Even in a loss, Bow can still hold its head high

  • Bow High football coach Paul Cohen gets a consoling hug before the start of Friday’s game with Plymouth. The Falcons played for the first time since the deaths of Nick and Gavin Ouellette in a car crash. Rich Miyara photographs / NH Sports Photography

  • Left: Dylan Ouellette, brother of Nick and Gavin Ouellette, warms up with the Bow football team as an honorary captain.

  • Dylan Ouellette walks on the field before the game. Rich Miyara/ NH Sports Photography

  • Dylan Ouellette carries a flag as the Bow team comes onto the field prior to the start of the game. Rich Miyara/ NH Sports Photography

  • Right: The Bow student section during a 55-second moment of silence in honor of Nick Ouellette before the national anthem. Many wore pink T-shirts, Ouellette’s favorite color, that bore the 55 he wore for the Falcons.

  • Right: The Bow student section cheers on the football team at the start of Friday’s game with Plymouth. Many of the students wore pink T-shirts — Nick Ouellette’s favorite color — with Oullette’s uniform number on them.

Monitor staff
Published: 9/18/2021 3:56:34 PM

Paul Cohen shook hands with an opposing assistant coach and then immediately embraced one of his own players.

With his arm wrapped around the player’s shoulder, Cohen walked him to the others that were gathered at midfield where they were waiting on a knee for the coach’s closing remarks.

For over five minutes, Cohen stood in front of his players delivering comforting words in a difficult time. Albeit, a 28-6 loss to fellow Division II opponent Plymouth isn’t anything to just quickly turn the page on, but for Cohen, just seeing his team back out on the field was a victory.

“We didn’t win and I understand that, but in this particular week, with what this team has been through, the fact that they stepped on the field and they played an entire game and never quit, they were in it for most of it, I can’t ask for anything more than what they did,” Cohen said.

Just over a week ago, the Bow community was struck with tragedy when Nick and Gavin Ouellette were killed in a car crash. In the days, since the Falcons have had to manage the grieving process and mental health of their players as well as watch film, practice and create a game plan.

It hasn’t been easy for players and coaches alike. Prior to kickoff, Bow was led onto the field by honorary captain Dylan Ouellette, the brother of Nick and Gavin. Fans were clad in pink T-shirts – Nick’s favorite color – that had his No. 55 and Ouellette on the back in Navy blue. A 55-second moment of silence happened before the game, and fireworks in memoriam occurred at its conclusion.

And yet, for 48 minutes, all these players and coaches had to do was play and coach football.

Bow had solid play for most of the game. Its opening drive in the second half started at its own 30-yard line and, six plays later, quarterback Alex Boisvert sold the fake on a handoff and scored on a 51-yard bootleg keeper.

A hoard of running backs that included senior Myles Rheinhardt and juniors Ryan Lover, Owen Guertin and Logan Gordan all tried to get the chains moving for the Falcons. Whether it was dives, inside zones, trap schemes, the Bobcats seemed to have an answer defensively for all of Bow’s moves.

Aside from Boisvert’s keeper, the quarterback had a nice pitch to Rheinhardt on a speed option toward the wide side of the field that took the Falcons into scoring position, but nothing came out of the possession.

Defensively, the Falcons will surely look at the tape to see what went wrong. A highlight reel moment, however, happened when junior linebacker Hollis Jones intercepted Kurtis Cross’ pass in the middle of the field and set up the offense with another scoring opportunity.

Going into Friday, Bow knew this would be more than just a game. It knew that no matter how much of a distraction the Xs and Os would contribute, or reading defensive keys or knowing which defender it’s supposed to read when the game would end, there still would be a teammate behind.

“As I said to them, ‘It’s not important that you guys won or lost tonight,’ ” Cohen said. “ ‘The fact that you honored your teammate, you played as a team and you never gave up, that says something about the character of the team.’

“And that I’m very proud of.”

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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