Jared Dearborn intercepts the final pass of the game in Newfound's come-from-behind win over Epping-Newmarket on Saturday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 16, 2013EPPING — When Epping-Newmarket returned the opening kickoff for 60 yards and a touchdown, Newfound coach Shane Tucker knew things weren't going to be easy for his team.
A week after making multiple mistakes that led to a blowout loss at Fall Mountain, the Bears were in a precipitous place on Saturday afternoon, trailing just seconds into the game, on the road and in danger of losing confidence.
Tucker, the first-year head coach, didn't overreact, but instead issued a challenge of sorts.
"I told them, that was their one mistake I allow for the game, and I didn't want to see it again," Tucker said.
And while there were small mistakes along the way, mistakes Tucker said he would expect from just about anybody, the big mistakes weren't there and things turned around nicely.
Though it proved to be tough.
Quarterback Jared Dearborn broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown run with 59 seconds left on the clock to put the Bears in front by a 28-26 score and then came back and intercepted a Blue Devil pass on the ensuing drive to close out the game and give the Bears their first win of the season and Tucker his first as head coach.
While Tucker admitted that Dearborn had a fine individual effort, he also noted that the emphasis on team this season is what is going to win games.
"He gets every single kid, senior or freshmen, ready to go," Tucker said. "He's the definition of a Newfound player.
"But every time things get tougher, they're pulling each other along," the Bear coach continued. "It's always 'we,' that's the way we need to be."
After scoring on the opening kickoff, E-N also recovered a fumble when Dearborn's backward pass was dropped and four plays later they were in the end zone and the two-point conversion had them up 14-0.
Newfound bounced back, however, as Tyler Maviki carried three times in a row, getting two first downs with runs of 35 and 12 yards and Dearborn hit Devin Fields with a 23-yard touchdown pass. Dearborn carried in for the conversion and the lead was cut to 14-8 with 8:35 to go in the first.
E-N went three and out but Newfound fumbled the ball away and the hosts got another chance, making this one count for a 20-8 lead in the final minute of the quarter.
After Newfound punted away early in the second, strong defense from Tyler Adams, Fields and Isiah Brisk got the Bears the ball back, but again they were unable to score and E-N got the ball back near midfield.
The Blue Devils moved down the field and looked poised for another scoring drive, but Cody Rose stepped in front of a pass and returned it 25 yards to midfield to close out the half, with the Bears trailing 20-8.
Both teams saw their first drives peter out to start the third, but Newfound's second drive hit pay dirt. A pass to Fields set the Bears up inside the 10 and Dearborn carried in from five yards out to make it 20-14 with 5:50 to go in the third.
After Brisk and Nick Tapply turned in strong defense to stop another E-N drive, Newfound took the lead. Maviki carried across midfield and Dearborn made consecutive runs to get to 12 and from there, Maviki carried in for the touchdown. Rose caught the two-point conversion for a 22-20 lead in the final minutes of the third.
E-N then opened the fourth with a drive that ate up three minutes-plus and got them another touchdown for a 26-22 lead. Newfound punted away on the next possession and E-N did the same, giving the Bears the ball back with 2:12 to go in the game.
Dearborn hit Fields on third and 10 for a first down and then broke free down the right sideline for a 60-yard score and a 28-26 lead with 59 seconds to play.
Mike Mitchell came up with a big stop on the ensuing kick return and Maviki and Ricky Deluca had strong defensive plays on E-N's drive, with Dearborn providing the clincher.
All told, Dearborn ran for 153 yards and threw for 104 yards. Maviki ran for 103 yards and Fields had six catches for 81 yards.
"As we were coming out of the school, I was looking at the seniors and I saw it in their eyes," Tucker said. "They wanted it."
However, the first-year coach wasn't completely satisfied, despite the win.
"There's still a lot more we can do," he said. "The kids understand what we have to do and we'll go at it on Monday."
Newfound will be in action on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m. in Franklin.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or email@example.com.