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Mercer hits Gaudet for pair of TDs as Eagles open with win


by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

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Gilford senior Beck Stecher looks to break a tackle from a Franklin defender during the Eagles' 12-0 victory in the Division III opener on Saturday afternoon. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 15, 2014
FRANKLIN Behind a scintillating debut from quarterback Carter Mercer and a stout defensive effort, the Gilford High School football team opened its 2014 campaign on the right foot Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles scored all the points they would need in the third quarter, and the visitors held host Franklin High School off the board completely in a 12-0 victory in first-year head coach Shawn Garrett's Division III opener.

Mercer, the junior signal caller making his first career varsity start, completed 14 of his 21 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns, with senior Kyle Gaudet hauling in both TD tosses in the third quarter to break a scoreless game at halftime. Gaudet finished the afternoon with six receptions for 93 yards and the pair of scores.

Senior tailback Max Troiano paced the ground game with 87 yards rushing on 14 carries, and he also hauled in five of Mercer's passes out of the backfield for 75 yards. Mercer added six carries for 40 yards in addition to his 201 yards through the air.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles went to a ball control offense to protect the two-touchdown lead, as fullback Dave MacDonald did the bulk of the work with 12 carries for 63 yards. Gilford ran nearly seven minutes off the clock in the frame before being stopped on fourth and goal at the Franklin three yard line.

The Tornadoes saw their last chance to get on the scoreboard thwarted late in the fourth, as sophomore Dom Troiano picked off a pass at Gilford's 21 yard line to seal the deal and preserve the shutout.

The Eagles held a decisive 21-11 edge in first downs, with 11 of Gilford's first downs coming through the air. The squad also dominated Franklin in total yards, 391-148.

Penalties did set the Eagles back a bit on the afternoon, with the team racking up 110 yards on 11 yellow flags.

Gilford now heads back to the comfy confines of the Meadows this Saturday for the home opener. Somersworth comes to town for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff in D-III action.

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