Tag: Farmington

Littleton survives Farmington, advances to D-IV title game

By: KJ Cardinal

Top-seeded Littleton escaped the semifinal round with a 42-36 victory over #4 Farmington on Tuesday night at Bedford High School.

The Crusaders improve to 21-0 on the season and will face #3 Newmarket for the NHIAA Division IV State Championship on Saturday at 1:00 pm.

This one felt more like a football game at times than a basketball game. A combined 40 fouls were whistled and 42 free throws were attempted. Both teams were plagued by foul trouble for most of the night and in the end clutch free throws by Littleton 8th-grader Leah Poulton sealed the victory.

While Poulton was 4-5 from the charity stripe in the 4th, neither team shot the ball particularly well from the line as Farmington was just 9-for-17 (52.9%) and Littleton 13-for-25 (52.0%).

The unbeaten Crusaders led 11-8 after the first quarter of play, but were just 3-for-9 from the line in the opening stanza. Farmington struggled to handle the Littleton press in the 1st half and the Crusaders won the 2nd quarter, 14-9, taking a 25-17 lead to the break.

Littleton opened the 3rd quarter with a quick 4-0 burst to push its lead to 12. Sophomore Anna Cardinal netted six-straight points for the Tigers to cut the Crusader lead to 8, 33-25, heading to the 4th quarter.

The two battled in a physical final frame that featured 17 free throws combined. A three-pointer by Farmington freshman Zoey Johnson with 3:16 left on the clock cut the Littleton lead to five, 35-30, but the Tigers would get no closer.

The Crusaders were led by a game-high 14 points from Poulton and 8 from Addison Pilgrim, while Addison Hadlock was limited for most of the night due to foul trouble and scored just four points. Farmington was paced by 10 points from Madi Ricker, 9 from Zoey Johnson and 8 from Cardinal.

Check out the full photo gallery of the action by Jill Stevens…

Check out another gallery by Jeff Criss of Perfect Photos…

Profile wins defensive battle, advances to title game

By: KJ Cardinal

Top-seeded Profile defeated #4 Farmington, 49-34, in a defensive battle in the semifinals of the NHIAA Division IV State Tournament on Monday night at Bedford High School.

Both teams held each other to their second-lowest scoring output of the season as Profile advances to the title game and will take on #2 Littleton on Saturday at Colby Sawyer College in New London at 3:00 PM.

Farmington jumped out to a 7-4 lead and looked poised in the opening quarter. A Danny Burnell three-point as time expired in the 1st gave Profile a 10-9 lead after one. The Tigers were held to just five 2nd-quarter points and the Patriots took a 22-14 lead to the break.

Profile kept at least an 8-point cushion for nearly the entire second half and pulled away to the 15-point win.

The Tigers held Josh Robie, the division’s leading scorer (26 PPG), to just 13 points, while Alex Leslie paced the Patriots with a game-high 17 points. Farmington was led by 15 points from Demery Hadges and 9 from Shawn Murphy.

Check out the full photo gallery by Jill Stevens…

Check out the full photo gallery by Jeff Criss of Perfect Photos…

Check out the full photo gallery by Betsy Hansen…

Check out another gallery by Chris Laclair of Chris Clicks Photography…

Farmington wins OT thriller, punches ticket to semis

Fourth-seeded Farmington is headed back to the state semifinals for the first time since 1989 and the third time in program history as the Tigers survived an overtime thriller versus #5 Woodsville, 55-47, on Friday night in quarterfinal action of the Division IV state tournament.

Farmington advances to the semifinals to take on undefeated top seed Littleton on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm at Bedford High School.

The Tigers came ready to play as they jumped out to a 12-7 lead after one quarter of action and later led 22-16 at the half. Sophomore Anna Cardinal poured in eight points in the 3rd quarter alone, including 2 threes, for Farmington as the home team took a 34-29 lead to the 4th.

The Engineers weren’t done, however. Woodsville would erase an 8-point deficit, 39-31, to force overtime at 45-45.

