Monday, October 15, 2012

Jozokos & Carper Lead Governor's to Win Over Lawrence

The game was played between 2 Massachusetts prep schools, but you would be hard pressed to find an NHIAA game with as much NH talent on display. Lawrence Academy is a football powerhouse, and early on they were clearly the better football team. They were much bigger up front and they had 3 WR's who were absolute beasts. Lawrence jumped out to a 14-0 1st half lead on a pair of long touchdown passes.

But from that point on it was all Governor's, who were led by Tate Jozokos (Wolfeboro, NH) and Andrew Carper (Hollis, NH). Jozokos had 2 rushing TD's and 1 passing TD, while Carper had 6 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 interception returned for a TD. The Govs reeled off 38 straight points, and went on to win by a final score of 38-20.

Jozokos and Carper are 2 of the 4 players on the Governor's football team who have committed to the University of North Carolina for Lacrosse. The other 2 are Ryan Macri (South Hamilton, MA) and Eddie Gilman (Cortland Manor, NY). That's right folks, there are 4 kids from this one prep school who are going to play LAX at UNC, and 2 of them are from NH. This is a HUGE story and one that is not getting nearly enough coverage.

Jozokos is hands down the best athlete in New Hampshire. He is a college level athlete in 3 different sports (lacrosse, football and basketball) and he is a high-major athlete in one of them. It is simply unheard of for a kid to be this good in so many different sports and still be so good at one of them that he's going to play at at a school like North Carolina. He would have a boatload of scholarship offers in football, and would have every D-III school in New England calling him up for basketball but these coaches all know he's a lacrosse kid and has already committed to UNC. The bottom line is Jozokos is a once in a generation type of athlete and it boggles my mind that a kid from NH who has achieved all of this isn't getting more coverage from the media.

"I started playing basketball as soon as I could walk, started playing football when I was 7 and lacrosse when I was 8" Jozokos told the NH Notebook. "My Dad has always pushed me to do the best I could at everything."

Carper is also a great story. He is also a scholarship level player in football, but he too will be playing lacrosse at UNC. Carper is in his second season at Governor's after starting as a freshman for the 2010 Division II state champs Bishop Guertin football team.

"I committed to UNC before my sophomore year" Carper explained. "I played at Top 205 the summer before my sophomore year, which got me a lot of exposure and got Carolina interested in me. Then coming here from BG was an eye opener for me. The game moves so much faster here, it's like night and day."

3 of the 7 NH kids who played in Saturday's Lawrence vs. Governor's game are Bishop Guertin transfers. There is Carper and Tommy Vailas (Bedford, NH) from Governor's, and Lawrence's Andrew Crane (Amherst, NH). All 3 of them were teammates on the BG championship team in 2010.

"It's fun playing against Andrew" said Carper with a smile. "If we're out there together we'll let each other know if one of us makes a good play. But we also go out there, play ahrd and try to win at the same time."

This year's Bishop Guertin team is a contender for yet another D-II title, but has some stiff competition from Keene, Winnacunnet and Bedford. However if the Cardinals still had Crane, Carper and Vailas on the team there's no question they would be the team to beat.

"I don't really keep track of how those guys are doing anymore" said Carper. "Not since Tony Johnson left."

The Governor's lacrosse team is truly something special, with its 4 kids all going to UNC.

"2 years ago we were top ranked in the top 25 teams in the U.S." explained Jozookos, who transferred to Governor's following his freshman year at Kingswood High. "Then last year we were in the top 20 nationally, but lost our last game of the season and finished jut outside the top 25."

As for Saturday's football game vs. Lawrence, Jozokos and Carper both played HUGE roles in the win. Jozokos ran in a 2 yard TD run on a QB sneak to cut the Lawrence lead to 14-7 with 6:29 left in the 2nd quarter. The Govs got the ball right back, and after a couple of first down runs by Jozokos he then threw an 8 yard touchdown pass to Daniel Healey (Merrimac, MA). The extra point tied the game up 14-14 with 3:33 to play in the 1st half. Jozokos showed excellent speed and made some very good cuts on his runs to pick up the tough yards.

