High schools: Gilford-Belmont football beats Merrimack Valley to start season 2-0

  • Gilford-Belmont running back Blake Descoteaux eludes Merrimack Valley defenders during the second half on Saturday, September 8, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley split end Dylan Lessard makes a catch but is brought down immediately near the goal line during the first half on Saturday, September 8, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Gilford Belmont wide receiver Brandon Gallagher signals a touchdown as running back Blake Descoteaux crosses the end zone during the first half against Merrimack Valley on Saturday, September 8, 2018. The Golden Eagles won, 20-7. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Gilford Belmont wide receiver turned into a defender to break up a near interception by Merrimack Valley cornerback Cameron Butt during the first quarter on Saturday, September 8, 2018 in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Gilford Belmont lineman Tobert Tonkin gets a hold of Merrimack Valley running back Rick Hazeltine during the first half on Saturday, September 8, 2018. MV lost 20-7. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Gilford-Belmont wide receiver Brandon Gallagher gets sandwiched by Merrimack Valley linebacker Max Lacy (33) and linebacker Dylan Lessard during the second half on Saturday, September 8, 2108. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley running back Rick Hazeltine gets all jammed up during the second half against Gilford Belmont on Saturday, September 8, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Gilford Belmont wide receiver Brandon Gallagher gets thrown down by Merrimack Valley linebacker Max Lacy (33) and linebacker Dylan Lessard after his catch during the second half on Saturday, September 8, 2108. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Gilford Belmont wide receiver Curtis Nelson scampers in for the Golden Eagles final touchdown during the second half against Merrimack Valley on Saturday, September 8, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 9/8/2018 11:55:37 PM

Gilford-Belmont won just two football games in the last two years. But after Saturday’s 20-7 win at Merrimack Valley, the Golden Eagles have already equaled that two-year win total with a 2-0 record to start the season.

“It does feel good,” G-B coach Josh Marzahl said. “These guys work hard, they have for years, but for some of them two wins is as much as they’ve had in their whole careers.”

MV took a 7-0 lead on the first series of the game. Rick Hazeltine (16 carries, 73 yards) swept left for a 20-yard touchdown to cap a nine-play, 68-yard drive. After that, the Pride (0-2) was hurt by untimely penalties and a grinding Golden Eagles offense. But it was still an improvement for the Pride compared to last week’s season-opening 46-12 loss at John Stark.

“We were better than we were last week, but there’s still a long way to go and we’ve go to work at it and continue. Things aren’t going to happen over night,” Pride coach Joe Raycraft said. “I think progression-wise we looked better and we were aggressive and we did some nice things out there. But you can’t make mistakes against any team and that’s what happened.”

Gilford-Belmont responded to MV’s opening touchdown with a 76-yard kickoff return from Ethan Roy. Two plays later, Blake Descoteaux (25 carries, 90 yards) scored from 6 yards out to make it 7-7.

“That was huge, especially for a program that’s young and we’re still trying to find our way,” Marzahl said. “When we get down sometimes it’s easy to say, ‘Here we go again,’ but that kick return really turned that around and turned the momentum back in our favor.”

It was the second week in a row special teams has been critical for the Golden-Eagles, who claimed a 21-20 season-opening win against Pembroke Academy on a last-second field goal last week.

The Pride answered Gilford-Belmont’s first touchdown with a 13-play drive that pushed to the Eagles 14-yard line, but the march ended on a failed fourth-and-13. Gilford-Belmont turned it around 86 yards in the other direction, riding the legs of Descoteaux and scoring on a 6-yard pass from Alex Cheek (9-for-15, 146 yards, two touchdowns) to Descoteaux for a 13-7 lead (MV’s Trenton Waters blocked the PAT) with 7:30 left in the second quarter.

“We struggled getting (Descoteaux) going last week, so we put a fullback in the backfield (John Mitchell) and he feels a whole lot more comfortable knowing he’s got a nice big fullback running in front of him,” Marzahl said. “He’s able to read his blocks pretty well and that’s one of the differences.”

The two defenses stepped up after that and traded stops until the fourth quarter. That’s when the Eagles made it a two-score game after Curtis Nelson caught a strike from Cheek and turned it into a 29-yard touchdown and a 20-7 lead with 10:16 left on the clock.

It looked like MV had an answer on the next drive when Hazeltine broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run, but it was called back for an illegal block in the back. That turned out to be the last best chance for the Pride, which will make the long trip to Kennett (1-1) on Friday night in search of its first win.

“It’s all a building process,” Raycraft said.

