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High schools: Rolla’s return helps Bow football stay undefeated

  • Bow’s Thomas Rolla (15) cuts upfield while teammate Cooper Larrabee (80) lays a block on Friday night during a Division II football game at Merrimack Valley. Bow won, 45-14. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Bow quarterback Sebastian Beaulieu (12) surveys the field Friday night during a 45-14 victory over Merrimack Valley in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley running back Travis Knouse (10) drives forward for yardage while Bow’s Cooper Larrabee (80) drags him down on Friday night during a Division II football game in Penacook. Bow won, 45-14. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley’s Tomas Gandarilla (60) raises his hands as the Pride sideline celebrates a long touchdown pass in the first quarter on Friday night in a Division II football game against Bow in Penacook. The Falcons won, 45-14. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley’s Seth Baylus (82) slips a tackle during a kickoff return on Friday in a 45-14 loss to Bow in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley quarterback Chase Keyser (14) prepares to throw downfield while Bow’s Cooper Larrabee (80) pursues during a 45-14 win for the Falcons on Friday night in Penacook. The victory improves Bow to 6-0 on the season. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Bow’s Hunter Fortier (33) runs away from Merrimack Valley’s Dylan Lessard (2), Aidan Monaghan (77) and Tanna Valliere (50) on Friday night during a Division II football game in Penacook. Bow won, 45-14. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Bow’s Andrew Robbins (25) tries to break away from Merrimack Valley’s Dylan Lessard (2) on Friday night during a Division II football game in Penacook. Bow won, 45-14. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Bow’s Thomas Rolla (15) looks for room to run Friday during a 45-14 win over Merrimack Valley in a D-II football game in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Bow’s Thomas Rolla (15) celebrates in the end zone after one of his five touchdowns on Friday night during a 45-14 win over Merrimack Valley in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/11/2019 10:48:38 PM
Modified: 10/11/2019 10:48:23 PM

After missing the first four games of the season, Bow senior Thomas Rolla played some last week against Pembroke. But Friday night’s game at Merrimack Valley was Rolla’s real welcome back party.

The 5-foot-5, 145-pound running back had 19 carries for 164 yards and five touchdowns as the Falcons (6-0) rolled to a 45-14 win against the Pride (2-4).

“I’ve been thinking about coming back all year,” Rolla said. “It was a great night. It was an amazing time.”

Rolla was filling in for Steven Guerrette, Bow’s primary back who is nursing a leg injury. Guerrette did play on the defensive side, and he should be back to playing both ways sometime soon, but the Falcons didn’t need him with Rolla returning to the mix.

“(Rolla) was all over the field. He played defense, he kicked for us, the whole deal. It was a stellar performance from him tonight,” Bow coach Paul Cohen said. “As the weeks wore on and he got closer and closer to being able to come back, I had a feeling there was going to be a time when he was just going to bust this wide open. And tonight was pivotal for him as an athlete. To sit for as long as he did and to work as hard as he did, I knew he was chomping at the bit, and I told him, ‘It’s going to be a big night for you,’ and I turned out to be eerily prescient.”

Rolla’s 7-yard touchdown run gave Bow a 6-0 lead with 5:25 left in the first quarter, but then he gave that lead right back. Three plays after the score, MV quarterback Chase Keyser used a slick play-action fake to suck in the defense and allow Dylan Lessard to get open down the middle. Keyser’s pass hit Lessard in stride, and 82 yards and a Matt Grandmaison extra point later, the Pride had a 7-6 lead with 4:33 to go in the opening quarter.

“That touchdown was my fault. I completely bit on the fake and he scored over the top of me,” Rolla said. “I just had to remind myself that we have the rest of the game to come back, and we were fine.”

MV did ride its momentum into the next series, which ended when Pride sophomore Seth Baylus sacked Bow’s Sebastian Beaulieu and forced a fumble that Trenton Waters recovered, giving MV the ball on the Bow 41 with a one-point lead.

“It was a good start, we played hard, we really did,” Pride coach Joe Raycraft said.

MV moved the ball to the Bow 25, but the drive stalled there after Keyser narrowly missed an open Lessard in the end zone on a third-down pass, and then Grandmaison missed on a 44-yard field goal attempt. The Falcons took advantage of the opening, going 80 yards the other way on a 10-play drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run from Rolla and a 2-point scramble from Beaulieu to make it 14-7 midway through the second quarter.

Bow scored two more touchdowns in the final two minutes of the half. The first was a 15-yard carry from Rolla to cap a 61-yard drive. The second was a 3-yard plunge from Rolla that was set up by a fumble recovery from Hunter LaFlamme on the MV 24, giving the Falcons a 28-7 lead going into halftime.

“That was big,” Rolla said of the last score in the first half.

Bow scored on the first drive of the second half, going 62 yards in six plays, the final one a 5-yard run from Rolla.

“It was great blocking by all the line. It was a big hole every time,” Rolla said. “It’s easy to make runs when the holes are that big.”

