Pelham Pythons Football '08

Sat, Oct 25, 2008 01:30 PM @ St. Thomas Aquinas
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Pelham 0 3 0 14 17
St. Thomas Aquinas 0 0 3 0 3

Pelham wins battle of unbeatens on two late scores

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Saturday, October, 25 By J. Tilman Cormier
Staff writer

DOVER, N.H. — The irresistible force finally broke its immovable nemesis.

Pelham used two late fourth-quarter touchdowns to earn a hard-fought 17-3 victory in a matchup of two of the four unbeaten teams in the state.

Even though Pelham (7-0, 6-0 Division 5) is the undefeated defending New Hampshire Division 5 state champion, it had not defeated St. Thomas Aquinas in their last 10 meetings, and never under 13th-year head coach Tom Babaian.

“They are such a great team with great coaching, definitely one of our best matchups,” said monster Pythons lineman Bill Helliwell. “My opponent was a bit undersized, and they tried to double-team me, but the entire offensive line came through. We feel that our coaches have us as the best conditioned team by far in the division.”

Helliwell was a force on both sides of the line and spent almost as much time in St. Thomas’ backfield as the Saints’ running backs. However, St. Thomas poured into the Pythons backfield early, stifling Eagle Tribune All-Star running back, Bruce Vieira.

But as usual, Vieira (23 carries, 96 yards) eventually got it done. After a Cameron Robidoux fumble recovery, he added an insurance score on a 15-yard run with 2:46 left to play. That came on the heels of quarterback Joseph DeAngelo’s go-ahead score on a 31-yard scamper just 76 seconds earlier.

“They had 2-3 guys per play focused on me, and that only gave me more motivation,” said Vieira. “There is no one to single out in this game, from the players to the coaches. We had a good game plan and put in a lot of work. In fact, for me this is our single biggest win ever, even over last year’s championship game.”

The win displayed the Pythons’ versatility. Despite being plagued by some costly penalties again (Pelham had seven more for 80 yards yesterday), the hosts were averaging 32 points per game and had not been held to less than 26 points.

“We knew our first alternative, Vieira, can’t carry us every time,” said Babaian, , whose club could be seeing the Saints in the Division 5 title game on Nov. 15. “We emphasize conditioning, and both of our quarterbacks (Joe DeAngelo and Luciano) can both run and pass.”

It looked like the outcome might come down to the kicking game. The Saints’ Ryan Price has such a powerful leg that he attempted 45- and 47-yard field goals. One kick missed and the Pythons blocked the other one.

Conversely, Pelham kicker Wayne Parisi easily made his only field goal attempt, made both extra point attempts, and boomed several kickoffs for touchbacks.

Turnovers were also crucial. The fumble recovery by Robidoux on a double reverse set up Vieira’s touchdown. Pressure on quarterback Brett Lago by Corey Peterson allowed Andrew Keegan to pick off one pass, and an interception by Vieira on a desperation heave sealed the victory, Pelham’s first over the Saints since 1995 under coach Joe Travierso.

“We still have to take care of business the rest of the way,” cautioned Babaian.

And the train keeps a-rollin’.

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

No scoring

Second Quarter

P — Wayne Parisi 32 FG, 0:03

Third Quarter

STA — Ryan Price 27 FG, 5:32

Fourth Quarter

P — Joseph DeAngelo 31 run (Parisi kick), 4:02

P —  Bruce Vieira 15 run (Parisi kick), 2:46



RUSHING:  P — Vieira 23-96, DeAngelo 4-28, Timothy Schaffer 4-12, Cameron Robidoux 2-4, Joshua Luciano 7-(-1), Totals 40-139; STA — Zachariah Merrigan 18-84, David Tovey 5-18, Zach Duffey 8-17, Brett Lago 5-11; Totals 36-130.

PASSING:  P — DeAngelo 3-7-0-70, Joshua Luciano 0-1-0-0, Totals 3-8-0-70; STA — Lago 6-10-2-68, Merrigan 0-2-0-0, Totals 6-12-2-68.

RECEIVING:  P — Luciano 1-36, Parisi 1-26, Vieira 1-8, Totals 3-70; STA — Paul Brown 5-64, Daniel DiCesare 1-4, Totals 6-68.

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