State of Sports: Andrew Duval's travels lead to pro flag football

Feb. 23—THE last time you read about Andrew Duval, he was probably making big plays for the Goffstown High School football team.

Duval played three years of varsity football for Goffstown, and was named New Hampshire's Gatorade Player of the Year following the 2017 season. He committed to play football at the University of New Hampshire, but began his college football career at Saint Anselm College instead. After one season with the Saint Anselm program, Duval seemed to disappear from the football radar.

What's Duval doing today?

He still lives in Goffstown and is on schedule to graduate from Southern New Hampshire University in May. He also has an associate's degree from Manchester Community College.

"It was a little different route out of high school than I expected, but everything happens for a reason," Duval said.

Duval, 23, is still playing competitive football as well, albeit the flag variety. He's a member of the Boston Brigade, one of four teams in the fledgling American Flag Football League. The AFFL is a professional league that will begin its inaugural season in April with teams in Boston, Nashville, Las Vegas and Dallas.

All four teams will gather in the same city and have two games each weekend. The Brigade will be at home on May 11 and June 1, and will play those games at Veterans Memorial Field in Quincy, Mass.

"After Saint Anselm, I took some time off and I missed (football) so much I wanted to keep playing, and that form of football was flag football," Duval said. "I started playing in established competitive flag football leagues with some friends and heard about tryouts for the American Flag Football League last year."

Duval attended a tryout last August in Weymouth, Mass., and is one of what is being called the Core 8 players on the Brigade team, which will have an offseason training activity at the New Hampshire SportsDome in Goffstown on Saturday. The OTA will include a free youth clinic.

Flag football was approved as an Olympic sport last year, and will be part of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Duval said he has given some thought to trying out for the U.S. Olympic team.

"Over the past four or five years, the sport has grown significantly," he said. "(Being approved for the Olympics) is a big step for the sport. A big, big step.

"I wanted to keep competing. I still have that drive today. Flag football was the next closest thing to (American) football. I tried it and ever since then I fell in love with it."

Trisciani's feeling Cavalier

Pairing Manchester resident John Trisciani with the Hollis/Brookline football program looks like a perfect marriage.

Trisciani has shown he can rebuild a high school football program (see Trinity, 2007-08) and the Cavaliers have been on the decline since they won the Division II championship in 2019.

"I was just looking for a head job, and this was open," said Trisciani, who was officially hired as Hollis/Brookline's head coach this week. "This will be my 45th year coaching, and I still have a passion for it.

"I thought they were very good in the interview process. I thought they were very well-organized and very passionate about sports in their school, and the football program. When they called to offer me the job, they told me I could take some time to think about it, but I took it right away."

Trisciani, a longtime defensive line coach at Saint Anselm College, replaces Chris Lones, who resigned after the 2023 season. Lones had served as the program's head coach since 2014.

Trisciani's first bit of business will be to increase participation in the program. He said there were typically fewer than 30 Hollis/Brookline players dressed on game night last season.

"I did my homework," Trisciani said. "I can see there hasn't been a JV team since before COVID. I need to try and get every student I can out for football and get them in the weight room. I don't care if you've played football before or not. We'll teach you how to play football. We'll teach you how to lift. Get you stronger. Make it a good time. I think that's the key. Just go after everybody who's not in a fall sport."

Trisciani faced a similar rebuilding situation when he took over at Trinity. Trisciani resigned as Trinity's head coach shortly before the 2009 season began, but the Pioneers went on to win the Division IV championship that year.

Trisciani spent the 2022 season as an assistant on his son's staff at Bishop Guertin, and was an assistant at Manchester Central last fall. He has also been heavily involved with youth football in the Manchester area, and is a board member for the Joe Yukica New Hampshire Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

"Just happy to be there," he said. "Looking forward to it. Ready to get moving."

A different kind of goal

Derry resident Hunter Drouin, a sophomore midfielder on the Colgate men's lacrosse team, battled cancer when he was a child. Now he's trying to help others who have to do the same.

Each season, the Colgate men's lacrosse program attempts to raise awareness and/or donations for a worthy cause. This year, the Raiders have partnered with Lacrosse Out Cancer, a nationwide campaign that helps lacrosse players raise money for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.

The team will seek donations throughout the season and hopes to raise at least $100,000 before its final home game on April 26.

Drouin, who graduated from Pinkerton Academy in 2021, had emergency surgery after a ruptured tumor was found in his kidney days before his third birthday. His condition was Wilms tumor, a rare kidney cancer that generally affects children. He has been in remission for the last 16 years.

"It means the world to me that my teammates and my coaching staff and the coaching community are as invested in childhood cancer research as me," Drouin said. "Most people know someone who has had cancer and a lot of people who lost their lives to cancer."