Gilford-Belmont’s two-game winning streak will face the toughest test Division II has to offer on Saturday when two-time defending champion Plymouth comes to town.

“Our goal is to compete in every single game, whether it’s somebody we feel we can beat or someone that we feel like we just want to hang with, someone that might be a perennial state champ, like Plymouth coming up next week,” Marzahl said. “But our goal is to compete in every single game.”


Winnisquam 39, Farmington-Nute 7

Key players: Winnisquam – Phil Nichols (11-for-13, 220 passing yards, 2 TD; 3 carries for 74 rushing yards, TD, leading tackler), Gunnar Horman (7 catches, 70 yards, 2 TD), Garret Mango (3 catches, 122 yards), Caden Remillard (defensive line), Kobe Briand (5 tackles)

Highlights: The Bears jumped out to a 26-0 lead, and after surrendering a touchdown before halftime, Winnisquam cemented the victory with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns.

Coach’s quote: “I was impressed with the offense. It looked pretty crisp and the offensive line played well, and I was glad we had a balanced attack. Defensively, we played well, but not up to expectation.” – Winnisquam’s Pat Riberdy

Records: Winnisquam 2-0; Farmington-Nute 0-2

Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough 15,
Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton 14

Key players: H-D – Colby Quiet (20 carries, 73 yards; 2 catches, 22 yards); Caleb Yianakopolos (6-for-13, 81 passing yards, TD; 37 yards per punt), Tyler Allen (56-yard TD catch), Max Costello (3 catches, 50 yards, TD), Reed Tanuvasa (8 tackles, fumble recovery), Thayer Maughan (9 tackles, sack), Kevin McCaffery (4 tackles, fumble recovery), Jordan Berrocales, 4 tackles, forced fumble), Mike Oberheim (2tackles, interception)

Highlights: There were too many mistakes for H-D-Hopkinton, which committed 10 offensive penalties and coughed up three turnovers.

Records: Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton 1-1; Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough 1-1

Franklin 27, Mascoma 6

Key players: Franklin – Jakob Breaupre (2 receptions, 2 TD, 64 yards receiving, onside kick recovery), Devin Savage - 12 carries, 55 yards, TD), Harrison Clark (4-for-9, 100 yards, 2 TD, rushing TD), Braden Vigue (6 solo tackles, 3 tackles for a loss), C.J. Gaslin (5 solo tackles, forced fumble), Ben Lafrance (fumble recovery), Nick Franson (fumble recovery)

Highlights: Franklin scored 20 points in the second quarter as Clark connected with Beaupre, who also recovered an onside kick in the quarter, for a pair of touchdowns.

Coach's quote: “We played well today. It’s a long season and there is a lot we can improve on. I’m very proud of the way we played and the way these young men conduct themselves. Looking forward to seeing these young men continue to grow. ” – Franklin’s Jeff Davis

Records: Franklin 1-0; Mascoma 0-1

Boys’ Soccer

Concord 2, Exeter 0

Key players: Concord – Alasdair Ferrier (G), Brandon Comire (G), Mosi Masimango (A), Daniel Aybar (A), Liam Bennett (defense), Grant Rienstra (defense), Liam Devanny (3 saves)

Highlights: Ferrier buried a shot into the goal off a rebound from a Masimango shot in the 20th minute. The Tide went up 2-0 on a goal from Comire off a corner kick by Aybar. Duvan Morikawa-Montenengro and Becket O’Neil helped control the midfield for Concord.

Records: Concord 3-0; Exeter 1-2

Merrimack Valley 6, Kingswood 2

Key players: Merrimack Valley – Pedro Godio (3G), Coby Mercier (2G), Logan Cassin (G, A), Cam Woodman (A), Griffin Wheeler (A), Hunter Edwards (A)

Highlights: MV scored five unanswered goals in the first half and Godio made it 6-0 when he completed his hat trick early in the second half. Kingswood continued to keep fighting and was able to use some speed up top to score twice.

Coach’s quote: “We played well in the first half. I was happy with our possession and our ability to finish. In the second half Kingswood wanted it more and they were eager to get to the goal. We need to continue to fight and make better choices as a team if we plan on making this a successful season.” – Merrimack Valley’s Ken Fuller

Records: Merrimack Valley 3-1; Kingswood 0-5

Girls’ Soccer

Merrimack Valley 7, Kingswood 0

Key players: Merrimack Valley – Emily Knouse (2G), Kaylee Magoon (G, A), Kylie Curtin (G, A), McKayla Palhof (G, A), Alyssa Woodman (G), Lauren Pettingill (A), Sarah Davis (A), Hannah Costello (midfield), Brook Walton (midfield)

Highlights: Knouse scored just inside the penalty spot only two minutes into the game to get the scoring started for MV, which saw five different players score. Madison Merchant and Cassidy Considine combined for the win in goal.

