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High schools: Thrilling opener for Concord football

  • Concord running back Isaac Gladey leaps over Nashua South defensive back Tyler Armeen for a first down during the first half at Memorial Field on Friday. Gladey scored two touchdowns in the Tide’s 28-26 win. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Concord defensive lineman Kumwimba Twite wraps up Nashua South quarterback David Olson-Barnett during the first half at Memorial Field on Friday, August 31, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Concord quarterback Zach Miles looks for more yards against Nashua South during the first half at Memorial Field. The Crimson Tide came back from an early 14-0 deficit to claim a thrilling 28-26 win that Miles sealed with an interception in the final seconds. GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Friday, August 31, 2018

It was starting to feel a lot like years past under the lights Friday at Memorial Field.

Nashua South gashed Concord time and time again on the ground, and even with the offensive firepower to hang around, no amount of offense could plug the leak in the Tide’s defensive line.

And then it started to feel like something completely different in the second half.

Concord made adjustments and took away the inside run. The offense began to gain traction and the new-look defense under coach Eric Brown forced two turnovers in the third quarter and came up with a pair of monumental stops on two-point conversions to lift the Tide to a thrilling 28-26 season-opening win over Nashua South

“We’ve had adversity the last three years, the last time we were on the map was the 2013 team,” said senior quarterback Zach Miles, who finished 8 of 12 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. “But coach has been telling us all preseason that this is the year and we’ve got something special going on.”

Concord trailed all game until exploding for 14 points in a span of two minutes in the third quarter.

Down 14-7, Miles provided the Tide with good field position following a punt return, and working with a short field, running back Isaac Gladey (two touchdowns) tied the game by finding pay dirt from eight yards out with 2:35 to play in the third.

A fumble on Nashua South’s next drive again gave Concord a short field, and this time it was Miles who made the Purple Panthers pay, finding Nate Vandersea for a long 51-yard TD strike and a 21-14 lead.

“Firing off for that second half is always big,” Miles said. “No matter if you’re up or down, if you come out flying around that first kickoff of the second half, you’re going to win the game.”

From there it was a matter of whether the Tide defense could protect the new-found lead.

Concord let up a touchdown in the final minute of third quarter when Brendon Frost ran one in from 11 yards out, but Nashua South was stuffed on the two-point try thanks to the work of up front of Seth Malachi and Kumwimba Twite.

Later in the fourth quarter, Concord turned to Gladey to milk the clock and put the game away. The senior responded by hauling in a 42-yard screen pass and churning out 33 yards on the ground capped by an 8-yard touchdown scamper.

Vandersea (4-for-4) drilled the extra point to give Concord a 28-20 lead with 1:16 remaining.

It proved to be enough time for Nashua South to make one more drive down the field. The Panthers took the ball 38 yards in five plays and Jaylan Pacheco rushed for his third touchdown, forcing another pivotal two-point try.

But for the second time, Concord’s defense stuffed Pacheco at the line, leaving him a few yards short of tying the contest in the final seconds.

“Certainly the two-point play defense was critical in this game. We stuffed them twice. That was big. That was crucial,” Brown said. “I’m really proud of the kids. We’re a young team and we haven’t faced anybody like that who really just takes the ball and did what they wanted to do, but we battled.”

Not only did Concord put its grit on display, but the team showed off its intelligence, too.

After being outplayed up front in the first half, Brown and the rest of the coaching staff went over adjustments. Making changes is one thing. Executing those changes is another.

“We did make some adjustments, played a lot of man (coverage) in the second half and kept our linebackers in the box and tried to do our best to stop the run,” Brown said. “It was some quick adjustments and the kids were intuitive enough to get it and execute the game plan.”

Miles, who secured the win with an interception after Nashua South recovered an onside kick in the final seconds, had plenty of high praise for his offensive line and the coaching staff after the victory.

“That’s all coach in the locker room. They saw it on film, they were looking at it all before the second half started and they made the adjustments. We did what we’re supposed to do and got it done,” Miles said. “The guys up front, they don’t get enough credit. Without them we can’t get anything going and it just feels great right now.”

