It's no secret that Concord senior Leo Sudieh is one of the state's top players. The 5'8" 180 lbs. RB/DB has been out there making plays for the varsity team since he was a freshman and as a sophomore he was a major reason why the Crimson Tide went undefeated en route to the D-I state title.
Every team that goes up against Concord is going to be game-planning to try and stop Sudieh. That easier said than done. On Friday night at Memorial Field in Concord the explosive Sudieh amassed 161 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns plus he caught 1 pass for 17 yards. Sudieh also intercepted a pass on defense, returning it 28 yards for the TD. The INT stood, but the TD was called back due to a personal foul on the Crimson Tide. Sudieh also broke a 64 yard TD run which was waved off due to an illegal block in the back penalty on Concord.
"It feels great" said Sudieh, after leading Concord to a 42-20 win over Nashua South. "I love playing at Memorial Field - I was pumped. I couldn't do it without the linemen. They're young, but getting better."
Both Concord and Nashua South came into this game with identical 1-1 records. Concord gets the win, their second in a row. last week they notched a quality win over a tough Bishop Guertin team. The Crimson Tide got blown out by Goffstown in week 1, but they since then they have clearly gotten on track.
"We got a new mindset after the Goffstown game" said Concord High head coach Eric Brown. "I have to give a lot of credit to my offensive line coach Kevin Nyhan, who has done a great job with the o-line over the past couple of weeks."
The Concord offensive line open up holes for the running game throughout the contest, resulting in a total of 304 rushing yards as a team. Sudieh had the game with 161 yards and 2 TDs, but Chris Cummings, Chris Munnell and Matt Burke all scored rushing touchdowns as well.
"Leo stepped up, and our slot guys did a great job of blocking down field."
In addition to scoring on a 2 yard rushing touchdown, Burke was especially impressive on defense. The free safety had a number of tackles for little or no gain. He's one of the hardest hitters we've seen so far this season, and he's only a sophomore.
A couple other players to watch for the future - Concord junior lineman Eric Lahr, a tough, physical kid and is 6'2" 286 lbs. For South they have a 6'5" 220 lbs. tight end Max Osgood, RB Myles Johnson who has good speed and runs hard, RB/WR Owen Amigo and linemen Alex Parrott and Tim Daigneault who made some solid tackles - all are only juniors. South QB Sean Holland, who has good size at 6'2" and made some strong throws is only a sophomore.
Concord got on the board on their very first possession, as senior QB Jacob Lewis connected with receiver Chandler Paradis for 11 yards on a key 3rd and 10 conversion. On the next play Sudieh took the hand-off and ran it in 23 yards for the score. The PAT by Dylan Thomson was good and it was 7-0 Crimson Tide with 5:33 left in the 1st quarter.
On the Purple Panthers' ensuing drive Sudieh picked off Holland and ran it in 28 yards for the score. The INT stood, but Concord was whistled for a personal foul so the TD was waved off. That didn't stop the Crimson Tide's momentum though, as Sudieh picked up 5 yards on the ground on a key 3rd and 1 conversion and then ran in a 15 yard touchdown. 14-0 Concord, 3:37 left in the 1st quarter.
South finally got the momentum on their side, as Owen Amigo made a nice tackle on D and then the Purple Panthers were able to stop Sudieh for no gain on 4th and inches. South gets the ball back, and Holland hits Osgood for an 11 yard gain. Holland then races up the left sideline for a 12 yard pickup. Then Holland scrambles left, throws the football across his body, while getting hit and still puts it on the money to receiver Jason Fox for a 42 yard completion. That brought up 1st and goal from the 5. On 4th and goal from the 2, Holland rolls right and connects with Zavier Williams for the first South TD of the game. Now it's just 14-7 Concord with 5:18 left in the 2nd quarter.
Concord answered right back though, as Lewis hits Reid Ljungholm for a 24 yard pass play on 3rd and 5 from the South 48 yard line. Sudieh makes a 13 yard run, and Cummings caps the drive by running in the 11 yard TD. 21-7 Crimson Tide.
South ball, but a nice hit by Burke and a pass batted down by Dan Kelleher forces a punt. That's when Sudieh breaks a 64 yard TD run, but it's waved off due to an illegal block in the back penalty. So it's 21-7 Concord at halftime, but it could have easily been 28-7.
Concord does make it 28-7 on their first drive of the 2nd half. Lewis connects on yet another key 3rd down conversion, this time finding Cummings for an 18 yard gain on 3rd and 13. Then Lewis hits Sudieh for a 17 yard screen pass. Munnell picks up 17 yards on the ground, and Burke caps the drive with a 2 yard TD run.
South kept battling though, refusing to go away. On their ensuing possession Holland connects with Fox for a 25 yard TD pass. and it's 28-14 Concord with 4:16 left in the 3rd quarter. The Purple panthers then make it just a 1 score game, as Holland ran in a 9 yard TD on a keeper on their next drive. The score was set up by tough 17 yard run by Johnson and Amigo barely converting on 4th and 2. Sudieh blocks the PAT attempt, and it's 28-20 Crimson Tide with 10:30 left in the 4th quarter.
Give credit to South for battling back like that, but unfortunately that would be their last score of the evening. Sudieh broke a 49 yard TD scamper on Concord's ensuing drive, after South attempted an onside kick and Concord recovered. South gets the ball back, but Concord junior captain Ben Nelson intercepted Holland's pass on the South 30 yard line.
Cummings added an 8 yard TD late, which was the icing on the cake. Concord wins it 42-20, improving to 2-1 on the season. South is now 1-2.