The four-minute overtime frame to determine a trip to the final four belonged to the Tigers. Farmington outscored the Engineers, 10-2, in the extra session to come away with the big win in front of a packed crowd. The Tigers were just 10-22 (45.5%) from the free throw line in regulation, but went 4-6 in OT to help secure the win.

Madi Ricker led the Tigers with 15 points, while Cardinal (14), Shaylee DiPrizio (13) and Zoey Johnson (9) were all key contributors as well. Woodsville was paced by a game-high 17 points from Makayla Walker and 14 from Paige Royer.

Check out the photo gallery by Jill Stevens…

Farmington advances to first semifinal in 23 years

For the first time since 2001, Farmington is headed back to the semifinals of the NHIAA state tournament. The #4 Tigers defeated #5 Holy Family, 61-53, in the quarterfinal round on Thursday night in Farmington.

The Tigers advance to the semifinals and will take on undefeated top-seed Profile on Monday night at Bedford High School at 7:30 pm.

Farmington came out firing as the Tigers poured in 20 1st-quarter points and held a seven-point lead after one. Holy Family battled back to cut the lead to three at the half, 32-29.

It was a tightly contested 3rd quarter and Farmington took a four-point lead to the final frame. In the 4th, the Tigers pumped in 19 points to come away with the eight-point victory.

FHS was led by a balanced offensive attack. Demery Hadges (16 points), Cody Brazee (11) and Preston Berko (10) all had double-digits, while Shawn Murphy and Aiden Place added 9. Dylan Zappala rounded out the scoring with 6. The Griffins were led by 23 points apiece from Gabe Lacasse and Enzo Yonkeu.

Check out the full photo gallery by KJ Cardinal…

Farmington downs Pittsburg-Canaan

Behind 19 points from 8th grader Shaylee DiPrizio, #4 Farmington defeated #13 Pittsburg-Canaan, 56-50, in first round action of the NHIAA Division IV Girls Basketball State Tournament on Tuesday night.

The Tigers advance to the quarterfinals and will take on #5 Woodsville on Friday at 7:00 pm.

Farmington held the Yellow Jackets to just five 1st-quarter points and led 10-5 after one. Saidy Placey pumped in three 3-pointers and 11 total points in the second for Pittsburg-Canaan to cut the Tiger lead to two at the half, 27-25.

The 3rd quarter belonged to the Tigers and DiPrizio as she poured in nine points to help give FHS a 44-37 lead heading to the final stanza. The seven-point bulge proved to the difference.

For the game, Pittsburg-Canaan managed to get to the free throw line 26 times, but connected on just 15 of the freebies (57.7%).

Zoey Johnson (12) and Madi Ricker (10) also added double-digits for the Tigers, while Anna Cardinal chipped in with 8 points.

Placey led all scorers with 22 points for the Yellow Jackets and Alyvia Jaimes added 10.

Check out the full photo gallery of the action by Heidi Green of Heidi Green Photography…

Fourth-quarter flurry leads Farmington past Colebrook

No. 4 Farmington trailed by 10 entering the final frame, before unleashing a 22-6 4th-quarter run to end the game and come away with a 56-50 win over #13 Colebrook on Monday night.

Check out the highlights…

[🔥🎥 KJ Cardinal]

With the win, the Tigers advance to the quarterfinal round where they will take on #5 Holy Family on Thursday.

The Mohawks’ Jackson Weir connected on a three at the buzzer to end the first half and tie the game at 26-26. Colebrook rode that momentum into the second half as they outscored the Tigers, 18-8, in the third and took a 10-point lead to the 4th.

Farmington seemed to be on the ropes, but the Tigers responded with an 8-0 run to start the 4th. Noah Elwell connected on a three to get the rally started, followed by a Preston Berko three-point play.

Dylan Zappala put the Tigers ahead for good with a lay up to make it 49-48 with 1:42 left to play. Shawn Murphy netted 8 in the quarter, including making 3 of 4 free throws to put the game on ice.

Aiden Place and Murphy paced Farmington with 12 points apiece, while Zappala added 10. Colebrook was led by Kolten Dowse (16), Jackson Weir (15) and Keenan Hurlbert (14).

