By Tris Wykes
Copyright Octopus Athletics 2021
WEST CANAAN – Events went bad from the beginning for the Mascoma High football team Saturday afternoon against visiting Somersworth. The Hilltoppers scored early and often while dominating the NHIAA Division IV teams’ contest during an afternoon that alternated sun and rain.
“Right from the start, it didn’t go our way,” said fourth-year Mascoma coach Kyle Colburn, noting that his 1-1 team missed its last three days of practice because its school was closed after a water pump failure. “All we could do were (virtual meetings), so we did the best we could with that.”
The Royals attempted to make up for lost time by staging a lengthy walk-through Saturday morning. Despite that skull session, Mascoma looked out of sync throughout the game, sometimes having too many players on the field and sometimes not enough.
Colburn burned through his three second-half timeouts by early in the fourth quarter, primarily because of misalignment issues.
“It was all off today and we’ve been here since 8 (a.m.),” the coach said. “I would have liked to have looked sharper, to have offensive rhythm, because our defense did a really good job.”
Mascoma’s Roman Farnsworth carried 13 times for 68 yards but didn’t lug the rock during the fourth quarter after suffering an injury.
Royals quarterback Tyler-Jay Mardin completed 5 of 19 passes for 48 yards but had receivers drop several on-the-money tosses. The sophomore ran seven times for 25 yards and a 1-yard touchdown with seconds remaining. Damian Nestle ran for the following conversion as time expired.
Somersworth (2-1) gained 36 yards on its first snap and needed only six plays to take an 8-0 lead. Every play during the 64-yard drive was a run and all were to the left side. Quarterback Jeff Dekorne scampered a yard for the touchdown and Lukas Kelly ran in the 2-point conversion.
Mascoma’s first possession ended when a punt snap fluttered over Ethan Gelinas’ head and the Hilltoppers took over at the Royals’ 16-yard line.
A fumble soon short-circuited the visitors’ scoring chance, but Mascoma had to punt again and this time Somersworth took advantage after five plays while covering 32 yards. Calvin Lambert ran 5 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Mascoma ran six plays before turning the ball over on downs on its subsequent possession and went four-and-out the next time it had the ball.
The hosts got off a 4-yard punt and Dekorne threw 34 yards to Kelly for a touchdown on the Hilltoppers first snap after the bad boot. Blayne Belanger ran for the conversion and a 22-0 lead that stood up through halftime.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Colburn, noting that he normally starts at least two freshmen and had to throw more into the mix as injuries piled up against the Hilltoppers. “We showed some toughness, because this wasn’t easy.”
Colburn was angered when Somersworth used a play-action fake into the line before Dekorne threw deep to an unguarded Dante Guillory for a 41-yard touchdown and a 42-0 lead with 8 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The coach shouted across the field at counterpart Jeremy Lambert. Somersworth called four consecutive running plays on its next possession, the last a 19-yard touchdown run up the middle on which ball carrier Amari Arscott went untouched.
Somersworth’s 32-player roster features only five seniors and nine juniors. The Hilltoppers fell, 24-7, during their opener against Newport, but still figure to be one of the nine-team division’s best squads. Mascoma has 23 players, eight of them seniors and one of those is new to football.
Notes: Gelinas suffered a leg injury during the first quarter and was carried off the field in obvious pain. Mascoma does not have a certified athletic trainer, so members of the Canaan fire department attended to him en route to a local hospital… The Royals’ pep band played at a football game for the first time ever… In contention for Division IV’s most unusual name is Hilltopper Frisbie Rondonuwu. To the relief of public-address announcers across the state, the junior is a lineman… Keep Colburn’s name in mind later this year if 15th-year Lebanon High coach Chris Childs resigns so he can follow his son’s upcoming college career in person. Colburn is a 33-year old Lebanon graduate who played football and basketball for the Raiders and coached in the boys basketball program at his alma mater… Another former Lebanon football player, Arthur Patch, is an assistant on Colburn’s staff.
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