Football: Falcons run for 400 yards as Bow keeps season alive with win over Pembroke


Monitor staff

Published: 10-22-2023 1:14 PM

MANCHESTER – The result of Saturday night’s game could result in either one of two things for the Falcons: They lose and know they have one week left of the season or they win and have a shot at qualifying for the playoffs. They chose the latter.

Sophomore running back Caleb Schumacher ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, the Falcons ran for 400 yards as a team, and the JV and bench players stepped up to make big plays as the Bow High School football team defeated Pembroke Academy, 34-0, under the lights in the pouring rain at Derryfield Park.

The victory lifts Bow’s record to 4-4 and puts them in ninth in Division II, just one spot out of a playoff position. The Falcons dropped below .500 in the previous weekend with a hard-fought 18-9 loss at St. Thomas.

“After last week’s loss, it was really a soul-searching (week) for them as to how the rest of the season was going to go,” Bow head coach Paul Cohen said. “More of a ‘can do’ attitude this week, better focus during practice and I think it showed tonight.”

The game, which moved from Pembroke Academy to the turf field at Derryfield Park and started early due to weather concerns, was full of fumbles, muffed returns and errant snaps, which hurt and benefitted both teams at different points. But the Spartans (1-7) went three and out on the first drive of the game and the Falcons responded with an eight-play, 68 yard drive that ended with a 9- yard score from Schumacher and an extra point kick from  Jared Dolder, giving Bow a 7-0 lead six minutes into the opening quarter.

Schumacher scored again, this time from 10 yards out with 8:37 left in the second quarter and senior Josiah Funches (66 yards on eight carries) punched in a TD from the 2 with 1:20 left in the half, sending Bow into halftime with a 21-0 lead.

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The Falcons used nine different ball carriers, with sophomores Miles Miller (69 yards on six carries) and Chase Flagg (54 yards on seven carries), senior Gavin McCabe (45 yards on seven carries) and junior Eli Smith (13 yards on five carries) joining Schumacher and Funches as the main contributors.

In total, Bow ran for 400 yards as a team and averaged 7.27 yards per carry.

Miller scored an 8-yard TD in the third quarter and Smith tacked on a 5 yarder in the fourth.

“This team this season is a young team, with a lot of injuries off an on,” Cohen said. “For them to rally the way they did, basically every single kid contributed. Our last drive was our full JV team. To see all the younger players do their thing on a wet field in their last night game of the season, you can’t ask for more than that. It was perfect. They played well, they played as a team. They really showed what they’re capable of doing.”

Among those contributors was sophomore quarterback Jack Wheeler, who filled in for injured starter Brady Lover. He made the most of Bow’s only pass attempt of the game – a 26 yard completion to Schumacher.

Sophomore Hunter Hutchinson had a big game on defense with a sack and a fumble recovery, while fellow sophomore Eli Ayers also had a sack. Seniors Funches and Sean Nicholls had multiple tackles for loss, and Parker Hill also added a sack.

Pembroke honored its seniors prior to kickoff, including quarterback Joe Fitzgerald, who went 6-for-15 with 47 passing yards. Treyvon Cannon caught five of those passes, accounting for all 47 of those yards, and had a tackle for loss. 

Luke Hanson had 43 yards on 10 carries and a tackle for loss on defense, while Pacey Graham (tackle for loss) and Cam Lambert (fumble recovery) also played well.

“These seniors really helped to move the program forward, and they dealt with adversity and played and worked consistently hard,” Pembroke head coach Will Moher said. “I’m proud of them and they should be too.”

The Spartans are playing for pride on Friday night when they travel to rivals Merrimack Valley (3-5) for the annual Cloe-O’Brien Bowl. 

The Falcons host Laconia on Saturday afternoon and must win that game in order to have a shot at the playoffs. The teams in the top six in Division II are assured of a spot, while Bow (4-4, 7.7500 rating), Gilford-Belmont (4-4, 8.500 rating), Kennett (4-4, 8.2500 rating) and Hanover (4-3, 6.8571 rating) are in the hunt for the final two playoff spots, which will go to the teams with the highest rating.

“I’m really proud of what they were able to do tonight,” Cohen said. “They should feel like they own the universe, at least, for (this) evening.