NHIAA D-V Football Semifinals: Somersworth, Monadnock to meet
SOMERSWORTH - The Division V high school football semifinal between Somersworth and Stevens of Claremont completely changed in a span of three plays in the second half, and it was one player who made both of them.
Curtis Michaud scored a touchdown and two plays later made an interception that set up another touchdown for the top-seeded Hilltoppers as they rallied from a four-point deficit in the second half for a 27-10 win over the No. 4 Cardinals on Saturday.
Michaud was the workhorse for Somersworth in the second half, getting it done on both sides of the ball as the Hilltoppers (8-1) outscored the Cardinals 21-3. He rushed in from 2 yards out to give his team a 13-10 lead with 3:20 left in the third. Then, on the second play of the ensuing Stevens (5-4) drive he picked off a pass near midfield and returned it to the Cardinal 26-yard line. Three plays later Drew Francouer scored on a quarterback keeper to give the Hilltoppers a 20-10 advantage with 55 seconds left in the third.
"The gauntlet was laid in front of the kids and they responded well," Somersworth coach Dan Hodsdon said. "They scored three touchdowns in the second half and held them to three points. You can't ask anything more out of a senior-led group."
With the win, Somersworth will host the championship next Saturday at 1 p.m. against No. 3 Monadnock of Swanzey, a 14-6 winner over No. 2 Kearsarge of North Sutton.
Somersworth scored on its second possession of the game and its defense was dominating for most of the first half. It seemed like the Hilltoppers got worn down, however, and Stevens put together a drive late that ended with a 30-yard touchdown run by Donald Pellerin.
Rocky Beliveau booted the extra point and the Cardinals led 7-6 with 59 seconds left before the break.
"They left it all out on the field and that's all you can ask as a coach," Stevens coach Paul Silva said. "What they did to us the last time we came down here (a 27-0 Somersworth win) I don't think anybody was going to expect what that score was at halftime."
Stevens extended its lead to 10-6 when Beliveau kicked a 35-yard field goal with 6:48 left in the third, but it was all downhill for it from there.
Somersworth and Michaud got to work after that. They put together an 11-play drive that covered 77 yards in 3:17 and on his fifth carry of the drive Michaud rumbled in from 2 yards out. Francouer kicked the extra point and the Hilltoppers went up 13-10.
Michaud finished with a game-high 102 yards rushing on 20 carries, 14 of which came in the second half when he picked up 83 of his yards.
The defense then came up with the big play when Michaud made the interception, which the offense followed up with a five-play drive and the Francouer touchdown to make it 20-10.
"That was a great momentum changer," Michaud said. "After that, I feel like it really lifted our team and there was no way we were stopping from there."
Francouer scored the final touchdown on a 10-yard run with 6:44 remaining to put the game away.
Monadnock 14, Kearsarge 6
Jake Poulin and Dylan Bell each scored a touchdown as the Huskies (7-2) avenged one of their two losses in the regular season with a win over the Cougars (7-2).
Poulin scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter and Bell gave Monadnock some insurance with a 19-yard touchdown run in the third. Kearsarge got its only score with 1.2 seconds left in the game when Peter Allen hooked up with Oliver Gallo for a 55-yard touchdown pass.
Drew Bolewski was a workhorse offensively for the Huskies running the ball as they used good ball control in the second half, especially the third quarter when they chewed up almost 10 minutes of the clock.
Monadnock is the only team to beat Somersworth. It did so with a 21-14 overtime victory on Sept. 22.