One of the unspoken rules in the sports world is that a victory needn’t be a work of art to count as a victory.
And after being called for 16 penalties – which cost it 125 yards and three touchdowns – the Londonderry High football team still had plenty to celebrate following a 41-15 trouncing of the host Alvirne High Broncos in Hudson last Friday night, Oct. 17.
Alvirne entered its home contest with a 4-2 record, which had it sitting atop the standings in the Division I Western Conference. But despite the fact that it showed off a strong passing game, the Hudson team didn’t look like it had much of a chance against the now 6-1 Londonderry contingent in the blowout.
The Lancers were led, once again, by senior quarterback/defensive back Eric Fairweather, who nearly rushed for 200 yards on offense and intercepted a pass on defense in the lopsided win.
The speedy and athletic signal-caller sprinted for an 81-yard touchdown as time ran down in the first quarter, and he finished the evening with 183 rushing yards on 14 carries.
The Broncos responded with a fine offensive series of their own that culminated with a touchdown that knotted the score at 7-7, but the Lancers then went on to get long scoring sprints from Mike Ryan, Dennis Bishop, and Kyle Byrd, and a touchdown pass from Fairweather to Dave Wiedenfeld that left the host team and its fans shaking their heads and wondering what hit them.
A cleaner and perhaps more fundamentally sound performance without the 16 penalties would have left the Lancers feeling even better about their work in the win. But Fairweather was able to speak in upbeat fashion about that fact after the game, with the scoreboard behind him reading 41-15 in Londonderry’s favor.
“We need to limit our penalties, obviously, but we never got down on ourselves and we kept moving forward,” he said.
First-year coach Jimmy Lauzon was pleased with much of what his charges put forth in the victory.
“I felt like the team came out to play, and when this group gets motivated it can be very good,” said Lauzon. “Defensively they flew around and made plays, and we as coaches need to do a better job of getting both offense and defense in position to make big plays.”
Fairweather and his teammates knocked the wind out of Alvirne, temporarily, with just 52 seconds left in the first quarter after the Broncos had seen a promising offensive series die on downs on the Londonderry 19-yard-line.
It took the quarterback and his pals just one play to cover the 81 yards in the opposite direction via Fairweather’s fast feet, and it became a 7-0 game.
Alvirne responded beautifully with a nicely-balanced run and pass series that covered 70 yards on 10 plays and ended with seven points with 8:31 left in the half.
However, Londonderry regained a lead it wouldn’t relinquish a little less than four minutes later on Ryan’s 41-yard scoring sprint.
The Lancers pushed their lead to 21-7 on the first offensive play of the second half when Bishop ran 80 yards to pay-dirt, and the score became 28-7 at the end of an epic series that chewed up 5:49 and covered 86 yards. The visitors scored a total of three touchdowns during the lengthy drive, but had the first two called back due to penalties. The score that finally counted was the 16-yard toss from Fairweather to Wiedenfeld with 2:01 left in quarter number three.
The Lancers’ advantage bulged to 35-7 on Byrd’s 50-yard scoring sprint with 4:29 left in the game, and junior defensive back Jimmy Nee gave the visitors a defensive score when he intercepted a pass in Alvirne territory and ran the ball into the end zone with 3:34 to go.
The Broncos’ second-teamers then managed to notch a touchdown during the final 20 seconds of play to make the final score 41-15.
Alvirne’s biggest success of the evening came in the form of its ability to throw the ball against the Lancers. The hosts completed 15 passes for 187 yards. But after knotting the score at 7-7 in the second quarter, the Hudson team ran into nothing but frustration as it attempted to post points that would have enabled it to keep pace with its guest.
The Lancers, meanwhile, had rushers Fairweather, Bishop, Byrd, and Ryan combine for nearly 400 yards (386) via their squad’s potent ground game, which included some extremely strong and impressive line play and fine blocking.