Check out the full photo gallery by Heidi Green of Heidi Green Photography…

Farmington downs Franklin, ends regular season 15-3

Farmington held Franklin to just two 2nd-quarter points and then poured in 23 points in the 3rd to roll to a 57-38 victory on Friday night.

The Tigers were led by 14 points from Shawn Murphy and 11 from Demery Hadges. Zeke McCoy led all scorers with 19 points for the Golden Tornadoes.

Farmington finishes the regular-season with a 15-3 record and currently sits 4th in the Division IV standings. Franklin snaps its three-game win streak and falls to 11-6.

Check out the full photo gallery by KJ Cardinal…

Fast start fuels Farmington past Franklin

Farmington poured in 22 first-quarter points and ran past Franklin, 53-32, on Friday night.

The Tigers led 33-22 at the break and then held the Golden Tornadoes to just two 3rd-quarter points to blow the game open.

Farmington was led by a game-high 19 points from Madi Ricker, while Kourtney Kaplan paced Franklin with 18.

With the win, the Tigers close out the regular season with a 13-5 mark and currently sits in fifth place in the Division IV standings. The Golden Tornadoes fall to 10-7 and end their regular season on Tuesday versus Holy Family.

Check out the full gallery of the action by KJ Cardinal…

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT: Hoop titles still cause a stir (part 2)

(The last in a 2-part series. Read Part 1)

By Mike Whaley


As Coach Mike Lee noted, the addition of Mike Funk and Carl Whitten completed the formula. Funk was a big, strong kid, who could rebound, handle the ball and shoot. “He was tenacious,” Lee said. “He wasn’t afraid.”

Lee described Whitten as a flat out athlete. “He could run forever at clock speed. He could handle the ball. He could shoot with both hands,” the coach said. “He was an outstanding defender.”

It was a reunion of players who had played together growing up, even Casey Howard who was the eldest. “I grew up with those kids and hung out with them,” Howard said. “We have played together since we were eight years old. We played all the time on Water Street – a hoop on Steve Mosher’s barn. We were in the 500 Club. We played right through.”

Paul Boulay was a teammate of Funk’s in the 500, and remembers epic battles with Howard when they were 11. “It was like Walton and Russell,” he recalled. “He’d score 40 and I’d score 35. My coach was Hattie (Danny Reynolds). ‘Pass the effing ball, Boulay. Good job, play some defense.’”

Boulay would counter with “Casey’s scoring every time, coach. I’ve got to score, too.” It was an eye-opening experience to have coaches like the Moultons and the Reynolds, who pushed you and held you accountable at an early age. 

Mosher recalls in junior high playing a game in Alton with coach Lee officiating. “He said this is the team that could put up a banner.”

Coach Mike Lee gets a victory ride from Mike Funk and Steve Mosher after Farmington HS won the 1984 Class M hoop championship in Plymouth over Conant. [Foster’s Daily Democrat file photo]

They were about to find out.

The Tigers sliced through their competition, winning all three tournament games by an average of 19 points. In each game, Farmington used third-quarter surges to take control.

The quarterfinal match was with Winnsiquam, coached by Farmington-native Walt Garland and starring Tim Nash, a dangerous scorer. Nash had set a tournament record (that still stands) by making 23 foul shots in a first-round win.

The Tigers led 34-25 at the half, but used a predictable third-quarter burst to widen the margin to 52-36 en route to a 68-49 win. Howard led the way with 25 points, while Funk, Whitten and Tim Mucher had 10 apiece.

“ML was friendly with Butch Garland,” Mucher recalled. “I knew the Garlands. They lived right down the street. Not that we had to give that extra effort, but you didn’t want to lose to your friend. I think that got the ball rolling.”

In the semis, they took on Mascoma, a bigger team that Howard said was supposed to stay with the Tigers. Farmington led 37-25 at the break, and put the game away with another third-quarter run to go up 57-39. They won, 77-61, led by Howard’s 32 points, 18 from Whitten and 11 from Funk.

