By: Ross Laorenza
The Goffstown Grizzlies improved to 6-1 with a convincing 21-10 over Manchester Central. The Goffstown defense only allowed three points on the afternoon and stifled the Central offensive attack at every turn. Nik Moquin and Franklin Castillo-Diaz connected for a pair of touchdowns in the victory.
The game started out a little shaky for the Grizzlies, as they fumble the opening kickoff giving Central a first down at the 21 yardline. But the defense held, stopping Central running back Jeremyiah Rivera on three straight plays. With such good field position Central went for it on fourth down, but the pass by Alex Hawkom was knocked incomplete. An offside penalty stalled the Grizzlies opening drive and they punted back to Central.
The Little Green began at the Goffstown 45 and went immediately backward as Adam Moses clogged up the middle and two more Grizzlies defenders tackled Rivera for a loss of five. Josh Thrasher regained some yardage on the next play giving Central a 3rd and 8. Hawkom scrambled right and appeared to gain the first, but was marked just short. Rivera converted on 4th and 1 to keep the Little Green drive alive. Three plays later Central attempt to go for it on 4th and 6, but Hawkom fumbled the snap and had to fall on it with pressure coming for the Goffstown line. It was Central's 2nd turnover on down in the first quarter.
The Grizzly offesne took advantage this time. Nik Moquin completed passes to Charles Keith, and Colby Putnam with rushes by Carter Cormier mixed in. On a first and 10 at the Central 28 Moquin found Franklin Castillo-Diaz open over the middle for the first touchdown of the game. Castillo-Diaz split the safeties and caught the pass in stride on his was to the endzone. PAT good. 7-0 Goffstown.
Both teams traded three-and-outs and then Central got a huge lift from QB Alex Hawkom. On first and ten Hawkom scrambled left and then hit the turbo boost rushing up the near sideline for a 51 yard rush. Central would get withing striking distance before have the drive stalled inside the 10. They elected to go for a 23 yard field and the kick was good. With 9:07 left in the first half: Goffstown: 7, Central: 3.
Goffstown fumbled again on the ensuing kickoff, but this time they were able to recover. Their drive went no where and they punted back to Central. The Little Green start at the Goffstown 43. Runs by Thrasher and Hawkom gained 4 yards. Hawkom then threw and incomplete pass on 3rd and 6. Central ran a fake punt play, but the runner was stopped 1 yard short. They nearly caught the Grizzlies unaware, but the special teams unit recovered.
After two Corimer runs, a dropped pass ended Goffstown next drive, but they would get the ball right back. On Central's first play Coleman Handrahan picked off a pass on the near sideline. The Grizzlies would capitalize on the good field position. A quick 5 play drive was capped with a 7 yard TD run by Carter Cormier. With 2:38 remaining in the half; Goffstown: 14, Central: 3.
Central punted back to Goffstown with 1:11 to play and it looked like we'd be heading into the half with the score 14-3, but instead of running the clock out, Goffstown chose to pass. Zach Minch made an amazing play, cutting off the flat route, jumping high to intercept the Moquin pass and returned it 32 yards for a Central touchdown. He celebrated appropriately running threw the endzone with the ball held high. At the half, Goffstown: 14, Central: 10.
Possession went back and forth in the third quarter, but neither team was able to get on the scoreboard. Central started the 4th with a missed field goal that would have brought them within 1 point. Goffstown finally put the game away with 3:09 to play in the 4th. Moquin connected with Ricardo-Diaz for their second touchdown pass of the game, a 29 yarder.
It was an impressive performance for the Goffstown defense. Central had only two big plays offensively; both were long runs by Alex Hawkom. There were plenty of opportunities for Central, but they couldn't convert on 4th down conversions deep in Grizzly territory. Goffstownn will face a tough opponent next Saturday when the Salem Blue Devils come to town. Central will try to rebound against Pinkerton.
From Goffstown; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook