LACONIA — The high school football playoffs are still in sight as the Sachems score 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter last night to beat Lebanon 20-17 at Bank of New Hampshire Stadium. The turning point in the fourth was when Keith Schultz stripped the ball out of running back Cameron Broughton's hand and rambled 70 yards down the sideline for a defensive touchdown.
"I saw that he was being held up and went for the ball," Schultz said. "They are a fast team and when I stumbled around the 30 yard line I didn't think I was going to make it. I have never had a game like this before. It was a great win."
The sophomore has five tackles two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt to complement the touchdown.
"These kids are great," said Laconia coach Craig Kozens. "They deserved this win tonight. Schultz made a heads up play late in the game to keep it close. We looked to pound the ball, which worked early, but Lebanon came out to play. We have to get back to work and prepare for Kennett next week."
Schultz's punt block on Lebanon's opening drive of the game created great field position for the Laconia offense. The Sachems opened up the scoring when Steven Kemos powered his way up the middle for a three yard touchdown. But Laconia's offense would not score again until the final quarter.
Lebanon was kept off the scoreboard in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter the Raiders were looking for a spark. They found it with an end around at midfield that tied the game.
The Raiders then intercepted Sachems QB Matt Swormstedt with 50 seconds remain in the half. They then drove to inside the 25 and kick a 41 yard field goal to pull ahead 10-7 at the half.
Lebanon's first drive of the second half looked to have stalled when it was third down and 15. But the Raiders QB hit wide-out Austin Pelletier at the first down marker. Pelletier slipped past two tackles and sprinted down the sideline for a 59 yard score to increase the visitor's lead to 10.
After the Schultz touchdown, the Raiders ran the clock down to 2:17 before when they had to punt. The snap sailed over the head of the punter and was recovered by none other than Schultz at the Raider's 32. Six plays later Swormstedt hit Chris Frontiero over the middle for winning score.
Laconia (now 3-4) will continue the playoff push on Friday night when they travel to Conway to take on Kennett (also 3-4).
Lebanon, also in the North Conference of NHIAA Division II, stand at 2-4.
Plymouth leads the conference at 6-0, pending the Bobcats' game today against Portsmouth, which stands at 5-1.