“Casey was Casey,” said Funk. “I’d put him up against anybody, I don’t care who they were. I’d put him up against anybody in the state. … We had tunnel vision. All we were thinking is we had a couple of speed bumps and we’re in the finals.”

While this team had speed and quickness that could run teams off the floor, it also had Howard if they were forced to play a halfcourt game. “I didn’t do any ball handling or outside shooting,” Howard said. “I didn’t do any of that. I just rebounded. The more they shot, the more points I got. If you miss it, I’m going to get it. That’s basically how I played.”

Conant was next in the championship. The stage was set.

It was a dream matchup between the two best teams in the class. Plymouth State’s Foley Gymnasium was packed as both sides were filled with fans from the respective towns with similar team colors – a sea of black and orange undulated from top to bottom and side to side.

“I remember coming out on the court for warmups, I had goosebumps. There were so many people,” Funk said. “It was so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think.”

Mosher remembers one thing that happened during the pregame. One of the Conant players liked to shake everyone’s hand to psyche himself up. “If you look back at the film, a lot of us didn’t shake his hand. It kind of threw him off.”

Because they were playing on a bigger college court at Plymouth, the Tigers abandoned their full court press after the quarters. Lee knew the press could stifle teams on the smaller confines of the Farmington gym, but not so in Plymouth. The Tigers prepped for the bigger floor, noted Mosher, pushing in the bleachers in Farmington so they could match the width of the Plymouth court.

One big change the Tigers made was learning a 1-3-1 matchup zone defense that they had not used all season. “Our goal was to have them step out three feet beyond where they liked to be,” Lee said. “That was our No. 1 goal.”

Tim Mucher pulls up for a jumper versus Conant in the 1984 title game. [Courtesy photo]

Because Howard had played so well in the first two playoff games (57 points), Conant focused their defense on him. It was a mistake. The Tigers were able to play more of a full court game. “Tim Mucher and Steve and Carl ran right through Conant,” Lee said. “They didn’t have a guard that could play with our guards. That’s what it really came down to.”

One thing that grated Mucher was when Conant scored, their players would wag their fingers like they were No. 1. “I think they were a little cocky, always holding their fingers up,” he said. “We used to say you’re not No. 1 until you cut the nets down.”

Howard scored just seven points, but that opened things up for Funk. He took advantage of the extra attention paid to Howard to score a game-high 30 points. Whitten added 21. The Tigers led 31-26 at the half, but yet another big third quarter (19-9), sparked by 15 Funk points, gave them all the breathing room they needed going into the fourth quarter up 15, 50-35. “We were pretty famous for coming out strong in the second half all season,” Funk said. “During the season teams that could hang with us in the first half – Newmarket, St. Thomas – we’d come out in the second half and put up 30 points. The next thing you know we’ve demoralized them. They’re giving up.”

Tim Mucher stood on the rim in celebration of the 1984 Class M State Championship [Courtesy photo]

The final score was 76-54 in the Tigers’ favor. A championship envisioned by many of the players in junior high was a reality – the first since the legendary 1970 team won the school’s inaugural crown. To celebrate, Mucher climbed up on one rim, stood up and exalted. He claimed he got the idea from Reggie Lewis. When the late Boston Celtics star was in college, he had climbed up and sat on the rim after Northeastern won the North Atlantic Conference playoff championship. Mucher was actually a trendsetter and possibly clairvoyant. Lewis became famous for that rim-seating celebration two years later in 1986, 

Mucher thought to himself at the time, “no way am I sitting. I’m standing on the thing.” He can also remember, laughing, tournament director Peter Cofran pleading over the public address system, “Please show some class Farmington and get off the rim.”

Afterwards, the town showed its appreciation. Funk remembers the bus getting to the Alton Traffic Circle where carloads of fans began to be seen along the road to Farmington. “The horns started blaring,” Funk said. “People were saying ‘look out the window, look out the window.’”

Funk said at first the cars were sporadic along the side of Route 11, but after the first quarter mile it was constant all the way to Farmington. “They were holding up signs, laying on their horns,” he said. “It  was a slow bus ride.”

