By: Ross Laorenza
The Newport Tigers win the D-III football championship 48-14 over the Inter-Lakes Moultonborough Academy Lakers. After coming up short in last year's title game this win meant a lot for Coach Larry McElreavy and his team.
"I wore this all fall,"said McElreavy as he produced a 2014 runner-up ribbon from around his neck. "I'm going to put the good one on now," he added with a smile.
Senior tailback Noah Wade (#28) rushed for a remarkable 274 yards and 4 touchdowns leading the way for the Tigers on offense. "This was a great way to end my senior year," said Wade post-game.
He also added a 57 yard punt return for a touchdown the helped blow the game open in the 2nd quarter.
Newport started the game with possession and quickly moved down field with runs from Wade and CJ Lawrence (#34). But the Laker defense stiffened in the red zone and stopped Wade on 4th and goal at the 1-yard line.
The Tiger defense led by Tyler Sharon (#45), Ty Richardson (#17) and Jake Dow (#44) were able to force an Inter-Lakes punt. Stephen Nix (#80) took the short kick and returned it to the 12-yard line. Three plays later Noah Wade ran it in off the left side for his 1st score of the game.
"I think the toss sweep is the best play in football," said Coach McElreavy. "Of course I'm a a little bit older than most people, so I go back to the Southern Cal days with O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen. I watched and studied their films and I think it's a great football play."
The Tigers would execute the toss sweep to near perfection throughout the first half. On their next possession of the 1st quarter Wade took a toss 52 yards on the 1st play of the drive and scored opening up a 13 point lead.
Inter-Lakes would get on the board with a 57 yard pass from Ryan Kelly (#2) to Andrew Brothers (#34), but Newport counter punched with Wade's 3rd touchdown run of the game. The 2-point conversion was successful for Newport and the Tigers led 21-7.
After an Inter-Lakes 3 and out Nick Brothers (#7) dropped back to punt. The Tigers ran a reverse on the return and Noah Wade shined bright again. He took the ball 57 yards to the house for his 4th score of the first half. Newport now held a commanding lead 28-7.
The Lakers would find their rhythm on the ensuing drive. Kelly led his team downfield with successful completions to Malik Carter (#12), Collin Sheehan (#11) and Andrew Brothers (#34). The drive stalled in the red zone, but facing 4th and 7 from the 11 yard line the Lakers chose to go for it. Kelly found Zach Swanson (#80) in the back of the end zone for the touchdown pass. The extra point cut the deficit in half. Newport: 28, Inter-Lakes Moultonborough Academy: 14.
Newport drove right back down the field with runs from Wade, Lawrence and Jake Dow. With Wade out of the game briefly being attended to by the medical staff, CJ Lawrence got himself on the scoreboard with a 1-yard plunge on 2nd and goal. The extra point was blocked so the lead remained 34-14.
The Lakers would try to mount one final drive before the half ended and nearly added another touchdown in the final seconds. Big pass plays to Swanson and Andrew Brothers gave Inter-Lakes the ball inside the 20 yard line of Newport. However, with 2 seconds left, a Kelly pass was knocked away at the goal line and time expired. At halftime, Newport: 34, Inter-Lakes Moultonborough Academy: 14.
The theme of Noah Wade touchdowns and punishing runs continued at the opening of the third quarter. On 3rd and 2 from near midfield Wade took another toss sweep 51 yards through the defense and into the end zone.
The Tiger's defense held Inter-Lakers scoreless in the 2nd half as their offense kept racking up yards. CJ Lawrence would find the endzone again for the 2nd score. The two point conversion by Nix would be the last points of the ball game. Final Score Newport: 48, Inter-Lakes: 14.
Newport tallied 364 yards on the ground. 274 of that all belonged to Noah Wade. It was an all around great team win for the Tigers who made it back to the D-III title game after losing last year against Campbell.
"I'm really happy for my guys. I told them, we demand a lot of them and they've done it," said coach McElreavy. "They've earned their right to be here and now they have earned their right to be champions."
From Cowell Stadium at the University of New Hampshire, Ross Laoreza: New Hampshire Notebook
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