Exeter Blue Hawks Football '22

Fri, Sep 30, 2022 06:30 PM @ Timberlane
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Exeter 7 6 3 7 23
Timberlane 0 7 7 13 27

Owls rally past Exeter

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PLAISTOW – Through the first four games of the season, Eddie DiGiulio had taken almost twice as many handoffs as anybody else on the Timberlane roster. Friday night, however, he spent much of the first half leading the way for others.

“I did a good job blocking I think, and (the coaches) liked it,” DiGiulio said. “So, they kept going (to Dom Coppeta and Liam Corman). Then I hit the hole.”

The senior running back actually hit two monster holes in the second half.

With his 10th carry of the evening, DiGiulio busted a 33-yarder for an early-fourth quarter touchdown that provided the Owls their second lead of the night.

On his next carry, DiGiulio went 36 yards on the same trap play, setting up his 11-yard score a few plays later that gave the Owls their third and final lead with 97 seconds left, supplying the final points in a 27-23 victory over Exeter. The Blue Hawks’ final possession ran out of time at the Timberlane 7.

The running back was about as succinct explaining his second-half as he was busting through the Blue Hawk front.

“I used my speed, and I got the touchdowns,” said DiGiulio, who gained 100 of his game-high 116 yards after intermission. “And that’s about it.”

The teams traded scores from the outset with previously undefeated Exeter scoring first on a 50-yard pass late in the first quarter. Timberlane (4-1) answered with a nine-play drive that Liam Corman finished with a 1-yard run to tie.

Exeter grabbed a 13-7 advantage on the final play of the opening half, but Cam Zambrowicz blocked the extra point to limit the deficit to six points.

“Our kids played great,” Timberlane coach Kevin Fitzgerald said. “We were resilient, being down in the first half. We made a big special teams play blocking that extra point at the end of the first half. That gave us a little momentum. Then we go right down the field to start the (second) half and take the lead. That was big for our confidence.”

That second half drive went 68 yards on eight plays with quarterback Dom Coppeta running the final yard. Harrison Bloom’s kick gave the Owls their first lead at 14-13 with 8:21 left in the third.

“We were probably the underdog in this game,” said Coppeta, who ran for 101 yards and added another 80 on 7-of-10 passing. “But knew we could play with these guys, and I think it showed tonight.”

Exeter, however, regained a 16-14 lead on an Ethan Moss field goal late in the third. The Blue Hawks also responded to DiGiulio’s first touchdown with a 71-yard drive to grab a 23-20 advantage with 5:46 left.

But the Owls once again responded with the kind of big-boy drive a playoff contender must be capable of making. Starting at their own 32, they converted a third-and-five with a Coppeta run one play before DiGiulio’s second long gainer. Adding to the drama, DiGiulio’s second touchdown came on a fourth-and-two burst up the middle.

“Our attitude was just to keep going and get the momentum back,” DiGiulio said. “This win means everything.”

Timberlane’s defense led by a front line of sophomore Logan Sheely and seniors Nick DeLucia and Malikai Colon and came up big against one of the best rushing attacks in the state. Two weeks after gaining 412 yards at Salem, the Blue Hawks managed only 204 yards on 39 attempts against the Owls, who piled up 350 ground yards themselves.

“We have a veteran group, and we have a physical group,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s one thing we tried to stress this week. We had to match or exceed (Exeter’s) physicality. I don’t know if we did, but I think we played pretty physical up front.

“We talked about if we want to be talked about being among the upper echelon teams in the league, you have to beat teams like Exeter. And fortunately, we were able to do that.”

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

Exeter — Michael Dettore 50 pass from Evan Pafford (Moss kick) 0:19.4

Second Quarter

Timberlane — Liam Corman 1 run (Harrison Bloom kick) 8:08

Exeter — Pafford 1 run (kick blocked by Cam Zambrowicz) 0:00

Third Quarter

Timberlane — Dom Coppeta 1 run (Bloom kick) 8:21

Exeter — FG Moss 32

Fourth Quarter

Timberlane — Eddie DiGiulio 33 run (run failed) 9:21

Exeter — Moss 6 run (Moss kick) 5:46

Timberlane — DiGiulio 11 run (Bloom kick) 1:37



RUSHING: Exeter (39-204) — Aidan McGinley 7-72, Bradley Richards 10-59, Desmond Rugg 5-31, Moss 7-29, Pafford 7-13, Dettore 3-0; Timberlane (44-350) — DiGiulio 13-116, Coppeta 20-101, Corman 7-18, Matt Williams 4-15

PASSING: Exeter — Pafford 4-5-71, 0 interceptions; Timberlane — Coppeta 7-10-80, 0

RECEIVING: Exeter — Dettore 2-51, Richards 1-11, Moss 1-9; Timberlane — Trey Baker 3-40, DiGiulio 1-17, Williams 1-12, Gary Shivell 1-6, Corman 1-5

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