Bedford, Central cruise: Bulldogs QB Connor Robert stars in 12-team exhibition event
By ALEX HALL New Hampshire Union Leader
West's Paul Grossweiler, left, and Jameson Maheux get set to stop Trinity's Jake Cole during the annual Queen City Football Jamborees held at Gill Stadium in Manchester on Friday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Souhegan's Tucker Aiello tackles Memorial's Johnny Vargas during the annual Queen City Football Jamborees held at Gill Stadium in Manchester on Friday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Souhegan's Ries Grondstra tries to recover a loose ball against Memorial's Derrick Terrazzano, left, and Nasreddine Tber during the annual Queen City Football Jamborees held at Gill Stadium in Manchester on Friday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Bedford's quarterback Robert Connor is sacked by Nashua North's Max Fay during the annual Queen City Football Jamborees held at Gill Stadium in Manchester on Friday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
MANCHESTER — It might have only been an exhibition bout, but Bedford High quarterback Connor Robert was in midseason form in the Bulldogs’ 27-0 triumph over Nashua North Friday night in the Queen City Jamboree at Gill Stadium.
The junior went 5-for-9 for 142 yards and tossed two touchdowns.
“Obviously the (offensive) line is a big portion of that,” Robert said. “They give me the time to get the ball off to get to my wide receivers, who are doing a great job of getting to the spots I need them to get to.”
The jamboree exhibition games consisted of two 12-minute halves.
In the other games, Salem and Goffstown tied, 14-14; Timberlane edged Londonderry 14-13; Manchester Central blanked Concord 22-0; Souhegan beat Manchester Memorial 12-7, and Trinity shut out Manchester West 10-0.
Robert’s first touchdown pass came on a fourth-and-7 from the North 44-yard line.
Robert hit Liam Greene in stride on the right sideline. Greene proceeded to sprint down the sideline before cutting into the middle of the field to avoid two Titans and didn’t stop until he reached the end zone with 9:58 remaining to build a 14-0 Bulldogs advantage. The touchdown pass capped a six-play, 78-yard drive.
Robert one-upped himself on his next touchdown pass when he connected with Lucien Mumpini on a 70-yard catch-and-run with 6:56 left that made it 20-0 Bedford.
Noah Hughes ran in Bedford’s last touchdown from 30 yards out with 58 seconds left.
The Titans reached midfield on two occasions but never sniffed the red zone.
Salem 14, Goffstown 14
Salem junior running back Josh Sibanda forced the jamboree’s lone tie. He tallied his second rushing touchdown from six yards out with 2:55 left and followed up by running in a two-point conversion to knot the score.
Matthew Soldano set up Salem’s second touchdown when he recovered a Goffstown fumble and returned the ball 29 yards to the Grizzlies 16.
Goffstown had a chance to break the tie but its final drive stalled after nine plays on the Blue Devils 36 yard-line.
Grizzlies quarterback Nik Moquin found Carter Chouinard in the middle of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown that gave Goffstown a 14-6 lead with 7:24 remaining.
Carter Cormier’s 2-yard touchdown run with 10:42 left built a 7-6 Goffstown lead.
Sibanda opened the scoring with 1:22 left in the first half when he ran into the end zone from two yards out. Goffstown blocked the Blue Devils’ PAT to hold Salem to a 6-0 advantage.
Timberlane 14, Londonderry 13
Timberlane of Plaistow allowed Londonderry to score on its final drive but the Owls defense refused to let Londonderry steal the win.
After Lancers quarterback Michael McAlister hit Cameron MacDonald for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds remaining, Londonderry attempted a two-point conversion. McAlister tried to beat Timberlane through the air again but the Owls batted the ball down to clinch the victory.
The two-point conversion denial was not the first time Timberlane’s defense showed its strength.
Owls defensive lineman Troy Blackadar scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown when he returned a Londonderry fumble 30 yards with 3:13 left. Timberlane’s Nicolas Patuto also recovered a Lancers fumble and teammate Trevor Guilmette recorded an interception.
“Our defense was OK,” Owls coach Kevin Fitzgerald said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, just like I’m sure a lot of coaches will tell you, but tonight was a positive for us.”
Lancers quarterback Ben Johnson connected with Brandon Radford on a 5-yard touchdown with 3:13 to go in the first half to tie the game at 7-7. Londonderry drove 78 yards on 11 plays en route to the score.
Timberlane running back Jacob Post ran in the game’s first score from eight yards out 36 seconds in.
Londonderry’s Zac Garside blocked a Timberlane field goal attempt in the first half.
Central 22, Concord 0
Concord and Manchester Central looked even for the first 11:54. After scoring the game’s first touchdown with six seconds left in the first half, Central all but took over the contest.
Little Green quarterback Andrew Destefano and wide receiver James Tanguay connected on their first of two touchdowns from 26 yards out to give Central a 6-0 lead going into the half.
The Crimson Tide turned punted twice and fumbled the ball away on their three second-half possessions. Central scored on two of its three second-half drives.
Destefano’s second touchdown pass to Tanguay capped the game’s scoring with 3:10 remaining. Destefano also hit Tanguay for a two-point conversion after Jeremyiah Rivera’s 66-yard touchdown run to build a 14-0 Little Green lead with 6:05 left.
Defensive end Marcus Henderson recovered the fumble for Central.
Souhegan 12, Memorial 7
Souhegan of Amherst quarterback Palmer Belowski completed just one pass but it proved to be the most important of the exhibition. The junior connected with David Labonte on what proved to be the game-winning touchdown pass with 4:17 remaining.
Sabers safety Dante Savo ended Memorial’s comeback hopes when he intercepted Tyler Battista on the Crusaders’ final drive of the game.
Manchester Memorial took a 7-6 lead four seconds into the second quarter and followed up with a stout defensive series.
The Crusaders marched 51 yards on six plays on their touchdown drive, which was capped by a 6-yard pass from Battista to Johnny Vargas.
Souhegan’s ensuing drive began at its own 42 and ended on its own 48. The Sabers picked up a first down on the drive but an illegal procedure penalty and a two-yard loss on a Zach Thibeault carry forced a punt on fourth and 17.
Souhegan’s Kyle Archibault returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to build a 6-0 Sabers lead.
Trinity 10, Manchester West 0
Trinity of Manchester quarterback Colin Hines did not lead the Pioneers offense on a scoring drive but he still put his team’s lone touchdown on the board.
Hines intercepted Manchester West quarterback Mac Maheux inside the final five minutes and ran 26 yards down the right sideline to the end zone. Hines’ pick-six built a 9-0 Trinity lead that was extended to 10-0 after Dom Damico’s PAT.
Damico broke the scoreless deadlock 1:35 into the second quarter when he booted a 32-yard field goal.
Trinity running back Jake Cole rushed four times for 74 yards. He gained 36 of those 74 yards on a dash up the middle of the West defense inside the final minute.
West did not cross the 50-yard line until its sixth series of the game. The Blue Knights stalled out at the Pioneers’ 20-yard line on the drive. West reached its own 47 on its second series but was forced to punt it back to the Pioneers after nine plays.