The bus slowly rolling down Central Street, recalled Funk. People came out of their houses and were flashing their porch lights. “We got to the high school,” Funk said. “Talk about standing room only. We went in there and it was just a madhouse. People shaking your hand.”

Funk remembers all the free pizza from Vinnie’s Pizza, but one thing that still resonates is looking out at the crowd and seeing men like Paul Moulton and Danny Reynolds, who had coached them all growing up. “I was so glad I could get a chance to say thanks to Paul Moulton and Danny Reynolds from that great 1970 team.”


Somersworth guard Kyle Hodsdon, right, handles the ball against Pembroke Academy in the 1984 Class I championship in Durham. [Foster’s Daily Democrat photo]
Somersworth forward Steve Cartier, left, looks to outlet the ball. [Foster’s Daily Democrat photo]

Somersworth felt pretty good about itself going into the tournament. The past was the past. “Back then we really weren’t worried about anybody,” Kyle Hodsdon said. “We were only concerned about ourselves. That was the confidence the Somersworth kids had back then in every sport.”

The team hung its hat on its Big Three (Boulay, Steve Cartier and Hodsdon) and its depth. Cartier had experience and had developed into a dependable scorer. The linchpins were Boulay and Hodsdon. “Paul was not interested in glory,” Francoeur said. “He was so strong. He was a quick jumper. He wanted to own the boards in the fourth quarter.”

With Hodsdon at the point, the ‘Toppers had a top-notch ball handler and scorer. Because of him, teams rarely pressed Somersworth. “He allowed us not to have to worry about things,” Boulay said. “He was as good a high school floor general as there was (in NH).”

The Hilltoppers took care of business in the first two games. They were in control the whole way to beat Fall Mountain in the quarters, 72-59, led by 26 from Hodsdon and 23 from Cartier (13 rebounds). In the semis against a bigger ConVal team, Hodsdon (30 points) and Cartier (21) combined for 51 to lead the team to a hard-fought 61-55 victory.

Somersworth’s Paul Boulay, left, and Steve Pepin defend a ConVal player during the 1984 Class I semifinals. [Foster’s Daily Democrat photo]

Steve Pepin was a dependable starter who could defend and rebound. He had been cut from the varsity as a junior and decided not to play with the JV team. He came back as a senior ready to play. He recalls before the Fall Mountain game thinking there were springs on the UNH floor. “I was getting up higher than I ever could,” he said. “It took a few minutes into the game for that nervousness to go away. After that first game, the rest of the games were just a game. We were settled in.” Up 31-22 at the half, the Hilltoppers, who had to shake off the rust from an 11-day layoff, used a 23-6 blitz in the third quarter to put the game away.

Pepin remembers thinking that he was more afraid of ConVal than Pembroke. “ConVal had me nervous because we weren’t big,” he said. “Paul was 6-2 and Cartier was 6-3, and they were (much) bigger. We found a way to keep them out of the box.”

ConVal had 6-4 Dan LaFleur and 6-6 Todd Burgess, who helped the Cougars claim a 39-19 edge on the boards. They also combined for 35 points to stay within striking distance until the 1:07 mark when two Hodsdon free throws made it a five-point game, 56-51. Still, the Cougars never let Somersworth feel like it could breathe easy.

It was on to the state final against Pembroke, a team they had beaten by a single point during the season. “All that good feeling and success goes out the window when you lose that last game,” Hodsdon said. “It’s a consolation prize. We didn’t think that way. We weren’t satisfied getting to that point. They don’t put runner-up banners in the gym.”

The team likely meant more to Boulay than most of his teammates. A four-year starter, he had lost in the semis as a freshman, and then in two championships in a row as a sophomore and junior. In last year’s championship defeat to White Mountains, the team’s last loss, he had not played well. On top of that, he had seen his friends in Farmington win their championship in Class M a week earlier, a team he could have played with had he stayed in town.

“I was confident, but I will tell you, I was also stressed,” he said. Coach Larry Francoeur kicked Boulay out of practice the day before the championship. The team had gone over to Dover to play on their court to get used to the big court. Boulay never played well at Dover. “I think I was nervous. I think I was in my head,” he said. “We had a spat. ‘Well get out of here. Go get a shower.’”

