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Knights split Homecoming contests

Football falls to Hanover, field hockey shuts out Laconia

SASHA MCCORMICK moves the ball up field in Homecoming action against Laconia Oct. 8. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
October 11, 2010
WOLFEBORO — Surely, at some point in the history of Alumni Field, a visiting team was going to come out victorious.

However, through the first six games on the new turf at the Kingswood complex, the Knights had a perfect record, with football and girls' soccer each winning two games and boys' soccer and field hockey each nabbing one win.

That streak came to a grinding halt on Friday, Oct. 8, as the Hanover Marauders scored 42 unanswered points in the final three quarters to spoil Kingswood's Homecoming and walked off the field with a 42-7 win over the Knights.

The Marauders entered the contest without a win on the season, but their losses had all come to teams that are in the playoff hunt, including undefeated Lebanon and Trinity, Plymouth, Kennett and Laconia. There was no doubt that the Marauders and BC-bound quarterback Sam Carney were going to be a handful.

The Knights opened Homecoming with the ball and quickly moved up the field behind runs from quarterback Slayd Dore and backs BJ Smith and Isaac Horton. They picked up two first downs, but the drive stalled on a sack and the Knights were forced to punt the ball away.

However, the Kingswood defense picked up the offense. Three plays into the Hanover drive, Cam Whitcomb stepped in front of a Carney pass and picked it off, returning it 21 yards to set up the Knights at the 36-yard line.

Horton and Smith again took over, moving the ball down the field and Dore hit Whitcomb with a 21-yard pass to put the ball at the three-yard line. After a loss of four yards on the next play and an incomplete pass in the end zone, Horton broke through from seven yards out with 2:59 on the clock. Megen Pollini's extra point was tipped at the line, but it squeaked past the upright for a 7-0 Kingswood lead.

Hanover came back and quickly moved the ball down the field, though a big stop in the backfield by Horton and Smith did slow the drive. The visitors were able to convert a fourth and one on the final play of the first quarter and needed just one play in the second quarter to tie the game, as Carney broke loose for a 28-yard touchdown run to make it a 7-7 game with only nine seconds gone in the second quarter.

Kingswood got a 21-yard run from Smith to open the ensuing drive, but didn't get another first down and Hanover took over. The visitors promptly marched up the field and Carney carried in to the end zone, leaping over an oncoming defender at the goal line for a 14-7 lead with 8:11 to play in the half.

After Horton returned the kickoff for 29 yards, the Knight drive got off to a quick start, with a pitch to Whitcomb picking up 16 yards. However, a fumble on the next play gave the Marauders the ball back. Ethan Ball, Max Gustafson and Nick Dore teamed up for a big tackle in the backfield on Hanover's first play, but the Marauders were able to fight back and moved the ball down the field with short bursts and put the ball in the end zone on a nine-yard pass with 3:20 to go. The extra point made it 21-7.

Kingswood came back and quickly moved up the field. Slayd Dore hit Ball with a pass for an 11-yard pickup on the first play and Horton and Smith combined for the next first down. Horton picked up 13 yards on third and 15 with the clock ticking under a minute and Dore burst through for a first down with a quarterback sneak to give the Knights a fresh set of downs at the 35-yard line with 53 seconds to play. A spike and a pair of incomplete passes set up a fourth and 10 and Horton was unable to get the necessary yards, giving Hanover the ball back and running out the clock on the first half.

Hanover needed less than three minutes in the second half to get back on the scoreboard, as Carney, on second and long from the 41-yard line, broke free and raced to the end zone for a 28-7 lead with 9:27 to go in the third.

Kingswood's next drive started well again, with Smith and Slayd Dore combining for a first down, but a fumble on the fourth play of the drive handed the ball back to Hanover. The visitors quietly moved down the field and despite some strong defense from Whitcomb and Nick Dore, found the end zone with a 34-yard touchdown strike with 3:50 to go in the third, making it a 35-7 ballgame.

Kingswood went three and out on the next drive and Hanover closed out the third quarter with the start of a new drive, which carried into the fourth quarter. Noah DeMaio, Ball, Gustafson and Nate Nicholas turned in good defensive plays on the drive, but the Marauders found their way to the end zone for the 42-7 lead with 7:35 to play.

Kingswood had two more drives but was unable to find the end zone. Tyler Mather helped end Hanover's final drive on fourth down, but the Marauders were still able to walk off with the 42-7 win.

"We take a step and we don't finish," said Kingswood coach Matt Jozokos. "We started out great, stumbled a little bit, but we came back and scored."

