NHIAA Football: Londonderry blanks MerrimackBy ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader
October 07. 2017 1:23AM
LONDONDERRY — Friday night’s 21-0 victory over Merrimack helped the Londonderry High School football team move within shouting distance of a Division I playoff berth.
The Lancers (5-1) can secure one of the four playoffs spots that will be awarded to the South/West conferences by beating Alvirne next week.
“We talked to the kids about that,” Londonderry coach Jimmy Lauzon said. “I just felt like we hadn’t been in a game with this much at stake in the last three years, so this was big. The kids were excited. We were at home and the playoffs were on the line. We knew they were playing for (a playoff spot) and were coming off a tough loss so we figured we were going to get their best effort, and our guys stepped up.”
Londonderry led 7-0 at halftime, 14-0 after three quarters and 21-0 early in the fourth. Londonderry received second-half touchdown runs of 3 and 7 yards from sophomore running back Jeff Wiedenfeld. The Lancers also scored on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Mike McAlister to slot back Tyler Kayo with 10:12 left in the first half.
Merrimack (3-3) did what it could to help Londonderry by turning the ball over four times (three fumbles). The first fumble gave Londonderry the ball at the Merrimack 43-yard line and set up the Lancers’ first touchdown.
Later in the half, Londonderry’s Shane MacEachern intercepted a pass near the goal line after Merrimack drove to the Londonderry 15-yard line.
Merrimack trailed 7-0 when it fumbled on the Londonderry 28-yard line on its first possession in the second half. The Tomahawks also fumbled on the Londonderry 30 early in the fourth quarter.
“Tonight it was turnovers more than anything, but I think the turnovers are a symptom of us not being able to take care of the things good teams take care of: missed blocks, physical errors, mental errors,” Merrimack coach Kip Jackson said. “Any time you turn the ball over, there’s a change of momentum and that was especially big for us because we’ve been struggling with our confidence.”
Wiedenfeld gained 125 yards and 20 carries. The Lancers also received 74 yards rushing from McAlister, who ran the ball 19 times.
Londonderry held Merrimack slot back Joe Eichman to 72 yards on 10 rushing attempts. Ryan Devanna replaced Ben Eichman (Joe’s younger brother) as Merrimack’s quarterback in the second half and completed 11 of 16 passes for 73 yards. Ben Eichman gained 80 yards on 10 carries.