Drouin played four years of varsity lacrosse at Pinkerton, and then attended the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut, for a post-graduate year before he enrolled at Colgate. He helped Pinkerton win the state Division I lacrosse championships in 2018 and 2019.

Through four games this season, Drouin was second in team scoring with 10 goals and two assists.

Those who would like to contribute to the cause can do so by visiting

"It's a team battle, not just an individual one," Drouin said. "It takes a whole community to beat this disease. I had cancer, but I feel the fight involved everyone — my friends, my family."

Star gazing

Here are the rosters for the New Hampshire East/West All-Star Game, which will be played Friday, June 28 (6 p.m.) at Saint Anselm College:

TEAM WEST: Kyle Ashley (Newport), Wyatt Avery (Keene), Ronan Balistreri (Bishop Guertin), Jake Benn (Bedford), Danny Black (Bedford), Jayden Bright (Souhegan), Garron Brown (Merrimack), Carter Zackery (Plymouth), Ethan Cenesca (Manchester Central), Cade Cloutier (Milford), Logan Day (Merrimack), Aiden Diachenko (Concord), DeVohn Ellis (Trinity), Melvin Fernandez (Nashua North), Kaleb Francoeur (Milford), David Glodgett (Keene), Eli Goumas (Bedford), Alexander Grudinskas (Bedford), Spencer Henrichon (Bedford), Oscar Humelsine Perez (Concord), Harris Jones (Milford), Jayman Jones (Manchester Central), Sam LeBlanc (Souhegan), Connor Lennon (Bishop Guertin), Michael MacDonough (Bishop Guertin), Cole Manning (Souhegan), Thaddeus Maughan (Souhegan), Connor McFarland (Manchester Memorial), Jaythean Obando (Goffstown), Will Patenaude (Goffstown), Zachariah Rezaoui (Merrimack), Steven Rosario (Nashua North), Jack Service (Trinity), Eric Seymore (Manchester Memorial), Kevin Sheridan (Bedford), Sam Stevenson (Souhegan), Domminic Tagliaferro (Bedford), Carl Taylor Jr. (Manchester West), Paul Thibault (Trinity), Jack Thornton (Merrimack), Jonathan Torres (Nashua North), Patrick Vachon (Manchester Memorial), Jeffrey Vidou Jr. (Hanover), Nicholas Young (Manchester Memorial).

TEAM EAST: Tiger An (Windham), Bennett Atkins (Salem), Ryder Aubin (Dover), Eli Beem (Exeter), Isaac Beem (Exeter), Camden Brutus (Londonderry), Bryce Carberry (Dover), Ryan Catineau (Pinkerton), Marcos Centeno (Pinkerton), Adam Day (Pinkerton), Luke DeLangie (Pinkerton), Edward DiGiulio (Timberlane), Seth Doyon (Londonderry), Samuel Grondin (St. Thomas), Peyton Harmony (Pinkerton), Dominic Herrling (Pelham), Orion Jennison Henderson (Dover), Dyan Kim (Windham), Nolan Lumley (Salem), Aiden Lynch (Pelham), Zachary Lynch (Spaulding), Jacob Magri (Winnacunnet), Brady McInnes (Dover), Cole McLaughlin (Portsmouth/Oyster River), Kyle Merrill (Dover), Tyler Miles (Londonderry), Fletcher Miles (Portsmouth/Oyster River), Aiden Mills (Alvirne), Angus Moss (Portsmouth/Oyster River), Jaydon Navarro (Londonderry), Joseph Packowski (Pinkerton), Memphis Patterson (Pelham), Emmanuel Poe (Portsmouth/Oyster River), Alex Richardson (Laconia), Jackson Rup (Spaulding), Trent Salyards (St. Thomas), Jake Schena (Londonderry), Tayshawn Sheppard (Somersworth), Evan St. Pierre (Campbell), Andreas Talidouros (Londonderry), Aidan Thomas (Portsmouth/Oyster River), Connor Travis (Pelham), Hunter Trueman (Spaulding), Tyler Walcott (Kennett), Conor Williams (Londonderry).

Some other offseason football news items:

—Hopkinton's Henry Yianakopolos has been promoted from the University of Rhode Island's defensive quality control assistant to the team's secondary coach. Yianakopolos played at URI and served as a team captain in 2022.

—The UNH football program will hold its annual Spring Game on April 26 at 6 p.m.

—The 2024 out-of-state high school matchups will include Londonderry vs. St. John's Prep of Danvers, Mass.

—UNH running back Dylan Laube will attend a Pro Day at Holy Cross on March 21.