H.S. Football: Memorial, Dwight top West
MANCHESTER - When all was said and done, the scoreboard at Chabot-McDonough Field showed 36-26, but the intra-city matchup was much closer.
In a game that featured Division II Manchester West and Division I school Manchester Memorial, the Blue Knights took the momentum from last week's 32-31 overtime victory at ConVal of Peterborough into Friday's showdown looking to avenge 2010's 34-6 blowout loss to the Crusaders.
They nearly accomplished their task.
Trailing 20-0 at halftime, West quarterback Aaron Martin took the team on his back in the third quarter and knocked off three unanswered rushing touchdowns to knot the game up. Senior wideout Eric Bennett quickly stopped the bleeding, running back the ensuing kickoff 90 yards after Martin's third score for a touchdown.
Memorial never trailed again.
West was unable to capitalize on many scoring opportunities, including three straight red zone failures in the first half, but more importantly had no answer for Memorial's 6-0, 250-pound senior running back Steven Dwight.
Dwight picked up close to 200 yards rushing while finding the end zone four times, the last of which came after he had to be carried off the field because of a calf cramp.
'Simply put, Steven's an animal, he always has been,' said Memorial coach Peter Colcord. 'We'll be happy to see the weather get a little colder, though, so he doesn't cramp up as much.'
Martin was the story for the Blue Knights. The senior single-handedly kept West in the game in the second half, piling up four total scores. Two of his touchdowns came on 50-plus yard runs and he found Ricky Rivera in the end zone midway through the fourth to make it 36-26.
'Martin is awesome. He has terrific field vision and leads his team the way a quarterback should,' said Colcord. 'Coming into the game we thought we had a good game plan against him but he killed us.'
Martin finished with 208 rushing yards and 299 through the air.
Now that West has its first two games under its belt, coach Jim Lauzon knows that his team's positive showing thus far isn't a fluke and is something to build on for a program that has taken hits in the past few years.
'I'm really proud of our guys right now. We're really starting to become a football team and it's showing,' said Lauzon. 'We had six starters out for the game and another two went down at the half. For us to compete the way we did is a really positive thing and we're just looking to keep the momentum from what we've done so far.'
West (1-1) heads to Plaistow next week to face Timberlane, while Memorial (1-1) goes into Blue Devils territory to face the high-powered Salem offense.