Nashua South Purple Panthers Football '09

Fri, Sep 04, 2009 07:00 PM @ Nashua South
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Timberlane 7 7 0 0 14
Nashua South 7 7 3 0 17

upset slips through Timberlane's fingers

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Saturday, September, 05 By David Willis
Staff writer

NASHUA, N.H. Trailing by three with 4:55 left to play, and facing a 4th-and-3 from its opponent’s 8-yard line, Timberlane coach Kevin Fitzgerald made the decision to send out his field goal team to tie the game. But, after calling a time out, he reversed his position and sent out his offense and try to take the lead.

“We made a decision,” said Fitzgerald. “We had a chance against the best team in the state, and we took that chance.”

Unfortunately for the Owls, quarterback Nate Lawrence was sacked and Nashua South held the ball for the rest of the game as Division 2 Timberlane fell just short of an upset of the defending Division 1 champs, falling 17-14.

“I am happy with the decision,” said Fitzgerald. “We’ll have to live with it. Even if we tied the game, whose to say they wouldn’t have driven the ball down the length of the field like they did. I’m playing to win the game.”

The Owls struggled mighty on offense in their season debut, gaining just 68 yards of total offense for the contest. The Purple Panthers were especially tough on prolific Timberlane back Derek Furey. Entering the game with 3,325 career rushing yards, Furey was held to just 45 yards on 21 carries, his longest run an 8-yard gain.

But Timberlane pushed Nashua South to the limit thanks to an opportunistic defense that caused three big turnovers that gave the Owls control for much of the first half.

After the Panthers grabbed the lead, Timberlane’s Ryan Lynch picked off Nashua’s Keith Farkas and ran in back 64 yards for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7.

“I saw the ball coming at me and I just had to get it,” said Lynch. “Then I set my eyes on the end zone.”

Just two drives later, the Owls struck again when Nick Lawrence intercepted Farkas and returned the ball to the Nashua 12-yard line. That set up Nate Lawrence’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Baker, who dove to haul in the tipped ball. The Owls also cause and recovered a fumble to kill a third Panthers drive.

Timberlane, however, was unable to muster much offense, finishing the first half with just 14 yards, and not managing a single first down until midway through the third quarter.

But, after Nashua South took the lead with a field goal, the Owls responded with a 16-play drive with three first downs that covered 47 yards to the Panthers’ 8-yard line after an interception thrown by Lawrence was called back due to roughing the passer. But Timberlane failed on the fourth-down conversion that decided the contest.

“I though we had an outstanding effort against a great football team,” said Fitzgerald “Some think they are the best in the state, and we played every bit as well against them. I thought our defense was outstanding against a prolific offense. On offense, we had trouble at times moving the ball, but we found a way and had a chance to win the game.”

Leading the way on defense for the Owls was Nick Scali with 10 tackles, followed by Dan Diodati with nine stops and Lynch adding five tackles to go with his pick.

“I thought we were pretty solid,” said Lynch. “We still need to get our legs under us, but we have a lot of skills. It wasn’t a perfect game, and we would have liked a win. But (the defense) was out there for a long time and still played well.”

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

NS — Matt Valcourt 30 pass from Keith Farkas (Cameron DiCecca kick), 8:35

T — Ryan Lynch 64 interception return (Jarred Diorio kick),  2:01

Second Quarter

T — Kevin Baker 15 pass from Nate Lawrence (Diorio kick), 6:15

NS — Nicholas Haskell 7 pass from Farkas (DiCecca kick), 2:13

Third Quarter

 NS — DiCecca 28 field goal, 1:26



RUSHING: T (32-40) — Derek Furey 21-45, Luke Ouellette 4-10, Nick Lawrence 2-3, Nate Lawrence 5-(-18); NS (34-139) — Derek Paradis 11-59

PASSING: T — Nate Lawrence 3-10-1, 28; NS — Keith Farkas 17-26-2, 206

RECEIVING: T —Kevin Baker 2-21, Dane Doulames 1-7; NS — Nicholas Haskell 7-116

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