Saturday, October 16, 2010

Winnisquam Gets Revenge, Beats Inter-Lakes 7-0

This had all the makings of a classic Division VI showdown. It was a rematch of last year's D-VI title game. It's a rivalry game. And both teams came into it with winning records and identical records (4-2).

Winnisquam avenged their loss in last year's championship game, defeating Inter-Lakes 7-0 on Saturday afternoon on a brisk, windy day in Tilton. Both teams were 4-2 going into this game, and it was a close, evenly matched defensive battle all the way. The only score came on a 79 yard touchdown pass from Bears QB Nathan Foster to Matt Descoteaux (pictured above).

The Game's Only Score
The game was scoreless at halftime. But Winnisquam would get on the board on the very first possession of the 3rd quarter.

Inter-Lakes got a very good kickoff, which bounced right at the 1 yard line, and came very close to stopping at the 1 which would have really pinned Winnisquam down nicely. But the ball took one more bounce and went into the end zone for a touch back.

On the first play of the drive Hayden Jurius and Josh Guilmette teamed up for a very nice tackle for the Lakers to stuff the Bear's rushing attempt. On 2nd down Foster dropped back and found Descoteaux sprinting down the field on the right side for the 79 yard touchdown. It was a perfectly thrown ball by Foster, and it hit Descoteaux right in stride.

Descoteaux finished the game with 94 yards rushing on 6 carries, to go with 2 catches for 98 yards and the game's lone TD.

"It was a beautiful pass" remarked a proud Winnisquam coach Pat Riberdy.

Inter-Lakes' Missed Chances
The Lakers had a golden scoring opportunity in the 1st quarter. Winnisquam was trying to punt on their first possession. The snap was high though and sailed over the head of punter Kyle Pratt. Inter-Lakes recovered the fumble on the Winnisquam 4 yard line. I repeat, Inter-Lakes had the ball 1st and goal on the Winnisquam 4 yard line...AND THEY DIDN'T SCORE...and then went on to lose 7-0. Ouch! It was 4th and goal from the 1 yard line, and the hand off went to Tanner Quinney. He was then stopped by 3 Bears defenders for a 2 yard loss and a turnover on downs.

After Winnisquam went up 7-0 right off the bat in the 3rd quarter the Lakers had 3 good chances to tie the game up. Thanks to a tough Bears defense though, they came up empty all 3 times.

After the Winnisquam TD Inter-Lakes would have liked to answer right back with one of their own. But they were forced into a punting situation. They punted it deep, and the ball went through Descoteaux's hands for a fumble. Nicholas Sapack recovered it for Inter-Lakes on the Winnisquam 36 yard line. It was the Lakers' best field position of the day, and the closest they had bee to the end zone all game. But then they got whistled for a false start penalty, and couldn't muster any offense and were forced to punt it away.

Inter-Lakes also had a scoring opportunity on their next possession. This time though, they had to star tout way back on their own 20. A crucial play came on 4th and 2 on their own 35 yard line. That's when Lakers QB Mitchell Jurius kept the ball himself and ran it 10 yards for the 1st. Key play #2 came soon after, on yet another 4th down. Inter-Lakes lined up to punt, but they faked it and Guilmette ran for the first down. Sophomore Willy True then made a big 12 yard catch on 3rd and long for the first down. Slowly but surely the Lakers made it into the red zone. Unfortunately though, Jurius then had his pass picked off by Hunter Karwocki on the 6 yard line. Ouch!

The Lakers next possession would be their last, but it was yet another good scoring chance. They started out on their own 39 yard line with just over 5 minutes left in the game. Tanner Quinney came up with a big 14 yard run, and Inter-Lakes continued to grind out a drive that got them all the way to the Winnisquam 23 yard line. A couple of plays later it was ALL on the line. 4th down and 2 for Inter-Lakes at the Winnisquam 16, down 7-0 with time running out. They tried to run it up the middle, but they were stopped for just a 1 yard gain. Turnover on downs.

Winnisquam Also Had Missed Opportunity
Winnisquam only had 7 points for the game, but they definitely could have gotten more. With 5 second left in the first half it was still scoreless. They had the ball on the Inter-Lakes 33 yard line. Too far away for a field goal, but if you're Winnisquam you would definitely like to get on the board going into the half. So conventional wisdom would be to go for a long pass play and take a shot at a TD. After all, you have just as good a chance at fumbling the ball or having an interception returned for a TD later in the game as you do now. So why not go for it. Taking a knee for just running the ball in that situation sends the wrong message to your team in my opinion. But instead they chose to run the ball. They gained just 2 yards and the 1st half was over.

"I just wanted to go into the half tied up" explained Riberdy. "It helped that we had the wind at our backs as well."

Record Breaking Punt?
There were A LOT of punts in this game. One of them though will stand out in the minds of everyone who was at this game. In the 1st quarter Winnisquam's Kyle Pratt stood back at his own 8 yard line. That's where he punted it from. It was an amazing punt, it bounced around the Inter-Lakes 30 yard line, took a few bounces and then stopped at the 16. That's right, folks. A 76 yard punt. You don't see that everyday. Not bad for Division VI! Pratt also had a bunch of other nice punts on the day, he has to be one of the better punters in the state.

Others Who Played Well
For Winnisquam, junior Trevor Chapin played solid in the defensive backfield with some nice pass coverage. Sophomore Chris Vanbuskirk had some excellent tackles for the Bears. If I was going to give a game ball out for this game though, it might go to junior lineman Jake Sottile, who was instrumental in leading the team's defensive charge all game long. The Lakers simply could not keep Sottile out of their offensive backfield. He made play after play, tackle after tackle.

For Inter-Lakes, junior Conor Donovan did a nice job of running the ball and getting the tough yards, especially in the 2nd half. In addition to running the football for some big gains, Quinney also made some nice tackles and hard hits on defense. QB Mitchell Jurius didn't have a monster game, but he picked up some tough yards and some big 1st downs running the ball.

Good Sportsmanship by Bears
It was all over. Winnisquam was up 7-0. They had the ball and there was just 20 seconds left. The winner of the game had already been decided. However it was 4th and goal for the Bears on the Inter-Lakes 3 yard line. It would have very easy for them to run the ball right there and go for a touchdown to make it 13-0 and really put an exclamation mark on the victory over not only their arch-rival, but the team that beat them in the title game last year. But instead they just stood at the line of scrimmage and let the time expire until it showed all zeroes. This was VERY good sportsmanship, and a nice gesture by Winnisquam and coach Riberdy.

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