You can rest assured that a great many folks will tell you that even the ugliest of victories is better than defeat.
And the Londonderry High football squad snared what would have to be considered its second consecutive “ugly” victory Friday night, Oct. 24, in a 22-13 downing of the visiting Nashua South Purple Panthers at LHS.
A week earlier, coach Jimmy Lauzon’s Lancers had claimed a lopsided but penalty-packed victory over the Alvirne High Broncos in Hudson. And in the more recent battle with South – which entered the evening tied with Alvirne for first place in the Division I West Conference with a 4-3 record – the locals did some strong things but also mixed in some rather frustrating ones in pushing their season record to an excellent 7-1.
When asked to assess his team’s overall performance in the South contest, Lauzon responded quickly with the word, “Sloppy.” But he added, “We did execute, but then got penalties. But we’ll make the adjustments on film, and it’s not just the kids that have to get better, I do too.”
Londonderry got another strong performance from senior quarterback Eric Fairweather, who closed to within one, slim passing yard of becoming the first LHS signal-caller ever to both rush and throw for 1,000 yards in a single season.
The Lancer star – who is rumored to be a finalist for the 2014 Mr. New Hampshire Football Award – went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the defeat of South by sprinting for 140 yards and two big scores on just 10 carries.
Fairweather also passed for 119 yards – including a 17-yard touchdown connection with junior receiver Nick Donnelly – to get his season total of passing yards to 999. But the LHS standout also threw three interceptions in the victory.
He will aim to go over the 1,000-yard passing plateau in the Lancers’ season-ending game at Salem High this Friday night. The outcome of that contest will determine whether the 7-1 Lancers or the 7-1 Salem Blue Devils will advance to the playoffs or place their uniforms into mothballs instead.
The host Lancers snared a 7-0 lead with just 14 seconds left in the first quarter when Fairweather tore off a 64-yard scoring sprint. And the locals got their lead up to 14-0 with 49 seconds left in the first half when the LHS quarterback scored from five yards out to cap off a 10-play drive, on which Londonderry was also flagged for four penalties.
The LHS defense did masterful work in the first half, holding a potent Purple Panther offense to 88 total yards. For its part, the Londonderry offense notched 223 yards during those two periods.
The Lancers’ lead bulged to 22-0 early in quarter four when Fairweather connected with Donnelly on their 17-yard scoring toss, and just seconds later the quarterback hooked up with Jimmy Nee on another pass for the two-point conversion.
Nashua South then made inroads toward a comeback by scoring on each of its next two offensive possessions to slice its deficit down to 22-13 with 4:05 still remaining on the game clock. But the visitors would climb no closer as their hosts chewed up some valuable time with an offensive foray of their own.
The Lancers finished the night with 343 offensive yards via 224 rushing yards and 119 passing yards. South – which got 127 rushing yards from senior quarterback Malik Langa alone – tallied a total of 263 offensive yards (171 rushing, 92 passing) on a rough, losing night.