By Tris Wykes
Copyright Octopus Athletics 2021
LEBANON – Where to begin in describing Lebanon High’s 77-28 defeat of Hollis-Brookline on Friday? Let’s give it a try with numbers.
There were 78 points scored in the first half of the NHIAA Division II contest alone, during which the hosts built a 50-0 lead.
Lebanon rushed for four touchdowns, three of them longer than 25 yards, returned two pass interceptions and two blocked punts for scores and also tallied on a kickoff return.
The Raiders (2-0) repeatedly took a knee during their second half possessions, twice on conversion attempts. Lebanon coach Chris Childs put his backups in before halftime, but they surrendered 20 points and he reinserted the starters for the final possession before intermission and the first one after the break.
Following a first half that seemed to last forever, the second half probably consumed only 50 percent of the time because a running clock was employed. The third-quarter kickoff was returned 67 yards for a touchdown by Lebanon’s Cole Shambo, who also picked off two passes and ran one back for a 48-yard touchdown.
“It’s hard to score this many points when you’re not trying to score,” observed Raiders assistant Derek Stone, whose team attempted one pass.
Said Childs: “We’ve got a lot of kids with a lot of speed and we worked hard in the off-season and it’s showed in the first two weeks.”
Lebanon gained 261 yards on offense but its defense crushed Hollis-Brookline (1-1) from the start. The Raiders’ ferocious pass rush had Cavaliers quarterback Riley McQuilkin running for his life and the visitors gained only 54 yards on the ground.
Amazingly, Hollis-Brookline won the 2019 Division II state title, but the program certainly didn’t appear anything remotely close to that level Friday. The visitors’ first possession ended after four plays when C.J. Childs blocked a punt and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. Cole Ames kicked the first of his four extra points.
“It started snowballing from there,” Chris Childs said.
The Cavaliers’ second possession resulted in Shambo intercepting a McQuilkin pass on the second play and Nyeoti Punni running for a 5-yard touchdown two plays later. The Raiders increased their lead to 21-0 just 10 minutes into the game after receiving an 8-yard punt and scoring on quarterback Jack Stone’s 2-yard run four plays later.
Hollis-Brookline ran four more plays, the last a punt jointly blocked by Childs and Cam Davio, and Shambo scooped the ball up and ran it 8 yards into the end zone. Stone zig-zagged for a 32-yard touchdown and Shambo sprinted 48 yards to make the score 41-0 at the first quarter’s end. Lebanon’s reserves took the field soon after but the Cavaliers left their starters out to face them.
“It’s frustrating when I put our young kids in and someone else leaves their older kids in and starts pounding us,” said an obviously-irked Chris Childs. “I’ll give them one or two scores and then it’s common courtesy to pull your starters, but their coach didn’t do that tonight.
“People will see the score and ask what we’re doing up here, but I took a knee in the third quarter, trying to kill the clock.”
Shambo carried five times for 102 yards and a touchdown. McQuilkin completed 20 of 40 pass attempts to 10 receivers for 267 yards and two touchdowns. He had three passes intercepted.
Manchester West scored first against Lebanon during the teams’ opener last week but succumbed, 60-14. Lebanon’s next foe, Milford, beat John Stark 41-16, during week one before edging Souhegan, 14-6, on Friday.
“Our kids are definitely going to have to play 48 minutes next week,” Chris Childs said. “Milford is big and strong and they do the right things down there, so we’re going to have to be prepared.”
Notes: A moment of silence was observed before the second half to honor Bow football player Nick Ouelette and his younger brother, Gavin, who were killed in a car crash Friday morning. The brothers were in a vehicle driven by their father, Tom Ouelette, who works as a police officer at the school, the Concord Monitor reported… Lebanon had an apparent touchdown wiped out during the first half. A Cavalier appeared to touch the ball as it bounced through his legs and just across the goal line on a kickoff and the Raiders’ Noah Lamontagne picked the pigskin up. The officials, one of whom signaled touchdown after the play, soon said the ball needed to stay outside of pay dirt to be recovered for a score… Jack Stone, who also plays safety, sustained an arm injury after making a jarring, first-half tackle, but remained in the game for several more minutes before coming out of the game for good… Hollis-Brookline beat Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton, 12-6, last week… Eleven Raiders ran the ball.
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