Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dover Clinches Playoffs With Win Over Timberlane

Tonight Dover beat Timberlane and Winnacunnet beat Merrimack. So Dover and Winnacunnet are in the playoffs while Timberlane and Merrimack are out.

The Green Wave got another outstanding defensive effort led by linebackers Nick Corbett and Kyle Wilson and offensively were led by junior Joe McKee (pictured left) who rushed for 168 yards on 14 carries and 1 touchdown. The result was a 14-6 win for Dover on Friday night at Dunaway Field.

Here's the complete game recap.

Dominant Dover Defense
Nick has been a force running the ball this year for Timberlane. He's one of the state's leading rushers, including a 300+ yard game just a few weeks ago vs. Winnacunnet. But tonight he managed just 82 yards on 26 carries.

"We live and die with the ball in Nick's hands" explained Timberlane coach Kevin Fitzgerald. "We knew it was going to him, and they knew it was going to him. And they were just able to stop it."

Lawrence scored the game's first touchdown from 14 yards out on the game's opening drive. The extra point attempt by Jarad Diorio was no good and the Owls led 6-0. From that point on though Timberlane was held scoreless, and Lawrence was very much held in check.

This Dover defense is arguably the best in the state right now. They have 3 shutouts on the season, and in their last 6 D-II games they've allowed a total of 21 points (just 3.5 points per game).

The defense is led by 2 of the best linebackers in NH in Kyle Wilson and Nick Corbett. Wilson made some nice tackles was effective at rushing the passer. And although earlier this week I wrote that Wilson was the best defensive player in the state, Corbett was the best player on the field on Friday night. Corbett was an absolute beast in this game. He was all over the field, making tackles left and right, making sacks and rushing the QB. He was in on what seemed like every single tackle for Dover. He also nearly blocked a punt. It was one of the best defensive performances you will see at the high school level in this state.

"It's a team effort" said Corbett. "Even if I make the tackle there's still 10 other guys out there doing their jobs allowing me to get to the ball. "Our defense has been together for years. We get it done, and we treat each other like brothers."

In addition to Wilson and Corbett, Dover also got great defensive efforts from Matt Brown, Donnie Morse, Eric Wilson, Kenaan Al-Darraji, Mike Laurion and Jarred Wilkins.

Timberlane Had Their Chances Though
Early on Timberlane was the sharper team. They scored on the game's opening drive to go up 6-0, and Dover turned the ball over (one fumble and one interception) on their first 2 possessions. But the Green Wave hung in there and kept battling, resulting in the "W."

"This is a special group of kids" said a proud Dover coach Ken Osbon. "We have 8 starters back on defense."

Timberlane definitely had their chances to win this thing though. They only lost by 1 score, and they had not one but two drives in the 2nd half where thy got to the Dover 15 yard line before turning it over.

The first drive came late in the 3rd quarter. Corbett sacked Owls QB Nate Lawrence. Then a couple plays later it was 4th and 1 on their own 47. Nate Lawrence kept it himself to pick up a crucial 1st down. Then it was his twin brother Nick with a big conversion. On 3rd and 8 on the Dover 31 he ran for 10 yards, fighting for extra yards and breaking tackles along the way. After linebacker Mike Laurion and lineman Donnie Morse teamed up for a nice tackle for a loss of yards it was 3rd and 5 for Timberlane on the Dover 15 yard line. That's when Dover came up with a VERY impressive defensive stand to halt the drive. They ran the ball right up the gut with Nick Lawrence on both plays, and on both plays he was stopped for no gain. Sophomore Eric Wilson made a nice tackle on the 3rd down play. Turnover on downs for Timberlane.

On the next Owl possession they again made it all the way to the Green Wave 15 before turning it over on a failed 4th down conversion attempt. Nick Lawrence again made some nice runs on the drive. But Dover still did a nice job of containing him, as they prevented Lawrence from getting loose and getting any long runs (his longest run was 14 yards). Corbett and Kyle Wilson continued to play excellent defense on the drive, but Timberlane was slowing but surely moving down the field. Then it was 4th and 3 on the Dover 15 yard line. This time the Owls elected to throw the ball on 4th down. Nate Lawrence's pass though fell incomplete, as he was forced out of the pocket and hurried to throw by Corbett and Brown.

That would be the last time Timberlane would get the football. On Dover's next drive they punted the ball with 1:34 left in the 4th quarter, but it was tipped (just barely) by Nick Lawrence and then recovered by Dover on the Timberlane 5 yard line. Green Wave QB Tyler Zabkar took a knee and the game was over.

McKee Continues to Emerge in Green Wave Backfield
As the season has gone on, Dover running back Joe McKee has gotten more and more carries. And as the season has gone on, he has made he most of them. Friday night the junior ran for over 150 yards for the 2nd time this season. This time he went for 168 yards on just 14 carries and a touchdown. 103 of those yards came in the 2nd half, and 81 of THOSE yards came on one run, in the 3rd quarter. With Dover up 7-6 and starting their drive way back at their own 7 yard line, McKee took the hand off and ran up the left sideline 81 yards. Al-Darraji then ran it in from 6 yards out for the touchdown. The extra point was good and it was 14-6 Green Wave.

"Early on this season we were just running the ball with MacKoul" explained Coach Osbon. "But we needed another back to compliment him, because teams just kept gearing up for MacKoul. Joe's done a great job for us."

Best of Luck to Lynch With Speedy Recovery
Scary moment in the 2nd half. Play was stopped for about 15 minutes as Timberlane junior lineman Michael Lynch was injured and carried off on a stretcher.

"It was a back injury" explained Coach Fitzgerald. "They took him to the hospital just to be safe."

Best of luck to Lynch on a speedy recovery.

Others Who Played Well
For Dover, receivers Ian Seawards and Taylor Curry both made some key receptions.

For Timberlane, Dane Doulames had some big catches to kee drives going, as did Dan Diodati was solid on both offense and defense and senior Jared Diorio made plays all over the field all game, including an interception in the 1st half. Defensive standouts for the Owls were Dillon Brann and Shane Tremblay.

D-II Playoff Picture
The four teams are set. It will be Bishop Guertin, Winnacunnet, Dover and Keene. That we know. The order of those teams is still uncertain, and will be decided after Saturday night's game between Keene and BG.

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