Coach’s quote: “It was great to see the team generate some attack and find a way to put the ball in the back of the net. We were patient and received contribution from the entire team to earn our first victory of the season. Hopefully we can build off this and continue to generate chances in the next game. ” – MV’s Nick Dagostino

Records: Merrimack Valley 1-3-0; Kingswood 0-3-1

Field Hockey

Kennett 7, Merrimack Valley 0

Key players: Merrimack Valley – Taylor Bailey, Molly McLaughlin, Lauren McLaughlin

Highlights: Kennett scored early and often throughout the game. MV had chances in the first half in its offensive end, but Kennett controlled the tempo and capitalized on numerous scoring opportunities.

Coach’s quote: “Today we got beat by an athletic and talented Kennett team. It allowed us to pinpoint areas of improvement as a team. We will continue to improve and adjust as our season continues. ” – MV’s Jen Otis

Records: Merrimack Valley 1-3; Kennett 4-0

Bishop Brady 4, White Mountains 1

Key players: Bishop Brady – Ashlyn Toupin (G, A), Riley Marsh (2G, A), Kathryn Weed (G), Halle Laramie (2A); White Mountains – Courtney Patterson (G), Mya Browne (A), Jen Fowler (26 saves)

Highlights: Brady fell behind early when the Spartans scored just 3:50 into the game, but the Giants answered with goals from Toupin (off a corner set by Abigail Tremblay) and Marsh to take a 2-1 lead into halftime.

Coach’s quote: “A lot of field moments contributed to today’s win. Each game is progress in the right direction for these young girls.” – Bishop Brady’s Kelly Owen

Records: Bishop Brady 3-0-0; White Mountains 1-3-0


Pelham 78, Gilford 51, John Stark 49

Key players: John Stark – Jacob Greene (15 points)

Highlights: Pelham’s Ross Hamel turned in the top score with 25 points. Greene chipped in for par on the eighth hole for three points.

Coach’s quote: “Two matches in a row now that we have lost by two. Everyone on our team knows we’re close. It was a great contest and Pelham and Gilford played great.” – John Stark’s Matt Caputo

Records: John Stark 0-6

Boys’ Cross Country

Merrimack Valley sixth Keene - 34, Pinkerton - 68, Hanover - 88, Nashua North - 88, Trinity - 113, Merrimack Valley - 157, Kennett - 170, Berlin - 178, Kingswood - 220, Lebanon - 230, Pittsburg/Canaan - 246, Plymouth - 283

Key players: MV – David Reynolds (3rd overall, 16:35), Matthew Reynolds (24th, 18:12), Ethan Dodenhoff (51st, 19:44), Christian Oglesby (58th, 20:10), Connor Butt (20:55)

Highlights: Keene finished first with 34 points, easily beating out Pinkerton (68) and Hanover (88). The Pride finished with 157 points to take sixth in the 12-team meet.

Coach’s quote: “Our third through fifth took a big step forward today, with the cooler weather leading to big improvements on the season. David ran well coming in third, and Matt recovered well from a fall at the start line that left him bloodied and scraped up.” – Merrimack Valley’s Dave Irving

Bow fourth

Key players: Bow – Kirpal Demian (16th), Colin Lessard (17th), Gabe Neff (28th), Ben Neff (29th), and Justin Murphy (40th)

Highlights: Bow finished behind Oyster River, Bishop Guertin and host Hollis-Brookline, but one point ahead of Sanborn at the Coach Korcoulis Invitational.

Coach’s quote: “Solid finishes by seasoned varsity team runners among strong D-II schools shows Bow’s depth and readiness to compete in its new division (Division II).” – Bow’s Katie McDonald

Girls’ Cross Country

Merrimack Valley third

Key players: MV – Sophia Reynolds (1st overall, 18:37), Emma York (3rd, 20:43), Maddy Garrity (26th, 24:24), Kate Butt (28th, 24:33), Tristan Beyer (46th, 27:04)

Highlights: Hanover was first with 31 points to beat out Kennett (61) and the Pride (80) at the Great Glen Invitational.

Coach’s quote: “The weather was great after the heat of the week, and the girls ran well in their first hard effort of the season. Sophia pulled away over the hilly middle mile to win, while junior Emma York ran an all-time best in placing third. Kate Butt had a particularly good run, helping the girls to a somewhat surprising third-place finish.” – Merrimack Valley’s Dave Irving

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