By: Ross Laorenza
The Inter-Lakes football team improved to 2-0 with an impressive 33-12 win on the road at Somersworth Friday night. The Lakers set the tone early with a punishing rushing attack led by senior Nick Brothers (#7). Brothers scored on a 65 yard rush on the first play from scrimmage that got the Inter-Lakes offense primed for victory. On Inter-Laker’s second possession it would be Nick’s brother, Andrew Brothers (#34) scoring on a sweep to the left, evading several would be tackers on the 37 yard rushing touchdown. The younger Brothers came oh-so close to the sideline before cutting back and heading into the end zone for 6. With less than four minute gone by the Lakers held a 14-0 advantage.
Somersworth struggled early on to gain momentum. The Hilltoppers feature two stout running backs junior Nate Levesque (#24) and sophomore Ray Mills (#44). Levesque got the bulk of the carries in the first quarter, but was surrounded by Laker defenders whenever he touched the ball. After going backwards on their first two plays of their second possession Somersworth was forced to pass facing 3rd down and 20 to go. Quarterback Matt Menz (#20) dropped back to pass, but under pressure he threw up a wobbly pass that easily intercept by Inter-Lakes.
The turnover quickly turned into points for the Lakers. On 2nd and goal from the 11 quarterback Ryan Kelly (#2) connected with Andrew Brothers on a pass in the right flat and Brothers took it up the sideline and in. With 5:31 remaining in the 1st quarter Inter-Lakes: 21, Somersworth: 0.
The score would stay that way until the opening minutes of the 2nd quarter. After Somersworth gambled on a 4th and 12 for just across midfield, Inter-Lakes capitalized on the turnover on downs. After feeding the ball up the middle to Malik Carter (#12) and a pass to Zach Swanson (#80) the Somersworth defense was flowing towards the near side of the field. On 3rd and 5 the Lakers used the defensive shading against the Hilltoppers by executing a perfect back-side screen pass from Kelly to Carter. With a convoy of blockers leading the way Carter sprinted down the far sideline for 60 yard receiving touchdown. The extra point was no good, but the Lakers were well in front, 27-0.
Somersworth substituted Matt Gaudreau (#3) in at quarterback for a few series in the 2nd quarter, but with a heavy focus on the ground game Gaudreau had only a few passing attempts in the half. After three straight handoffs the Hilltoppers punted away.
Tonight’s game featured quite a bit a flags. On their ensuing possession Inter-Lakes had a 70 yard rushing touchdown and another 63 yard rush by Nick Brothers negated on back to back plays due to flags. The officials did their best to keep the players in line, but as the difference in score rose so did the tempers on the field. After rushing for 133 yards and getting credit for none of them, Brothers needed a breather. Lucky for Inter-Lakes they have a full stable of running backs at their disposal. Evan Candage (#37) was feature on this drive with Brothers resting, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. With the team moving in the right direction after multiple flags, Candage to a rush straight up the gut and to the end zone of a 55 yard rushing touchdown that finished off the scoring in the first half. At the end of two quarter Inter-Lakes: 33, Somersworth: 0.
To the Hilltopper’s credit they did not give up in this game, but the deficit they faced from the first half proved too much. Somersworth pushed across two touchdowns in the second have dominating time of possession. However, with a run heavy offense they simply did not have enough time to produce a comeback. Ray Mills saw the bulk of carries in the later stages of the game. He showed some great physical toughness, gritting out some runs, knowing that Inter-Lakes was prepared for what was coming. Nate Levesque scored the first touchdown for Somersworth; Ray Mills scored the second. Both times the Hilltoppers went for a 2-point conversion and failed. The team put together one final drive that lasted over four minutes and fifteen seconds, but the drive and the game came to a close with an interception in the end zone by Lakers’ junior Collin Sheehan. Final score Inter-Lakes: 33, Somersworth: 12.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Inter-Lakes’ Coach Jon Francis. “I think they showed a lot of heart and really hung in there for all four quarters as well...”
“Any time you can get on top of someone early like that on the road is huge,” he noted of the teams early first half success. “I think Somersworth came out to play, and we came out to play and I think in the end we were the better ball club. Don’t take away any credit away from Somersworth. The score doesn’t reflect that. They are one tough ball club,” Francis added.
From Memorial Field in Somersworth, New Hampshire. Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook