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NHIAA Football: Lancers tip Salem in thriller

Special to the Union Leader

September 08. 2018 12:09AM
Lancers celebrate a turnover during the second quarter against Salem Sept. 7, 2018. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

LONDONDERRY — That sound you hear is the Londonderry Lancers announcing to the rest of the Granite State that they are here and you will take notice.

The Lancers went shot for shot with Salem and came away with a thrilling 28-21 win in the first conference matchup for both teams. Londonderry improved to 2-0 while Salem dropped to 1-1.

“It’s something you can build on,” Londonderry coach Jimmy Lauzon said. “We got a great mix of great older guys and younger guys that are playing too. This is something that they’re going to be able to look back on and build off of.”

Londonderry's Patrick Hagearty, left, and Salem's Domenic Paci in action, then a moment of sportsmanship a moment later after the play, during the second quarter, on Sept. 7, 2018. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

The lead changed hands multiple times, but Londonderry always had an answer for a Salem team that dominated Exeter just a week ago. The Lancers were led by their line. The Blue Devils forced Exeter off the line all night last week, but Friday night it was Londonderry setting the tone on the inside.

Despite Salem rushing for 288 yards, 169 of them came on three plays. The other 32 rushes the Blue Devils were held to 3.71 yards a carry.

“This week the D line needed to get pushback,” Pat Hagearty said. “Our linebackers are fantastic, and our secondary is great. We really just pulled together as a team, and we were able to do that this week.”

The Lancers were led by a nearly flawless game from senior quarterback Evan Cormier, who completed 15 of 17 passes for 231 yards and a score. He also rushed for 64 yards.

Junior tailback Jeff Wiedenfeld rushed for 80 yards and three scores and also pulled in 61 yards receiving.

“I saw the work Evan put in in the offseason,” said Lauzon. “I told him if he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the state, which we believe, and this is the night you show it. He, for the most part, was calling his own game out there.”

Senior fullback Dom Paci anchored the Salem rushing attack. Paci had 85 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 47-yard scamper in the second quarter tied the game at 14 heading into halftime.

Salem, ranked No. 4 in the latest Union Leader Power Poll, had one last chance to tie the game but couldn’t put it together. The Blue Devils started at their own 22-yard line and methodically marched down the field over the final three minutes. Kyle Poulin’s 15-yard pass to Sebastian Mosher set Salem up with a first-and-10 from the Londonderry 34-yard-line with less than a minute left. 

A run for no yards and three straight incompletions ended the game. 

Londonderry, ranked sixth in the Union Leader Power poll, led 7-0 and 14-7 before Salem rebounded with 14 straight points to take the lead with nine minutes in the third quarter. From there, the Lancers took over and held the Salem attack at bay while chipping away on offense.

Wiedenfeld’s second touchdown tied the game with four minutes left in the third, and his third score proved to be the winner with three minutes left.

Salem was led defensively by six tackles and three fumble recoveries by senior linebacker Connor Chute.

“Connor is such an awesome kid,” Salem coach Rob Pike said. “He’s tough as nails. He plays linebacker for us and takes on bigger guys all the time. He’s one of the reasons we’ve had a successful program the last few years.”

Salem struggled offensively throughout despite the big plays. Junior tailback Riley Mulvey, who was lightning a week ago, did not play in the second half in an effort to juggle the offense.

Lancers Evan Cormier, right, and Jeffrey Wiedenfeld working together during the game against Salem on Friday night in Londonderry during the second quarter. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

Sports NHIAA Londonderry

Market Fair and Militia Muster
Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.

The Enchanted Forest
Friday-Saturday, 5 - 9 p.m.