Manchester Central junior running back Jeremyiah Rivera enjoyed a career night in leading his Little Green football contingent to a 41-19 defeat of the now 0-2 Londonderry High Lancers at LHS Friday night, Sept. 9.
The speedy Central back tore off a number of big runs en route to a total of 307 yards and five touchdowns on 31 carries for the now 1-1 Queen City crew.
Rivera scored on sprints of 27, five, 52, 67, and two yards and left the Londonderry High coaches yelling for their players to “wrap-up” the elusive Central back time and again to no avail. He already had more than 160 yards and three scores by halftime.
“We knew he was good, and we told the guys all week that we had to shut down number 24 (Rivera) and number 13 (senior wide receiver James Tanguay), but we didn’t execute,” said LHS coach Jimmy Lauzon.
The Lancers did a significantly better job against wide-out Tanguay, who was held to three catches for 19 yards. But Rivera did enough for a handful of players on this night.
Londonderry had plenty of incentive to play well coming off of a frustrating, turnover-filled season-opening loss to Goffstown on the road the previous Saturday. The Lancers had the recent passing of beloved Lancer Gridiron Club volunteer Dan Johnson fresh in mind, and they were collecting funds for the Johnson family and hosting a “White-Out” night that evening with all of the LHS football faithful dressed in white in memory of Johnson. It was also Lauzon’s 28th birthday, so incentives abounded for the local crew.
Rivera gave his team an early 7-0 lead by capping off Central’s first offensive drive with a 27-yard sprint to pay-dirt with a little more than eight minutes to go in the opening period.
After having its own first offensive series end with a very unwelcome pass interception, Londonderry got the ball back quickly on a fumble recovery by Cam MacDonald on the Manchester team’s 28-yard-line. And just three plays later the hosts were celebrating quarterback Jake Stevens’ 6-yard scoring toss to MacDonald.
But the Lancers would turn the football over three more times in the half on another interception and two fumbles. And Central capitalized in tallying 20 unanswered points to carry a 27-7 advantage to halftime.
Londonderry wouldn’t turn the ball over again the rest of the night, and they showed plenty of spunk in attempting to battle their way back in the second half. But the early damage done in the first half was sufficient to extinguish any realistic comeback efforts by the locals during periods three and four.
The Lancers’ dozen second-half points came thanks to a superb 24-yard scoring sprint by junior Ben Johnson, whose late father, Dan, was firmly in the thoughts of the Londonderry fans on this night, and via a 20-yard scoring toss from Stevens to Adam Wilkinson.
Senior signal-caller Stevens finished the night having completed 17 of the 34 passes he attempted for 202 yards and two scores. He targeted Peter Navarro numerous times, with that fellow senior making seven grabs for 133 total yards.
“We could go and figure it out one of these Friday nights. But until then we’re going to be angry with ourselves,” said Lauzon of the defeat.
The Lancers will continue their hunt for their first victory Friday night, Sept. 16, when they face off against the Bedford High Bulldogs on the road.
Ben Johnson had an electrifying touchdown run for LHS against
Pete Navarro (8) had a bunch of catches for Londonderry in its Friday loss. Photo by Chris Paul.