Kyle Hodsdon and Paul Boulay, center, celebrate the 1984 Class I championship win over Pembroke at UNH. [Foster’s Daily Democrat photo]

Boulay left, but Francoeur followed him into the locker room where they had another exchange.

“What the hell are you doing?” bellowed Francoeur.

“You just kicked me out of practice, coach,” countered Boulay.

“You big effing baby, get your sh*t on and get back out there,” the coach said.

Boulay felt him and Francoeur were both under pressure that they put on themselves. “He came from Nute and replaced Ed in that kind of kicking Ed Labbe out,” Boulay said. “That was tough for the players too. Some of us played for Ed as freshmen.”

Boulay continued about Francoeur: “He had just won at Nute (Class S title in 1980). We were a good team. He had lost two in a row. I had lost two in a row. If we hadn’t won we probably wouldn’t have talked to each other after that.”

Somersworth and Pembroke, guided by veteran coach Ed Cloe, played before a full house at UNH’s Lundholm Gymnasium. It was even Steven in the first half – 10-10 after eight minutes and 25-all at the break.

Then the third quarter unfolded and Boulay’s worst nightmare with it. The Spartans went on a 20-10 run to go up 45-35 with 1:04 to play in the frame. “I remember being on the foul line and they were shooting,” Boulay said. “I’m looking up in the stands. I think there were over 2,000 people. The place was packed. I’m trying not to cry.”

The ‘Toppers responded. Boulay went coast-to-coast to score, drawing a foul in the process. He hit the freebie and then found Reil for another bucket to quickly slice the margin to five, 45-40, after three quarters.

Pepin never felt like they were going to lose. “We didn’t panic. We might have ratcheted it up a little bit,” he said. “Dug in a little bit more, didn’t give up any defensive rebounds, pressed them a little bit, got some pickoffs. And then Paul got to the foul line and he lived there.”

Celebrating the 1984 Class I boys basketball championship are, from left, Steve Cartier, Kyle Hodsdon and coach Larry Francoeur. [Foster’s Daily Democrat photo]

Cartier’s two free throws put Somersworth ahead to stay, 50-49. Pepin’s foul shot made it 53-51 with two minutes to play. Neither team could capitalize as time wound down, and the score was still sitting a 53-51 with 33 seconds to go. Pembroke inbounded the ball, looking for a final shot to tie the game. Hodsdon can still see the possession in his mind. “They got the look they wanted,” he said. “They got a rebound and a miss. There was kind of a fumble, I think. It went out of bounds (to Somersworth). Timeout.”

Coach Francoeur remembers that final sequence, one that was certainly open to second guessing. “Paul wasn’t one of my great foul shooters,” he said. “That night he was 7 for 7 from the line.” Francoeur recalls keeping Boulay after practice to shoot foul shots. He had to make five in a row. “He wasn’t a bad foul shooter,” the coach said. “It was just something we did. It would end up him and I in the gym; me rebounding for him until he could make those.”

With five seconds to play, Hodsdon was the person to take the ball out of bounds. “He was the guy,” Francoeur said. “He never missed a foul shot. He was my ball handler. He was my most reliable guy. Most people would have had somebody else take it out. I trusted him taking the ball out of bounds to run a single play and Paul got fouled. And he was able to make the foul shots.”

He made both ends of a one-and-one with four seconds to play that made it 55-51 and put the game away. Hodsdon led the way with 17 points. Cartier added 13 before he fouled out with 2:30 to play. Boulay had 11 points and eight boards. Tim Cloe and Mark Colby led the Spartans with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

“For the most part these were guys I grew up playing Little League with,” Pepin recalled. “As soon as the buzzer went off we’d done it as a group. The football championships with the older guys (in 1980 and 1981), we were tagging along. This one felt like ours.”

A big key on defense was Somersworth pressing in the final quarter to claw back. In the final 9:04 of the game, they outscored the Spartans, 20 to 6. In addition, Deschenes and Brown took turns guarding Pembroke’s lefty scoring threat, Mike Drouin, who had torched the Hilltoppers for 31 points during the regular-season meeting. They held him to two points. 

