Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cardinals Fly Past Falcons in D-V

In Division V, the most wide open Division in the state, the Cardinals of Stevens High picked up a big road victory by defeating the Bow High Falcons 24-13 Saturday afternoon. Stevens dominated the first half, leading 24-0 at the break. Bow got a couple touchdowns in the second half but it was too little too late. It was a good team effort for the Cardinals, who are now 1-1 on the young season.

Here's my full recap of the game, as well as an interesting tid-bit on one of the Stevens players you won't read anywhere else (how's that for a teaser!).

"Having suffered a close loss last week and this being our first home game we really wanted to make a statement" explained a disappointed Paul Cohen, the Head Coach of Bow after the game. "Instead they're the ones who made the statement."

Bow has more size than Stevens does. But Stevens is a faster team, and on this particular day they hit harder and wanted it more than Bow did.

How it Went Down
This game started off eerily similar to the Salem/Central game I covered last night. In that game the team that ended up winning went on a long, time consuming opening drive using mostly running plays and concluding with a short touchdown run. The same thing happened in this game as Stevens drove 72 yards on about 10 plays en route to a 1 yard TD run by senior Zach Fitzherbert. In last night's game Salem led 24-0 at the half. In today's game Stevens led 24-0 at the half. If that's not irony I don't know what is!

Stevens continued their first half domination. Bow had a 3 and out on their first possession, and then the Cardinals went on a 68 yard drive which was capped by a 35 yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Logan Batchelder to junior Cam Blewitt. Bow once again struggled to gain yardage on their second possession and was forced to punt. On Stevens' third drive they once again had a long field ahead of them (84 yards) and once again they ended the drive with a TD and once again it came on a pass play from Bathcelder to Blewitt. It was a 17 yard strike for the Cardinals.

This was a game I think most would consider to be a tossup going in. Yet only 14 seconds into the second quarter it was 21-0. Want more irony? All 3 of those TD's came VERY close to not happening and this could have been a MUCH different ballgame.

On the Cardinals first TD Fitzherbert ran it in from 1 yard out after Batchelder ran the option to the right and pitched the ball over to him. When Fitzherbert first got the ball he had 2 Bow defenders bearing down on him - it looked like he was going to get tackled for a loss. But he kept battling for yardage and dove towards the goal line. The official said that he got in for the touchdown...but I disagree. Fitzherbert extended his arm out with the ball, and the ball DID cross the plane of the goal line. But his knees were already down before that happened. The ball should have been spotted at the 1 1/5 yard line bringing up 3rd down. Trust me, I was standing right there when this play happened.

On the second Stevens touchdown Batchelder came VERY close to crossing the line of scrimmage as he passed the ball downfield to Blewitt. There was even a flag on the play. The officials huddled up and discussed the play, trying to determine where exactly Batchelder was when he threw the ball and whether that spot was past the L.O.S. They then picked the flag up and called it a touchdown. Not only that, but the pass also came THIS close to being intercepted. So on that 1 play, Stevens dodged 2 bullets. No penalty + no interception = 13-0 Cardinals.

Finally, on their third TD Coach Miller's squad dodged a couple more bullets. On one play early on in the drive Batchelder threw a screen pass to Fritzherbert behind the line of scrimmage which fell incomplete resulting in a fumble. Luckily For Stevens, they recovered it. On the very next play the ball was nearly fumbled as it was handed off to a back. Later in the drive it was 3rd and goal for Stevens on the Bow 12 yard line. Once again, a Batchelder pass was nearly intercepted. Bow defensive back Chad Beauchain had the ball go right through his hands. On the very next play Blewitt caught his TD pass of the game and it was 21-0.

Now I'm not saying Stevens got lucky. They were clearly the better football team this afternoon. I'm just saying that this could have been a much different game if some of these plays went the other way.

Sophomore QB Comes Up Big
"Sometimes I have to remind myself that he's only a sophomore" commented Stevens coach Dave Miller about Bathcelder, his young QB.

Batchelder finished the game with 253 yards passing, 2 passing TD's and 26 rushing yards.

Stevens Defense Was Strong as Well
The Stevens defense held Bow QB Joe Marshall to 3/6 passing for just 18 yards, 0 TD's and 2 INT's and 0 points in the first half. They dominated both sides of the football. Fitzherbert had 1 interception on defense and nearly picked off another pass.

The Cardinals also got exceptional play from their linebackers. Junior Joe Tarr had an interception followed by a 25 yard return, while Zach Knight and Matt Garrison both made some big hits and tackles in the backfield. Defensive lineman CJ Gosselin also had a big hit that knocked Bow's starting running back Casey Fessenden out of the game.

The Stevens defense also held Bow speedster Erik Michaud in check. The star senior was limited to just 29 yards receiving and 3 yards rushing. It is obvious watching him that Michaud is a heck of an athlete. But he was definitely quiet today.

