Concord dominated Central, 53-14, for D-I North title
Souhegan's Taylor Behn collected a yellow card after pushing Pembroke's Emilee Harlow during the NHIAA Championship game at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday, November 9, 2013. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
The celebration was as subdued as any conference title game around, in part because the outcome was all but decided by halftime, and partly because this was simply the first step along the playoff trail for the Concord High football team.
“As I told the guys, this is not what we’re after,” said Concord Coach Eric Brown, the inaugural Division I North Conference title plaque tucked under his arm after his Crimson Tide dismantled Manchester Central, 53-14, yesterday. “Enjoy it for about five minutes and remember we’ve got bigger things coming down the road.”
The first of those bigger things is two-time defending Division I champion Exeter, which beat Spaulding, 24-14, for the East Conference title yesterday. Concord (10-0) will host the Blue Hawks (7-3) on Saturday in the semifinals.
Central (7-3), riding a seven-game winning streak, looked to pose a greater obstacle for the Tide. But like the first time these teams met, back in Week 1, Concord burned rubber out of the gates and never took its foot off the gas. On just the second play of the game, Tide quarterback Rob Law went deep and hit Seimou Smith in stride for a 59-yard touchdown.
“We had the first two (plays scripted), and we were going to see where we went from there,” Brown said. “Obviously if that pass goes incomplete we’ve gotta go to Plan B, but it didn’t.
“We knew from the last game that Robbie missed Seimou twice on wide open deep balls. This is kind of like Robbie’s make-up game, because as great as he’s been all season, he did not play well against Central the first time. He more than made up for that today.”
Did he ever. Law threw for a season-high 201 yards, completing 12 of 17 passes for three touchdowns, spraying the ball around Memorial Field to seven different receivers. Smith led the way with a season-high 110 yards on four receptions with two TDs.
It was just one half of the Tide’s balanced attack. Concord also rushed for 272 yards, outgaining the Little Green, 473-256. Leo Sudieh led all ball carriers with 135 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns, stealing the spotlight from Central’s one-man show, Jesiah Wade, who carried the ball 30 times (of Central’s 34 running plays) for 123 yards.
“All credit to the offensive line,” Brown said. “Whether it was run or pass, they did a really nice job today controlling the line of scrimmage.”
Center Kyle Cushman, guards Nick Carlson and Sean Larner, and tackles Alex Cohen and Wyatt LaBombard were Law’s protection and Sudieh & Company’s clearing crew.
“We put the team on our back,” Cushman said. “It’s a little reciprocity. We block for them and they run for us.”
“All it takes is them making small holes and (the running backs) can make yards out of it,” line coach Kevin Nyhan said.
After the stunning opening salvo, Sudieh responded with a 37-yard touchdown run for a 13-0 lead. Then things momentarily unraveled. A Tide player was ejected, part of back-to-back 15-yard penalties that helped Central answer back with Wade’s 19-yard TD run to open the second quarter and make it a one-score game. But a prolonged Tide drive started a flurry of three Concord touchdowns – all by Marc Gaudet – in the final four minutes of the half, and Concord was in complete control.
Gaudet capped the 68-yard drive with a 2-yard plunge, and when Tyler Martel recovered Central’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff, the Tide needed just three plays to tack on another score, this one a 5-yard run around right end from Gaudet. After the defense – with Cushman and Cohen rotating in seamlessly at nose tackle after the ejection – held Central three-and-out, Law led a two-minute drill from the 50, culminating with a 16-yard scoring strike to Gaudet and a 32-7 halftime lead.
Central ventured into Tide territory to start the second half, but Smith stripped the ball from Wade and Diego Hebra returned the fumble about 40 yards to set up Smith’s 26-yard touchdown reception.
“That’s a point of emphasis every day in practice, ripping and stripping and scooping and scoring,” Brown said. “It’s great to see those things that you work on in practice come to reality in a game situation.”
Central’s Richie Greely (10-for-19, 133 yards) connected with Abe Madra for a 44-yard touchdown, but Concord responded again with a 32-yard TD run from Sudieh and Law’s 2-point conversion run. In the fourth quarter, John Jellue scored his first varsity touchdown on a 37-yard run and Kevin Condict kicked his third PAT to finish the scoring.
“It’s definitely just another step on the way to our big goal,” Cushman said. “We have far bigger goals, but this is a great step in the right direction.”
(Sandy Smith can be reached at 369-3339 or email@example.com.)
Central (7-3) 0 7 7 0 — 14
Concord (10-0) 13 19 14 7 — 53
Con—Seimou Smith 59 pass from Rob Law (Kevin Condict kick), 0:55.
Con—Leo Sudieh 37 run (kick failed), 9:56.
Cen—Jesiah Wade 19 run (Keegan Laberge kick), 2:57.
Con—Marc Gaudet 2 run (Condict kick), 8:03.
Con—Gaudet 5 run (run failed), 8:51.
Con—Gaudet 16 pass from Law (kick failed), 11:51.
Concord 53Third Quarter
Con—Smith 26 pass from Law (kick failed), 2:51.
Cen—Abe Madra 44 pass from Richie Greely (Laberge kick), 3:51.
Con—Sudieh 32 run (Law run), 7:56.
Con—John Jellue 37 run (Condict kick), 9:56.
First downs 14 16
Rushes-yards 34-123 41-272
Passing 133 201
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 10-19-0 12-17-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 7-80 5-46.5
RUSHING—Central, Wade 30-129, Jorge Gomes 1-2, Greely 1-0, Jaquel Holmes 2-(minus-8). Concord, Sudieh 18-135, Ndi 12-43, Jellue 2-41, Gaudet 4-18, Josh Ames 1-19, Law 4-16.
PASSING—Central, Greely 10-19-0-133. Concord, Law 12-17-0-201.
RECEIVING—Central, Madra 4-95, Nick Makris 3-23, Nathan Guillermo 1-10, Tyler Kelley 1-5, Wade 1-0. Concord, Smith 4-110, Nick Comeau 1-33, Gaudet 2-27, Bakir Bascelic 1-12, Devon Ferland 1-10, Shawn Jobin 2-8, Sudieh 1-1.