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Grizzlies' Duval makes things happen

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 08. 2017 3:18AM
Goffstown's Colby Putnam, left, and Andrew Duval celebrate a Duval touchdown run in the first half of the Grizzlies' 21-7 win over Bedford at Goffstown High School on Saturday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

GOFFSTOWN - Good things happen when Andrew Duval touches the football.

One week after being bottled up in a 9-6 loss to Winnacunnet (one carry, no receptions), Duval, a senior slot back, was able to assert himself on offense in Goffstown High School's 21-7 triumph over rival Bedford on Saturday.

Duval gained 59 yards on five carries and caught two passes for 66 yards. He scored on both of his receptions.

"I was very eager to get the ball this week," Duval said. "I had some things to make up for from last week. Feels good to get the win, especially against Bedford, our biggest rival."

Duval, a safety on defense, broke several tackles on both of his TD receptions. His 29-yard touchdown catch helped Goffstown, the No. 4 team in the Union Leader Power Poll, take a 14-0 lead with 11:13 left in the first half, and his second TD came on a 37-yard pass play that helped push Goffstown's lead to 21-7 with 9:04 remaining in the third quarter.

Duval missed all but three games last season with a broken thumb suffered in the team's opener against Londonderry.

"We couldn't cage him enough to take care of business," Bedford coach Derek Stank said.

Goffstown coach Justin Hufft said there was an emphasis on getting Duval the ball more this week.

"Yeah," Hufft said. "Andrew is still an impact player, so when they double- and triple-cover him on stuff, other stuff is open and he can still be effective that way. Still, he only had one touch last week so we did have designs on getting him the ball a little bit more today.

"Bedford did its best to take him away, but he made a couple plays when there was not much there where Andrew just does his thing. Good to get the ball to playmakers, I would say that."

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The loss left No. 8 Bedford, last year's Division I state champion, with a 3-3 record and very little wiggle room to make the playoffs. The Bulldogs trail both Goffstown (5-1) and Manchester Central (5-1) in the Division I North standings and will likely have to win their three remaining regular-season games (Concord, Dover, Central) to qualify.

Bedford has already lost to Winnacunnet (6-0) and Exeter (4-2), the top two teams from Division I East. The North and East conferences will send a total of four teams to the playoffs, each conference champion and two wildcards. As many as three teams from one conference can make the playoffs.

"We talked about, 'Hey, in order to keep our fate in our hands we have to take care of business today,'" Stank said. "Outside of that the fate goes to other people. We have to regroup. We have to not give up on ourselves. We have to get ready to go against Concord and let the chips fall where they may."

Next week's game between Goffstown and Manchester Central will likely determine the Division I North champion, which is guaranteed at least one home postseason home game.

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Bedford played without quarterback Connor Robert and inside linebacker Spencer Adams. Robert is out of the season with a broken collarbone and Stank said Adams will be out two or three weeks with a partial tear in his PCL.

Adams was Bedford's leading tackler last season with 89 stops.

"He's definitely a key component, but that being said we have other guys who are also very good linebackers like Harry LeGoullon, who stepped in for him," Stank said. "The biggest thing that puts pressure on is the number of repetitions guys are getting. We have more two-way players than we've had in quite some time because of our low numbers across the board. We have to figure out how to play with less guys and still have that success."

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Hufft said he was very impressed with the performance turned in by junior quarterback Charlie Keith, who completed 5 of 7 passes for 145 yards and three TDs. Goffstown's first touchdown came on a 9-yard pass from Keith to Jared Heidenreich.

"I thought Charlie played another great game at quarterback," Hufft said. "Made some great throws. I thought his reads were spot-on. Good decisions, difficult plays and he made some good throws early in the game, too. Once we can do that it complements our run game. That was a big difference for us."

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