Concord will look to build off the win when it returns to action on the road against Bedford on Sept. 7.

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, jmcaree@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)

BOYS’ SOCCER

Concord 2, Salem 1, OT

Key players: Concord – Alasdair Ferrier (game-winning goal in OT), Liam Bennett (G), Liam Devanny (5 saves), Becket O’Neil (midfield), Daniel Aybar (defense), Adamson Munyembabazi (defense)

Highlights/key moments: Ferrier scored 17 seconds into overtime to lift the Crimson Tide over the Blue Devils in Concord’s first match of the season. Bennett scored in the 16th minute on a penalty kick, but Salem converted a PK of its own in the 46th to force extra time.

Coach’s quote: “It was a very difficult match for us. We showed a lot of composure. I was pleased with our effort.” – Concord’s Scott Dunlop

Records: Concord 1-0; Salem 0-2

Hollis-Brookline 3
Coe-Brown 2

Key players: Coe-Brown – Lucciano Minasalli

Highlights/key moments: The Bears gave up a penalty kick in the first minute of the game, and when their keeper tried to save it, he injured his hand and was lost for the game. The Cavaliers built a 3-1 lead from there that they took into halftime.

Coach’s quote: “The game was a tale of two halves. The first half was fraught with challenges we did not handle well at all. By the time we worked out positive solutions, we ran out of time before we could level the game. This was a tough match for us, but it can serve as a tremendous learning opportunity. We know what we have to do to be better.” – Coe-Brown’s Christian Gompert

Records: Coe-Brown 2-1-0; Hollis-Brookline 1-1-0

Belmont 4, Laconia 0

Key players: Belmont – Griffin Embree (G), Nate Sottak (G, A), Colby Brown (G), Zach Ennis (G), Angelo Papadopoulos (A), Jake Deware (3 saves), Lars Major (defense), Caleb Burke (defense)

Highlights/key moments: The Sachems held the Raiders scoreless until the 36th minute, but Belmont scored three goals in a four minute span to take a 3-0 halftime lead.

Coach’s quote: “Solid win over a tough Laconia squad. Belmont was able to wear down the Laconia defense before the end of the first half which resulted in the quick goals. Excellent defense tonight in front of Jake Deware.” – Belmont’s Mike Foley

Records: Belmont 2-0; Laconia 2-1

Hillsboro-Deering 2, Mascenic 0

Key players: H-D – Ben Ketterer (G, A), Elijah Winters (G), Kadin Garvin (A), Jack Ferguson (defense), Logan Clough (shutout in goal)

Highlights/key moments: Ketterer gave the Hillcats a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute on an assist from Garvin. Ketterer then found Winters for the second goal in the 48th minute.

Records: Hillsboro-Deering 1-1; Mascenic 0-2

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Concord 5, Salem 0

Key players: Concord – Grace Devanny (2G), Nicole Toler (G, A), Emma Pope (G), Karley Richard (2A), Allison Yanski (G), Autumn Nudd (shutout in goal)

Highlights/key moments: Devanny picked up where she left off last season, scoring the first two goals of the game. The Tide was up 3-0 at halftime and all the substitutes got off the bench and contributed in the second half.

Coach’s quote: “It was a good start for us. Whenever you win a game 5-0 it's hard to complain. But with it being our first game of the season there are still a lot of things to work on. I'm happy with the first result and look forward to next week.” – Concord’s Phil Tuttle

Records: Concord 1-0-0; Salem 0-1-1

Bow 7, Oyster River 1

Key players: Bow – Anna Lafreniere (2G), Nicole Sartorelli (2A), Taylor Burnham (G), Kristina Pizzi (G), Miah Munro (A), Kimmy Gosselin (G), Kayleigh Marshall (G, A), Madi Paul (A), Lindsay Burnham (G)

Highlights/key moments: Oyster’s River’s defensive pressure had Bow scrambling early, but a great pass from Sartorelli to Lafreniere led to the first goal and put the Falcons on the front foot. Bow got excellent midfield play from Lauren Goyette and Madison Roberge and the defense was led by Chloe Binder, Megan Remick, Tess Thomas and keeper Emma Wilke.

