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Bow relishes title-game rematch

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 18. 2017 12:47AM
Bow quarterback Matthew Harkins pitches the ball to Jack Corriveau, left, during Bow High football practice on Wednesday. The Falcons take on Plymouth at 2:30 p.m. today in the Division II title game. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

BOW — Throughout the offseason, the Bow High School football coaches kept repeating two words to their players: 16 seconds.

That was how much time remained when Plymouth Regional scored the game-winning touchdown against the Falcons in last year’s NHIAA Division II championship game.

The Bobcats defeated Bow, 27-24, to capture their 24th state title. The Falcons capped their inaugural Division II season as the runner-up.

Eighth-seeded Bow (8-2) has the chance to avenge that loss today at 2:30 p.m. when it again faces the second-seeded Bobcats (10-0) for the D-II championship at the University of New Hampshire.

Falcons senior quarterback Matt Harkins has viewed the tape from last year’s title game more than a few times.

“I’ve watched the game over and over,” Harkins said before practice Tuesday at Bow High. “Everyone remembers what happened and it’s just kind of a lasting image in our heads. We kind of want to change that.”

Bow head coach Paul Cohen said that loss to Plymouth has motivated the Falcons since winter conditioning began last school year.

“They had played as well as they could but they still fell short and they really, truly feel that they had unfinished business against this team,” Cohen said of his players. “This is our chance to show that we really can surpass them.”

Bow’s first opportunity for payback came Sept. 23 when it took a 3-0 record up to Plymouth. The Bobcats built an early two-touchdown lead en route to a 42-26 victory, marking their third straight win over Bow.

“It was a good wake-up call for us,” Falcons senior running back Jack Corriveau said.

Following the setback, the Falcons won three of their last four-regular season games to secure the final spot in the D-II tournament. Bow then defeated two previously unbeaten teams — top-seeded Windham and fourth-seeded Hanover — on the road to advance to the title game.

As the Falcons prepare for their rematch with Plymouth, Cohen said his players recognize the mistakes they made in the regular-season meeting.

“They’re aware of the fact that we did not play well and (Plymouth) certainly did that day,” Cohen said. “But with everything riding on a line as it is right now and with us coming off two huge wins, I think that’s something that cannot be overlooked.”

Bow may find itself in a similar kind of game today to last Saturday’s 19-7 semifinal win at Hanover.

The Falcons offense ran on all but six plays and scored two of its three touchdowns against the Marauders on the ground in a game that proved to be a trench battle.

Plymouth also utilized its running game to earn a 21-7 semifinal win over St. Thomas Aquinas of Dover. Bobcats senior running back Garrett Macomber rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries against the Saints. Macomber is the reigning Gatorade New Hampshire Player of the Year.

“They’re a power-run team. We’re a power-run team so we’ll see how that goes,” Corriveau said.

The Falcons will also have to take care of the football against a Plymouth defense that received three interceptions, including a pick-six, from Nolan Farina in the semifinals. Cohen said execution was going to be a point of emphasis throughout the week in practice.

“We always wanted to play Plymouth again,” Corriveau said. “We didn’t really know if that was going to happen but the opportunity has come and (we’re) happy for the rematch.”

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