Harris helps Titans break away from Grizzlies, 48-22

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua North's Curtis Harris turns the corner after eluding the tackle attempt by Goffstown's Sean Leahy during Saturday's 48-22 Titans rout in Goffstown.

GOFFSTOWN – Curtis Harris wasn’t getting anxious, even though his Nashua High School North football team couldn’t shake the Goffstown Grizzlies, up just 21-14 just over three minutes into the third quarter.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Harris said. “I’m real confident in my team to be able to succeed.”

And thanks in part to him, they did. Harris rushed for 188 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns, two early in the second half to help the Titans to what became a 48-22 rout of Goffstown for their first win of the season. It was also the Grizzlies first loss on their home field since 2013.

“We try to treat every game as a big game,” North coach Dante Laurendi said. “We lost a game to Londonderry last year in the third or fourth game and it helped knock us out of the playoffs. … We’re still trying to figure out who we are and continue to grow.”

Goffstown (0-2) turned the ball over five times, as QB Charlie Keith tossed four interceptions. That and too much Harris spelled doom for the hosts, especially in the second half.

“A lot of turnovers, a lot of mistakes and you can’t have that,” Goffstown coach Justin Hufft said. “But at the end of the day, North is just a better football team. They were well prepared, and hats off to them.”

The Titans didn’t want to begin the season 0-2, and that made Saturday big for North. They were down 6-0 early, got two big play touchdowns in the first quarter – a 44-yard Harris run and 43-yard Austin Ouellette TD catch of a Mike Loveless pass – but still felt they left points on the field up 14-6 at the half and plagued with penalties.

Harris changed all that in the third quarter. The Titans, as they did at times in their season opening loss to Bedford, had Harris play QB early in the third quarter and he responded with TD runs of 54 and 5 yards. In between was a Goffstown 47-yard TD pass by QB Charlie Keith to Ben Dodge, but Harris’ second score after Austin Ouellette’s second interception of the day put North up 28-14 with 2:25 left in the third.

A Brian Montminy pick set up a 4-yard Mike Loveless TD on the first play of the fourth quarter to help put the Titans up 35-14. That just about did it, although Loveless would score again (2 yard run) and Issac Smith would add a 26-yard score. It added up to a 20-point final period for North.

Loveless completed an efficient 8 of 12 for 141 yards and one TD. But Harris seemed to set the tone in frustrating the Grizzlies.

“He’s a very good athlete and they do a lot of good stuff to get him the ball,” Hufft said. “It’s not a one man show. They do a good job of getting him the ball in space and letting him make plays.”

“It was great,” Harris said. “I have to thank my lineman for getting all those good blocks and opening the holes for me to be able to score,” he said.

Goffstown had started the day with an 11-play, 63-yard scoring drive kept alive by a Titan off-sides penalty on a fourth-and-1 and a pass interference call. When Keith found Jarret Henault in the end zone for an 8-yard TD North was down 6-0 right off the bat, three minutes into the game.

But Goffstown just couldn’t hold on to the ball.

“It saved us,” Laurendi said. Things weren’t going well in the first half. Sloppy. Even though we went into halftime with the lead, we probably shouldn’t have had the lead based on how we were playing.

“It was good to (capitalize on turnovers). Had we not had those things, we would’ve been in big trouble.”

But not to worry. Harris had faith, and the rest of the Titans followed suit.