By Chris Paul
The Londonderry High School Football team had their season end in the New Hampshire Division I Final on Saturday afternoon with a 28-8 loss to the Bedford Bulldogs in Exeter.
This was the second consecutive year the Lancers suffered a loss to the Bedford squad during a title game, this year, in an extended season.
Both teams defeated their higher-seeded opponents to make it into the finals. Londonderry beat Pinkerton 42-7 and Bedford blanked Portsmouth-Oyster River 28-0 to get to the championship.
This was the first year of a 12-game season for the Lancers, finishing with a 10-2 record overall. They were 7-1 going into the playoffs and had three dominant wins against Windham, Exeter, and Pinkerton, heading into the finals.
Against the Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 25, the Lancers came out looking very strong in the first quarter, with an early interception into a quick touchdown on their first possession, but the Bedford defense made it nearly impossible for LHS to gain any ground from that point on.
The Bulldogs held Londonderry to just 128-yards of total offense, with 84-yards on the ground, and 44 passing yards.
Bedford finished with 221-yards, 28 passing, and 193 rushing.
Third down conversions were tough for the Lancers also, converting just five of 11 and coming up 0-2 in fourth down attempts.
Senior running-back, Jake Schena, lead the Lancers in rushing with 35-yards on seven carries.
Senior quarterback, Conor Williams, finished with 27-rushing-yards.
Junior quarterback, Sam Ogden, led his team in passing, completing five of eight attempts for a total of 43-yards.
On defense, seniors Jaydon Navarro and Ty Parsons led the Lancers in tackles with seven each. Junior Colin Couture had six solo tackles in the game.
The biggest LHS highlight of the game came during the Bulldogs first drive of the game. On third and 19, Bedford QB, Danny Black, had his pass intercepted by senior, Seth Doyon, setting the Lancers offense up at the Bedford 39-yard-line.
From there, it took nine plays for Londonderry to get on the board first.
Junior quarterback, Alex Villa, handed the ball off ball to Schena for an 18-yard run into the end-zone.
During the extra-point attempt, Ogden, the holder, darted to the right side and into the end-zone for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
The Lancer lead held until the second quarter, but after that, it was Bedford’s game to lose, scoring three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter and adding another halfway through the final period.
One major defensive highlight for LHS was when they kept the Bulldogs out of the end-zone, late in the third quarter, with a big stop at the one-yard line on BHS’s fourth down attempt. Alex Villa was awarded the tackle.
This was Londonderry’s fourth Division I final game in the last five years. The Lancers finished with championship titles in 2021 and 2019 in those four attempts.