By: Ross Laorenza
The Winnisquam Bears are now 5-0 after an impressive 26-0 shutout of the Somersworth Hilltoppers. The Bears defense caused 5 turnovers (1 forced fumble, 4 interceptions) and stopped the Somersworth offense three times on attempted 4th down conversions for three turnovers on down. Three of the interceptions occurred at or near the goal line ending promising Hilltopper possessions. The last turnover on downs cemented the shut out, as Somersworth QB Matt Menz tried a sweep to the left and was stopped for a four yard loss by a pack of Bears.
“In all my years of coaching it was probably the ugliest shut out win that we’ve had,” said head coach Patrick Riberdy.
The Bears did concede a lot of yardage but held strong in the redzone. The Winnisquam offense operated well in the victory. Two second quarter touchdown passes from Christian Serrano (#4) to Cody Varney (#5) gave Winnisquam the edge going into halftime.
“We thought we could exploit the other side of the field a little bit, kudos to Somersworth on that for covering Timmy (Harmon) pretty well,” acknowledged coach Riberdy. “Cody actually came to us and thought he could get himself open…”
The offensive adjustments and confidence from a first year wide out in Varney gave Winnisquam a 13-0 lead at the half. Somersworth open up the second half with a promising drive, after a failed surprise onside kick from Winnisquam. The Hilltoppers utilized running backs Nate Levesque (#24), Ray Mills (#44) and Austin Berchulski (#31) to get into the redzone. However, on 2nd and 10 from the 20 Matt Menz floated a pass towards the endzone and it was picked off by Tim Harmon (#11). This was Menz’s 4th pick of the game and third inside the red area. It was good to see some diversity in the Hilltopper offense, but at the end of the day it all comes down to execution. They have a very powerful running attack, but Winnisquam shut it down tonight. Going to the pass proved a more viable option than it was a few weeks ago against Inter-Lakes, but turnovers must be addressed.
With the game still close 13-0 heading into the fourth the Bears opened up their playbook. Inserting Hunter Trierney at quarterback allowed Christian Serrano to move to half back for a drive to open the fourth quarter. Serrano scored on an 18 yard rushing touchdown, taking at pitch to the left up the sideline and in.
After his defense was able to hold Somersworth scoreless on 4 and goal from the one, later in the quarter, Serrano showed off some more nifty moves with a 70 yard rushing touchdown on a QB draw.
There is no doubt this year’s Bears team has a lot of talent. Both offensively and defensively they were able to showcase some key components tonight. If opponents make mistakes against their defense Serrano, Varney, Jake Snow and the rest of the offense will be sure to capitalize. This was a very entertaining game tonight. Hats off to the players for toughing it out in the freezing rain. Final score, Winnisquam: 26, Somersworth: 0.
From Somersworth; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook