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Defense the name of the game in West’s 13-7 victory

  • New Hampshire West's Tolbert Nemo, of Concord High School, runs with the ball during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state participated in the charity game, in which West defeated East in overtime by a score of 13-7.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    New Hampshire West's Tolbert Nemo, of Concord High School, runs with the ball during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state participated in the charity game, in which West defeated East in overtime by a score of 13-7.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • New Hampshire West's Ryan Carrier (front), of Trinity High School, laughs after his team's 13-7 overtime victory over the New Hampshire East all stars at the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state participated in the charity game.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    New Hampshire West's Ryan Carrier (front), of Trinity High School, laughs after his team's 13-7 overtime victory over the New Hampshire East all stars at the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state participated in the charity game.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • New Hampshire East's Ryan Monette (right), of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, fights off a tackle from New Hampshire West's Dylan York, of Bedford High School, during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Starts Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state took part in the charity game, in which West defeated East in overtime by a score of 13-7.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    New Hampshire East's Ryan Monette (right), of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, fights off a tackle from New Hampshire West's Dylan York, of Bedford High School, during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Starts Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state took part in the charity game, in which West defeated East in overtime by a score of 13-7.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • New Hampshire East's Rick Holt, of Portsmouth High School, reacts after blocking a field goal attempt with seconds left in regulation during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. New Hampshire West went on to defeat New Hampshire East in overtime by a score of 13-7.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    New Hampshire East's Rick Holt, of Portsmouth High School, reacts after blocking a field goal attempt with seconds left in regulation during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. New Hampshire West went on to defeat New Hampshire East in overtime by a score of 13-7.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • New Hampshire West's Tolbert Nemo, of Concord High School, runs with the ball during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state participated in the charity game, in which West defeated East in overtime by a score of 13-7.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • New Hampshire West's Ryan Carrier (front), of Trinity High School, laughs after his team's 13-7 overtime victory over the New Hampshire East all stars at the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state participated in the charity game.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • New Hampshire East's Ryan Monette (right), of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, fights off a tackle from New Hampshire West's Dylan York, of Bedford High School, during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Starts Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Players from across the state took part in the charity game, in which West defeated East in overtime by a score of 13-7.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • New Hampshire East's Rick Holt, of Portsmouth High School, reacts after blocking a field goal attempt with seconds left in regulation during the second annual Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) All Stars Football game at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Saturday, June 29, 2013. New Hampshire West went on to defeat New Hampshire East in overtime by a score of 13-7.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

DURHAM – From both sides of the state and on both sides of the field, defense dominated in yesterday’s CHaD East-West New Hampshire High School All-Star Game. The two teams forced key turnovers, came up with crucial sacks, held the offenses to a combined 436 yards, and the East even blocked a potential game-winning field-goal to force overtime.

The West team, appropriately, came up with a fumble on the opening possession of overtime and then Goffstown’s Connor Benjamin swept right for an 8-yard touchdown run to give the West a 13-7 victory at the University of New Hampshire.

“I think it was good defensive game planning on both sides,” said former Concord Coach Bob Camirand, who was the East’s head coach. “(East’s) Kenny Sciacca and (West’s) Paul Lavigne, the defensive coordinators from both sides, did an outstanding job of stopping two pretty good football teams.”

With the score tied 7-7, the West drove all the way to the East’s 18-yard line and seemed in position to claim the win in regulation before the East defense came up with two clutch plays. First, Exeter’s Jamie Vogt dropped West quarterback James Caparell for a 7-yard loss with just five seconds left on the clock. Then Portsmouth defensive lineman Ricky Holt, who finished with 8.5 tackles and the game MVP award, blocked the 41-yard field goal attempt from Manchester West’s Zach Ziemba.

“Overtime definitely made that an even more exciting game,” said Concord lineman Seth Gosse, who started offensively and also saw significant time on the defensive side. “The second that last quarter ended and we were still tied, the excitement and adrenaline in me just pumped right up.”

The game organizers and officials had to decide on the fly what kind of overtime to use, and they opted for the NHIAA rules that give each team the ball on the 10-yard line. The East had the first shot, but on third-and-goal from the 1, Lebanon’s Dylan Drew forced a fumble and Souhegan’s Tyler Ford recovered it. The West then needed any kind of score to win, and Benjamin (team-high 57 yards on 14 carries) took care of things with a touchdown two plays later.

“That was a great game. I haven’t played in a game that intense or that close maybe in my entire high school career,” Gosse said.

Part of the intensity came from the heat, which baked the 1,599 at Cowell Stadium and the players on the turf field.

“My feet feel like they’ve been on hot coals all day,” said Pembroke Academy’s Chris Ford, who started next to the UNH-bound Holt at the East’s other defensive tackle spot.

Ford, who will play at Maine Maritime Academy in the fall, was third on the team with six total tackles and played a major role in holding the West to just 114 rushing yards on 42 carries, a paltry 2.7 average.

“(Ford) is an outstanding kid, a hard worker, quick, aggressive, strong and just a pleasure to coach,” Camirand said. “Today he was an impact player, hustling around and constantly pursuing … I expect him to do great things at Maine Maritime.”

The West moved the ball more efficiently through the air thanks to the Bedford combination of Caparell (8-for-12, 97 yards, touchdown) and receiver Brian Collins (three catches, 53 yards, touchdown). The two connected for a 47-yard pass, the longest play of the game, and then took advantage of the yardage by finishing the drive with a 1-yard touchdown connection that gave the West a 7-0 lead with 3:42 left in the first.

The score stayed that way until the East finally found some points early in the fourth quarter. Using a three-running back set, the East marched 68 yards in 12 pays, all runs, capped by a 1-yard touchdown from St. Thomas’s Ryan Monette (102 yards on 25 carries) that tied things at 7-7 with 10:48 remaining in regulation.

The East got the ball right back on a pretty, diving interception from Jameson Whiteley (seven tackles), taking over on the West’s 44-yard line. But that defensive gem was answered by two straight sacks from Trinity’s Romeo Masuku, pushing the ball back to the East’s 38 and swinging the momentum back to the West.

Nashua North’s Deric Wagner (game-high 10 tackles) came up with fumble to set up the West’s last drive, and it looked like that turnover might prove to be the difference, until Holt and the East defense responded.

Even though things didn’t end the way the East wanted it, no one was really complaining.

“I had an absolute blast,” Ford said. “I’ve been waiting all year for this after seeing it last year, and I just wanted to be a part of it, and it’s for a great cause.”

NOTES

Other local players in the game were Pembroke’s Ben Paradis, Winnisquam’s Mason Taylor, Concord’s Tolbert Nemo, and Kody Benwell and Nathan Grevior, both from Franklin.

Paradis, a running back for PA, didn’t start, but he came in on the second play of the game at split end and kept rotating in throughout the day for the East. Taylor played at both offensive guard spots for the East.

Nemo, Concord’s all-time leading rusher, had six carries for 12 yards for the West. Grevior played at nose tackle for the West. And Benwell had some big hits all over the field – one on kickoff coverage, another on punt return and several when he filled in at linebacker.

∎ The game generated $251,168 for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, as well as $45,000 in in-kind donations.

∎ UNH Coach Sean McDonnell and Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly, a former UNH coach, watched the game together from the sideline.

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)

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