Bow grinds out 28-14 victory over nemesis Stevens
Bow's Matthew Ehrenberg maneuvers around Steven's Devon Porter during NHIAA Division III football Saturday afternoon. (Karen Bobotas/for the Concord Monitor)
Bow's Travis Reynolds breaks free for yardage during NHIAA Division III football with Stevens Saturday afternoon. (Karen Bobotas/for the Concord Monitor)
Steven's Andrew Schwartz and Bow's Matthew Ehrenberg during Saturday's NHIAA Dvision III football at Bow High School. (Karen Bobotas/for the Concord Monitor)
Steven's Akeem Bailey makes the tackle on Bow's Alexander Reitze during Saturday afternoon's NHIAA Division III football at Bow High School. (Karen Bobotas/for the Concord Monitor)
BOW – Fundamental, consistent and safe football may not be the most exciting football to watch, but Bow football Coach Paul Cohen probably doesn’t care. When results are what is important, winning is what the Falcons care about, and their style of football did just that yesterday.
With simple, mistake-free football, Bow (2-1) ensured a 28-14 victory over perennially tough opponent Stevens (1-2).
The Falcons’ steady offensive approach of keeping the ball on the ground and using a variety of bodies to carry it and the defense making sure the Stevens run game never got going proved to be the keys to victory.
“Fundamentally, this was a very, very strong game for us,” Cohen said. “I told (my team), ‘You guys are going to be in for a battle all day long. This is the team to beat. We’ve lost to them more than we’ve beaten them and very often it’s been a real slugfest and down to the wire.’ ”
The Bow offense set the tone, receiving the opening kickoff and putting together a nine-play drive that was capped with an 11-yard run by Chris Robbins (14 carries for 79 yards), putting the Falcons up a quick 7-0 following the extra point by Travis Reynolds.
Bow’s defense followed suit, led throughout the day by Tony Roberts, Nathanael Nappen and Kyle Milne, giving up just six plays before getting its offense the ball back by stopping Stevens on fourth down.
It wasn’t long into the second quarter that the Bow special teams would make their big play of the game. The Stevens defense had forced a punt after a three-and-out by the Falcons, but as the ball came down, it took an immediate sideways hop, bounced off a Stevens defender and Bow’s Dwight Alford was there to jump on the ball for the only turnover of the game.
The turnover lead to a 12-play drive that stalled at the Stevens 1-yard line when Bow elected to go for the score on fourth down instead of trying a field goal.
“My mindset was really very simple,” Cohen said. “We were down there in the red zone and we wanted to send a message. We wanted to put it in.”
The missed opportunity turned out not to matter as the Bow defense quickly forced a Cardinal punt, giving the ball back to the Falcons with 36 seconds remaining in the half. Just enough time for Bow to run two plays and score on a 17-yard pass from Derek Polish (3-for-4, 30 yards) to Reynolds (two catches, 26 yards). Reynolds followed his score with the extra point to give Bow a 14-0 lead going into the half.
Following the intermission, the Stevens offense showed off an entirely new offense, moving away from the running game that produced just 58 yards in the first half, and instead took to the air. The opening drive of the half saw the Cardinals offense put together a 12-play drive during which quarterback Ryan Tanguay (11-for-16, 139 yards) completed seven of eight pass attempts, including one for 6 yards to Akeem Bailey to bring the Cardinals to within a score at 14-7.
Bow was not to be deterred, however, and answered the Cardinals on its ensuing possession. The drive, led by Alex Reitze (nine carries, 50 yards), saw Bow take the ball for 76 yards and a score on a 3-yard run by Gavin Lacourciere (14 carries, 58 yards) to put the Falcons back up by two scores at 21-7.
“That was huge,” Cohen said. “A momentum shift like that at this level is enormous. For us to be able to do that when we had to is really a testament to these guys.”
After possession flipped back and forth a couple times, the Falcons eventually forced Stevens to punt from the back of its own end zone, giving Bow the ball back on the Cardinal 9-yard line. In two plays, Bow was back out to a commanding lead as Matt Ehrenberg (15 carries, 75 yards) punched in a 5-yard run.
Stevens was able, on its following drive, to tack on a late and harmless score as Tanguay completed a 20-yard pass to Richard Bell to round out the scoring at 28-14.
“It was a day that was hopefully a springboard for a lot of future success for us this season,” Cohen said. “This is always a tough team for us. We’ve never had an easy battle with them. We answered them when we had to.”
The challenges continue on Saturday when Bow travels to take on 2-1 Gilford.
Bow 28 Stevens 14
Stevens (1-2) 0 0 7 7 — 14
Bow (2-1) 7 7 7 7 — 28
Bow—Chris Robbins 11 run (Travis Reynolds kick), 7:34.
Bow—Matt Ehrenberg 2 run (Reynolds kick), 0:04.
Stev—Akeem Bailey 6 pass from Ryan Tanguay (Bryar Rouillard kick), 6:17.
Bow—Gavin Lacourciere 3 run (Reynolds kick), 2:35.
Bow—Ehrenberg 5 run (Reynolds kick), 5:27.
Stev— Richard Bell 20 pass from Tanguay (Rouillard kick), 3:37.
First downs 10 17
Rushes-yards 21-62 57-254
Passing 139 30
Comp-Att-Int 11-16-0 3-4-0
Kickoff returns 5-64 3-50
Sacked-Yards lost 0-0 1-4
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-45 5-28
RUSHING—Stevens, Donald Pellerin 17-70, Bell 1-2, Rouillard 1-(minus-1), Tanguay 2-(minus-9). Bow, Robbins 14-79, Ehrenberg 15-75, Lacourciere 14-58, Alex Reitze 9-50, Kyle Barrington 1-0, Derek Polish, 4-(minus-8).
PASSING—Stevens, Tanguay 11-16-0-139. Bow, Polish 3-4-0-30.
RECEIVING—Stevens, Nathanul White 5-55, Austin Tenney 2-30, Donald Pellerin 1-28, Bell 1-20, Bailey 1-6. Bow, Reynolds 2-26, Ehrenberg 1-4.