.00 (adults) and $10.00 (18 and younger). Detailed information about the GTS (including a course map) is available at www.gunstocknordic.com/events/xc-run-series.aspx
Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 07:33
- Wavemakers earn 4th place finish at Granite State Swimming State Championship
- Daniel Wilkins of Laconia finishes 3rd in NEPGA Senior Championship
- Gilmanton School sports practice starts next week
- Over 3,000 Taking Part in 14th Annual Timberman Triathlon
- Low scores for Waukewan Ladies League
- All-American Lacrosse Player Sidney Swormstedt Competes in National Showcase (611 wpix sidneyaction)