It was Drouin who took one of the final shots, a bank shot that Hodsdon said he makes 70 percent of the time if not more. “He missed it. They got the rebound and missed it again. The ball went out of bounds. Our ball.”

The rest was history.


Two undefeated championships were in the books. Later that winter at the Seacoast Basketball Tournament at the Connie Bean Center in Portsmouth, most of the Farmington players teamed up with Boulay on Fulton’s Ramblers to win the Class B championship over Portsmouth, the champs of Class L. Portsmouth, however, played without James Best, the top player in the state, which complicated any claims at bragging rights.

Farmington was in position to make a run at a repeat the following year, with five of their first seven players back, including four starters. But Funk blew out his knee at a game at Conant and was never the same again. The Tigers advanced to the semis, losing to Hillsboro-Deering.

Somersworth was not as strong as it was, but led by Hodsdon, still made it to the semis. Hodsdon scored over 1,000 points as did Mosher for Farmington in the next season.

The two teams who had lost to Farmington and Somersworth in the ‘84 finals were crowned as champions in 1985 – Conant and Pembroke.

Some of the players from both teams went on to play in college. As previously mentioned, Hodsdon and Mucher teammed up at Plymouth State for four years under Phil Rowe. As seniors, they led the Panthers to a 20-7 record and a berth in the Little East Conference championship game where they lost to Southern Maine, an eventual NCAA D-III final four participant.

Howard played one year at Vermont Technical College, while Mosher captained baseball and basketball teams at Becker College, a two-year school in Massachusetts. Boulay, unsurprisingly, played football on scholarships at the University of New Hampshire. He was a two-time All-Yankee Conference First Team pick and the conference defensive player of the year as a senior.

Farmington got another title four years later with some brothers of the 1984 team onboard – Craig Whitten, Chuck Whitten, Mike Mucher and Ron Howard. It was coach Lee’s last title in a 21-year career that ended in 1998 coaching his youngest son, Tim.

Francoeur made it to the tournament every year he was the Somersworth coach, but did not make it back to the finals after 1984. He stepped aside in 1988, but continued to work at Somersworth HS until 2007. He remains active as the state’s longest active high school volleyball official and referees junior high basketball.

While Farmington has not won a title since 1988, the Hilltoppers have captured three – all in Class M/Division III (2005, 2011, 2015). Their first two titles came in 1969 and 1979 in Class I under the guidance of Labbe.

Debates still rage about who was better – Somersworth or Farmington. Hodsdon texted Mucher the picture of Mucher standing on the rim in Plymouth, noting “You believe that happened 40 years ago?” 

Hodsdon said to Mike Lee, “Let’s get a game.” 

Lee laughed. “I don’t think my players could walk to the scorer’s table. It was all in jest.”

Lee claims that years later Boulay told him he didn’t think he could have started on that 1984 Farmington team. “Why is that, Paul?” Lee recalled asking. “Because you guys would run and press. I didn’t want to do that,” Boulay supposedly said.

Boulay disagrees with Lee’s memory. “Most people who know me know I wouldn’t have said that,” he noted. “Maybe I was kidding if I did. Maybe it’s an early AI case. But I kind of think that’s a slap in the face. I had been to two state finals (as a sophomore and junior) in a higher division. I grew up with those kids. I was the best player of that group. I’m not saying as a senior I was better. But I definitely think I could have started for that team.”

Which is a scary thought indeed. With Boulay there was a great argument that the Tigers would  have been the best team in the state across all divisions. 

Forty years later, the 1983-84 season remains a singular one in the annals of both schools; something to cherish. “That was a special experience,” Boulay said, “being part of both those communities.”

CELEBRATIONS: Somersworth will celebrate the 1984 championship team on Friday (Feb. 9) during the halftime of the boys high school home game with Berlin, which starts at 6 p.m. Farmington will also hold their own celebration, but not until the beginning of next season.

Got a story idea, you can reach Mike at whaleym25@gmail.com