It took practically half a century, but years of development, work and patiently awaiting the right opportunity finally came to a head on Saturday when Stevens High School captured a New Hampshire state crown. In fact, not only the crown the first football title since 1968, it was the first title in any team sport at the school since 1989.
As reported by the Valley News, the 46-20 Divison III state championship win over Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough was clear cut enough that Stevens had time to soak in all that was being accomplished in one fell swoop. The Cardinals scored 32-straight points, starting with a second quarter touchdown pass that gave the team a 16-14 lead, and they never looked back.
“They’ve done everything I’ve asked from the start of the season until today,” Stevens football coach Paul Silva told the Valley News. “I just love these guys. I’m so proud of them for what they’ve done. … I love the city of Claremont. I love Stevens High School. It’s just so nice to give them a championship after it’s been that long.”
The 27-year drought for any team state title means that entire generations of Stevens families have come and gone from the school without witnessing the Cardinals on top of the state rankings. At long last, that drought is over, and in the most quintessential of all sports, at that. It would hard for Stevens fans to script it much better.
“I’ve had this dream since I was in third grade,” Stevens senior wide receiver Parker Smith told the Valley News. “You can do anything you want in this world with brothers and teammates. With the group of guys that we have, anything is possible. … This is the hardest working group of kids I know.
“We haven’t had a championship since 1968. Everyone in our community believed in us.”