That's when Carper really started to make his presence felt. The outside linebacker was flying all over the field making tackles, then later he made a sack after a strong pursuit of the QB.

Vailas meanwhile was part of the Govs 3 back rotation. The 3 backs all blocked for each other, and Vailas made some good blocks in addition to tough runs. He also played DB and special teams.

The teams went into halftime tied 14-14, and then Governor's went up 21-14 after a 20 yard TD run by Elijah Morrissey (Rowley, MA).

Then Carper made the play of the game. Lawrence had the ball and was only down by 1 TD. With the weapons Lawrence has on offense it was still anybody's game. But then the Lawrence QB dropped back to pass, and Carper made a great play to dive in front of the intended receiver to pick it off. He returned the interception 40 yards for the touchdown, breaking multiple tackles on his way to the end zone. Instead of Lawrence having a chance to tie the game up it was now a 28-14 lead for Governor's, who now had all the momentum on their side.

"I saw the QB rolling out, and saw his eyes" Carper explained. "I said this ball is mine, and then I went and got it."

Carper and Jozokos continued to roll from there. On Lawrence's next possession Carper once again sacked the QB, with this one coming on 3rd down and forced Lawrence to punt.

Governor's then got the ball back and just a few plays later got yet another TD. Jozokos ran left, got some running room and scampered in from 5 yards out to put the Govs up 35-14 with 1:19 left in the 3rd quarter.

"On those TD runs I ran behind #76 Big Mac(lineman Ryan Macri)" said Jozokos. "And on the TD pass it was a bootleg pass and I just lofted it up there for him."

Things continued to go Governor's way from there. Carper stepped in and delivered a bone-jarring hit to a Lawrence ball carrier. Then the Govs got the ball back and Vailas made a great block, followed by a 24 yard run by Jozokos. That led to a field goal to put Governor's up 38-14 with just 4:53 left in the 4th quarter.

Lawrence would add a TD late for the 38-20 final, but the outcome of the game had already been decided. Another NH native who started on both sides of the ball and played well for Governor's was James Leary (Seabrook, NH. Leary played center on offense and defensive tackles on defense.

Although they lost the game, the 2 standout players for them from NH both played very well. Those 2 players would be Andrew Crane and Chris Garrison. Garrison is new to the Lawrence squad this season after transferring from Goffstown High where he started for 2 years and was an all-state player last season as a sophomore.

Here's a closer look at Crane and Garrison and how they played on Saturday.

Andrew Crane, OL/DL, 6'0" 270 lbs., Class of 2014 - This kid is a beast, no question about it. Made 6 tackles on defense, as he did a nice job of coming off his blocks and making tackles at or near the line of scrimmage. Had a couple of tackles for a loss. Big, strong, athletic kid who clogged up the middle on 'D' and hit people which made it difficult for Governor's to run up the middle. On offense he played left tackle, and really did a nice job of holding his blocks and not allowing his man to reach the QB. He's only going to keep getting better, hard to believe he's only a junior. A future Division I college player, no question about it.

Chris Garrison, WR/DB/K/P/KR, 6'3" 210 lbs., Class of 2015 - the best word to describe Garrison is versatile. He simply never comes off the field and is always doing something different. He played WR on offense, DB on defense, he returned kicks, and handled all kicking duties (punting, kickoffs and PAT's). At 6'3" he has good size at WR, where he made 4 catches for 38 yards. Garrison has good breakaway speed and the ability gain yards after the catch, which he showed on a 12 yard reception in the 2nd half. He's a big, tough cover corner on 'D' and has a booming kicking leg as he pinned the opponent deep in their end on kickoffs and punts. He does a lot of things on the field and he does them all well. Definitely a recruit to watch for 2015.

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