There are times when statistics bear out exactly what happened in a sporting event. And there are other times when the stats don’t give a true indication of what occurred on a field.
And the Londonderry High football squad’s 35-23 victory over the visiting Windham High Jaguars at LHS Saturday afternoon provided an example of the latter case.
A 12-point margin of victory doesn’t sound like a lopsided success, but it never really felt as though the now 4-1 host Lancers were going to lose control to the 2-3 Jags despite the fact that at one point their lead sat at an overwhelming 35-9 before the Windham crew battled back to get within two touchdowns of a full comeback.
What’s more, the final offensive stats show that Londonderry was held below 200 total yards (199) while Windham tallid 315 in a losing effort. The Lancers’ offensive forays were economical and productive much of the time, and a couple of rare mistakes put the ball in Windham’s hands during the second half.
Several LHS gridders had excellent games for their side, with versatile senior Jake Holland blocking and running back a punt for points, sprinting a kick-off 75 yards to pay-dirt, and intercepting a pass to help lead the locals’ impressive weekend charge.
The Lancers rebounded nicely from their Mack Plaque loss to Pinkerton with a Saturday afternoon win which left coach Jimmy Lauzon and his charges feeling pretty darn good about themselves. And what’s even more, several LHS gridders had excellent games for their side, with versatile senior Jake Holland blocking and running back a punt for points, sprinting a kick-off some 75 yards to pay-dirt, and intercepting a pass to help lead the locals’ impressive weekend charge.
“I’m very proud of our defense, our special teams were outstanding except for a couple of plays, and our offense was strong except for the fact that I was too conservative about running time off the clock. I take the blame for that,” said Lauzon.
Londonderry, which will have its mettle tested this Friday night when it plays host to the defending Division I champions from Winnacunnet High of Hampton, led 14-3 after one period and 28-9 at the halftime break. At the conclusion of three stanzas the locals were up 35-23, and that’s precisely where the final score would wind up.
The hosts would nab a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game when Holland blocked a Windham punt attempt, chased the football down to the Jaguars’ 28-yard-line, and sprinted the pigskin into the end zone.
The Jags got three of the points back on a 26-yard field goal with 5:31 to go in that opening quarter, but Londonderry went up 14-3 thanks to a four-play drive which featured a 38-yard run by quarterback Evan Cormier and culminated with an 8-yard scoring sprint by Jeff Wiedenfeld with 3:41 to go in the first.
That skilled LHS junior running back would be another of the bright lights for the Lancers, finishing up with 111 rushing yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns.
Windham would manage to slice its deficit down to five points at 14-9 with a 23-yard touchdown pass followed by a two-point conversion with just under six minutes left in the half. But 14 seconds after the Jags finished their scoring celebration the Lancers began one of their own when Holland ran the ensuing kickoff back 75 yards to the opposite end zone to make it a 21-9 contest.
And the hosts would give their sizable crowd more about which to cheer with just 1:04 left in the half when quarterback Cormier and his offense capped off a seven-play drive with a 23-yard scoring toss to Cole Keegan. LHS kicker Zack Chau’s fourth successful point-after kick of the game would make it a 28-9 game, and the Lancers had many reasons to be grinning as they adjourned to their locker room for halftime.
At the break, Londonderry had its commanding lead on the scoreboard but an advantage of just one more offensive yard than the visiting Jags (152-151).
The Lancers’ lead bulged to 35-9 less than two minutes into the second half when junior lineman Michael Watts knocked the football out of the hands of a Windham running back and then dove on the fumble to set up his team’s offense at the Jags’ 20. And just two plays later the locals were celebrating Wiedenfeld’s second touchdown jaunt of the afternoon – a 16-yard gallop – as the score moved to a truly lopsided 35-9.
Windham, which drew considerable praise from the LHS coaching staff for its skills and effort, climbed toward a comeback on the right arm of quarterback Cody Potter (19-for-31 passing, 216 yards, one touchdown) and wildly-athletic receiver Cody Stevens (eight catches, 92 yards, one score). But the Jaguars never got closer than a dozen points down.
The Londonderry squad now holds a 4-1 record, matching tough Pinkerton and Salem in the Division I South standings.