Concord football ends 13 years of frustration with 35-6 win over Central
MANCHESTER – Fans of Concord High didn’t have to wait around for the fireworks display above Gill Stadium last night. Their Crimson Tide football team provided plenty of those on the turf.
Under a steady but gentle rain, the steady and punishing Tide manhandled their rivals to the south, rolling to a 28-0 halftime lead before settling in for a 35-6 season-opening victory on the centennial celebration of Gill Stadium.
For Concord, it’s seemed like a century of frustration at the hands of the Little Green. None of the current players had beaten Central. In fact, the last time any Concord football team walked away victorious against Central was 13 long years ago, when the Tide beat the Little Green for the state title in 2000.
“We wanted to come out with fire, to attack Central,” said Concord senior Seimou Smith, who had a touchdown reception and a pair of interceptions. “For the last 13 years they’ve had over us, as seniors we wanted to come out with a vengeance. Tonight was for all the seniors in the past, it was for our city, and for ourselves.”
“The 100th (anniversary) was great, I was able to see a lot of former teammates,” said Concord Coach Eric Brown, a Central graduate. “But more importantly, it feels great to finally play really well against Central.”
A commitment to the weight room in the offseason was evident from the opening drives, when Concord dominated both lines of scrimmage, easily marching downfield and then snuffing any Central surges, limiting the Little Green to just 37 yards from scrimmage in the opening half.
“Central’s size concerned me a little, but as the game wore on, our front seven (on defense) was so physical. It’s something that’s been lacking against Central and it was great to see,” Brown said. “And our ‘O’ line did a great job. They took control. The offensive and defensive lines, that’s where games are won and lost, and they did a real nice job.”
The line domination paved the way for a couple of seemingly easy touchdown runs. Walters Ndi got things started with a 45-yard burst up the middle in the first quarter for the early lead, and Robert Law (4-for-12, 44 yards) connected with Smith in the right corner of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, with Smith leaping for the ball with a Central defender and catching it as he fell to the turf.
Smith then helped set up the next two scores with his two interceptions of Central quarterback Richie Greely (2-for-13, 3 yards, three interceptions).
Marc Gaudet punctuated both turnovers with touchdown runs on his only two carries, the first from 20 yards out, the second on a 14-yard scamper, making it 28-0 by halftime.
Leo Sudieh sent the game to running time in the third quarter, sprinting untouched through a gaping hole in the line for a 61-yard score, with Kevin Condict – who won the kicking job in pregame warmups – converting on his fifth straight PAT. Both Sudieh (11 carries, 137 yards) and Ndi (12 carries, 103 yards) went over 100 yards rushing for the Tide.
Central tacked on a harmless score in the final quarter when Jaqueal Holmes ran in from 9 yards out. Concord’s Bradley Rucker, who sacked Greely earlier in the quarter, blocked the PAT.
“It’s unbelievable,” Smith said of such an emphatic opening victory. “We’ll take the win, be thankful for it, and come out next Friday with the same heat.”
(Sandy Smith can be reached at 369-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)