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Repeat of defeat: No. 8 Bow falls to No. 2 Plymouth, 27-8, in NHIAA Division II football championship

  • Bow's Ben Kimball (41) is taken down during the Division II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Bow lost to Plymouth, 27-8. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bow's Mark Borak (22) is lifted off the ground by Plymouth's Camden Macdonald (58) and Connor Magowan (26) during the Divsion II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Bow lost to Plymouth, 27-8. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bow players gather following the end of the Divsion II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Bow lost to Plymouth, 27-8. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bow players gather following the end of the Divsion II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Bow lost to Plymouth, 27-8. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bow's Steve Guerrette (35) is tackled during the Division II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Bow lost to Plymouth, 27-8. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bow lost to Plymouth, 27-8, during the Division II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bow's Steve Guerrette (35) makes a catch before doing on to score a touchdown during the Divsion II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Bow lost to Plymouth, 27-8. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bow’s Matt Harkins drops back to pass during the Division II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Plymouth won, 27-8. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bow Coach Paul Cohen addresses his team after the Falcons lost to Plymouth, 27-8, during the Division II football championship game at UNH in Durham on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Sunday, November 19, 2017

DURHAM – A meeting with a familiar foe ended in a familiar defeat for the Bow High football team.

The Plymouth High Bobcats did it again.

Plymouth senior and reigning 2016 D-II Player of the Year Garrett Macomber rushed for 153 yards and punched in a touchdown, leading the Bobcats to their second consecutive Division II championship with a 27-8 win over Bow.

The eighth-seeded Falcons beat a pair of undefeated teams in No. 1 Windham and No. 4 Hanover to reach the final at the University of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Stadium, but the unbeaten Bobcats proved a greater challenge.

While Bow has flourished during its first two years in the division since graduating from D-III, Plymouth has consistently been a thorn in its side. The Bobcats swept the Falcons in back-to-back years with a pair of regular-season wins and now two in the title round. Bow fell on the road during the regular season this year in a 42-26 tilt in September.

“They’re a real good football team,” Bow Coach Paul Cohen said of state champs. “Similar to eight weeks ago, they took advantage of pretty much every little inch that we gave them.”

Plymouth dominated the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns and mounting a 20-0 lead at halftime. The Bobcats added a fourth touchdown in the fourth quarter to pull ahead, 27-0. Bow avoided the shutout when senior quarterback Matt Harkins found Steve Guerrette in the end zone from 23 yards out and then hit senior tight end Justin Porath with a pass for two points.

“It did seem like we had a hard time getting a rhythm (on offense),” Bow senior running back-linebacker Jack Corriveau said. “Their defense, they weren’t afraid. They came hard, so we had to overcome that and I’m glad we ended up putting one on the board. It felt good to have a little pride there.”

Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Bow caught a break when Tanner Cammett pulled down an interception in the end zone. Flags flew and a personal foul charged to Plymouth put the Falcons on their own 35.

The Bobcats quickly snuffed out that chance. On Bow’s first play of the drive, Harkins aired out a pass down the left sideline that ended up in the hands of Plymouth’s Isaiah Crane. Moments later, Macomber took off for a 69-yard run to the end zone. Daniel Carey (3-for-4 on PATs) kicked it through the uprights and Plymouth led 14-0 with 5:05 left in the first half.

They weren’t done yet.

Plymouth Coach Chris Sanborn rolled the dice and surprised Bow with an onside kick. Colby Moore was on top of it and the Bobcats’ offense was back on the field, but for only four plays before punting from around midfield.

Bow took over at its own 21 and moved 30 yards down the field, but an intentional grounding penalty pitched the Falcons back to their own 40 on fourth down and 25 yards to the stick.

“We just didn’t execute,” Cohen said. “Against a team like that, I said to my guys all week long that you can’t give them anything because they’re going to use it against you, and sure enough that’s exactly what happened tonight.”

Plymouth received the punt on its own 46 with, coincidentally, 46 seconds left in the half. Two plays later, the Bobcats were celebrating in the end zone again. This time it was Plymouth quarterback Ben Olmstead snapping a pass to Jordan Docen in stride over the middle for a 53-yard touchdown. The PAT missed, and Plymouth took a 20-0 lead into the half.

“It was pretty good getting that lead at halftime,” Sanborn said. “We left some points on the board but our defense was playing great.”

While the Plymouth defense gained confidence, frustration mounted on Bow’s offense

“The pick definitely shifted momentum,” Harkins said. “We tried to fight back in the second half but they’re just a really good team, really strong.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Plymouth extended its lead by another seven points on Moore’s 5-yard rush to the end zone and Carey’s PAT.

The Falcons offense tried to shake off its woes from the first half and mount a comeback, but it was too little, too late.

By the final horn, Plymouth’s offensive advantage was as clear in the stat book as it was on the scoreboard. The Bobcats mounted 394 yards of offense, more than doubling Bow’s production of 189 yards.

“Clearly, they were the better team today,” Cohen said. “They out-executed us on offense and we could not get significant, consistent offensive drives going.”

Another chapter turns in the growing story between Plymouth and Bow – another state title for the Bobcats, another unexpected run to the championship round for the Falcons.

They don’t have the hardware they wanted, but Cohen wants his seniors to take pride in being a part of four seasons in the playoffs. Before joining Division II, Bow went to the Division III semifinals in 2014 and 2015.

“That counts for something,” Cohen said, before pointing to Plymouth’s sideline. “But the roar over there eclipses the distraught and apprehension and (dismay) of my guys.”

Cohen added: “Now I have to say goodbye to my seniors, my team of this year, but we had quite the run.”

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3339, nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)