Saturday, October 30, 2010
Patch Leads Lebanon to Win Over Trinity in Battle of Unbeatens
For the second straight night, it was a matchup of undefeated teams in the last week of the regular season. Lebanon FB/LB/punter Cody Patch ran for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns (168 of the yards and both TD's came in the 2nd half), and the Raiders defeated Trinity tonight 14-6 at Gill Stadium in Manchester to end their regular season with a perfect 9-0 record.
The Pioneers had the state's longest winning streak, as they hadn't lost a game since 2008, and with the loss tonight the end the regular season at 8-1.
Here's my complete recap of the Division IV game of the year.
Cody Patch = The Best Player the Southern Part of New Hampshire Has Never Heard Of
Ok class, quick question. How many folks who live south of Concord have heard of Cody Patch before tonight? Be honest now. I'm guessing not many. But the kid can flat out play. And if he lived anywhere South of Concord the entire state would know his name. Patch showed excellent vision when running the ball, and when he saw an opening he burst through it, and also made some nice cut-back moves. Trinity simply had no answer for him, especially in the 2nd half.
"He's a special kid" said Lebanon head coach Chris Childs. "Big time players step up in big games. And he did it again."
Patch scored the game's first touchdown with 10:07 left in the 3rd quarter, as the Raiders got on the board on the first drive of the 2nd half after both teams went scoreless through 2 quarters of play. He ran it in from 8 yards out, and then he scored Lebanon's second touchdown from 20 yards away with 2:07 left in the 4th quarter. That made it 14-6 Raiders.
Patch also made some very nice punts, including one early in the 4t quarter that pinned Trinity down at their own 6 yard line. He also made a number of big tackles on defense from his linebacker position. What's most impressive about Patch's evening was the modesty that he showed after the game when being interviewed.
"I give all the credit to my line" said an exhausted Patch after carrying the ball 21 times and playing both ways for all 4 quarters. "They did a great job of opening up holes for me."
Team Effort for Raiders
As good as Patch was in this game, he had plenty of help from his friends. Like he said, his line did a great job of blocking for him. These guys include Alexander Morrill, Christopher Henry, Logan DeFelice, Ryan Geno and fullback Dylan Drew. Even quarterback Jon Roth showed that he wasn't afraid to mix it up and get his nose dirty, as he would go and make some blocks after handing the ball off.
Roth only threw the ball about 4 times on the game, but his completion to senior Micah Morton came at a crucial time. Drew and junior Chris Barker also had key runs for 1st downs late in the game.
Defensively it was a team effort for the Raiders. Patch, Drew, Morrill, Roth, Morton and Barker all made big play after big play. Morton intercepted a pass by Trinity QB Jake Goldstein with 1:20 left in the game which sealed the deal. The Lebanon defense struggled at times stopping the run, especially in the first half. But they got better as the game went on. They were also a bend but not break defense, as there were multiple times where Trinity was able to gain good yardage and advance into Lebanon territory but came away empty.
"We just wanted to prevent them from getting the real long runs or big plays" explained Coach Childs.
Trinity's Backs Were Impressive As Well
Offensively, Trinity completed zero passes. But they did rush the ball for 293 total yards. Hughes (who also played well on defense) led the team with 152 yards rushing. He is a big kid who runs hard and also has good toughness, which all makes him very difficult to bring down. You need more than one guy to tackle him. He rushed for 63 yards in the 1st quarter alone, and there were times in the 1st half when he simply could not be taken down. Senior wingback Rob Hoaglund was also effective running the ball. Hughes is the power back, while Hoaglund is the speed guy, who runs outside the tackles for big yardage. He finished with 63 yards on the game. He reminds me a lot of Souhegan's Nick Kepka Calvetti. Both are smaller, speedy runners who are also really tough and battle for the extra yard. Adam Chambers, Rich Fabian and Ryan Carrier also made some key runs for the Pioneers.
These guys were able to gain all of these yards thanks in part to good blocking by their line. Trinity has Jeff Gratiano at tackle (6'3", 280 lbs.) and Andrew Lauderdale at TE (6'7", 260 lbs.) and the two of them play side by side on the line which is one of the sides of an o-line in the state. Then you have Carrier as the blocking fullback, and he does a very good job as the lead blocker up the middle.
Missed Opportunities Hurt Trinity
Still though, the fact remains. Trinity rushed for 293 rushing yards...and they only scored 6 points. How does that happen? Well like I said, Lebanon had a bend but not break defense. On the Pioneers' first drive of the game they advanced to the Lebanon 39 yard line before turning it over. On their next possession they got all the way to the Raiders 18 yard line before a turnover on downs. On their next possession they got all the way to the Lebanon 37 before a pass to a wide open Hoaglund fell incomplete for yet another turnover on downs. Then on their final drive of the 1st half Trinity got to the Raiders 16 yard line before kicker Jerry Robinson missed a 33 yard field goal. In the 2nd half they got to the Lebanon 37 before they fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Raiders. That's FIVE times Trinity got inside the Lebanon 40 yard line where they came away with ZERO points.
Injury to Carrier = Major Factor
Trinity definitely had more success running the football in the first half. What changed in the 2nd half?
"Carrier got injured in the middle of the game, and that really hurt us" explained Trinity head coach Gary Leonard. "I'm told he had a concussion. But we really missed him in the 2nd half. We go from having him in there (at 225 lbs.) to a kid that only weighs 185 lbs. it makes a big difference. We don't know what his status is going forward."
Best of luck to Carrier with his recovery. Hopefully if these same two teams meet in 2 weeks for the Division IV title game they will both be at full strength.
Rematch in 2 Weeks?
The D-IV playoffs are set. Next Saturday #1 seed Lebanon will host #4 seed Monadnock, while #2 seed Trinity will host #3 seed Laconia. While most people fully expect a Trinity/Lebanon rematch in the championship game the following week, it is by no means a certainty. Lebanon only beat Monadnock 13-6 in the regular season, and that was in Lebanon too. Trinity meanwhile, only beat Laconia 25-22 in the regular season. And while then it was in Laconia and this time it will be a home game for Trinity at Gill Stadium, Carrier may not be able to go for the Pioneers which could be crucial.
Lebanon = The Best Story in NH Football This Year
They won just 4 games last year...they haven't had a winning season in over 4 years...and now they're 9-0. Before this season started no one was picking them to make the playoffs let alone finish in first place. Congrats to Lebanon, a blue collar, hard working, tough squad with a lot of heart and a lot of pride. They have a fun team to watch. They also brought what appeared to be the entire town of Lebanon with them to the game. Even though they had to drive well over an hour it seemed like they had more fans than Trinity did. The Raiders fans are rowdy, enthusiastic and supportive. And the team definitely gives them plenty to cheer about.
"I knew this was going to happen" explained Patch. "My freshman year I made a bet with a bunch of people and said that we were going to win states this year. Back then I knew we we had a special group of guys."
Trinity Supports Charity
Trinity football is a proud supporter of the Liberty House, which is a dry transitional house for homeless veterans. For more information, call 603.669.0761 or send donations to:
75 West Baker Street
Manchester, NH 03103