MV fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Bow’s Myles Reinhardt recovered, and three plays later Andrew Bliss ran one in from 10 yards out to make 42-7 and start running time.

Bow’s Andrew Robbins (5-for-6 PAT; 11 rushes, 74 yards) added a 28-yard field goal early in the fourth and MV sophomore Travis Knouse (nine carries, 14 yards) added a late touchdown to complete the scoring. It’s the first time this year Bow has allowed more than one score in a game. Still, the Falcons are only giving up 4.5 points per contest.

“On the defensive side, we’ve been successful because they all understand they’re truly an integral part of a defensive machine, a defensive group that works only when all 11 of them are working,” Cohen said.

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or or on Twitter @timosullivan20)


Concord 22,
Manchester Memorial 7

Key players: Concord – Ronan McGonigle (TD run and 2-point conversion run), Rylan Canabano (blocked punt return TD), Jackson Tewksbury (interception return TD), Cortland Miller (safety)

Highlights: Offense, defense and special teams all contributed points for the Tide, leading Concord to its second straight victory. Canabano returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in the first quarter and quarterback McGonigle ran for a 19-yard touchdown, plus the 2-point conversion, in the second quarter to give the Tide a 14-0 halftime lead. Memorial scored on a running play in the third to cut the lead to 14-7, but Tewksbury returned a pick six 40 yards and Miller sacked the Crusader quarterback in the end zone for a safety.

Records: Concord 2-4; Memorial 1-5

Monadnock 52,
Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton 20

Key players: HDH – Colby Quiet (2 TD run), Max Costello (fumble recovery TD)

Highlights: The Redhawks stayed in the game in the first half, trailing 22-14, thanks to a 45-yard scoring run from Quiet and a 65-yard fumble recovery by Costello, but the Huskies returned the opening kickoff 85 yards in the third quarter and Monadnock tacked on three more touchdowns to take a 52-14 lead. Quiet added a 68-yard score in the closing minutes. The Redhawks had a hard time containing Monadnock’s running game, led by Lincoln Blodgett, who ran for three touchdowns.

Records: Monadnock 4-2; HDH 4-2

Field Hockey

Hopkinton 1, ConVal 0

Key players: Hopkinton – Avery Barrett (G), Julia Baer (A)

Highlights: The Hawks picked up their fifth straight victory and their fourth straight shutout.

Coach’s quote: “We played well tonight and we worked hard at playing together to get a team win. We look forward to our last game of the season next Friday and hope to end up with a win.” – Hopkinton’s Kate Gohenberger

Records: Hopkinton 12-1; ConVal 4-8

Boys’ Soccer

Concord 1,
Manchester Memorial 1

Key players: Concord – Faisal Abdallah (G), Pascal Zabayo (A), Abbas Abdulrahman (5 saves), Brandon Comire (defense), Nicholas DiBuono (defense)

Highlights: The Crusaders scored in the eighth minute, but Abdallah scored the equalizer in the 31st minute to salvage a draw in Manchester. The Tide outshot Memorial, 17-10, and had a 9-5 advantage in corner kicks.

Coach’s quote: “Today was a very physical match.” – Concord’s Scott Dunlop

Records: Concord 4-6-2; Memorial 3-7-2

Belmont 2,
Hillsboro-Deering 1, OT

Key players: Belmont – Nate Sottak (G), Lucas Mathieu (G), Liam Waldron (A), Tommy Galambos (A), Jacobb Bivens (8 saves), Lars Major (defense), Devin Bricknell (defense); H-D – Evan Winters (G)

Highlights: Mathieu scored the game-winner three minutes into overtime to lift the Raiders over the Hillcats in a defensive battle. Sottak scored in the 28th minute to give Belmont a 1-0 lead, but Winters scored to force extra time. The Hillcats had a great scoring chance early in overtime, but Bivens made a clutch save.

Coaches’ quotes: “Tonight was a grind and sometimes you have to find your way. The leaders on the team did just that today. (We need to) stay focused as we head down the home stretch.” – Belmont’s Michael Foley

“Very impressive performance by these boys.” – H-D’s Glenn Winters

Records: Belmont 9-3; H-D 6-5

Girls’ Soccer

Concord 1,
Manchester Memorial 0

Key players: Concord – Allison Silverstein (G), Autumn Nudd (shutout), Kat Potter (defense)

Highlights: Silverstein picked up the ball about 25 yards out, dribbled through three defenders and hit a shot off the crossbar and into the back of the net with eight minutes left in the game to give the Tide the win.

Coach’s quote: “We had to grind through this one tonight. It was our third win in four days. This team has worked so hard and found ourselves in a great position moving into the end of the season.” – Concord’s Phil Tuttle

Records: Concord 8-4-0; Memorial 4-7-1

Bow 6, Plymouth 0

Key players: Bow – Kristina Pizzi (G, 4A), Anna Lafreniere (G, A), Lindsay Burnham (G), Addie Trefethen (G), Madi Paul (G), Maddi Green (G), Madison Roberge (A), Emma Wilke and Maddie McSweeney (combined for the shutout)

Highlights: Lafreniere scored in the second minute and Lindsay Burnham scored in the eighth to give the Falcons an early 2-0 lead. Paul, Pizzi and Green scored three goals in a seven-minute span in the second half to ice the game. Taylor Burnham, Chloe Binder, Ally Boone and Stephanie Gosselin played well defensively to help Wilke and McSweeney garner the shutout.

