When a team is struggling, nothing reassures like the positive reinforcement of a decisive victory.
That’s precisely what the Londonderry High School football squad got Friday night, Sept. 30 on its home field, bagging its first win of the 2016 campaign with a 34-13 crushing of a stumbling Concord High Crimson Tide crew.
The Lancers scored points in every quarter and held Concord largely in check throughout most of the contest, with both teams becoming 1-4 when the final buzzer blared.
“When you win the turnover battle you have a much better chance of winning the game,” said coach Jimmy Lauzon, whose charges have been frustratingly turnover-prone this season. “I thought our pass defense was a little weak at times, and the same with our run game on offense. If we shore up those things and be consistent we have a shot every week.”
Lauzon was over the moon regarding the performance of senior quarterback Jake Stevens, who completed 20 of the 25 passes he attempted for 219 yards and four touchdown passes.
“Stevens was on fire tonight,” said Lauzon. “I told him about half-way through, ‘You’re hot right now, so we’re just going to keep throwing.’ He showed what he is really capable of doing tonight.”
Several major factors for the Lancers recently have been the returns of seasoned veterans Cam MacDonald and Brandon Radford from injuries, and the continued strong play of Pete Navarro.
“It’s nice to have Cam MacDonald back,” said the coach. “With him and Radford and Navarro healthy they give us a few senior options to use. They also strengthen the defense.”
The hosts held a 6-0 lead after one period had been completed, a 13-7 advantage at the half, and a 20-13 lead at the conclusion of three quarters. They then put the win away by outscoring Concord by a 14-6 margin in the fourth stanza.
Londonderry tallied its first points less than three minutes after the opening kick-off when Stevens connected with MacDonald on a 29-yard touchdown toss. However, the locals’ extra-point kick was blocked.
The Lancer lead got lofted up to 13-0 a bit more than four minutes into quarter two when Navarro caught a two-yard scoring toss from Stevens, and Pat Zepf added the kick.
But Concord trimmed its deficit down to 13-7 by scoring on a short pass of its own five minutes later.
Londonderry went up by a 20-7 tally by claiming the only points of the third quarter with five minutes to go in that period when MacDonald and Stevens combined on a 38-yard touchdown pass.
The Lancers’ lead widened to 27-7 less than two minutes into the fourth period when Ben Johnson ripped off a 22-yard scoring sprint.
Concord tried to muster a comeback effort by running a fumble recovery back 76 yards for points less than two minutes later, but LHS got the final word where scoring was concerned when, with six minutes remaining, Radford and Stevens connected on a 14-yard scoring toss.
Johnson ended up running for 60 yards on the night, and along with his impressive passing exploits Stevens sprinted for 54 yards on 13 carries. Fresh off a mini vacation forced by a concussion, receiver MacDonald ended up catching eight balls for 146 big yards.
The Lancers will find themselves with their hands plenty full this Friday night when they travel to Merrimack to face a Tomahawks’ troop that is 4-1 and has won its last four contests.
Senior quarterback Jake Stevens had a big night in leading his LHS football team to a crowning of Concord at home last week. Photo by Chris Paul