Saturday, November 6, 2010

Trinity Over Laconia in D-IV Semis

Trinity got 210 rushing yards and 1 touchdown from junior Josh Hughes (pictured left), as the #2 seeded Pioneers advance to the Division IV title game with a 24-14 win over #3 seed Laconia Saturday afternoon at Gill Stadium.

Laconia put forth a valiant effort, battling hard all game and leaving everything out on the field. But Trinity was just too big, too fast and too skilled for the Sachems.

Here's my complete recap of the game.

Standout Juniors Lead Trinity
Trinity has a good senior class, and often times seniors make the difference in playoff games. But this afternoon it was a pair of juniors who once again came up big for the Pioneers.

Fullback/linebacker Josh Hughes and tight end/defensive end Andrew Lauderdale have been big playmakers for this time all season, but today they were especially effective, producing on both sides of the ball.

Hughes ran for 210 yards and 1 touchdown on 16 carries. His line did a nice job of opening up holes, but Hughes did a VERY nice job of seeing the holes and going through them FAST.

"He's the kind of kid that you need more than one guy to take down" said Trinity coach Gary Leonard. "He's a special player, and a two-way standout."

Included in the 210 yards were two LONG runs. The first was a 68 yard touchdown run on Trinity's first offensive play of the game. The 2 point conversion was good and the Pioneers went up 8-0 with 3:33 left in the 1st quarter. His other big run was an 85 yard scamper in the 3rd quarter.

Hughes also had a big game defensively. He made a number of big hits and big tackles, including one tackle for a loss of yardage which led to a Laconia punt late in the 3rd quarter.

Lauderdale also had a big game for Trinity. He made plays all over the field defensively, and he also had a BIG catch on offense. He blocked a field goal on Laconia's opening drive, he had a fumble recovery in the 3rd quarter, and he batted down a pass by Laconia QB Hunter Briggeman on the Sachem's last drive of the game on 3rd down and 25. Offensively Lauderdale made a 38 yard catch late in the 1st half.

"Andrew got moved to linebacker this week" explained Coach Leonard. "And for a kid who's never played there before he did a nice job."

Both Squads Caught a Case of Fumblitis
There's no question that one of the biggest stories in this game was all of the fumbles. Neither team could hold onto the football, as both squads fumbled it four times each.

"You just can't make mistakes in a big game" lamented Laconia coach Craig Kozens. "And we made too many of them today."

Things really got crazy in the beginning of the 2nd half. On Laconia's first possession of the half Briggeman completed a big 17 yard pass to receiver Bryan Lanphear on 3rd and 7. After a nice 16 yard run by sophomore tailback Dave Mahoney, Mahoney again ran it, this time for 5 yards. But he fumbled it at the end of the run and it was recovered by Trinity. Then on the VERY NEXT PLAY from scrimmage, Hughes had his 85 yard run, but he fumbled at the end of it. The ball went into the end zone for a touchback and turned it back over to Laconia. Just 3 plays later Briggeman fumbled it, and it was recovered by Lauderdale. So in the span of 5 offensive plays, there were 3 fumbles!

"We were not covering the ball up" said Coach Leonard. "That's something we have to get corrected."

Others Who Played Well
For Trinity you have lineman Jeff Gratiano who was very effective on both sides of the ball, both blocking and also rushing the passer. Speaking of juniors, Adam Chambers also had a big game for Trinity. The RB/DB ran for 65 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. He also ran in a 2 point conversion and made a number of big tackles both on defense as well as special teams. You could argue that between Hughes, Lauderdale and Chambers, the Pioneer's 3 best players in this game were all juniors. That's a scary thing to think about for the rest of D-IV. QB Jake Goldstein wasn't asked to throw the ball or run it often, but he did make the big 38 yard pass to Lauderdale, and also ran the offense effectively all game. Jared Barczak, Steve Duffley and sophomore Romeo Masuku all played well on defense for Trinity. Masuku also made a very nice 30 yard kickoff return late in the 1st half. Senior wingback Rob Hoaglund fight tooth and nail for every one of the 55 yards and a TD that he gained. For the most part though, he was held in check by the Laconia defense (needed 17 carries to get his 55 yards).

For Laconia, their 2 best players on this particular day were RB/LB Dave Mahoney and senior linebacker Doran Logsdon. Mahoney ran for 91 yards and a TD on 18 carries. This was a very good Trinity defense, and Mahoney did a nice job running the ball against it (especially for a sophomore). He ran hard and showed some good cut-backs in the open field. Mahoney also made a number of nice tackles on defense. The real defensive standout for the Sachems though was Logsdon. He made a number of big time plays defensively, sacks, tackles, pressuring the QB, dropping back into coverage. He also delivered the hardest hit of the game early on in the 2nd quarter. Also for Laconia, Ronnie Steele was solid in coverage, especially considering he was given the tall order of covering the 6'7" Lauderdale (oh yes, that pun WAS intended!). Both Lanphear and Ian Harris made some big catches for the Sachems, courtesy of QB Briggeman who finished with 102 passing yards on the game as well as 1 rushing TD. Laconia also got solid efforts on defense from Kyle Behan, Jeff Roy, Billy Mahoney, Dillon Kreitzer and Tony Havonglasan (one of the cooler last names in the NHIAA).

Lebanon vs. Trinity Rematch on Tap
The Pioneers will now travel to Lebanon next Saturday to take on the Raiders in a rematch of last week's battle of unbeatens when these same 2 teams played. The recap of that game can be found right here.

It will be #1 seed Lebanon hosting #2 seed Trinity for the Division IV championship. Last Saturday night Lebanon won 14-6. This time though, it will be in Lebanon instead in Manchester. And this time Trinity FB/LB Ryan Carrier will be out for the whole game, instead of last week when he played the whole 1st half. So you would have to consider the Raiders to be the favorite, especially since they thrashed Monadnock today 35-7.

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