Super Sub
Fessenden injured his knee and missed the entire second half after rushing for 52 yards on 10 carries in the first. With Fessenden out of the lineup, Alex Foley got his chance to run the ball. Foley was coming off a hand injury and didn't gt 1 carry in the first half. But in the second half he gained 8 yards on his first carry. On the very next play he took the ball 56 yards for the touchdown. Foley ended up with 74 yards on the ground and a TD, with all of it coming in the second half.

3rd and Long Conversions Were BIG Key for Stevens
The biggest key for Stevens in putting up 24 first half points was converting on 3rd and long situations. On their first drive they were at midfield and it was 3rd and 8. Batchelder then found Blewitt downfield for an 11 yard gain and a first down. On their second drive, it was 3rd and 12 on their own 30. Once again, Batchelder made a big play, hitting Fitzherbert deep for a 30 yard pass play and another first down. Finally, on Stevens' third possession they were deep in their own territory on their own 6 yard line. It was 3rd and 15, and with a Bow lineman bearing down on him, Batchelder threw a 45 yard bomb down the field to fellow sophomore Billy Brooks fir yet another first down. Later that drive it was 3rd and goal for Stevens on the Bow 17. That's when Batchelder found Blewitt for the 17 yard TD. Some big conversions there...especially for a sophomore QB!

Handicapping Division V
"I think you have to start with St. Thomas" said Coach Miller. "Every year they have 65 kids squad. They go 2 deep at every position. I have 38 kids and really only go 12-13 players deep. Kearsarge and Bishop Brady are always good too."

I was very impressed with Stevens today. This is the first D-V game I've seen this year, but I can't imagine there are many teams in the division better than the Cardinals. Stevens did lose to Kearsarge last week though 16-8. St. Thomas meanwhile was the preseason favorite and have won their first 2 games in blowouts, with the second one coming against a good Windham team. In the last 3 weeks of the season, St. Thomas plays both Kearsarge and Stevens. Both of those games are on the road, and they will both tell a lot about the state of this division.

Stevens is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005 (back then they were in Division IV).

Other Notes
-Senior Greg Polish ran in Bow's other TD. He finished with 40 yards on the ground. Between Polish, Fessenden and Foley, Bow gained 166 rushing yards and 2 TD's.
-The Bow defense REALLY struggled in the first half, but in the second half they played much better - especially senior linebacker Jason Fournier who made some nice tackles including 1 for a big loss.
-As for Stevens, Fitzherbert picked off a pass, scored a TD, rushed for 64 yards and caught 4 passes for 73 yards. Blewitt amassed 88 total yards and scored 2 TD's. And Brooks made 3 catches for 90 yards.

Interesting Tid-Bit on a Stevens Player You Won't Read Anywhere Else
Senior WR/DB Dylan Tanney rushed the ball 4 times for 16 yards today. He also suffered a pretty bad leg cramp late in the game. Those aren't the interesting tid-bits though.

"He's an actual magician too" explained a Stevens assistant coach. "He does real magic, and goes around and performs shows with it and everything."

Cardinals opponents will have to be careful, or Tanney might just wave his magic wand and make their chances of beating Stevens disappear!

Something Else You Won't Read Anywhere Else
Bow tight end Greg Froleiks caught 4 passes for 44 yards, all coming in the second half. Incidentally, he is also the younger brother of Kevin Froleiks - a young comedian who got his start in a sketch comedy group at UNH with yours truly. I guess it really is a small world!


  1. you missed the best team in D-V play, st thomas.
    they crushed their opponent 34-0 a week ago and won 33-12 today (the 12 was scored on the second string) against windham, a team who crushed your "dark horse" team, sanborn

  2. wheres the talk about the defense who shut em down?

  3. Nice to see some D-V ink. Sorry to say it's not as wide open as you think! It looks like a two team showdown that you won't see until the end of the season!

  4. Jermeny, Zach fitzherbert threw the second touchdown to Cam blewitt..

  5. Fitzherbert and Blewitt in my opinion are the best backs in D-5, the Qb Batchehlder is good. And hes a sophmore! Cant wait till hes Senior.

  6. Fitzherbert threw the second touchdown i believe, #3 Batchelder looks solid.

  7. Jeremy, who was number five for Bow who looked like a player?

  8. POY ballots. Jack Macnevin-St.thomas. Doug Gregory-Kearsarge. Zach Fitzherbert-Stevens. Jamie Ewing- Bishop brady.

  9. St. Thomas still the team to beat. Bishop Brady is good and Physical. Kearsarge is physical as well. Stevens have some great athletes, but overall size up front could hurt them.

  10. It was Fitzherbert who threw the second touchdown to Blewitt. I do appreciate the D-V coverage though Jeremy. Many of these small schools, while realizing they aren't the top tiers, still love football all the same. I am glad you made your way to Bow to cover this game. In my opinion still, D-V is wide open. St. Thomas and Kearsarge and everyone else....does that constitute wide open? I think it does. We are only 2 weeks in. That is why we play the games.

  11. St.Thomas is just down right fundamental in everything that they do. They will definetly be the team to beat, with Kearsarge and Stevens right behind them. I saw St.Thomas last week against Campbell in their blowout game, it was pretty ugly. Too bad that kid had to graduate from Campbell.

