Salem Blue Devils Football '21

Sat, Sep 11, 2021 06:30 PM @ Bishop Guertin
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Salem 0 0 0 14 14
Bishop Guertin 0 0 9 8 17

Salem can't complete late rally

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Saturday, September, 11 By David Willis
Staff writer

NASHUA — For the game's final five-plus minutes, Salem showed the offense that looked unstoppable just one week ago on the same field.

But, despite two late Aidan McDonald touchdowns, the Blue Devils couldn't overcome three costly turnovers inside the Bishop Guertin 25-yard line, falling to the Cardinals 17-14 on Saturday night at Stellos Stadium.

"BG played very well, and our guys didn't play with urgency until the end," said Salem head coach Steve Abraham. "We moved the ball up and down the field, but you can't turn the ball over three times inside their 30-yard line. That was the problem."

A week after scoring 35 first-half points against Nashua South, the Blue Devils found themselves tied 0-0 at halftime on Saturday.

On their second possession of the game, Salem drove to the BG 23-yard line, but fumbled the ball away. On their next possession, the Blue Devils advanced to the Cardinals' 3-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. They added another fumble at the BG 21-yard line late in the third.

The Blue Devils defense kept the game tied, though, forcing a pair of turnovers on downs, the second on a stellar tackle by Tommy Ahlers and Matthew Doyle. Salem forced another turnover to start the third quarter, a Matthew Goetz interception.

But, one play later, Bishop Guertin made a tackle in the end zone for a safety to take a 2-0 lead. BG caught fire from there, scoring on their next two possessions to take a 17-0 lead with 5:18 left in the game.

"You can't just put yourself in a hole like that and awake later on," said Abraham. "We played good defense, but we made a few big mistakes."

Salem, though, wasn't finished.

On the first play of the following drive, Blue Devils QB Noah Mustapha threw a perfect pass to McDonald, who sprinted 71 yards for a touchdown.

Salem then forced a 3-and-out, and embarked on an 11-play, 78-yard drive that McDonald finished off with an 11-yard touchdown run with 1:21 left. But the ensuing onside kick was recovered by BG, and the Cardinals ran out the clock.

Eagle-Tribune All-Star McDonald was stellar again. He rushed for 140 yard on 18 carries, giving him 383 yards in just two games. Ahlers added 89 yards on 11 carries, while Mustupha completed 6 of 9 passes for 124 yards.

"We have a very good team here that has heart," said Abraham. "We don't quit. We had a chance to win it at the end. This one stings. BG's a good team, but we just made too many mistakes that hurt us."

Game Statistics:


Third Quarter

BG — Safety, Salem player tackled in end zone, 7:43

BG — Matt Santosuosso 1 run (Connor Lennon kick), 4:57

Fourth Quarter

BG — Charlie Bellavance 10 run (Bellavance pass from Dante Nieto), 5:18

S — Aidan McDonald 71 pass from Noah Mustapha (Joshua Brady kick), 5:03

S —  McDonald 11 run (Brady kick), 1:21



RUSHING: Salem (39-260) — Aidan McDonald 18-140, Tommy Ahlers 11-89, Damien Gigante 3-15, David Jacques 3-13, Noah Mustapha 4-3; Bishop Guertin (46-189) — Matt Santosuosso 27-127, Charlie Bellavance 19-62

PASSING: Salem — Mustapha 6-9-0, 124; BG — Santosuosso 3-7-1, 61

RECEIVING: Salem — McDonald 1-71, Kaleb Bates 4-46, Matt McCloskey 1-7; BG — Chase Amaral 2-32, Bellavance 1-29

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