Costly turnovers allow Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough to pass by Gilford en route to semi-finals

GILFORD — The Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough Lakers have advanced to the semi-final round of the NHIAA's Division III football tournament after beating Gilford 27-14 on the road on Saturday. The Lakers forced six turnovers to win the North Conference title and advance to the final four. Four of the six Eagle turnovers resulted in Lakers touchdowns. Two of Gilford's drives ended fumbles inside the Lakers five yard line. "Those two turnovers on the goal line getting ready to go in to score, They are killers," said Gilford head coach Chris Marden.

The Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough offense did not squander the opportunities their defense awarded them in the first half. Gilford's first two drives resulted in turnovers and Lakers scores. "We worked hard all week. Defensively we had these kids under the lights from four to seven at Prescott Park just grinding it out in the dark and working on defensive schemes and it paid off," stated Jon Francis, Lakers head coach.

The Golden Eagles first drive ended abruptly on an interception by Laker defensive back Malik Carter, who returned to Gilford's 26 yard line. The Lakers offense ran three plays before fullback Nick Hurd bulldozed his way up the middle for a nine yard scoring run. The next Gilford drive moved down the field with ease and looked as though they had brushed off the previous turnover. Until a Gilford running back tried to punch it in from the two yard line and was stripped by Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough linebacker Derek Rossetti. The Lakers recovered the fumble and quickly increased the lead to 13 on an 81 yard run down the Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough sideline by Devante Carter. Carter lead the Lakers attack with 125 yards on 19 carries. Gilford cut the lead to six with three minutes remaining in the half on a Max Troiano 17 yard touchdown. Troiano had 144 yards on 24 touches.

The Golden Eagles began the second half benefiting on the only mishap by the Lakers when quarterback Joshua Blundo tossed an interception to Kyle Gaudet, who sprinted 45 yards for a 14-13 Gilford lead. Both teams traded punts before Gilford's Jack Athanas tried to thread the needle, but paid the price when a Lakers defensive back jumped the route and went 89 yards for the final lead change of the game. Inter-Lakes punched in a one yard Nick Brothers run for some insurance late in the fourth to secure the victory.

Gilford coach Marden commented on the season: "I told the guys after the game that I couldn't be more proud of them from where they came from last year. Coming from 1-8 last year to regular season champions. Those kids gave everything they had this year and it showed. To make such a turn around like that, it reflects upon their character. They are a great group of guys and I could not be more proud of them."

Repeat denied: Winniquam volleyball falls to Nute in championship

PLYMOUTH — Winnisquam Regional High School's volleyball team entered the night looking to win their third state title in the last four years. Nute, who fell victim to the Bears last season, had other ideas. The Nute Rams rolled over Winnisquam 3-0 in the NHIAA Division III state finals, held Friday night at Plymouth State University. Winnisquam could not slow down the relentless attack that the undefeated (20-0) Rams unleashed. Nute won all three sets easily, 25- 18, 25-17, 25-19.

"We lost to a team that outplayed us," said Mike Livernois. "They were relentless on their attack." The Bears offense did not string together more than five points in a row all night. "They (Nute) got us out of our rhythm. We made some unforced errors and they didn't. When a team is not making errors you have to play almost perfect," Livernois added. "It is very hard to play from behind. Once you are four or five points behind late in the game, you can not afford to make any more mistakes."

Winnisquam played from behind beginning with the first set. The Bears tied up the first set at nine, but the Rams attackers took over, scoring nine of the next 11 points, rolling to 25-18 victory. The Rams middle hitter, Heidi Cloutier, took over and had five kills and three blocks in the first set. The senior totaled eight kills, six blocks and two aces.

The Bears led the second set 12-10 and sat tied at 16 when Nute took control and went on a 9-1 run to complete the second set 25-17.

The third set went back and forth until Nute went on a nine point run to take a 22-13 lead. Winnisquam attempted a late comeback only to fall short 25-19.

"Our four seniors, Hannah Chapin, Carissa Archbald, Dallis Austin, and Bailey Long have definitely left their mark. Those four girls went 69-10 with two state titles, a runner up and a semi-finals appearance over the four years. That's an impressive mark and they have set the bar for future teams," Livernois said.

Gilford Silverhawks to defend Granite State Championship

The 2013 Gilford Silverhawks will look to defend their 2012 Granite State Championship next Saturday at the new Bank of NH Stadium at Laconia High School. Gilford will take their 7-1 regular season record to the title game against Concord, who also sports an identical 7-1 regular season record.

Gilford advanced to the championship game by defeating Kearsarge on Nov. 2 by a score of 49-22. Concord was able to reach the finals by defeating 2012 runner up Hollis/Brookline by a score of 38-14. Both Concord and Gilford boast high powered offenses and stingy defenses. This will be the first match up of these two teams this season.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to play for another championship for Gilford Football." head coach Mike Robbs said recently. "This particular group has been a lot of fun to be around. They are a tight knit group, a real family. It's a testament to the parents who support our program."

The Gilford Football program is open to players from first grade all the way through high school.

Kickoff of the Granite State Championship is at 9 a.m. Saturday. The game is free and open to the public. In lieu of admission, please bring a canned food item or other non-perishable item to be donated to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.

LMS football caps off season with strong win over Newfound

The 2013 Laconia Middle School football team completed its season on Saturday, Nov. 2 with a convincing 28-8 victory over Newfound. The 7th and 8th grade boys enjoyed an outstanding season on their way to a 9-1-1 record. The only loss was to Plymouth Middle School on October 22. The Middle School Sachem squad was able to play the  Bobcats from Plymouth to a 6-6 tie just one week later, thus ruining a perfect season for Plymouth. Laconia also played teams from Winnisquam, Franklin, Newfound, Kennett and Kingswood. The outstanding season will be defined by the 9-1-1 record, in which the Middle School Sachems scored a total of 380 points (35 points per game) and allowed a total of just 84 points (8 per game). Shown here, in the front row(left to right): Captains- Drew Muzzey, Ryan McCrea, Riley Roy and Steven Towers. Second row: Noah Shastany, Bradley Weeks, Jack Maher, Parker Minor, Caleb Hounsell, Laurence Barbarian, Evan Kreitzer, Ben Beliveau, Noah Cruz. Third row: Tony Collings, Dylan Tivey, Justin Holmes, Devin Miles, Logan Caruso, Jordan Brown, Gauge Hawkes, Travis Adams, Keegan Johnson, Pete Dauphin. Back row: Coach Dem Chiasson, Ryan Chiasson, Garret Whitney, Kaleb Bartlett, Coach Chip Nyhan, Jakob Steele, Thomas Bastis, Alex Westcott, Coach Mike Schofield. (Courtesy photo)