Sat, Nov 05, 2011
12:00 PM @
Windham topples defending champ Kearsarge in semis
Wednesday, December, 14
By Dave Dyer
HANOVER, N.H. — "We've got to finish, we've got to finish!"
That was the rallying cry on the Windham sideline in
the Division 5 semifinals yesterday afternoon, and the Jaguars on the
field heeded it almost perfectly in a dramatic 33-27 victory over
defending state champion Kearsarge.
As a result, Windham — in only its second year of
varsity football — can finish off a state championship next Saturday at
No. 1-seed St. Thomas, which blew out Somersworth 50-15 yesterday.
"You're making history every step of the way," Windham
coach Bill Raycraft told his excited squad afterward. Later, Raycraft
added that, "To go to the championship game in Year 2 is unbelievable,
but it's really not surprising. In (preseason) camp, we told them they
could do it and we set that as our goal, to get there and win it."
Getting past Kearsarge, which had beaten Windham 28-14
during the regular season, wasn't easy, but a combination of gutsy play
calling and some terrific individual performances made it possible.
Taking the play calling first:
ÔÇæ A fake punt in the second quarter, on a 4th and 6
at the 50-yard line, resulted in a 27-yard run by Kevin Cooney and led
to the first TD of the game.
ÔÇæ Ahead 7-6 late in the first half, with time
running out and a 3rd and 15 on Windham's 31, instead of taking the
lead into halftime, quarterback Joe Lorenz pump faked a swing pass and
then lofted a bomb to Danny Cannone, who grabbed it and completed the
69-yard play with 44 seconds left before intermission.
ÔÇæ With the score deadlocked 20-20, Windham opted
against a sure field goal on a fourth-and-goal from the 5. Lorenz made
the decision a smart one as he lofted a scoring pass into the end zone
to Artem Aristov.
ÔÇæ Tied 27-27 with less than a minute to go, with a
third and 8 on their own 24, instead of preparing for overtime, the
Jaguars pulled a tricky counter draw play, which Cooney took 50 yards
Two plays later, Lorenz connected with Scott Priestley on a 23-yarder and the winning score.
"They were calculated risks, but the opportunities were there and I have a lot of confidence in my kids," said Raycraft.
Lorenz couldn't have been happier.
"I love it (play calling)," said the junior quarterback. "Coach called all the right plays ... he coached a great game."
But it also required those individual efforts, as well as a collective one:
ÔÇæ Lorenz was superb through the air (9 for 12, 152
yards), showing great accuracy and poise. On the final pass to
Priestley, he held the ball while scrambling and waited patiently for
Priestley to transition from a swing pass to more of a downfield pass.
Defensively, Lorenz also had an interception and made a key tackle on a Kearsarge 2-point conversion try.
— Cooney had a monster second half, scoring on a
71-yard run in the third quarter, and finishing with 208 yards on 21
carries, this after being hounded in the first half in wake of gaining
185 yards in the first game against Kearsarge.
"It seemed like they had four guys on me," said
Cooney. "But I was up for it. When coach called that (draw), my heart
stopped, I was so excited. I'm just glad I could keep going."
ÔÇæ Although he had only the one grab, Aristov's TD
catch was a terrific one as he took the ball away from a defender
before securing it.
ÔÇæ The entire Windham defense held Kearsarge to 141
yards rushing and 224 total yards while intercepting two passes. The
front line of Cooney, Aristov, David Critchton and Pat Stap were
"We told them they could do this," said Raycraft. "(in
preseason), we even gave them shirts with the date of the championship
game. But we don't want to just go there — we want to win it."
W — Kenny Padin 4 run (Ben Shipman kick), 5:59
K — Jordan Barthol 23 pass from Peter Allen (kick failed), 1:23
W — Danny Cannone 69 pass from Joe Lorenz (Shipman kick), 0:44Team — scoring play, time
K — Jacob Jones 3 run (run failed), 9:01
W — Kevin Cooney 71 run (Shipman kick), 8:14
K — Jones 7 run (Allen run), 4:40
W — Artem Aristov 5 pass from Lorenz (kick failed), 0:00
K — Allen 1 run (Justin Fernandez kick), 7:35
W — Scott Priestley 23 pass from Lorenz (kick blocked), 0:24
RUSHING: W (43-279) — Scott Priestley 8-18, Kenny Padin 6-26, Kevin Cooney 21-208, Cjay Diprima 6-32, Joe Lorenz 2-(-5); K (39-141) — Peter Allen 2-(-13), Oliver Gallo 13-51, Jacob Jones 11-53, Parker Hansen 2-1, Eric Hauck 6-34, Jordan Barthol 5-15
PASSING: W — Lorenz 9-12-0, 152 yards; K — Allen 4-9-2, 83 yards
RECEIVING: W — Priestley 4-41, Padin 2-27, Danny Cannone 2-79, Artem Aristov 1-5; K — Gallo 1-16, Jones 2-44, Barthol 1-23