Nashua North Titans Football '20-'21

Sat, Nov 14, 2020 01:00 PM @ Nashua North
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Salem 7 7 7 7 28
Nashua North 0 21 6 6 33

Salem pushes North to the limit before falling in Divison 1 semis

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Saturday, November, 14 By David Willis
Staff writer

NASHUA —  For four quarters, Salem gave the No. 1-ranked team in New Hampshire, Nashua North, all it could handle. And with 5:02 left in the game, the Blue Devils took over 88 yards from an upset, and a trip to their first state championship game since 2009.

A classic finish, however, wasn’t in the cards.

Salem’s final drive stalled with 2:27 left in the game, and Nashua North ran out the clock to hold off the Blue Devils 33-28 in the Division 1 state semifinals on Saturday at Stellos Stadium.

“Nobody thought we had a chance in this game, but we did,” said Salem head coach Steve Abraham. “We did exactly what we wanted to do. We forced them to fight the whole game, and we nearly had that game-winning touchdown in the end. We made a few mistakes, but we proved something today. We fought so hard.”

The loss marked the fourth straight season Salem (5-2) has been eliminated in the Division 1 semis. Nashua North (6-0) advances to its first state title game since 2010, and will face Goffstown (9-0).
The Titans entered Saturday having not trailed this fall. But Salem took care of that on the game’s opening drive.
The Blue Devils opened the game with a 13-play, 74-yard drive that ate up 6:54 and ended when Cody Clements ran a QB sneak in for a 1-yard touchdown.
Nashua South answered with a score, but Salem’s Michael Boutin blocked the extra point. The Blue Devils responded with a 12-play drive that lasted 6:03, and Aidan McDonald plunged in for a 6-yard touchdown to make it 14-6.
“We played our brand of football,” said Abraham. “They hadn’t played a team that was going to come in and smash them in the face the whole day with the running game. That’s what we did. We fought and grinded out the clock, and that’s exactly how we want to play.”
The Titans seemed to take control at the end of the first half. Superstar QB Curtis Harris-Lopez ran for two touchdowns in the final 2:30 of the second quarter, giving him 141 yards and three TDs rushing in the first half.
But Salem would not go quietly.
After forcing North into a turnover on downs to start the second half, the Blue Devils tied the game on a Dante Fernandes 24-yard TD.
“Salem is so tough offensively,” said Nashua North head coach Dante Laurendi. “They run that (wing-T) offense great. They’re physical and they utilize their weapons. We had to be sure tacklers, and that isn’t easy with those guys, because they can make a 2-yard gain into a 15-yard gain. We just made a couple more stops.”
The Titans retook command with two score, but Salem’s Ryan Allard blocked a PAT, giving his squad hope.
The Blue Devils then made it a one-score game, when Clements tossed a pass for Fernandes, who shook off a tackler and eluded three more on the way to a 55-yard touchdown to make it a five-point game.
Salem then forced a punt with 5:02 left in the game, but could not manage a final surge.
Blue Devils linebacker Jake Brady excelled with 15 tackles. Noah Poulin (12 tackles) and Damian Gigante (9 tackles) also stood out. Kaleb Bates added an interception, and Allard recovered a fumble.
Both McDonald (21-118) and Fernandes (13-108) topped 100 rushing yards. Harris-Lopez finished with 203 rushing yards.
“Harris is one of the best players I’ve seen in 10 years,” said Abraham. “He was going to bounce out of the pocket and make plays, but we were right there and had our chances. Our guys gave everything. I’m proud to coach football players from Salem.

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

S — Cody Clements 1 run (Jake Brady kick), 5:16

Second Quarter

NS — Curtis Harris-Lopez 30 run (kick blocked), 11:29

S — Aidan McDonald 6 run (Brady kick), 6:26

NS — Harris-Lopez  5 run (Jayden Espinal rush), 2:26

NS — Harris-Lopez 33 run (Lucas Cunningham kick), 1:24

Third Quarter

S — Dante Fernandes 24 run (Brady kick), 6:42

NS — Espinal 2 run (kick blocked), 4:25

Fourth Quarter

NS — Harris-Lopez 1 run (pass failed), 8:53

S — Fernanes 55 pass from Clements (Brady kick), 7:33



RUSHING: Salem (51-286) — Aidan McDonald 21-118, Dante Fernandes 13-108, Jake Brady 13-47, Cody Clements 2-10, Damian Gigante 2-3; Nashua North (43-317) — Curtis Harris-Lopez 23-203, Jayden Espinal 12-63, Isaac Smith 3-22, Anthony Greene 4-18, Brian Mwangi 1-11

PASSING: Salem — Clements 3-6-1, 62, Kaleb Bates 0-1-0, Fernanes 0-1-1; Nashua North — Harris-Lopez 4-9-1, 72

RECEIVING: Salem  — Fernandes 1-55, Bates 1-5, Brady 1-2; Nashua North — Lucas Cunningham 2-55, Espinal 1-8, Smith 1-9

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