Coach’s quote: “Oyster River has a very tough formation to play against and they got us out of our game in the first half. They also have very good speed. We made some adjustments at halftime, including our formation, and our girls did an excellent job raising their level of play in the second half. Very good win, enjoy it and then back to work next week.” – Bow’s Jay Vogt

Records: Bow 2-0; Oyster River 1-1

John Stark 10, Manchester West 0

Key players: John Stark – Chelsea Woodsum (G, 2A), Bella Roy (2G), Makayla Couturier (2G), Lexi Knapton (2G, A), Aria Ulmer (G, A), Alex Pike (G), Ali Hardcastle (G)

Highlights/key moments: The Generals had some breakout performances from their younger players against the undermanned Blue Knights, despite some fantastic saves from the West keeper.

Coach’s quote: “I am proud of how players stepped out but also want to give a huge shout out to West as they showed what heart and determination truly is. An inspiration to any team.” – John Stark’s Chris Pike

Records: John Stark 3-0; West 0-3

Pembroke 9, Pelham 0

Key players: Pembroke – Cierra Hill (2G), Emily Weldon (2G), Jade Pescinski (2G), Kayla Paquin (G), Maddie Bailey (G), Bri Provencher (G), Kaylie LeBlanc (defense), Katelyn Young and Riley Kennedy (combined for the shutout)

Highlights/key moments: The Spartans got the scoring started five minutes into the match and never let up. Hill and Provencher scored their first varsity goals.

Coach’s quote: “It was awesome to see so many of our girls having such success on the pitch today. A great way to start to the holiday weekend for our players, coaches and their families.” – Pembroke’s Jess Kaufman

Records: Pembroke 2-0-0; Pelham 0-1-1

Hopkinton 4, White Mountains 0

Key players: Hopkinton – Annie Higginbotham (2G), Caitlyn Clark (G, 2A), Grace Clark (G), Emily Fleegle (shutout in goal), Kally Murdough (defense), Loren Charron (defense), Lauren Secore (midfield)

Highlights/key moments: The Hawks allowed just three shots on goal as they won on the road.

Coach’s quote: “Hopkinton dominated every aspect of the game on a small 100x60 field. It did not hinder the Hawks from possession play, high-pressure defense and one-two touch passing. – Hopkinton’s Mike Zahn

Records: Hopkinton 2-0; White Mtns. 0-2

Belmont 5, Somersworth 0

Key players: Belmont – Katie Gagnon (3G), Julianna Estremera (G, 2A), Siera Bourque (G), Deanna Bourque (A), Emma Cochran (5 saves), Kailey Gerbig (outside halfback)

Highlights/key moments: The Raiders had another solid performance from its backline, especially from Morgan Rule, as Belmont shut out the Hilltoppers. The Raiders held a 3-0 lead at halftime.

Coach’s quote: “As a coach it was nice to see things we’ve been working on and to see us possessing the ball ... we’re making strides. Great team win.” – Belmont’s Mark Dawalga

Records: Belmont 2-0-1; Somersworth 0-2-0

FIELD HOCKEY

Concord 2, Dover 1

Key players: Concord – Carly Torrance (2 G), Ella Doherty, Andie Reed

Highlights/key moments: The Tide took a 2-0 lead and held on for its first win of the season, despite a Green Wave surge in the last 15 minutes of the match.

