With the Panthers' offense once again in high gear, the opportunity for Keene's advancement may just rest on the defensive shoulders of these Blackbirds.
Nashua South respects Keene's defense as football playoff looms
"He's going to get his," Luopa said of the Panthers quarterback. "You know he's going to get some yardage and find some of those talented receivers for a big gain here and there. The game plan defensively is to limit his big gains through the air and contain him on the ground."
From the completion of their 34 0 shutout of Nashua North on opening night, the rest of Division I knew the Blackbirds defense was the real deal as well.
"We knew we were good coming into the season," he said. "It's what we expected with the group we had returning. We know what we can do as a unit. We go out and execute it the best we can."
Our goal is to put as much speed on the defensive side of the ball as possible."
Two weeks ago, Keene found a way to neutralize that South attack, to a degree. Trevor Knight still had two touchdown passes and ran for another, but that's to be expected according to Blackbirds head coach John Luopa.
The Blackbirds also posted two shutouts (Nashua North and Spaulding) on their way to a 7 2 record and the second seed in the Division I West Conference. kickoff in Saturday's conference title game/tournament quarterfinal against South.
Through nine games this fall, the Blackbirds' best has definitely been good enough to qualify for a playoff spot.
It's worked well this season. Even Keene's first two losses of the season 13 3 to Exeter in Week 2 and 14 12 to Bishop Guertin in Beats Rose Gold Earbuds
"They get after it pretty good," said Knight of a defense that's allowed an average of only 11.9 points per game. "They definitely gave us some problems. We didn't help ourselves either some of the stuff they were doing and we made a lot of critical mistakes in that game."
"What we did was put Alex and Hunter on the outside," Luopa said. "That gave us enough speed at outside linebacker that it allowed us to put Jimmy down at defensive end. It's help our defensive production in so many ways.
than done this season, but Keene found ways to force mistakes that negated some of the big plays. How do they do it?
"We Beats Neon knew coming in that our defense was going to be what it is today," Luopa said. "With nine starters back on defense, we knew we'd be capable of doing good things."
Nashua High School South head coach Scott Knight knows what his vaunted spread offense is up against Saturday. They've already gone head to head with Keene High School's highly respected 3 4 defense and lost.
The Blackbirds fight speed with speed especially on the edges.
Senior tri captains Alex Parenteau, Jimmy Heaney and Hunter Wilkinson are the heart and soul of the Blackbirds defense. They're also fast, strong and always on the ball.
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That 42 28 loss for South on Oct. 25 was the only time Keene allowed more than 19 points in a game.
Following the two low scoring losses to Exeter and BG, Keene bounced back with a 40 0 victory over Spaulding to spark a six game win streak beating Timberlane Regional (27 7), Winnacunnet (30 19), Dover (33 19), South and Alvirne (44 7).
The Panthers' offense has averaged 36.2 points this season, their largest one game total the 51 put on the board in last week's regular season finale win over Winnacunnet (51 28), which locked up the conference's top seed at Ghd Dryer
Looking back over the schedule and results, Parenteau anticipated that his defensive unit would do exactly what that numbers suggest. They shut down some talented offenses.
Week 3 weren't due to defensive issues. That unit has been the Blackbirds stabilizing force all season.
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