The Bow Falcons coached by Paul Cohen lost their first game of the season way back in early September. They never looked back by winning their next 10 games becoming the Division 3 state champions with a convincing 20-6 victory over the Stevens Cardinals of Claremont.
In an era where the wide open spread no huddle pistol formations of the NFL have trickled down from Sunday afternoons to Friday night’s high school football. The Falcons with their Michigan Wolverines helmets are a throwback team from the fifties and sixties. They beat you with straight T power formations that feature the running game and a defense that tackles while it keeps teams out of the end zone. Their version of tricky is when they go unbalanced across the offensive line.
Saturday's game featured a stiff chilly late fall wind out of the north. The Falcons use the wind to their advantage to start the game on defense taking it to their back. A beautifully placed kickoff that landed deep in the corner inside the 5 yard line pinned the Cardinals deep in their own territory to start the game. There is no doubt that the Falcon’s game planned by kicking the ball away from the dangerous Donald Pellerin, Steven’s all-purpose game breaker. The coverage team did a great job getting down the field and not allowing the return team to get set up.
Stevens going up against the number one defense in division 3 could not get out of the hole and was forced to punt into the wind. A short 22 yard punt gives the ball to Bow at the Stevens' 29 for their first possession. It takes the Falcon’s only 5 plays to get into the end zone with sophomore running back Galvin Lacourciere scoring from 1 yard out, Bow takes the early lead 7-0.
Stevens has a versatile offense with Pellerin leading the running game. They also feature a spread attack with the strong armed Ryan Tanguay throwing to receiver’s Nathaniel White, Brandon Bell, and Pellerin. Pellerin had some success running in the 1st quarter but the wind completely handcuffed Steven’s ability to throw the ball. On Steven’s 3rd possession they were able to get a couple of first downs when the quarter came to an end and they finally had the wind to their back. The very first play off the 2nd quarter had Tanguay trying a home run pass to White put the alert Bow defense was ready and senior defensive back Travis Reynolds intercept’s Tanguay’s pass.
Bow made the mistake pay and went on a 10 play all run’s drive that was capped by a 9 run touchdown run by sophomore running back Christopher Robbins. The Falcons are in control and push the lead to 14-0. Bow’s leading rusher on the season was junior Matthew Ehrenberg. Matt had the most carries running for 123 yards on the day and he is their number one weapon but with Robbins, Laccourciere, and senior Alexander Reitze they have 4 backs that can carry the ball.
Bow was the better team for most of the first half but Steven’s with the weapons they have, being down 14-0 at half is not a lead that they are not capable of coming back from. The key would be to stop Bow to start the 3rd quarter and get the offense to put points on the board. Stevens elects to kick into the wind to start the 3rd quarter hoping they can close the gap and have the wind in the 4th quarter.
Bow starts the 3rd quarter and makes their statement drive of the season. Eight plays, 65 yards, 6:12 in time off the clock finished with a 1 yard touchdown run by Robbins and his 2nd of the day. Bow takes a commanding 20-0 lead.
The Falcon’s a had a total of 48 offensive plays, 47 run and 1 pass for a total of 244 yards in offense. The numbers don't jump off the page but what the numbers don't show is that they just out block, out tackle, and out execute their opponents. Over the course of a game they simply just wear you down. They averaged over 5 yards a carry and they keep the chains and the clock moving. Their backs never go down on first contact and their offensive line is the best in D-III. Tucker Johnson, Alec Tellifson, Nathangel Nappen, Michael Johnson, Kyle Mine, and Dwight Alford are a lunch pail group that takes pride in getting the job done right.
Coach Silva and the Steven’s Cardinals are a very good team that earned the right to play for a state championship. They managed to get on the scoreboard in the 4th quarter with a short pass from Tanquay to Bell to close the lead to 20-6. It was just the Falcon’s day. The Cardinals' all state running back Pellerin finished the day with a very respectable 127 yards rushing. Those numbers are fitting of an all-state season and a great high school career. Silva has rebuilt the Stevens program to a group that is a playoff contender every year. They lose the major core from this year’s team but they will have kids that will be ready to step in and be future stars.
Congratulations to coach Cohen his staff and the entire Bow football program. A great run after an opening game loss. The bad news for the rest of Division 3 is that Bow will bring back 8 starters next year including their best player Ehrenburg.