HAMPTON — Last year the Winnacunnet High School football team parlayed a win in Under Armour Northeast 7-on-7 North Regional into a Division I championship, so as this year’s passing tournament approaches, the Warriors are excited to see where they stack up with some new pieces in place.
Offensive coordinator Ryan Francoeur feels tournament is an opportunity to practice some scenarios to prepare for the upcoming season, but more than anything, it is a chance to get the team together and competing during the offseason.
“Every year we usually focus on situational stuff,” Francoeur said. “It’s not the typical kind of offense we run, but it’s more like our two-minute offense. Last year it paid off for us in a couple games where we had to come back late.”
The tournament will be held on Saturday at Exeter High School, starting at 10 a.m.
“This will also be good for us defensively,” Francoeur said. “We will mostly be working on coverages. We have a lot of guys in the roles they were in last year, and this will give us a chance to see how we do in certain situations. Offensively, we have a new quarterback, but we also have three guys who can’t come due to a lacrosse commitment. That’s a good thing, though. It gives us a chance to see some of the younger guys and see how they do in these situations.”
Francoeur has high hopes for new quarterback Joe Larosa, who has waited patiently for this opportunity to lead the team.
“He’s been a heck of a back-up and he has waited and waited for this opportunity,” Francoeur said. “I look forward to seeing what he can do.”
Francoeur said that last season there weren’t many times when the team needed to draw on its 7-on-7 tournament experience, but that it did come in handy on at least two occasions.
“We were 4-0 and were playing Goffstown, and we were able to come down and score with 12 seconds left,” he said. “Then in our quarterfinal game with Bedford we were able to get the game-tying score to send it to overtime.”
Francoeur doesn’t think that success in this passing tournament is a guaranteed precursor to success in the regular season, but he said it can set the tone for a team. For instance, last year’s team came together during the summer and showed the players wanted to win every time they stepped on a field.
“That was the biggest thing about that team last year,” he said. “They truly believed they were going to win every time they competed.”