Loss to Kennett darkens Laconia's football playoff outlook

CONWAY — The Sachems' (3-5) playoff hopes are now a long shot after a 38-14 loss to Kennett (4-4) on Friday night. Laconia's offense was smothered by the Eagles defense as Kennett linebackers caused three turnovers and did not give up a touchdown in the second half.

"We were outmatched tonight," said coach Craig Kozens. "They were the better team. We are not mathematically eliminated, but will need a lot of help if we want to reach the playoffs." With the win over Laconia, Kennett is in the driver's seat for the second playoff spot in the Division II North Conference.

Kennett started the game with an onside kick that was recovered by Laconia at midfield. The Sachems needed to convert two fourth downs and a little help from a pass interference penalty to score the first six points of the game. Laconia's touchdown came on a Kyle Chiasson sweep to the left side from 13 yards out. The drive totaled 51 yards on 15 plays, chewing up eight minutes of the first quarter. Kennett did not waste any time scoring in the Eagles' first possession. Eagles running back Nate Emerson lined up in the slot on the opening play, took a hand-off while coming around for a reverse and sprinted untouched down the Eagles sideline for 65 yard touchdown.

Laconia's defense had trouble slowing Eagles quarterback Nick Graziano, who completed 12 passes for 229 yards and two TDs. The Sachems' Matt Swormstedt completed seven passes for 84 yards and a TD of his own. The touchdown ended the first half on a 10 yard toss to Chiasson.

The second half looked promising for Laconia when Emerson fumbled the snap on the opening drive and Laconia's Jordan McCrea recovered the ball. Laconia ran three plays before Swormstedt tried to hit Chiasson up the middle, only to be picked off by Grant Meserve. Meserve had a fumble recover in addition to his interception, while racking up 92 yards rushing and a touchdown on offense.

Bank of New Hampshire Stadium will be the site for senior night and the final regular season game, as Laconia will host Milford (5-3).