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NHIAA Football: Quick strikes are North's way

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 08. 2018 11:29PM

GOFFSTOWN - The combination of a turnover-creating defensive unit and a healthy dose of Curtis Harris led the Nashua North football team to a 48-22 victory at Goffstown on Saturday.

The Titans' defense intercepted Goffstown quarterback Charlie Keith four times, recovered a fumble and forced the Grizzlies to turn the ball over on downs three times.

Harris, a sophomore running back, ran 24 times for 182 yards and three touchdowns for North (1-1).

The Titans led, 14-6, at halftime despite seven penalties and opened the second half with a three-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 54-yard dash to the end zone by Harris.

Goffstown (0-2) responded with a 47-yard TD pass from Keith to Ben Dodge to cut North's lead to 21-14 but that was as close as the Grizzlies got the rest of the contest.

Four of the Titans' five second-half scoring drives were set up by either an interception or a Goffstown turnover on downs. Both of the Grizzlies' second-half turnovers on downs were the result of North tackling punter Eric LeFave before he could get his kick off.

"It saved us because things weren't going well in the first half," North coach Dante Laurendi said. "Even though we went into halftime with the lead, we probably shouldn't have had the lead based on how we were playing. It was good to establish that and had we not had those things, we would have been in big trouble."

Alongside his 54-yard TD dash, Harris also scored on runs of 47 and 5 yards. At times, the Titans utilized Harris at quarterback for a run-heavy package but he did complete one of his two passes for four yards. Harris also recorded 45 receiving yards on four catches.

"Curtis has got to be one of the fastest and most elusive people I've ever met," North quarterback Mike Loveless said.

Goffstown coach Justin Hufft credited the Titans' play-calling to get Harris the ball and North's offensive line of Josh McElligott, Spencer Whiting, Harley Ciardi, Anthony Carrion and Garrett Hillard.

"He's not just a one-man show," Hufft said of Harris. "They do a lot of good stuff. I think up front, they really blocked well today and that was more the difference in the game than anything else, I thought."

Loveless ran in two touchdowns of his own - from 2 and 4 yards out - and went 8 of 12 passing for 141 yards. The senior connected with classmate Austin Ouellette for a 43-yard touchdown with 39.2 seconds left in the opening quarter to help create a 14-6 Titans lead.

Goffstown opened the game's scoring with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Keith to Jarrett Henault with 7:43 left in the first quarter. Elliott Smith's 29-yard TD pass to Michael Levesque with 6:11 remaining capped the Grizzlies' scoring.

Ouellette logged three receptions for 88 yards and also intercepted two passes. Sam Nicholls made six of his seven PAT kicks, recorded an interception and caught an 8-yard pass for North. Titans freshman Isaac Smith ran three times for 48 yards, 26 of which came on a TD run. Brian Montminy ran for 24 yards on nine carries and intercepted a pass. North junior Sherod Williams recovered a fumble.

None of North's scoring drives was longer than six plays.

Keith completed six of his 16 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Henault made two catches for 23 yards. Dodge logged two receptions for 56 yards.

"Our defense was grinding a little bit," Laurendi said. "They were making some plays and we were able to make some key stops and get some turnovers."

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