Sunday, November 20, 2016

Plymouth Wins in Thrilling Fashion to Capture D-II Title

By: Ross Laorenza
The Plymouth Bobcats have won the NHIAA D-II title 27-24 over the Bow Falcons. Plymouth pulled ahead when QB Brandon Roy connected with Garrett Macomber for a wide open touchdown reception with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. It was only Roy's second passing attempt of the game.

After the game Macomber talked about the play," We're not a passing team, so we've had that (play) and it's worked. It's perfect, cause I go right from the secondary and I go right out and I'm there, wide-open, back-side play."

He added," Coach called it and I'm thinking like, "Oh God..I don't know if I can do this." So I kind of stopped and was like, "Come on, come here," And then I caught it and it was crazy."

The go-ahead touchdown as Macomber's third of the game (2 rushing, 1 receiving). On Plymouth's first drive Macomber rushed on 5 consecutive play, totaling 22 yards. After a Brandon Roy pass to Anthony Velez it was back to the ground. Macomber added runs of 4, 27 and the drive capping 10 yard touchdown run to give Plymouth and early lead. XP was no good. 6-0 Plymouth.

Bow's first drive started out successfully with runs from Mark Borak and Justin Mooney. QB Matt Harkins completed passes to Mac Kimball and Nate Alford, but as the drive neared the red zone a Harkins pass attempt was picked off by Plymouth's Collin Goodale.

The Bobcats gave the ball right back with a fumble on their next play and Bow was back in business at the Plymouth 43. After completions to Kimball and Alford, Jack Corriveau snagged a 47 yard catch and run for a Falcon touchdown! With the XP Bow lead 7-6 with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bobcats were unable to respond on their next drive, going three-and-out. Bow took over at their own 34. Harkins craftd another excellent drive completing 4 of 6 including a 14 yard touchdown pass to Corriveau just over two minutes into the second quarter. 14-0 Bow.

The Falcons would add to their lead on the their next drive after another Plymouth three-and-out. Mac Kimball launched a 31-yard field goal through the uprights for a 17-6 Bow lead. And then, momentum slowly started to shift in Plymouth's favor.

Down 17-6 with under three minutes to go in the half the Bobcats needed a spark to get back in the game. With Garret Macomber off the field briefly due to injury the spark came from junior tailback Connor Magowan. Magowan rushed the ball three times to open the Plymouth drive. He was stuffed on third down, forcing a 4th and short from the Bobcat 44. Coach Chris Sanborn elected to go it with under a minute to play. Magowan took the hand off from Brandon Roy, rushed left and was off to the races for a 56 yard touchdown! He got the ball again and converted the 2-point conversion. At the half Bow: 17, Plymouth: 14.

The third quarter was a defensive stalemate. Bows opened the half with an 8 play drive that took over 4 minutes off the clock, but ended with a turnover on downs deep in Plymouth territory. Plymouth followed with a 7 play drive the stalled at mid-field and forced the Bobcats to punt. A Bow three-and-out gave Plymouth the ball with 3:20 to go in the quarter.

Starting at their own 13 yardline Plymouth began to slowly work their way down field. Six yards from Macomber, 3 from Magowan, 12 from Macomber for a first down. Three and then 9 yards for Macomber, 8 for Magowan into Plymouth territory. Four yards for Macomber, 4 more for Magowan as the quarter came to a close. Four straight runs from Macomber got the Bobcats into the redzone. Then, after a rush by Magowan and a facemask against Bow, Plymouth had 1st and goal at the 6. Macomber took the handle and plowed his way in for a 6 yard score! Touchdown Plymouth. The XP was no good again, so Plymouth held a 20-17 lead with 9:36 to go.

Bow would respond. Harkins started the drive with passes to Kimball and Borak. He then kept it himself on three straight plays to put his team in Plymouth territory. Harkins hooked up with Kimball on a beautiful 35-yard seam pass to put Bow in the redzone, where Jack Corriveau took over. Corriveau picked up 9 on his first carry, got stoned in the backfield by Macomber on his second, grabbed 2 for a first down and then rushed for a go-ahead 3 yard score through the middle of the line. He was visibly excited when he crossed the goal line. With the XP Bow now lead 24-20 with 4:02 to go.

The Bobcats would start at their own 25 and like all the great Plymouth teams of years past they stuck with what they know best: a powerful rushing attack. Garret Macomber took the ball on 7 of the first 8 plays as time began melting away. A critical facemask penalty on Bow gave Plymouth the ball at the 14 yardline. Macomber would lose a yard on his next run. Second down from the 15, Brandon Roy drops back to pass, Bow playing zone, Macomber leaks into the secondary and runs right by his defender, he turns in the endzone as the ball floats towards him, time stands still, the crowd noise swells.....TOUCHDOWN PLYMOUTH!!! XP good. Bobcats lead 27-24. What a drive! What a play call!

Bow would have one last gasp, but their season ended with an INT at midfield as time expired. The Plymouth Bobcats are the NHIAA D-II champions of football.

After the game we caught up with coach Chris Sanborn, "Drew Hodges at center played well and we had Dylan Hixon on the other side played well it was unbelievable. You know, those guys up front played their tail off and that's a key to the game. And, that was a key to our season...those guys up front. I don't care who you are, and I know Garret's (Macomber) a beast, but anybody that can rush for that many yards, sets a school record for yards, school record for touchdowns; you've got some boys in front of you."

He added," A game like today is all about adjustments on the fly, sometimes you have to execute on them and we were able to do that on the last play...It's pretty special and we had a great Plymouth crowd. They always travel well..."

On the last drive and the win," I told the boys, you know what it's here or nothing. I'm thankful for these boys right here, they're like family."

Garret Macomber finished with 31 carries for 178 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He added the game winning reception for a thrid touchdown. Connor Magoawn rushed 12 times for 99 yards and a score. Brandon Roy was a perfect 2-for-2 through the air including the game winner.

Matt Harkins finished 17 of 28 for Bow, with 248 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Jack Corriveau lead Bow in receiving (5 catches, 103 yards, 2 TDs) and rushing (8 carries, 34 yards, 1 TD) in the loss.

"We weren't able to do our game plan the way we wanted. We were hoping things would turn around, but there were defintely some momentum shifts," said Falcons coach Paul Cohen. "Anytime the defense is on the field a whole bunch, that's not a good sign, but we went as far as we possibly could....We threw everything we had at them today, and I could not have asked the kids to do anymore than they did. That's football. That a life lesson these kids take away."

Congratulations to both teams on excellent seasons.

From the University of New Hampshire; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook

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