Friday, September 19, 2014

Portsmouth Guts Out Win at Memorial

By: Ross Laorenza
After trailing 21-7 with five minutes left in the first half, Portsmouth turned things around to earn their second win of the season, 28-21 at Memorial, Friday night.

“We realize we can play with these guys; we can hang with these teams,” said Coach Pafford post game. Portsmouth improves to 2-1 on the season after moving up to Division-I at the start of the year.

Clipper’s running back Joey Auger was incredible in the game collecting two touchdowns on the ground and a third in the air.

“Joey was all over the field,” said Pafford. Auger also starts at defensive back and had an interception to set up the go-ahead scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.

Memorial QB Isaac Velez opened the scoring in the first half with a 17 rush down the right sideline. After a missed PAT, Memorial held an early 6-0 lead. The Clippers responded with 79 yard drive that started with a 43 yard rush from Auger. He capped it with a 2-yard rushing touchdown on fourth and goal. Isabelle Pafford drilled with XP for a 7-6 Portsmouth lead.

Memorial picked up a big run from Daquan Henclewood in the final minute of the first quarter. A 15-yard face mask penalty added to the end gave the Crusaders a first down at the opponents 16. Two plays later Velez connected on a 3 yard pass with Tyler Pelletier for the score. Pelletier was left virtually uncovered by the Portsmouth defense. Crusaders grabbed a 2-point conversion to pull ahead 14-7.

Daquan Henclewood would add a rushing touchdown with 4:31 remaining in the half to give Memorial a 21-7 lead. Unfortunately for the Crusaders that would be their final score of the game.

Down 14 points on the road the Clippers would try and grab a score before halftime and turn momentum in their favor. A heavy dose of Joey Auger earned Portsmouth a first and goal at the 10 yard line with 2:26 remaining. Foregoing a field goal opportunity, the Clippers went for it again for 4th and goal from the six when Connor DiCesare found Auger for the 6-yard touchdown. Cue the momentum swing!

Memorial had the ball in the final second of the half near midfield, but a huge sack by Justis Mattis-Clark sent the teams to the locker rooms.

Portsmouth looked to pull even late in the third quarter, with a 22 yard touchdown pass by DiCesare, but it was negated by a holding penalty. Joey Auger picked up 8 yards on first and 25, Jake Lorenz grabbed a pass from DiCesare on second down to end the third quarter.

On third and 18 from the 35 yard line, DiCesare launched a pass towards the end zone that came down in the waiting arms of Loden Formichelli. PAT good. Deficit erased. 21-21 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter.

After forcing a three-and-out the Clippers had the ball near midfield poised to take the lead. With Auger grinding down the Crusader defense, Portsmouth slowly crept into scoring range. With just 6:34 remaining in the game DiCesare looked for the end zone, but the ball was bobbled and intercepted by Memorial.

After three rushing plays gained 9 yards, Memorial faced a tough 4th and short on their own 22 yard line. Electing to go for it instead of punting it fell to Henclewood to pick up the first, which he did with a 16 yard dive up the middle.However, only three plays later Isaac Velez’s pass was tipped out wide and intercepted by Joey Auger.

With the defense locked in on Auger running the ball, Portsmouth ran a jet sweep with Jake Lorenz around the left sideline picking up huge yardage. A dead ball foul followed by an encroachment penalty on Memorial gave the Clippers a first down at the 6 yard line. On his third attempt, Joey Auger would not be denied the end zone, bouncing off would be tacklers for the go-ahead touchdown with only 1:40 left in the game.

Memorial inserted back-up quarterback Coy Mitchell to try and respond, but Mitchell’s second pass was picked off by linebacker David Feals which all but sealed the game for Portsmouth.

Final score; Portsmouth: 28, Memorial: 21

The Clippers will look to continue their winning ways next week at home against Goffstown, while Memorial will look to rebound on the road at Dover.

From Memorial High School in Manchester, New Hampshire: Ross Laorenza, New Hampshire Notebook

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