By: Ross Laorenza
Lebanon came into today's action needing a win to clinch a post season birth and did just that with a 21-20 overtime victory against Bow. The Raiders received the ball first in OT and only needed one play to reach the endzone. Ryan Milliken rushed to the right for the score. The extra point put Lebanon in front 21-14. Bow also only needed one play to score on their first possession of OT with Mac Kimball scoring on a sweep play.
That's when disaster struck for the Falcons. Bow planned to run a fake extra-point attempt, but the snap sailed way over the kickers head. After tracking the ball down back around the 30 he was able to hurl it forward a few yards to a teammate, but the play was snuffed out. Ball game over.
"Everyone kind of counted us. We had our backs against there, when we lost the first couple of games to Hanover and John Stark," said Lebanon head coach Chris Childs. "But these kids just kept believing in themselves and we keep getting better every week."
The Raiders jumped out to an early 14-0 lead with quarterback Caleb Broughton connecting with wide-out Caleb Smith for touchdown passes of 28 and 30 yards. Smith was nearly uncovered on both plays. Lebanon's defense was putting the pressure on Bow all afternoon and forced two turnovers that stunted Falcon drives.
Bow would get on the board late in the second quarter, after a would-be Raider INT was ruled incomplete. On 4th and 10 from the 25 Matthew Harkins found Nate Alford open over the middle for a touchdown reception. It was a much needed boost for Bow heading into the half.
Bow tied the score with an incredible play from wide receiver Mark Borak in the 3rd quarter. The Falcons were driving and had the ball just inside Raider territory at the 40 yardline. At the snap, Borak slipped behind the defense and signaled to Harkins that he was wide open. The offensive line gave Harkins enough time to load up a big throw and Borak caught it with his back to the endzone near the 5 yardline. With no defenders around him he simply turned and scampered into the endzone after securing the catch. Touchdown Falcons!
Lebanon nearly to respond with Broughton connecting with Milliken on a 48 yard pass down the far sideline. Milliken was tackled at the 6 extending his full reach to make the grab. He then took the first down carry and got the ball down to the two, but the next two plays yielded no yards. A field goal would have given Lebanon the lead, but in the rainy weather the snap was bobbled and the holder was taken down by the rushing lineman. Lebanon would get the ball back again with the chance to take the lead in regulation, but the drive came to an abrupt halt when Bow defensive back Jack Wiixson came away with an interception. The Falcons ran one play and then let time expire in the 4th.
As noted above Lebanon scored first in OT and Bow seemed poised to tie or take the lead with a fake xp conversion, but a bad snap ended the games final play. Final score: Lebanon: 21, Bow:20.
"Clearly we didn't play well to start this game, "said Bow coach Paul Cohen. "14-0 at the end of the first...Unacceptable. But, once we settled down clearly we surprised them on both side of the ball."
Cohen went on add," I'll take this loss if we learn from it and can go onto next week."
Lebanon definitely had a tough road to the post season this year.
"We faced at least 5 playoff teams on our schedule - the most out of anyone in our division,"said Lebanon coach Chris Childs. "So I think that kind of battled tested us a bit and the kids have faced adversity and there backs have been against the wall a few times."
It will be interesting to see how both teams fare as the playoff get underway next Saturday. They showed today that they may have what it takes to make in to UNH.
From Bow, New Hampshire; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook