Had the Londonderry High football squad somehow been able to bottle its play – on both sides of the ball – during the first three minutes of its contest at Merrimack High School last Friday night, and then poured out more portions of that success through the rest of the game, the outcome of its battle with the home-standing Tomahawks would certainly have been different.
But alas, after snagging an early 7-0 lead in impressive fashion and smothering their powerful opponent’s first few offensive series, the now 1-5 Lancers found precious little more success the rest of the evening as the streaking Tomahawks powered their way to a 34-7 victory that gave them their fifth consecutive success and made their 2016 record a stellar 5-1.
Coming off their first victory of the campaign against Concord a week earlier, the Lancers worked hard at game-planning against the white-hot Tomahawks during the subsequent week. But after that early success, frustration was all coach Jim Lauzon and his charges encountered in the actual contest.
The potent Merrimack offense got the football first but did nothing with it, punting it away quickly. And the LHS offense got going on its own 35-yard line and reeled off a fast, four-play drive that featured a 40-yard pass connection from Jake Stevens to Cam MacDonald and finished with a 15-yard scoring pass from Stevens to versatile senior Colin Reardon on Reardon’s first reception of the season.
The impressive passing start of signal-caller Stevens reminded Lancer fans that the week before in the defeat of Concord, the lanky senior had established a new record for career passing yards at LHS, surpassing Mike Currier’s 30-year mark of 2,132 yards set in the mid-1980’s. Stevens entered the Merrimack contest with a glittering 2,228 yards with plenty of time remaining to add to his yardage tally.
The talented senior threw for 233 more yards in the Oct. 7 contest at Merrimack, hooking up with fellow 12th grader MacDonald for 115 of those. But Londonderry would score no more points through the remainder of the night while watching the host Tomahawks lead 14-7 after one quarter, 21-7 at the half, and 28-7 going into the final period.
The Lancer legion will take another crack at bagging its second win of the season this coming Friday night, Oct. 14 when it faces off against a Salem High contingent that is – like Merrimack – 5-1 on the season. That contest will take place in Salem.
Londonderry lineman Jake Mullin has a Merrimack running back precisely where he wants him during the LHS loss last week. Photo by Chris Pantazis