NHIAA Football Semifinals: Warriors display mettleBy ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader
November 12. 2017 2:50AM
HAMPTON - Winnacunnet High School didn't have all the answers for the Goffstown offense Saturday, but the Warriors did have most of them.
Top-seeded Winnacunnet smothered the Goffstown offense for most of the afternoon and remained unbeaten by posting a 21-6 victory in a Division I semifinal.
The Warriors (11-0) scored on their first possession, and added a touchdown in each of the final two quarters. Quarterback Pat MacDougall scored two rushing touchdowns, and defensive tackle/fullback James Phennicie scored on a 4-yard run that helped Winnacunnet extend its lead to 14-0 with 1:11 left in the third quarter.
Second-seeded Goffstown (9-2) was held to 78 yards of offense in the first half and 183 yards for the game. Much of that yardage came on a 77-yard TD pass from quarterback Charles Keith to Andrew Duval that sliced Winnacunnet's lead to 14-6 with 55 seconds remaining in the third.
The Grizzlies, who turned the ball over three times in the loss, were limited to three first downs in the first half, and didn't move the ball into Winnacunnet territory until 4:10 remained in the second quarter.
"Defensively I thought it was one of the best performances that I've seen, and I've been coaching a long time," Winnacunnet coach Ron Auffant said. "I thought we dominated defensively. Defense was the key today. They're a tough team."
Winnacunnet's victory earned the Warriors a berth in this year's Division I championship game. Winnacunnet will face Pinkerton of Derry (10-1) Saturday at the University of New Hampshire (6 p.m.). Pinkerton advanced by beating Salem 45-28 in the the South/West semifinal.
"We knew we had to try and run the ball to move the chains, keep the score low and try to win that way," Goffstown coach Justin Hufft said. "We hit a big play, which was part of the formula as well, but we just weren't able to run the ball on them.
"Good day for Winnacunnet. They played really well."
After forcing a Goffstown punt on the game's opening possession, Winnacunnet moved the ball 66 yards on 10 plays to take the lead. MacDougall capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run with 5:56 lead in the first quarter.
Goffstown's best scoring opportunity in the first half ended when the Grizzlies fumbled the ball away on the Winnacunnet 13-yard line with 2:45 left in the second quarter.
After the teams exchanged third-quarter touchdowns on Phennicie's run and Duval's 77-yard catch, Winnacunnet cemented its victory on MacDougall's second touchdown - a 1-yard run with 3:37 to play.
"Pat's experience showed today," Auffant said. "He's a three-year starter and he took care of the ball. We had to be patient (on offense) and take care of the ball."
Winnacunnet will play for a state title for the first time since 2012, when it beat Bedford in the Division II championship game. The Warriors handed the Grizzlies both of their losses this season. Winnacunnet prevailed 9-6 in Hampton during the regular season.
"The kids came out here and they fought, they competed," Goffstown coach Justin Hufft said. "Real proud of the way they conducted themselves. At the end of the day it wasn't enough. Winnacunnet is a better football team. They deserved to win today."