Saturday, November 6, 2010

BG Locks Up #1 Seed in D-II With Win Over Keene

Bishop Guertin shutout Keene on Saturday night 14-0 at Stellos Stadium. With the win, BG clinched the top seed in the Division II playoffs. They will host #4 seed Keene next week.

Here's the game story.

What Was at Stake?
Going into this game, both teams already knew they were in the playoffs. But if BG won the playoff seedings in D-II would be 1) Bishop Guertin 2) Winnacunnet 3) Dover 4) Keene. And if Keene won all 4 teams would be tied with 6-2 records. The resulting seedings after tie-breakers would be 1) Winnacunnet 2) Dover 3) Keene 4) Bishop Guertin. So Keene knew no matter what they'd be playing on the road. But BG on the other hand was playing for home field. If they lost they'd be the #4 seed, and if they won they'd be the #1 seed - big difference there.

Sloppy Game on Both Sides, but BG "D" Reigns Supreme
"It was a sloppy game" said Guertin coach Tony Johnson. "We got killed with penalties."

Lots of penalties, turnovers and missed opportunities on both sides. In the end though, BG got yet another outstanding defensive effort, and picks up the shutout on a Keene team that does have a pretty good offense.

The Cardinals defense was led by senior linebacker Kyle Remillard (who also rushed for over 100 yards on offense) and junior defensive end Kyle Karaska (playing in his game back in 10 weeks after an injury). Broderick Smith, James Carver and James Kemos also stepped up on defense, while sophomore lineman Andrew Crane clogged up the middle which made it tough for Keene to run the ball between the tackles.

Missed Opportunities in 2nd Half for Blackbirds
Keene had 3 different drives in the 2nd half where they got inside the BG 35 yard line (2 of them they got inside the BG 20) but they came up empty all 3 times.

The first drive came about mid-way through the 3rd quarter. Senior running back Chris Lacroix (who was making his return from a knee injury suffered 4 weeks ago) made a big 9 yard run on 3rd and 4. Keene QB Lucas Luopa (who's had a big sophomore year but had a tough game tonight) made a nice play action fake, but made a poor throw, as the ball landed right between his two receivers. Then after a sack by Carver it was 4th and 17 on the BG 33. Luopa's pass was incomplete, as the Cardinals got nice coverage on the play by Smith.

Keene's next drive was their best chance all game at getting on the board. After a nice hit by Kemos, receiver Ben Galanas made an excellent catch downfield, leaping up and twisting his body around, and also taking a hard hit but still holding onto it. Luopa also did a nice job of standing strong in the pocket and completing the pass, as he got hit hard just as hew through it, and Guertin was called for roughing the passer on top of the completion. A few plays later Luopa kept it himself on a 4th and inches play to pick up the 1st down. That set up 1st and goal for the Blackbirds at the BG 8 yard line. But unfortunately for Keene, Luopa was rushed out of the pocket, and just as he was going down for the sack, he fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Remillard. Turnover Keene, BG football.

Keene's last chance at a comeback came with 3:02 left. They were able to start the drive at the Guertin 23 yard line, as Remillard Fumbled the ball right after he recovered the Keene fumble Galanes recovered this one for Keene). Once again Smith came up big with some nice coverage downfield. It was then 4th and 1 for Keene on the BG 16 yard line. There was only 1:55 left. It looked bleak (not not to be confused with beak) for the Blackbirds (get it?), but if they could get a touchdown here and then recover the onside kick they'd have a shot. But instead Luopa's 4th down pass fell incomplete.

Turnover on downs. BG takes a knee. Game over.

How They Scored
The Cardinals got on the board on their first drive of the game, as junior Zach Mailloux ran it in from 14 yards out off the option.

The game's only other score came with 8:40 left in the 4th quarter, as Guertin QB Steve Cuipa made a very nice run on the option, keeping it himself and running 25 yards for the TD (he had 66 yards rushing in the 2nd half alone).

Others Who Played Well
For BG, tight end Paul Spinney made a big 15 yard catch in the 2nd half.

For Keene, senior lineman Taylor Russell and senior linebacker Dillon Belletete both made a number of nice hits and big plays defensively.

Rematch Next Week
With the Guertin win, it sets up a rematch next week between these same two teams in the Division II semi-finals. It will be #4 seed Keene going to Stellos Stadium in Nashua once again to play #1 seed BG. The time of that game is TBD, because BG shares the field with Nashua North, who will be hosting Nashua South next Saturday as well.

"You will see a little bit different of an offense from us next week" said Keene coach John Luopa.

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