After ending its 2017 regular season with a 35-14 loss to the undefeated Salem High Blue Devils on its own field on the evening of Friday, Oct. 27, the resounding question folks had was whether or not the Londonderry High School football team could find a way past those same Blue Devils with even more at stake a week later. And the answer wound up being, no.
The Lancers made the relatively short road trip to Salem High last Saturday, Nov. 4 to take on those undefeated Blue Devils on their own home field in Division I quarterfinal-round playoff action. And when that big battle was over, Salem had collected another 35-14 success over the locals, thus snuffing out Londonderry’s championship hopes.
After a scoreless first quarter, coach Jimmy Lauzon’s Lancers snared a 7-0 lead in the opening seconds of the second period. However, Salem would claim the next 28 points before Londonderry would score a second time during the final two minutes of quarter number four.
“I think our kids played their tails off against one of the best teams in the state,” said coach Lauzon. “We felt good about our game plan. We let up one big play in the first half but played very tough defense after that. The players should be proud of themselves and the season they had. We wanted to take it a couple weeks further, but that’s not easy to do.”
Londonderry busted the scoreless deadlock just six seconds into the second quarter when quarterback Evan Cormier drove the ball forward one yard into the end zone.
But Salem knotted the score on that “one big play” of which coach Lauzon spoke when Blue Devils’ star running back Josh Sibanda sprinted the ball some 93 yards to pay-dirt.
The score sat right there at 7-7 when the teams adjourned for halftime, but Salem would leap into the lead for good in quarter three thanks to a 50-yard scoring pass and a short touchdown run, which was followed by another short scoring run during the opening seconds of the fourth period.
The Lancers notched their second and final score of the day with just 1:29 remaining in the contest when record-setting sophomore running back Jeff Wiedenfeld scampered to points from two yards out, but the Blue Devils got those seven points back on a long run less than 30 seconds later to reach the 35-14 final score.
The victorious hosts wound up collecting 412 yards worth of offense, with 306 coming via the ground game and Sibanda bagging 148 of those. Londonderry had 126 yards via the ground game and 102 passing, with Cormier completing 11 of the 24 tosses he attempted.
Pat Zepf caught four of the passes and Cole Keegan and Tyler Kayo each snared three.