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NHIAA Football: Plymouth turns up the heat, tops Saints

Chief Sports Editor

November 12. 2017 3:18AM

PLYMOUTH - Plymouth Regional, a team that scored in the 40s in every game this season, has a defense, too. Ask the St. Thomas Aquinas football team and its quarterback, Shawn Dekorne.

The Bobcats used three interceptions by Nolan Farina - one returned for a touchdown - and pressured Dekorne all Saturday afternoon in a 21-7 victory in a state Division II semifinal at George C. Zoulias Field. The win stamped a return trip to the division final at the University of New Hampshire's Wildcat Stadium next Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

The Bobcats' opponent will once again be Bow, the team Plymouth edged in a thriller in the 2016 championship game. Plymouth beat Bow earlier this season, 42-26, in Plymouth.

On Saturday in sunny but brisk conditions, senior halfback Garrett Macomber, the 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year in New Hampshire, rushed for 155 yards on 28 carries as the Bobcats pulled away in the second half to stay unbeaten (10-0). Macomber did most of his damage in the second half, wearing down the Saints to the tune of 117 yards rushing, including TD runs of 21 yards and 1 yard.

The Bobcats needed every yard of it. They held only a tentative lead (7-0) at the half and it was still a game in the fourth quarter.

What did Plymouth coach Chris Sanborn tell the team at halftime?

"What do you do when you face adversity?'" Sanborn asked his players. "They (the Saints) brought it in the first half. You have a 7-0 lead. Now we'll see who wants it more."

On this day, it was the Bobcats' defense, under coordinator Tom Lamb, that wanted it more.

Dekorne, among the top passers in the state, finished 9-for-30, with one TD, for 129 yards. He was also sacked four times and hurried most of the afternoon by a defense that blitzed the quarterback into difficult throws. St. Thomas' top halfback, Tim Bouchard, was also held in relative check (61 yards).

"I thought the defense was excellent," said Sanborn. "Coach Lamb and his defense really worked hard. Really, though, our 'red' team - our scout team - did a great job of getting the defense ready. Those unsung kids worked their tails off this week."

"St. Thomas has a diverse offense," said Macomber, also a linebacker on defense. "They have a bunch of great athletes and our 'red' team worked hard all week."

Farina, one of 16 seniors on the Plymouth roster, provided the highlight of a punt-filled first half. With St. Thomas facing a fourth-and-2 from the Plymouth 40, Dekorne tried a short pass to the right flat that Farina judged perfectly and grabbed in stride. Sixty-two yards later, after a Dan Carey point-after, the Bobcats led 7-0 with 4:28 remaining in the half.

The Bobcats came out strong in the second half. Macomber picked up 34 yards on the half's first play, and three plays, he was barely touched on a 21-yard TD burst through the right side of the line. Carey's kick made it 14-0.

It took the Saints (8-2) two second-half possessions before they found the end zone. Taking over at the Plymouth 48 after pinning the Bobcats deep, Dekorne, a junior, hit flanker Derek O'Brien down the right sideline and the junior took it in, untouched. Aidan Richard kicked the extra point and it was 14-7 with 3:37 remaining in the third.

Momentum was clearly on the Dover team's side when the Saints held Plymouth deep again, taking over at the Plymouth 35. But on the next play, Dekorne was hit, fumbled, and Plymouth's Jacob Lamb recovered the ball. Nine plays later, Macomber smashed it in from the 1, building the hosts' lead back up to two TDs. A key play in the drive was an 18-yard pickup by Farina on a third-and-three.

Farina pocketed one more interception that kept the Saints at bay. They didn't enter Plymouth territory again until the final minute.

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