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Eagles can't slow down Bobcat attack

Joshua Spaulding image
by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

Nolan Farina stretches for the end zone in action on Friday night in North Conway. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 11, 2017
NORTH CONWAY — The Plymouth football team continued to pile up the points in the second week of its season.

Unfortunately for the Kennett Eagles, their first game came against the defending champs and they were unable to stop Plymouth's attack, with the Bobcats getting the 42-14 win on Friday, Sept. 8.

"We played fast early," Plymouth coach Chris Sanborn said. "And the chance just before the half was pretty good. It was a great way to go into halftime.

"We weren't executing some plays consistently," Sanborn continued. "And turnovers are killers."

"They're a really good football team," Kennett coach Vaughn Beckwith said. "I felt like we were there, we just didn't make the right play at times."

He noted that he had kids playing in some different spots, so mistakes are going to happen.

"We moved some guys around and it was their first time in those positions," Beckwith pointed out. "So it was a learning curve."

Plymouth got the ball first and ate up almost half of the first quarter with the opening drive. Garrett Macomber and Nolan Farina got the majority of the carries on the ground, while Owen Brickley picked up five yards on one run and Farina and Connor Magowan each caught passes.

Magowan capped off the drive with a fourth and one touchdown run from the five-yard line with 6:19 to go. Danny Carey booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Kennett went to Dom Jones and Jack Hanson on the ground but the Bobcats made the stops and the Eagles had to punt.

Plymouth then ate up almost the rest of the quarter with the next drive. Farina and Macomber got the carries and then from 18 yards out, Tony Velez snagged a Ben Olmstead pass in the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 51 seconds to go. Carey again drilled the extra point.

A good return from Trey Snowden gave Kennett decent field position on the next drive, which spanned the end of the first quarter and the start of the second, but the drive did not move far and the Eagles punted after three plays.

After runs from Macomber and Farina got just three yards, Olmstead hit Jake Lamb for a first down. Macomber picked up another first down, rumbling 16 yards and after Brickley ran for eight more, Olmstead hit Colby Moore with a 26 yards out with 8:20 to go in the half for a 21-0 lead.

Snowden had another good kick return and Brett Miller got the Eagles even more position with a scramble that netted 35 yards on the first play. Runs from Jones and Hanson got Kennett another first down and then on second down, Snowden ran 10 yards to the end zone with 5:09 to go. Sam Pollard kicked the extra point and the Eagles cut the lead to 21-6.

Plymouth's next drive again featured plenty of Farina, as well as runs from Macomber and Moore. However, Pollard broke up a touchdown pass attempt and Miller broke up another chance. The Bobcats attempted a 40-yard field goal that went wide and the Eagles got the ball back.

However, Camden MacDonald had a big sack on third down for the Bobcats and Plymouth got the ball back on a punt. Olmstead hit Farina with a pair of passes and then Macomber ran three times in a row, getting the ball to the one. Trevor Mills got a sack on second down but on the next play, Macomber ran in for the touchdown with 2.5 seconds to go, giving Plymouth the 28-7 lead at the halftime break.

Kennett went three and out on the first drive of the second half, with Magowan getting a sack to lead the defense. The Bobcats then worked the ball down the field on runs from Macomber and Farina and a pass to Isaiah Crane. Brickley carried the ball in from 12 yards out for the 35-7 lead after Carey's extra point.

Kennett took over with Hanson and Jones getting the early runs. Miller hit Travis Arnold for a first down and then Snowden had two consecutive first-down runs. Hanson had a pair of carries but a Macomber sack put the Eagles in fourth and long and a pass to Snowden didn't pick up enough yards, giving the Bobcats the ball.

Plymouth's drive didn't last long, as on the final play of the third quarter, the ball was fumbled and Jacob Stearns recovered the ball and raced toward the end zone. He in turn, fumbled the ball but Mills jumped on it to give the Eagles possession to open the fourth quarter.

Despite being just seven yards from the goal line, the Eagles could not score, as Hanson came up just short on fourth down and Plymouth took over again.

But again, the Bobcat drive didn't last long, as the Eagles recovered another fumble.

Four plays later, the Eagles were in the end zone. Miller hit Trevor LaRusso on fourth and four from 12 yards out and Pollard's extra point made it 35-14 with 6:44 to go in the game.

Plymouth answered with another touchdown drive, with Farina and Macomber getting down the field and Moore running in from 13 yards out with 3:57 to go for the 42-14 lead.

The Eagles ran out the clock with their next drive but could not get to the end zone, finishing the 42-14 final score.

"Offensively, we made some mistakes up front and didn't block correctly," Sanborn said. "But the kids ran the ball well and Ben made a couple of nice throws.

"That's a pretty good team there," Sanborn said, pointing to the Eagles. "The kids played well, they executed."

Sanborn also pointed to Moore's willingness to do anything to help out. Knowing the team was low on linemen, the senior asked if he could help out if needed. Sanborn lauded his enthusiasm.

"He knew we were thin at center, so he asked if he could learn it," Sanborn said. "I was pretty impressed with that. He wants to be on the field."

However, playing on the line, his usual number 19 was not an option. So, Sanborn decided to break out the 65 jersey for him.

While many players didn't know the history of the 65, when Sanborn said it was Doug DiCenzo's jersey, the kids knew it meant something. DiCenzo was a former Plymouth captain and West Point graduate who was killed in action while serving his country.

"When we took out the 65, the seniors erupted," Sanborn said.

"We definitely feel like we made them work," Beckwith said. "But we'll learn from tonight, watch the film.

"It's a tough contest but there are things to learn from," the Eagle coach added. "We've got to be better.

"All we can do is compete and to our guys' credit, I think they did," Beckwith stated.

He also noted Sloan Rogers played every down on offense and defense and Snowden had a good day on offense, particularly with Devon Ouellette missing from action.

The Bobcats will be in action on Saturday, Sept. 16, hosting Laconia at 2 p.m.

The Eagles will be hosting Merrimack Valley at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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