Coach’s quote: “Both sides put in a ton of effort and it was a tightly-fought contest from start to finish.” – Concord’s Andy Briers

Records: Concord 1-0-1; Dover 1-1-0

Merrimack Valley 1,
Hollis-Brookline 0

Key players: MV – Molly McLaughlin (G), Lauren McLaughlin (midfield), Caitlyn Fortier (midfield), Reilly Swislosky

Highlights/key moments: The Pride maintained strong offensive pressure throughout the game thanks to good ball movement and passing. Molly McLaughlin capitalized on an opportunity when the Cavalier defense was out of position. McLaughlin carried the ball for five yards, entered the circle and fired a shot to the back corner for game-winner in MV’s first game of the season

Coach’s quote: “I’m proud of the energy and intensity they brought to the second half. We had many opportunities to score and we will look to capitalize on those opportunities in the future.” – MV’s Jennifer Otis

Records: MV 1-0; H-B 0-1

Kearsarge 3, ConVal 1

Key players: Kearsarge – Audrey Kenyon (3 G), Abby Nadeau (A), Paige Hoegler (A), Chase Lennon (A)

Highlights/key moments: Kenyon tipped in three goals off crosses and Marissa Pickman made several key saves to protect the lead, helping Kearsarge win its second game of the season. The Cougars were also aided by key transitions from midfielder Kate Cochran and defender Jordan Pollard.

Coach’s quote: “We came out a bit sloppy but midway through the first half regrouped to get our passing game back. ConVal was quick to the ball and we had to respond to that to keep possession and get to the goal. Overall we kept up the effort and connected when we needed to.” – Kearsarge’s Dianne Chadwick

Records: Kearsarge 2-0; ConVal 0-1

Hopkinton 11, White Mountains 1

Key players: Hopkinton – Fiona Beane (3G), Katie Meserve (3G), Amelia Thomas (2G, 3A), Chloe wood (G), Emma Tworek (G), Avery Barrett (G), Bekah Underwood, Julia Beare

Coach’s quote: “We played a strong game and had some great passes and stick skills today.” – Hopkinton asst. coach Kate Hohenberger

Records: Hopkinton 2-0; White Mtns. 1-1

VOLLEYBALL

St. Thomas 3, John Stark 0

Key players: John Stark –

Highlights/key moments: The Generals fell behind in the first set 8-1, and ended up losing all three sets by identical 25-14 scores. John Stark tied the second set, 12-12, before the Saints pulled away to win the first match of the season for both teams.

Coach’s quote: “We had moments where we were unstoppable, but we have a team with very little varsity experience and that showed tonight. We’re only going to get better and more consistent as this team develops. I just need to be patient with them.” – John Stark’s Jeff McClellan

Records: St. Thomas 1-0; John Stark 0-1

Fall Mountain 3, Hillsboro-Deering 1

Key players: H-D – Kenzie Murdough (11 assists, 3 aces), Maddee O’Brien (4 kills, 4 digs), Kimmie Rodier (5 aces, 5 kills), Holly Madore (6 digs)

Highlights/key moments: The Hillcats won their first set of the season, but lost three straight to Wildcats to open the season with a loss.

Records: Fall Mtn. 1-0; H-D 0-1

BOYS’ CROSS COUNTRY

Merrimack Valley third

Key players: MV – David Reynolds (1st, 17:19), Matt Reynolds (4th), Ethan Dodenhoff (27th), Christian Oglesby (30th), Connor Butt (35th)

Highlights/key moments: Reynolds won the Pride’s first race of the season in a four-team meet at Oyster River. The host Bobcats won with 23 points, topping Portsmouth (60), MV (65) and St. Thomas (102).

Coach’s quote: “Today was a solid outing by the entire team, with everyone knocking summer rust off the gears. The Reynolds twins almost swept the top two places, but Matt took a crucial wrong turn just before the finish.” – MV’s David Irving

GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY

Merrimack Valley third

Key players: MV – Sophia Reynolds (1st, 19:52), Emma York (3rd), Maizie Thurber-Wells (26th), Madisyn Garrity (41st), Addie Hodge (42nd)

Highlights/key moments: Reynolds, a freshman, won her first ever high school race, helping the Pride finish third in a four-team meet at Oyster River. The host Bobcats (30) won the meet, besting Portsmouth (54), MV (67) and St. Thomas (97).

Coach’s quote: “The girls looked great today. Sophia was on cruise control to win her first ever high school race, while Emma was not too far behind her and close to her personal best. Everyone had a great effort for this early in the season.” – MV’s David Irving