  12. Who is Jamie Ewing? I went to the Sanborn/Brady game yesterday. Didn't see a POY on Brady. The QB from Sanborn looked good. #81 on Brady looked good (big tight end). That was it.

  13. I bet you all miss Trinity huh?

  14. Anybody know the score of the Plymouth - Kingswood game?

  15. Its sad that Trinity played in DV. They moved down because they were getting whooped, play smaller and PUBLIC schools win a championship go back up a division. From Division four five and six are big drop offs. Four would kill five, five would kill six.

  16. Any one have stats on these so called POY candidates

  17. Trinity was the smallest team in DV besides Brady last year, and Brady has like 20 less kids

  18. but trinity can recruit, and i know that saint thomas is not allowed to give any money to any athletes

  19. The people who think that Catholic High Schools in NH do not recruit are those individuals drinking the Obama Kool-Aid. BG, Brady, Trinity, and St. Thomas are able to recruit (without offering money) because there is a perception that Catholic High Schools in NH offer a superior education to their public counterparts. Do you want your son surrounded by the gang element at Manchester Central or West, or would you rather send him across town to Trinity where he's surrounded by students who value education?

  20. I go to Saint Thomas and I have had this discussion with our AD many times, and we are not allowed to recruit for athletics, but I also know that other Catholic schools are allowed to recruit and offer money.

  21. 9:53=Catholic schools don't recruit "football" players. They recruit students. My son went to Brady and it was a great thing. The students have a dress code so they aren't walking in the halls with thier pants down aroud thier knees. When they catch them with pot, they kick them out instead of anabeling thier drug problem. And when a player was falling behind in the classroom, the coach sent him to study hall instead of the practice field.
    Now on the football field, they outperformed schools with the same enrollment (Brady petitioned to move up a division when D6 was established).
    At the end of their senior year, almost every student that started was graduating. And almost everyone was going on to college.
    So I can see why others that aren't going there or having thier kids go there become angry and jealous. What they want for thier kids in thier schools isn't happening and it is at these schools.

  22. 8:51
    It's not jealousy... it's amusement at all the 'reasons' that are thrown out for going to BG and NO ONE in the entire school considered athletics when going... NOT ONE PERSON. And if the School sees two 4.0 Students and they only have room for one, they will ALWAYS pick the Chess playing 85 pounder over the 4.3 40 6'3" 240 lb superstar football player. You guyz are soooo funny.

  23. How did a discussion of Division V football turn into a discussion about BG? Not every thread has to be about BG!

  24. All BG. All the Time. If they can't win D-II because their best player was injured, then we should not be hearing anymore follies about how they are the best football program on the Eastern Seaboard.

  25. If you're talking about DV, there seems to be one team to beat. St. Thomas. They steamrolled Brady last night.

  26. Not only did Saint Thomas win by 6 touchdowns, but they took out every starter half way through the third quarter. I agree with 7:30, St. Thomas is the team to beat. I know it is DV, but Rod Wotton has built a true football team over there. Great backs, terrific line, and obviously excellent execution. On a suprising note, their defense is as impressive as their offense. The STA defense hasn't given up more than 100 yards of offense in a game.

  27. saint thomas is averaging 36 points and holding their opponents to an average of 4, that is total domination

  28. Stevens could match up very well vs St.Thomas. Stevens by far has more talent at WR & RB positions too many options, especially Fitzherbert and Blewitt. But overall execution and a better front five for St. Thomas will prevail. Kearsarge will be close also but wont be able to put enough points up.

  29. On any given day, a new team emerges. Fall Mountain owned Windham now DV has St. Thomas, Kearsarge, Stevens, Somersworth and everyone else. The matchups next week, Brady @ Campbell, Windham @ Bow, Kearsarge @ FM, Stevens @ Sanborn, and Somersworth @ St. Thomas. D-V is still wide open.

  30. why isnt baxter playing defense? sophomore year he was a top player in the division and now he only starts on offense, imagine how good that defense would be with baxter on it, and i havent even seen stevens play, but i kow for a fact that there is no better WR in the division than STA's macnevin

  31. Macknevin has decent speed probably cant jump, and pretty good hands. The #3 & #4 recievers are at his level. Hes a good all around player though.

  32. have you ever seen macnevin play? obviously not because he is always the fastest player on the field, and he doesnt need to jump because he burns the defense

  33. Key matchup of the week is Somerworth @ St. Thomas. That will bring things into prespective?
    Stevens @ Sanborn another game to look at? DV is wide open for the 3rd and 4th playoff spots!

  34. St.Thomas a nice team who has benefited from a soft early schedule. Today's Somersworth game puts DV into perspective! Two road games at Stevens and Kearsarge in October will go a long way in seeding the DV play offs!

    State championships are won in November. Whoever ends up on top will have to do it on the field!

  35. Hope to see you at the St. Thomas game on Friday it'll be 4 quarters of football!