Bishop Guertin is still the defending champs. And they're still unbeaten in Division II play. And on at Saturday night at Stellos Stadium in Nashua they made a statement that even though a lot of people are talking about Winnacunnet right now after their win over Exeter the road to a D-II title still goes through them.
Guertin had a very strong all around defensive effort, and got 111 total yards and 3 touchdowns from senior Blake Boudreau, defeating a good Dover team in convincing fashion 27-7. The game was a rematch of last year's D-II final, BG won that game as well.
"Dover always gives us a good game" said Boudreau, who also made a number of big tackles on defense. "I still remember my sophomore year when they beat us. So we knew we had to come out and play hard."
In the 1st half this was an even game. BG led 13-7 at halftime, but Dover had a missed opportunity late in the half where they got down to the Guertin 10 yard line but came away with no points. There was only time for one more play, so they brought in kicker Cam Rewucki (who kicked the game-winning field goal to beat Spaulding in last year's D-II semi-finals). However the snap sailed high over the holder's head. Rewucki caught the ball and tried to run with it. He nearly made it to the end zone but was tackled at the 3 yard line.
So really it was a pretty even 1st half of football. But that all changed in the 2nd half, when the Cardinals were clearly the better team. BG really stepped up their defense in the 2nd half, and Dover had a lot of trouble moving the ball.
"We've got good team speed on defense" said Bishop Guertin head coach Travis Cote. "We really bottled up their running game. We got off to a sluggish start, but made some adjustments at halftime."
The BG defense was led by Boudreau, Nick Marino (who also had 84 total yards on offense), Patrick Flathers, John Miller, Kody Karlson and Anthony Reale. Reale has got to be one of the hardest hitters in the state, no question about it.
On the first drive of the 3rd quarter Dover got all the way down to the BG 29 yard line after starting the possession on their own 24. Green Wave QB Derek Stegman completed a 35 yard pass to Jared Hudson to help get them down there. But on 4th down and 9 Stegman had nowhere to throw the ball so he took off and ran. He only gained 4 yards before Reale hit him hard and made the tackle.
So between that drive and the one before it (last drive of the 1st half when they missed the FG) that is back-to-back possessions for Dover where they got inside the Guertin 30 yard line. They came up with zero points both times and that is a BIG reason why they lost this game.
Dover was a little deflated after those 2 missed opportunities, and BG took advantage of that. The Cardinals took over at their own 26 but made a very impressive drive. QB Tommy Hurley hit Marino coming across the middle for a 33 yard pass play. Dover's defense was caught out of position (as they were on BG's first TD of the game when Boudreau caught a 9 yard TD pass from Hurley) and Marino gained some good yardage after the catch.
Then Boudreau really started to take over, making back-to-back big time plays. It was 4th and 9 for BG on the Dover 33, and that's when Boudreau made a clutch 15 yard catch on a pass from Hurley.
"The flats were wide open there" said Boudreau, who is also a standout lacrosse player at BG as well. "Coach called out 29 waggle, so I knew it was coming to me."
On the very next play Boudreau ran the ball right through the middle of the Dover defense for an 18 yard touchdown. He went in for the score, virtually untouched by the Green Wave defense. That made it 20-7 Guertin, and the Cardinals had all the momentum at that point. They would not surrender that momentum (or the lead) for the rest of the game.
Still, Dover was only down by 2 scores at that point and there was still plenty of time left (2:26 to go in 3rd quarter). But Dover couldn't get anything going offensively the rest of the way. Flathers made a good tackle, and the Green Wave turned the ball over on downs on their ensuing drive.
On Guertin's next possession they added the exclamation point on the game, as Boudreau scored his third TD of the game, running it in from 7 yards out. That made it 27-7 BG with 8:26 left in the 4th quarter.
Still enough time for a Dover comeback? Nope. On their next possession Reale made another bone-jarring hit and then Mike Devereaux picked off a pass thrown by Stegman. Soon after that both teams pulled their starters out of the game, and the Cardinals cruised to the win.
"We're definitely looking out for Winnacunnet" said Coach Cote. Luckily we don't play them till last week of the season so we have some time to prepare. "