homepage logo

Getting The Point(s): BG offense clicks in 58-14 rout of Owls

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Oct 1, 2023

Bishop Guertin's Cody Szymansky (2) celebrates a TD catch with teammates Ryan Connelly (14) and Ethan Chmielecki (3), the first six of 58 points in a 58-14 Cardinal rout of Timberlane Saturday night at Stellos Stadium. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

NASHUA – It took nine months of learning, adjusting, practicing, winning and yes, losing.

But Saturday night, the Bishop Guertin High School football team’s offense under new coach Anthony Nalen finally looked the way it was drawn up on the chalkboard in a 58-14 triumph over Timberlane at Stellos Stadium.

“I feel like this week was the week the offense finally clicked,” said Cards senior receiver Connor Lennon, who caught three TD passes. “We’ve been working to get better every week, had a great week of practice, and it paid off.”

The conductor, Cards quarterback Mike MacDonough, got great protection from his line and basically picked the Owls apart, completing an amazing 22 of 28 for 357 yards and five TDs. As the game hit the second quarter and beyond, he could do whatever he wanted.

“I’m just giving credit to all my receivers,” MacDonough said. “I just threw it up and they made the catches.

“We’d been struggling as an offense,and I think we can be a very good offense if we put it togther. It definitely felt good to put it together tonight and put up 50 points.”

Guertin is now 2-2 in Division I, 3-2 overall with its second straight win. The Owls dropped to 1-3, 2-3 overall.

“That’s the way it should look,” Nalen said of the offense that, with the starters in, totaled 469 yards. “A lot of guys get touches, put some stress on the defense.

“I think a lot had to do with the offensive line, too. (MacDonough was able to step up in the pocket. Against North (two weeks ago) he was able to step up in the pocket. The ‘O’ line gave him time and he was able to pick his spots.”

MacDonough’s first TD pass was a 2-yard flip to Cody Szymansky three minutes in, keyed by a 42-yarder earlier.

With the score 7-7, he connected with Lennon on a 23-yarder on the first play of the second quarter and the receiver’s PAT kick gave BG a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“They were making plays everywhere,” Timberlane coach Kevin Fitzgerald said. “The kid (MacDonough) was on the money all night. It wasn’t like they were wide open all over the place. They weren’t contested catches because we didn’t get our hands up or our head around. Our guys weren’t in bad position, but their kids made plays.

“Winning games is about making plays, and they made a lot of plays tonight.”

The game really turned when BG pressured Timberlane QB Jeremy Mlocek, the ball popping out and into the hands of BG’s Jaiden Bosquet. MacDonough’s comment about his receivers was proven by Sam Franco’s one-handed 33-yard catch down the right sideline, setting up a 1-yard QB sneak that helped give BG a 21-7 lead.

Timberlane, which showed some firepower of its own early on a Mlocek game-tying (7-7) 32-yard TD toss to arguably their best player on the night, back Liam Corman (89 yards on nine carries), tried to keep pace. Mlocek scored from 2 yards out to help make it 21-14, but it was all BG the rest of the way as they went into the locker room up 37-14 at the half following a 30-point second period.

“We had some plays offensively, not enough consistency,” Fitzgerald said. “We had a couple of drives, and a couple of drives when we didn’t finish with points.”

Lennon made his second TD catch of the night, an 8-yarder with 5:08 left in the half, and it was 28-14 Baltimore after the PAT. With 46.2 seconds left, MacDonough hit Lennon for the receiver’s third TD, a 15-yarder. Lennon missed the PAT kick, but he made up for it on the final play of the half, a 29-yard field goal set up by a Szymansky interception.

The Cards didn’t take the foot off the gas through the third quarter, as MacDonough tossed a 17-yard TD for his fifth of the night to Ronan Balistreri. Then they went into run mode, A.J. Holmes later scoring on a 1-yard run with 12.5 seconds left in the third, moving things to running time at 51-14.

Hudson Schmidtt’s 35-yard interception return during reserve time in the fourth quarter ended the scoring on a night when there were points aplenty.

“You never know how long it’s going to take a group,” Nalen said. “It’s slowly progressing, and we’re getting batter.”

A night like this was what MacDonough and Lennon, who couldn’t connect in two big attempts at a late game-winning play vs. North two weeks ago, were waiting for.

“We’ve been playing together for four years, ever since freshman year, and gotten better and better every year,” Lennon said.

But never as good as they were Saturday night.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *