Football is a popular sport in New Hampshire, with many high schools and colleges having their own teams. For those who are new to the state or to the sport, it can be overwhelming to navigate the various leagues, teams, and schedules. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of football in New Hampshire, including information about the different levels of play, key teams and players, and important dates to keep in mind.
One of the most popular levels of football in New Hampshire is high school football. Many schools throughout the state have their own teams, and the competition can be fierce. In addition to regular season games, there are also playoffs and championship games to look forward to. For those who are interested in following high school football in New Hampshire, this guide will provide information about the top teams and players to watch, as well as important dates for upcoming games and events.
College football is also a major part of the sports scene in New Hampshire. The University of New Hampshire has a strong football program, with a dedicated fan base and a long history of success. In addition, there are several other colleges and universities throughout the state that have their own football teams. This guide will provide information about the different college football programs in New Hampshire, as well as key players and upcoming games to watch.
History of Football in New Hampshire
Football has a long and storied history in the state of New Hampshire. The first formal head coach for the University of New Hampshire football program was John Scannell, who led the team during the 1902 season. Since then, the Wildcats have become a staple of college football in the state, with a devoted fan base and a strong tradition of excellence.
Outside of the college ranks, New Hampshire also has a rich history of high school football. The first high school football game in the state was played in 1875 between Manchester Central High School and Pinkerton Academy. Today, high school football remains incredibly popular throughout the state, with many teams boasting passionate fan bases and competitive programs.
In recent years, New Hampshire has also become a hub for semi-professional and amateur football leagues. The New Hampshire Wolfpack, for example, is a semi-professional team based in Manchester that competes in the New England Football League. Additionally, the Granite State Destroyers are a women’s tackle football team based in Concord that competes in the Women’s Football Alliance.
High School Football in New Hampshire
New Hampshire has a rich tradition of high school football, with over 70 schools competing across four divisions. The season typically runs from late August to early November, with playoffs following the regular season.
Top High School Teams
Bedford High School has been a dominant force in New Hampshire high school football in recent years, winning three Division I championships in a row from 2019-2021. Other top teams include Londonderry High School, Exeter High School, and Salem High School.
Each year, MaxPreps ranks the top football teams in each state based on their performance during the season. In 2022, Wayzata and Jesuit held commanding leads in their respective states, while Bedford and Londonderry represented New Hampshire in the national rankings.
Championships and Awards
The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) organizes and oversees high school football in the state. The NHIAA recognizes four divisions, with the top teams competing in the playoffs for a chance to win the state championship.
Individual players can also earn recognition for their performance on the field. The NHIAA selects All-State teams for offense and defense, as well as recognizing a Player of the Year for each division. The New Hampshire Football Report also releases its own All-State teams and other awards.
Overall, high school football in New Hampshire is a competitive and exciting sport that draws passionate fans from across the state.
College Football in New Hampshire
New Hampshire is home to several colleges and universities, many of which have football teams. The state has a mix of Division I, II, and III teams that compete in different conferences.
Division I Teams
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats are the only Division I football team in the state. They compete in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and have had success in the past, including multiple playoff appearances and conference championships. The Wildcats play their home games at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, NH.
Division II and III Teams
New Hampshire has several Division II and III football teams that compete in different conferences. Some of these teams include:
- Plymouth State University Panthers
- Dartmouth College Big Green
- Saint Anselm College Hawks
- Colby-Sawyer College Chargers
- University of New England Nor’easters
The Plymouth State Panthers play in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) and have had success in the past, including conference championships. The Dartmouth Big Green compete in the Ivy League and have a long-standing rivalry with the Harvard Crimson. The Saint Anselm Hawks play in the Northeast-10 Conference and have had success in recent years, including a playoff appearance in 2018. The Colby-Sawyer Chargers play in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), and the University of New England Nor’easters play in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).