Coach’s quote: “We came out flying in the start of the game and second half which was great to see. Nice to have six different players find the back of the net today.” – Bow’s Jay Vogt

Records: Bow 11-1; Plymouth 5-7

Merrimack Valley 3, ConVal 1

Key players: MV – Kaylee Magoon (G), Avery Turgeon (G), Alyssa Woodman (G, A), Miah Boucher (A), Rhiley Tanguay (A), Hayley Kenney (midfield), Katelin Locke (defense), Elizabeth Philbrook (defense)

Highlights: Magoon scored 10 minutes into the match off a Boucher throw in, and Turgeon finished off a nice cross by Woodman in the 25th minute to give the Pride a 2-1 halftime lead. Woodman scored off a cross from Tanguay in the second half to round out the Pride’s scoring. ConVal scored 15 minutes into the match to tie the game, 1-1.

Coach’s quote: “The girls responded well to losing to ConVal, 1-0, earlier in the season. We did a much better job in the middle of the field and capitalized on our chances. Defensively, we were organized and did a good job on their skillful attackers.” – MV’s Nick D’Agostino

Records: MV 6-6; ConVal 6-6

Belmont 1, St. Thomas 0

Key players: Belmont – Rebecca Fleming (G), Emma Cochran (9 saves), Sana Syed (defense), Courtney Burke (defense), Deanna Bourque (defense), Morgan Hall (defense), Sierra Bourque (forward), Molly Sottak (midfield), Katie Gagnon (midfield)

Highlights: The Raiders upset the second-place Saints in Dover, with Fleming delivering on a 25 yard free kick in the upper part of the net in the 63rd minute and Cochran making nine saves, including one on a breakaway with 10 minutes left, to secure the shutout.

Coach’s quote: “Today was a great overall team win. It was good to see that we took a lot of things we learned in practice and used them in the game. This is a big win over a quality team. Sometimes you learn more about your team on the road. Emma (Cochran) played one of her best games of the year.” – Belmont’s Mark Dawalga

Records: Belmont 9-3-1; St. Thomas 10-2-0

Boys’ Cross Country

Bow second,
Merrimack Valley third

Key players: Bow – Ben Neff (7th, 16:47), Colin Lessard (10th, 17:06), Gabe Neff (11th, 17:08), Adem Aricanli (21st, 17:56), Wyatt Weber (37th, 18:59); MV – (Ethan Dodenhoff 13th, 17:36), Mark Mercier (20th, 17:50), Christian Oglesby (27th, 18:35), Marshall Carey-Matthews (34th, 18:47), Isaac Linscott (39th, 19:07)

Highlights: The Falcons and the Pride took advantage of the fast course at Plymouth, finishing second and third, respectively, out of nine teams at the John Sanborn Invitational. D-II contender Oyster River won with 18 points, Bow (75), MV (115), Kennett (124) and Kingswood (140) rounding out the top five. Laconia (155), Kearsarge (170), Plymouth (227) and Pembroke (229) placed sixth through ninth.

Coaches’ quotes: “The boys are running so strong as we hit the final weeks of the season. Now it will be important to maintain their fitness and concentration.” – Bow’s Katie McDonald

“Four of the top five boys ran PRs on Plymouth’s new, fast course today, turning in their best team effort of the season. It is fun to watch them mix it up. Ethan (Dodenhoff) is our reliable top guy, but after him they shuffle every week. It’s something that is adding to the strength of the team.” – MV’s Dave Irving

Girls’ Cross Country

Merrimack Valley first, Kearsarge third

Key players: MV – Sophia Rebenciuc (1st, 18:42), Sophia Reynolds (2nd, 19:09), Emma York (5th, 20:41), Samantha Kimball (8th, 21:01), Madisyn Garrity (14th, 21:19); Bow – Maya Brochu, Delia Brochu, Autumn Boisvert, Leah Boisvert, Emily Kiah

Highlights: The Pride placed three runners in the top five, led by Rebenciuc’s individual victory, and won the John Sanborn Invitational with 30 points. MV topped Kennett (49), Kearsarge (84), Oyster River (114), Kingswood (117), Bow (145) and hosts Plymouth (147). Pembroke competed, but did not have enough runners to score as a team.

Coaches’ quotes: “The girls wanted to go out and run a fast race, and they did just that with three of the top five girls running PRs on the quick course. The gap between our top three runners and our fourth and fifth runners has grown much closer, which has been our primary focus all year.” – MV’s Dave Irving

“The Bow girls continue to improve their times and were not daunted by the formidable competition they faced at the Plymouth Invitational. The team’s freshmen have offered a new competitive standard for the Falcon girls.” – Bow’s Sara Krause

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