Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dover Scores Last Minute TD to Beat North

By: Jeremy Leveille
In a back-and-forth, evenly matched game that went down to the wire, Dover senior QB Derek Stegman dove into the end zone from 3 yards out to score the go-ahead touchdown with just 11.5 seconds remaining. This came just 4 minutes after Nashua North tied it up at 21-21 on an 8 yard TD pass from QB Brandon Martin to TE John Vidal.

North got the ball back with one last chance to score and either tie or win it. On the kickoff the ball took a couple of crazy bounces over the head of Titan players which prevented a big return. They then had time for one last play from scrimmage from back on their own 13 yard line. Naturally they tried to use trickery to break off a big play. Martin and backup QB Colby Gunter (who threw a TD pass on a trick play earlier) played catch behind the line of scrimmage before getting the ball to Noah Gosselin. Gosselin got to his own 28 yard line before being brought down by Dover senior Darren Correnti. Game over, the Green Wave win 27-21 on Saturday night at Stellos Stadium in Nashua. Dover (2-3) has now won 2 games in a row in Division I, while North falls to 0-5.

"We've been in other games like this already, so we were ready" said Dover head coach Ken Osbon. "We have 8 or 9 kids playing both ways, so it says a lot about this team to pull it out in the end. Eric Waddington is our leader out there, but we also have the guys on the line Brendan Madsen, Jared Riecks-Kurshinsky and Isaiah Bickham who also play both ways for us."

The Green Wave struck first, as senior RB/DB/K Cam Rewucki broke free for a 34 yard touchdown run. Rewucki is very fast and athletic, and is tough to catch in the open field. He had 74 rushing yards and also caught 4 passes for 45 yards. Earlier on the drive Vidal made a good hit for the Titans, but then Stegman connected with Correnti fr a 17 yard pickup. Stegman then hit Rewucki for a 15 yard screen pass, but it was called back due to holding. Penalties were a problem for Dover all game long. After the penalty it's 3rd and 25 for Dover on their own 30 yard line. Stegman hits a wide open Rewucki coming across the middle of the field for a 30 yard gain and the 1st down. That was a huge play on that drive. Stegman kept it himself and dove in for the 2 point conversion. Dover leads 8-0 with 30 seconds left in the 1st quarter.

North answers right back though, as senior captain Brad Fay showed that Rewucki isn't the only speedster on the field. Fay rips off a 75 yard TD run. He got a good block which opened up a hole, then he broke it to the right side and sprinted up the sideline for the score. North decides to go for the PAT, it's good by Luke Guertler and it's Dover 8 North 7 with 6.1 seconds left in the 1st quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff it's once again Rewucki showing his speed, making a great return all the way to the North 40 yard line. North gets called for a costly facemask penalty, then Stegman picks up 8 yards on the ground to set up 1st and goal on the Titans 8 yard line. The handoff goes to Dwayne Gordon, who gets hit and fumbles it on the 1 yard line. The ball bounces into the end zone and it's recovered by Correnti for the touchdown. The North sideline is furious, pleading with the officials that Gordon was down by contact before the fumble occurred. The call, and the touchdown stand and after the PAT by Rewucki it's 15-7 Green Wave with 5:52 left in the 2nd quarter.

"We knew what they were going to do, we just didn't execute" lamented Nashua North head coach Jason Robie.

North tries to answer back the Dover TD. Martin hits Vidal for a 40 yard completion. After a pass interference call on Dover the Titans now have the ball on the Green Wave 6 yard line. Should be an easy 6 points, right? Wrong. Waddington (one of the best linebackers in the state) makes a big tackle for a loss. North is forced to attempt a 25 yard field goal. Guertler's kick is no good, and the Titans come away with 0 points on the drive.

Those 2 drives right there were huge in determining the outcome of this game. Dover gets the fortuitous bounce into the end zone for a TD off a fumble, and North misses a FG after getting down to the 6 yard line. The Green Wave head to the locker room up 15-7 at halftime.

"The kicking game was the difference tonight" said Coach Robie.

Dover ball to start the 2nd half, but once again the Green Wave shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. A holding call negates a 15 yard run by Waddington. Then they get called for having an illegal man downfield - on the same play that North is called for a late hit. Waddington then catches a pass out of the backfield for a 19 yard gain on 3rd and 6. The drive stalls though, and Dover is forced to punt.

Waddington continues to fly around the field on 'D' hitting people. He makes a tackle for a loss, and North punts it away on their next drive.

The defensive battle continues, as Gosselin makes a tackle for a loss for the Titans. Then Ezenma Nwankwo provided some good coverage in the secondary and breaks up a pass. Dover is then forced to punt.

North would then get back on the scoreboard, as Connor McBride got their drive started with a 36 yard run. Dover's 'D' was hanging tough though, as Bickwood made a good hit and sophomore DB Jack Priester hit Martin while throwing to force an incomplete pass on 3rd and 8 from the Dover 13 yard line. That brought up 4th and 8, and that's when the Titans decided to use some trickery. They run a flea-flicker, with Gunter throwing it to Connor Baldassaro for a 13 yard TD pass. The 2 point conversion is no good though, so Dover still leads 15-13 with 11:51 left in the 4th quarter.

"We have a lot of things in our arsenal, a lot of things we can do" said Robie.

That TD started a run of 4 straight touchdowns - 2 by each team as the teams went back and forth in the 2nd half, leaving it all out on the field.

On Dover's next dive, Waddington rumbles up the middle for a powerful 20 yard run. Then Stegman scrambles for a 22 yard gain. On 1st and goal from the North 2 yard line, Waddington barrels into the end zone for the score. The extra point by Rewucki is no good though, so it's still a 1 possession game with the Green Wave now leading 21-13 with 8:26 left in the 4th quarter.

"That kid Waddington is a bull" said Robie. He's a good football player too."

North answers right back. On 3rd and 10 from their own 34, Martin finds Devin Leonard open near the left sideline for a big 46 yard pass play. Then Ryan Hayden steps up and sacks Martin, who didn't have anyone to throw to thanks to the good coverage by Gordon. But then a costly facemask penalty on Dover brings up 1st and goal for North on the Green Wave 8 yard line. Martin hits Vidal for an 8 yard TD pass. Gosselin runs in the 2 point conversion, and we're all tied up 21-21 with 4:47 left in regulation.

Dover ball, and here's when they have what would turn out to be the game-winning drive. The elusive Rewucki made a great return on the kickoff once again. Gosselin makes a good hit for no gain, but then on 3rd and 6 for Dover on the North 40 yard line the Titans are called for encroachment. That brings up 3rd and 1, and Waddington picks up the 1st down. Rewucki then finds daylight for a big 18 yard carry, going out of bounds at the North 16 yard line. The Green Wave are then called for a holding and a false start which bring the ball back. gain though it's Rewucki with a big run, picking up 16 yards down to the North 5 yard line. 1st and goal on the 5, with time running out. There's just 24.5 seconds remaining when Waddington picks up 2 yards to the 3 yard line. That's when Stegman dives in for the 3 yard TD run on the QB keeper, and the Green Wave celebrate in jubilation. It's now 27-21 Dover, with just 11.5 seconds left.

"We're not going to give up" said Coach Robie. "We're going to keep preparing for each opponent and playing hard."

Dover has now won 2 in a row, and with Exeter losing their last 2 games and Winnacunnet falling to Spaulding this weekend the Division I's East Conference now all of a sudden is looking wide open. Exeter, Spaulding and Winnacunnet are all 3-2, with Dover just 1 game back at 2-3, while Timberlane is 1-4.

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