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Tigers Turn in Total Effort

  • Newport High School's Cody Turgeon runs the ball during a game between Newport and InterLakes-Moultonborough on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Newport, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Newport High School's Austin Malool throws a pass during a game between Newport and InterLakes-Moultonborough on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Newport, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Newport High School's Joey Ackerman tips a pass away from a InterLakes-Moultonborough receiver on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 during a game between Newport and InterLakes in Newport, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Newport High School's Peter Thibault returns a fumble to the end zone during a game between Newport and InterLakes-Moultonborough on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Newport, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Newport — So far this season, it’s hard to tell why the Newport High football team is 3-0. Is it the 77 points the Tigers have scored in the last two games, or the two consecutive shutouts pitched by the defense?

Whatever the reason, after Saturday’s impressive 28-0 win over InterLakes-Moultonborough, the Tigers have given notice that their hat is in the ring for top honors in the NHIAA Division III North.

A test at Stevens (2-1) on Friday night might give a better indication of just where the Tigers belong in the race. But there’s no denying that with the way the Tigers are playing defense — just 12 points allowed in three games — they should be taken seriously.

Bill Thurlow, who has coached the lines at Newport for 53 years, has a theory on the current defense.

“You know everybody is playing their positions the way they should and our best players are playing their best,” he said.

One big advantage the Tigers had on a very warm day was depth.

Newport led only 8-0 at the half, but the InterLakes-Moultonborough (1-2) — which listed 29 players on their roster and showed up with only 22 — began to wilt. That lack of depth and the continual ground-and-pound by the Tigers showed as the game moved on. The Lakers also were coming off a 42-0 loss to Campbell.

“I did think we wore them down, but we made some blocking adjustments at halftime and I think that was a factor as well,” Newport coach Richard Boone said.

If there was one play that seemed to turn the game in Newport’s favor, it came during the Lakers’ first series of the second quarter. Andrew Brothers (111 yards, 16 carries) was on a sweep when he took a hit from Newport sophomore Blake McKinney, and the ball popped up in the air and into the arms of 245-pound Peter Thibault, who caught the ball in stride and there was nothing in front of him but the green grass of Maryn Field as he took it to the house.

“All I could think of was, this was a dream come true,” Thibault said. “The big hit was great and there was the ball. I didn’t have to do much but catch it and run. I’m telling you, I thought those things only happened in dreams.”

Thibault also thinks that the way the defense is playing is no fluke.

“We’re all good friends and we are really clicking,” he said.

Following Thibault’s TD, the Tigers lined up to kick the point after, but pulled away as Kyle Rossiter took the snap, rolled to his right and connected with David Stark for an 8-0 lead.

Lost in all the talk about the defense was the sensational day from Peter Thibault’s younger brother, John. The sophomore scored three second-half touchdowns on long runs of 19, 20 and 25 yards. He also ran for a two-point conversion and rushed with 195 yards on 30 carries.

And, oh yeah, he also had an interception.

In Newport’s three games, Thibault has scored nine touchdowns and has 56 points. He has rushed for 484 yards on 71 carries.

On the Lakers’ first possession of the second half, they drove to the Newport 24, but on fourth down a Brothers run was stopped for no gain. Newport then ran the ball on 10 consecutive plays and on first and 10 from the ILM 25, John Thibault cut outside and into the end zone.

That drive and score seemed to deflate the Lakers, and Newport scored on its next two possessions as the Tigers again went to the ground with Cody Turgeon (11 carries, 38 yards) getting the call twice before Thibault went through a huge hole up the middle for a TD from the 20.

Thibault also ran in the 2-point conversion to make it a 22-0 game. Newport closed out the scoring with 3:17 to play with Thibault going wide and out-racing the tired Laker defense, taking it in from the 19.

Correction

Newport High plays football in NHIAA Division III North. The Tigers’ divisional affiliation was incorrectly reported in the Sunday Valley News.