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Lakers start fast, pound Farmington 35-0

Running back Conor Donovan stiff arms a Farmington defender during first half action Saturday in Meredith. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 05, 2011
MEREDITH – With the offense firing on all cylinders and the defense pitching a shutout, the season-opener for the Inter-Lakes/Moultonboro Academy football team went just about according to plan on Saturday, as the Lakers scored on five of their seven first-half possessions en route to a 35-0 win over visiting Farmington High School in Division VI action.

"You like to win the opener, you like to see a lot of kids play and you like there to be no big injuries…we accomplished just about all of that so it was a good way to start the season," said Lakers coach Paul Lavigne.

I-L/MA totaled 370 yards of offense, with six different players registering carries out of the backfield. Senior Conor Donovan totaled 66 yards on 15 rushes while Tanner Quinney (six carries, 59 yards) and Devante Carter (nine carries, 72 yards) were also effective.

"It was good to see a lot of kids run the ball," said Lavigne. "You get kids like Devante coming in and playing well and that really helps your offense over the long haul."

The Lakers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the first quarter, as the team marched 55 yards on six plays in the game's opening possession. A Quinney 34-yard run keyed the series, and Donovan bulled in from three yards out to put the squad up 7-0 with 9:14 left in the quarter.

While the I-L/MA defense was dominant in the first period, forcing three and outs on all three Farmington possessions, the offense would follow the touchdown up with a punt and fumble on their next two trips. The Tigers began stacking the box, hoping to shut the Lakers running game down the rest of the way. That's when quarterback Mitch Jurius got rolling.

The junior signal caller hit Sander Danielovich on a 55-yard pass late in the first quarter, though the Lakers looked like they would still have to settle for a field goal attempt after the rest of the drive fizzled. But Jurius, the holder on kicks, took the snap and rolled out right, hitting Hunter Jensen in the back corner of the end zone from 24 yards out to give the home team a 14-0 advantage with 38 seconds left in the first.

"We were running the ball pretty well until they started to fill the box so that's when we started to throw it a little bit more," said Jurius, who finished with 160 yards through the air on 5-of-8 passing.

The touchdown on the fake field goal ignited the offense the rest of the first half, as the Lakers would score on their final three drives before intermission. Carter took a toss from nine yards out early in the second quarter to put I-L/MA up 21-0 and Jurius connected on two more TDs through the air, hooking up with Jensen again, this time from 24 yards out, and finding Quinney for a 33-yarder to send the Lakers to the locker room up 35-0.

With the clock running in the second half, the I-L/MA offense stuck to the ground game while the defense continued its dominance. With the Tigers reaching Lakers territory for just the second time all day on their final possession, junior Sean Mahoney recovered a fumble on the game's final play to preserve the shutout and secure the victory. Farmington managed just six first downs in the loss.

"We played with emotion the whole game and we made the big plays when we needed to," explained Jurius, who said the running attack was reminiscent of the championship team of two years ago.

Donovan was a perfect 5-for-5 kicking extra points on the day, and the strong-footed senior also managed two touchbacks on kickoffs.

"When you can put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs, it gives some of your starters a little extra rest which can be important," said Lavigne.

The Lakers will face a stiffer challenge next week, when Newfound Regional High School comes to Meredith. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.

"We're expecting them to hit us hard the whole game," admitted Jurius of Newfound. "We've just got to prepare and come out ready to play against them."

Varney Smith
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