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What a feeling

Knights best Con-Val for first win since 2010

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

ABE DEMAIO (56) leads the charge in dumping water on coach Chip Skelley as time clicked down on the head coach's first win at the helm of the football program. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 16, 2013
WOLFEBORO — Friday the 13th was far from unlucky for the Kingswood football team.

For the first time since early in the 2010 season, the Knights walked off the field with a victory, as they rolled to a 38-14 win over Con-Val on the turf of Alumni Field on Friday night.

The win marked the first varsity football coaching win for coach Chip Skelley.

"That's a long time," Skelley said of the time between wins. "But it's about the program and developing a program.

"Hopefully we've started something," the Knight coach added.

Skelley noted that the previous week's game at Plymouth, while a loss, provided his young team with some confidence.

"I think they took a little pride out of Plymouth," Skelley said. "There were some things we did well."

On Friday, Kingswood took control right out of the gate, as Josh Stanley and Owen Gonya led them down the field on the ground and Tony Ruiz bolted in from 15 yards out for the game's first touchdown less than two minutes into the game. Jeff Madden booted the extra point to give the Knights a 7-0 lead.

The defense then did its job, stuffing the Con-Val offense, with Abe DeMaio leading the way to a three-and-out for the Cougars. While Kingswood didn't do anything with its next drive, neither did the Cougarsd, as the defense stepped up again, with Gonya providing solid defense on third down to force the punt.

The Knights needed just four plays to get back to the end zone. Stanley ran for 13 yards on first down and Gonya ran for 11 on the next play. John LeMay then ran 16 yards to the five-yard line and from there, he fought through on the next play for another Kingswood touchdown. Madden booted another extra point and the Knights were up 14-0 with 4:43 to go in the first quarter.

Con-Val was able to put together a scoring drive prior to the end of the quarter, as they moved the ball on the ground and in the air, culminating with a 10-yard touchdown run with 1:14 to go, cutting the lead to 14-6.

After the Knights went three and out and a bad punt gave Con-Val good field position, the Knight defense again stepped up. On the third play from scrimmage, Mike Garabedian pounced on a fumble, giving Kingswood the ball back, albeit deep down the field.

On third down, quarterback Dan Eldridge found Gonya for a first down at the 35 and one play later, Eldridge was sprinting toward the end zone, as he took the ball 65 yards for the touchdown with 8:05 to go in the half. Madden booted the extra point for the 21-6 lead.

The defense continued to shine for the Knights on Con-Val's next possession, as Gonya stepped in front of a Cougar pass on third down and ran it back 55 yards for the touchdown. Madden booted the extra point again, this time making it 28-6 with 6:16 to go in the first half.

Gonya did it again on the next possession, as he stepped in front of the third down pass and came up with his second intermission.

The offense needed just one play to get back in the end zone, as Ruiz carried the ball 50 yards for his second touchdown of the night. Madden's extra point made it 35-6 with 4:55 to go in the half.

Con-Val was not able to do much on offense, though the Cougars did get a first down. Tom McCullough stepped up on defense for the Knights and the Cougars eventually punted.

A 26-yard pass from Eldridge to Garabedian, culminating with a sparkling leaping grab on the sideline got the Knights moving and Eldridge ran for a first down and Stanley came up just short of the end zone on a run. However, a penalty was called and since the quarter can't end on a penalty, Kingswood had one untimed play and Skelley sent Madden out to try a 35-yard field goal. The ball struck the cross bar and went over, giving Kingswood a 38-6 lead at halftime.

After three and out possessions on both sides of the ball to open the third quarter, Con-Val was able to put together a bit of a drive. However, DeMaio, Jordan Uyeno and Gonya kept the Cougars from getting in the end zone. Kingswood again went three and out and again Con-Val moved the ball, but again the defense stepped up, with Ruiz and McCullough making solid defensive plays and the third quarter came to an end with Kingswood still up 38-6.

A nice punt return early in the fourth set Con-Val up at the 10-yard line and the Cougars carried in on one possession to cut the lead to 26-14 after the two-point conversion.

From that point, neither team was really able to move the ball, with McCullough, Evan Lavoice, Stanley and Logan Loring all providing solid defensive work as the clock ticked down.

"Our goal this year was to be in games," Skelley said. "We've taken the step we had to take, one we've been waiting for them to take.

"But, it means nothing if we don't continue," the Knight coach continued.

Skelley noted that the Knights were able to take advantage of mismatches in different locations to get the offense rolling.

Kingswood will now move on to play Laconia, as they host the Sachems on Friday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. at Alumni Field.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or sportsgsn@salmonpress.com.

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