Tomahawks put the hammer down on Cards, 35-19
NASHUA – The Merrimack High School football team likely felt as if it saved its season on Saturday night.
The Tomahawks, tied at 7 with Bishop Guertin at halftime on a chilly night at Stellos Stadium, powered their way through the second half en route to a 35-19 win.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak, moving the Tomahawks to 3-2, same as their fellow West Conference Cardinals, who saw their own three-game winning streak come to a close.
It was certainly a different feeling for the ‘Hawks, who felt they got pushed around by Nashua South a week ago. Last night, they pushed back, roughing up Guertin for 339 total yards.
“We were upset with how we played (last Friday),” said Tomahawk senior Devin Wood, who had three TDs, two on receptions, and an interception. “We weren’t ourselves. We mainly focused on ourselves, playing as one, playing as a team, playing with a purpose and emotion. It was a very emotional night for all of us because our seasons were on the line and we all came together.”
“They were physical, they were playing with more of a purpose, I think,” Merrimack coach Kip Jackson said. “Football’s a much easier sport if you play like the hammer instead of the nail, and we’d been the nail for a few weeks in a row now.”
“They’re good,” Guertin coach John Trisciani said. “They’re very well coached. I think it kind of showd us a little reality check where we are.”
Trailing 7-0 late in the first half, the Tomahawks tied things up when Kyle Crampton – who shared the QB spot with James Dowling – hit Devin Wood on a quick 7-yard fourth down slant with just over a minute to play.
They then set the tone by coming out in the second half and marching 63-yards in seven plays, Crampton hitting Jared Dyer for a 17-yard TD to help give the the lead for good at 14-7
Guertin bounced back with Dylan Santosuosso’s second of three TD passes, and his first of two to Kyle Baker, this a 22-yarder to pull BG to within 14-13 with 3:50 to play in the third.
But the potential game-tying PAT kick was blocked and it was all Merrimack after that. Dowling found Wood on a 42-yard catch-and run for a 21-13 lead.
The ‘Hawks added two more scores, a 9-yard Dyer TD run nearly two minutes into the fourth, and a Devin Wood 1-yard plunge with 5:48 to play to help make it 35-13. The Santosuosso-to-Baker connection finished the game with an 11-yard TD as time ran out.
“They were physical,” Trisciani said, adding his team was bolstered by the return/debut of defensive back Brendan Callahn, who had two of BG’s three first-half picks. “And they’ve got some really good kids. Dyer and Wood are outstanding. Those guys get to the football. It was tough, and we struggled on offense.”
What about the Cards’ Joey Lupo, you ask? Guertin grabbed that 7-0 lead on an 80-yard pass from Dylan Santosuosso to Lupo. But besides a deflected interception, that was it for the Lupo highlight reel this week.
“Thirty-two is a shifty player, he’s really good,” Jackson said. “We don’t have a game plan where we say just stop one guy, but we wanted to make sure everybody got to the right pursuit angles and hope that would take care of things.”
Things were taken care of, and the Tomahawks, who face Keene next week, made it known that they can still be the hammer when they want to.