Yes, it’s true, the Londonderry High School football team needed to change the tenor of its 2015 season with a strong performance against a rather weak opponent on the road late last week.
And the Lancers – who stepped into their Friday night, Oct. 16 contest with winless Spaulding in Rochester having lost four of their previous five games – got the important task taken care of by collecting a 37-13 victory from the host Red Raiders.
The now 3-4 Londonderry High crew had absorbed a humbling, 41-7 pounding at the hands of the determined Merrimack High Tomahawks at LHS a week earlier, and second-year coach Jimmy Lauzon and his gridders knew full well that they’d need to take advantage of the opportunity to best a scuffling opponent and get back down to winning.
The locals trailed by a 6-0 tally midway through the first quarter, but they rebounded to knot the score and then bag the 12-6 lead they carried to halftime.
The Lancers then outscored its host by the massive tally of 25-7 in the second half, making sure that the ride home from Rochester would be relaxed and pleasant.
Quarterback Jake Stevens and a potent LHS offense stood at the heart of the Lancers’ success, with the signal-caller tallying 216 passing yards and running for 102 more as Londonderry compiled just under 225 total rushing yards while their defense held the Raiders below 100 yards on the ground.
Versatile senior Dave Wiedenfeld ran for two scores and caught one on a good night for the local gridders.
“I felt our guys played great in the second half,” said Lauzon. “The second half of that game is the standard we have tried to hold all year for our players, we’ve just come up short at times for various reasons.”
The now 0-7 Red Raiders claimed a 6-0 lead by reaching pay-dirt on a short pass with six minutes to go in quarter number one, but the Lancers answered with an eight-yard touchdown toss from Stevens to Jimmy Nee three minutes later, which was followed by a second quarter TD pass of eight yards from Stevens to Wiedenfeld midway through quarter two.
Londonderry grasped its 12-6 advantage until midway through the third period when Spaulding knotted the score on a short run, and then snagged a 13-12 lead with the successful point-after kick.
However, the rest of the evening would be downhill from the hosts’ perspective as the Lancers reeled off 25 consecutive points on – chronologically – a nine-yard TD run by Wiedenfeld, followed by an 80-yard touchdown pass connection from Stevens to Nick Donnelly, then a 1-yard scoring scoot by Wiedenfeld, and finally a 33-yard scoring sprint by the quarterback.
Londonderry managed 440 total offensive yards as a group in the lopsided victory. Wiedenfeld tallied 61 of those via running plays and Donnelly snagged 142 yards worth of passes for the winners.
Defensively, Gary Richard had his second consecutive 11-tackle performance for the locals.
Londonderry now faces two tough opponents in winding down its 2015 campaign, with a trip to Hampton to take on the 4-3 Winnacunnet High Warriors on Friday evening, Oct. 23, followed by a home game against the 5-2 Salem High Blue Devils next Friday, Oct. 30.
“The goal for the next two games is to play clean, tough, and enthusiastic football,” said Lauzon. “The seniors know they have two games left together, so we expect exceptional effort. And our younger guys want to make a case for themselves heading into the off-season.”