Jozokos noted that the good start certainly wasn't enough when the defense struggled to do the basic stuff.

"We had guys in the right spots, but we're not tackling," he said. "We worked on it all week, making sure we keep (Carney) inside and we let him go outside."

Jozokos was well aware that many of the kids were frustrated, but was sure they would keep on working as the Knights strive to push forward.

"I know some of the guys are frustrated, but we'll keep working," Jozokos said. "We'll look at the film a little, but they know what they did wrong."

The Knights have a tough road ahead, with three games remaining against playoff contenders Laconia, Trinity and Kennett.

The Sachems will visit Wolfeboro on Friday, Oct. 15, for the Knights' final home game. Laconia is coming off its first win over Plymouth in more than 10 years.

Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Alumni Field.

Field hockey

The Kingswood field hockey team opened up the Homecoming celebration in style on Friday, Oct. 8, knocking off Laconia by a 4-0 score at The Nick.

In their penultimate home game of the regular season, the Knights bounced back from a loss to Oyster River by netting two goals in the first half on their way to the win.

The Knights came out strong, with Leah Kenison, Sasha McCormick, Nikki Matarozzo and Miranda Clark all getting early chances in the offensive end. Erin Maguire had a scoring bid on a penalty corner as well, but the Knights couldn't break through.

Laconia brought the ball down the field and Knight keeper Hannah Bergeron did her job and booted it from the goal mouth.

The Knights used the defensive stop to get some offense and Caitlyn Brooks sent a shot in on net at the other end. The Laconia keeper made the save, but the rebound bounced out to Maguire and she drilled it in with 20:14 to play in the first half.

The Knight offense continued to click, with McCormick, Matarozzo, Clark, Brooks and Gabrielle Horton all pressuring in the offensive end, but the ball remained out of the net, as the ball sailed wide on numerous chances.

Laconia again brought the ball down the field, but Presleigh Skelley stepped up on defense and pushed the ball back up the field and Kingswood again turned the defensive stop into a goal, as Kenison rifled a shot off a penalty corner into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead with 8:02 to play.

Laconia had a couple of bids in the final minutes of the half, but the Knights held on and didn't allow a goal and the two teams went to halftime with Kingswood leading 2-0.

Laconia came out quickly in the second half, but the Knights bounced right back with some great offensive bids, with McCormick, Matarozzo and Clark all charging the net looking for the third goal of the game. The Laconia defense held strong and closed the door on Kingswood's chances.

The Knights got more solid defense from Skelley as Laconia made a couple of bids and Bergeron turned away another shot to keep her team in front by two goals.

With 9:22 to go in the game, the Knights upped the lead to 3-0 as Clark tipped home a great feed from Maguire.

Laconia responded with some good offensive pressure, but the Knight defense stood strong and in the final couple minutes, Horton drilled home a shot off a penalty corner and the score was 4-0, which was the way it ended.

"The girls had a lot going on this week, with Homecoming, SATs and coming off of Oyster River, so it was important for us to get back to the points of the game that make us successful," coach Kaitlin Reilly said. "Communication, transitioning from offense to defense as a team, we focused on that in practice and did it today."

She also noted that the Knights wanted to represent the school well at Homecoming and accomplished that goal as well.

"We want to use every game as an opportunity four us to prepare, both mentally and physically for the mindset we want in the tournament," Reilly pointed out. "We need to be able to bounce back off any situation for us to be successful."

The Knights opened the week with a tough 4-3 loss to Oyster River in overtime on Tuesday, Oct. 5, though Reilly noted the way her team bounced back showed the resiliency they need to make them a threat in the playoffs.

Maguire opened the scoring with less than two minutes to play in the first half, giving Kingswood a 1-0 lead at halftime. Oyster River tied the game less than a minute into the second half.

Clark gave the Knights the lead back with 16:02 to play in the game, but Oyster River tied the game two minutes later. The hosts then took a 3-2 lead with 8:02 to play in the game, but Maguire's second goal of the day, off a penalty corner with 3:18 on the clock, tied the game at three.

However, the hosts found the back of the net in the extra frame to secure the 4-3 victory.

Kingswood will finish up the season with a game at Portsmouth on Friday, Oct. 15, at 5 p.m.

The Division II tournament will kick off on Wednesday, Oct. 20. If the Knights remain in the top eight of the division, they will host a tournament game, with a tentative start time of 3:30 p.m.

Martin Lord Osman
Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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