By Chris Paul
The Londonderry High School Football squad will be headed to their second consecutive Division I finals game after another dominating performance in the playoffs.
The Lancers scored touchdowns in six of their eight drives against the Pinkerton Academy Astros on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 18, and allowed just one meaningless score in their 42-7 semifinal win.
The victory sets up a rematch of last year’s division final game against the Bedford Bulldogs and will take place on Saturday, Nov. 25, at Exeter High School’s Bill Ball Stadium starting at 1 p.m.
In the blasting of the Astros, the Lancers offense accrued 282-yards and the team’s defense gave up just 160-yards, while forcing a fumble, an interception, and three punts. They also allowed just one third-down out of nine attempts.
Most of Londonderry’s yards were gained on the ground due to the windy field conditions. The Lancers had one completion for 18-yards and two with no gain in the air.
Junior Devin Boles had the 18-yard reception from junior quarterback, Sam Ogden’s pass.
Rushing yards were spread out over 11 LHS players with senior quarterback, Conor Williams, leading with 54-yards.
Sophomore Adrian Cruz added 49-yards on the ground and Jayden Navarro was able to tally 44-yards.
On defense, the Lancers spread out their 36 solo tackles over 19 players and had the 42 total tackles. Junior Colin Couture led the team with five solos and junior Paul Binder finished with four. Alex Villa and Ty Miles both had three solos.
It took just three plays for the Lancers to force the first turnover of the game.
After receiving the first kickoff, the Astros fumbled at the Lancers 41-yard-line and Couture was quick to recover the ball.
From there, it took just two plays for LHS to put up the first points in the game with just two minutes off the clock.
Quarterback, Conor Williams, had a 34-yard run into the endzone for the first six-points. Junior kicker, Blake Thompson, added the extra point for a 7-0 Lancer lead.
Londonderry’s second possession of the game also ended with seven-points being posted on the scoreboard.
The team’s second drive lasted nearly eight minutes and took 15 plays, starting from the 11-yard line.
Lancer Alex Villa ran the ball in from the five-yard line yard on another quarterback keeper. Thompson added the point after for a 14-0 LHS lead.
The 14-point lead held up through the second quarter, with neither team able to score until after the half.
Coming out of halftime, Londonderry took the Pinkerton fans out of the game with three unanswered touchdowns put on the board in the third quarter.
In the opening kickoff, Seth Doyon received the ball and carried it the 87-yards to the endzone for the team’s third TD of the game. Thompson’s extra-point gave Londonderry a 21-point lead.
The LHS defense kept the Astros in check on the following drive, allowing just four yards and forcing a punt.
Londonderry’s second drive of the third also resulted in a touchdown,
After six plays and 51-yards, Cam Brutus finished the drive with another quarterback keeper from PA’s seven-yard line. A rare Thompson miss made it 27-0 for the visitors.
The third touchdown in the quarter came after a quick turnover on an Alex Villa interception at the LHS 27-yard line, giving his team a start from the 19-yard line.
After five plays in the ensuing drive, QB Williams handed the ball off to Jake Schena for a seven-yard TD run. Londonderry added a two-point conversion at that point to start the mercy rule running clock.
Williams hand off to Adrian Cruz for the three-yard gain and two point conversion, which started the early exit for the PA fans and the celebration for the Lancers.
They added another touchdown in the fourth and gave up one to the Astros before the final buzzer.
The sixth score of the game came from Adrian Cruz, who ran the ball in from the one-yard line. Thompson capped things off with the extra point and a 42-7 victory.
The game served as a bit of revenge, after the Lancers suffered their only loss of the season to the Astros during the annual Mack Plaque contest.
Both of the top-seeded teams were knocked out in the semifinals. Bedford beat the number two seed, Portsmouth-Oyster River, 28-0, on Friday night to help set up the rematch between the Lancers and the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon in Exeter.