Connect with us


Bobcats edge Kennett in football playoffs 14-6



In a matchup of two of the best teams in Division II, the host Plymouth Bobcats got second- and fourth-quarter touchdown passes from senior quarterback Cody Bannon to top Kennett High 14-6 in the quarterfinals on Saturday to advance to the Final Four. It was a game that went right down to the wire, with the boys from Conway twice driving inside the Plymouth 30-yard line in the fourth quarter but were unable to put points on the scoreboard.

“I’m not saying we didn’t play well, but could we have played better, yes,” said Vaughn Beckwith, Eagles’ head coach on Sunday. “Plymouth was just a little bit better than we were on Saturday.”

He added: “I’m sad for the team for the season to be over but I’m also really happy that we were able to have a season. Every day we were on the football field this fall was a gift.  I think we all felt that way.”

Plymouth (6-0), the No. 1 seed in the East Region I, earned the right to host the playoff quarterfinal by edging out Kennett (5-2), the No. 2 seed, 21-20 in Conway in the second game of the season by rallying from a 20-7 fourth-quarter deficit.

Saturday’s contest highlighted two of the more stingy defenses in the Granite State. The Eagles were without their top receiver, No. 2 rusher and punt returner Cole Salyards. The multi-talented senior was injured on the fourth play of the playoff game with St. Thomas on Oct. 31. Salyards scored caught three touchdown passes in the first game against Plymouth.

“Cole has a crack at the fibula head (in his leg),” Beckwith said. “We all felt bad for Cole not being able to play against Plymouth. The silver lining is this is not an injury that will impact his future. He just needs six weeks of recovery.”

Plymouth took the lead with 7:24 to play in the first half. Bannon connected with senior split end Trevan Sanborn on a 17-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone. Junior Will Fogarty added the successful extra point to put the Bobcats up 7-0, a lead it held into the third quarter, although the Eagles caught a bad break just before intermission.

The hometown flock won the turnover battle two to one with Isaiah Scharnowske and Ethan Baillargeon both recovering fumbles. The Eagles appeared to have recovered one on the Plymouth 19-yard line with 3:09 left in the second quarter when Gaven Gagne pounced on a loose ball but officials ruled the Bobcat runner down before the fumble.

“That was a tough turning point for us in the game,” said Beckwith. “With that amount of time and on their 20, we’re pretty dangerous in that part of the field.”

Kennett got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Coleman connected with Scharnowske on a picture-perfect 33-yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt was wide.

“It was a nice little double move by Shark,” Beckwith said. “The play was Nate (Arnold’s) idea. He said we can get Shark on a double move, the defender will bite, and he did.”

He added: “Parker was very comfortable throwing to Shark. The two of them worked together a lot on their own in the offseason.”

Plymouth closed out the scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 12-yard TD pass to senior running back Charles Comeau. Fogarty added the extra point.

Kennett got the ball at midfield on its next possession and was able to drive to the Plymouth 31, but on fourth-and-inches, the Eagles were called for a false start. On fourth-and-six, KHS went for it on a draw play to junior tailback Tanner Bennett. Bennett was tackled 2 yards shy of the first down.

After the Eagles held Plymouth to three plays and a punt, they got the ball on their own 28 with 6:13 to play. KHS put a 13-play drive together that reached the Bobcats’ 20. The Eagles came oh-so-close to finding the end zone when Evan Koroski broke off a 23-yard run and was only stopped by a shoestring tackle.

Kennett faced fourth-and-six from the Plymouth 20, but the Bobcats were able to force an incomplete pass to get the ball back with less than a minute to play and run out the clock.

The Eagles will lose 13 seniors — Ethan Baillargeon, Noah Barrows, Evan Dascoulias, Parker Coleman, Atticus Fayle, Gaven Gagne, Bobby Graustein, Kyle Perry, Cole Salyards, Braden Santuccio, Mason Smith, Thomas Troon and Heath Woodward — to graduation next June.

“This was a special team,” Beckwith said. “It was a team with really good character. The players cared about each other a lot and wanted to do well for each other. This team is one of the reasons I coach. We have great kids and I want to make sure they have a great experience in the game that I love.”

Elsewhere in Division II, No. 2 Lebanon went on the road and beat No. 1 Bow 30-6 on Saturday.

In the West, No. 2 Timberlane advanced to the Final Four after No. 4 St. Thomas forfeited due to the coronavirus.  No. 1 Souhegan beat No. 2 Hollis-Brookline on Friday night 63-34 to advance to the semifinals.

Plymouth will travel to Lebanon on Saturday at 1 p.m., while Souhegan is scheduled to host Timberlane on Saturday, also at 1 p.m.

The finals are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m., at a site still yet to be determined.

There have been a few forfeits in the playoffs in all divisions due to COVID-19.

“We’re the only state in New England playing football right now,” Beckwith said. “I’m really not sure how much longer (the state) will be able to continue playing.”

He added: “This season was really special. I am very appreciative of our district and the administration in our building to allow us to have this opportunity and that they had faith in us to meet all of the (COVID-19 safety) expectations. I really appreciate everyone’s hard work. To me, Colby (Locke, team trainer from Mountain Center Physical Therapy, is the unsung hero in this season for all of our teams. He wrote the protocol for us to be able to have our seasons, and on top of that, he’s a really good athletic trainer. We are incredibly lucky to have him on our team. I love the passion he has for athletics and the care he has for our athletes.”

Continue Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *