RJ Silva grinds for yards during action against Winnisquam on Saturday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 10, 2012BRISTOL — For one day, things were just about perfect.
And that's a good start.
The Newfound football team celebrated its new field in style, dominating Winnisquam by a 42-19 tally on Saturday, christening Morrison Field in fine fashion behind the running of Tyler Maviki and the arm of Jared Dearborn and sending the huge crowd home with a collective smile on their faces.
"It's huge because it's for them," Newfound coach Greg Dalzell said, pointing to his team just moments after they soaked him in celebration. "This field, it wouldn't have happened without those young men and their families doing all that fundraising.
"And I told them before the game, today is a day when you're going to make history," Dalzell said. "It was their first home game on their first field and they made history.
"They never quit," he continued. "I just can't say enough about these young men."
The day started with a brief ceremony honoring all those who helped make the field a reality, including John and JP Morrison of Morrison Construction.
"Without the generosity of Morrison Construction, there never would've been a Morrison Field," said Newfound Athletic Director Pete Cofran.
Principal Mike O'Malley, former school board chairman Mary Campbell and Vincent Paul Migliore, the current school board chairman and member of the Football Field Oversight Committee, which oversaw the construction of the field all spoke during the ceremony.
"The Friends of Newfound Football (the non-profit group that raised the money for the field) embody the true community spirit and true commitment to the cause," Migliore said.
"It's a privilege to be here to honor JP Morrison and Morrison Construction for their extreme dedication and effort," O'Malley said. "And thanks to everyone who contributed."
Winnisquam actually got the first crack on offense on Saturday, but the Newfound defense, led by stops from Jeff Solimine and Jake Dearborn stopped the visitors, forcing a punt and Newfound made its first drive stand up.
Maviki got the call on the first play from scrimmage and ran for 11 yards to start things off. Jared Dearborn hit passes to Devin Fields and Doug Payne to keep the ball moving and Maviki carried the ball a couple more times to get the ball to the eight yard line. A couple of plays later, Maviki pushed in from one-yard out for the first touchdown in Morrison Field history. Jared Dearborn then carried in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead with 5:22 to go in the quarter.
Winnisquam didn't have much luck on its second drive either, as Maviki came up with a solid defensive play on third and down to help get the ball back.
Newfound ate up the rest of the first quarter clock, with Maviki doing most of the work and he continued to carry the load in the second quarter, though Fields caught a pass in the red zone to help move the chains. Maviki then carried in from a yard out for another touchdown for a 14-0 lead with less than two minutes gone in the half.
Both teams went three and out on their next drives and Winnisquam was able to bounce back with a touchdown on its ensuing drive to cut the lead to 14-6, but Jake Dearborn stopped the two-point conversion.
Newfound didn't stay down long, as they moved the ball down the field again. Maviki again carried the load, but passes to Fields and Jake Dearborn picked up 34 and 31 yards respectively and Fields was able to run the ball in for the touchdown for a 20-6 lead.
Winnisquam looked to bounce back quickly, but Eric Vose stepped in with a big interception with 2:19 to go. RJ Silva caught a pass for 43 yards to get Newfound down the field quickly, but a Winnisquam interception got the visitors the ball back.
However, Vose stepped in front of another pass to close out the half and Newfound led 20-6 at the break.
"Any time you can come up with a turnover, especially on a dime like that, it's big," Dalzell said. "
Newfound opened the second half with the ball and ate up more than four minutes of time, as Maviki again carried the load most of the way, including a 36-yard run on first and 15. Jake Dearborn caught another pass from his brother to put the ball on the five yard line and again, Maviki ran in for the score. Payne caught the two-point conversion and Newfound led 28-6 with 7:47 to go in the third.
The visitors took advantage of a good kick return to get back on the board, but Maviki and Silva led Newfound right back and Payne caught a 13-yard pass to move the ball down the field. Fields caught a 12-yard pass for a touchdown with 2:27 to go in the third and Maviki carried in for the two-point conversion for a 36-12 lead.
Jake Dearborn stepped up with a big stop on a Winnisquam fourth and four to open the fourth quarter and the hosts got the ball back. Again, it was Silva and Maviki that did most of the carrying and Jake Dearborn caught the touchdown pass from eight yards out for a 42-12 lead with just more than five minutes to go.
Winnisquam added another tally and recovered an onside kick for another chance, but the Newfound defense stepped up and kept the visitors from scoring again and the game ended in the 42-19 final.
"They kept pushing and pushing and the scoreboard showed it," Dalzell said.
The Bear coach was certainly pleased with his sophomore quarterback's progress.
"He got hit hard, but he is as tough as they come," Dalzell said. "He made some good decisions and threw the ball well. He's grown leaps and bounds in that position."
Dalzell also compared Maviki to a popular television commercial.
"He's like the Energizer Bunny," the Newfound coach said. "He keeps going and going, on both sides of the ball."
The Bears will be on the road for their next game, playing Farmington-Nute in Farmington at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126