Overall, college football in New Hampshire offers a range of options for fans to enjoy. Whether you prefer Division I, II, or III football, there is a team to support in the Granite State.
Professional Football in New Hampshire
New Hampshire is home to one professional football team, the New Hampshire Brigade. The Brigade is a member of the American Arena League (AAL), which is a professional indoor football league. The team was founded in 2018 and has been playing its home games at the Southern New Hampshire University Arena in Manchester, NH.
New Hampshire Brigade
The New Hampshire Brigade has had a short but successful history in the AAL. In their inaugural season in 2019, they finished with a record of 6-4 and made it to the playoffs. They were eliminated in the first round by the Carolina Energy. In 2020, the Brigade finished with a record of 7-3 and made it to the semifinals, where they were eliminated by the West Virginia Roughriders.
The Brigade has a strong fan base and a dedicated ownership group. The team is owned by New Hampshire businessman and philanthropist Dean Kamen, who is best known for inventing the Segway. Kamen is committed to bringing professional sports to New Hampshire and has invested heavily in the Brigade.
The Brigade has also been active in the community, partnering with local charities and organizations to give back to the community. They have held events to benefit organizations such as the New Hampshire Food Bank, the American Red Cross, and the Special Olympics of New Hampshire.
Football Facilities in New Hampshire
Stadiums and Arenas
Football is a popular sport in New Hampshire, and the state has several stadiums and arenas that host football games. One of the most popular stadiums is the Wildcat Stadium, located in Durham, New Hampshire. It is the home stadium for the University of New Hampshire football team and can accommodate up to 11,015 spectators. The stadium was opened in 2016 and features a state-of-the-art press box, comfortable seats, and a high-definition video board.
Another popular stadium is the Gill Stadium, located in Manchester, New Hampshire. It is the oldest stadium in the state and can accommodate up to 5,000 spectators. The stadium is home to several high school football teams and has hosted many football games over the years.
In addition to stadiums and arenas, New Hampshire also has several training facilities for football players. One of the most popular training facilities is the NH Sportsplex, located in Bedford, New Hampshire. It offers over 130,000 sq. ft. of indoor playing surface, where athletes can compete, practice, and train. The facility has several fields for football players, as well as weight rooms and other training equipment.
Another popular training facility is the Seacoast United Sports Complex, located in Epping, New Hampshire. It offers several indoor and outdoor fields for football players, as well as a fitness center and other training equipment. The facility is open to athletes of all ages and skill levels and offers training programs and camps throughout the year.
Overall, New Hampshire has several football facilities that cater to athletes of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a high school player or a professional athlete, there are plenty of options for training and playing football in the state.
Football Culture in New Hampshire
New Hampshire has a passionate football fan base that supports both high school and college football teams. The state is home to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, who play in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The Wildcats’ home games at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire, draw large crowds of enthusiastic fans. High school football is also popular in New Hampshire, with many schools fielding competitive teams. The state has a rich tradition of high school football, and games often draw large crowds of students, parents, and community members.
Tailgating is a popular tradition in New Hampshire, with fans gathering in parking lots before games to grill food, drink beer, and socialize. At UNH football games, tailgating is a major part of the game-day experience. Fans set up tents and grills in the parking lot and spend hours before the game socializing and getting ready for kickoff.
High school football games also feature tailgating, although on a smaller scale. Parents and community members often bring food and drinks to share before the game, creating a festive atmosphere.
Football in New Hampshire is a beloved sport that brings communities together. From high school games to college matchups, there is no shortage of opportunities to catch a game and cheer on the local teams.
Throughout the state, there are numerous football programs that offer a range of experiences for players and fans alike. Whether you’re looking for a competitive team to join or just want to watch some exciting games, there is something for everyone.
While the sport of football has faced some challenges in recent years, with concerns over safety and the future of certain programs, it remains a staple of the New Hampshire sports scene. With dedicated coaches, talented players, and passionate fans, football is sure to continue to thrive in the Granite State.