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Cards Earn Key Win Over Fall Mountain

Claremont — It was pretty much a must-win situation for Stevens High on Friday night in its matchup with Fall Mountain at Barnes Park. With the three-divisional setup this fall, the Cardinals were placed in the Western Conference of New Hampshire Division III with Mascoma, Newport and Fall Mountain. The Cardinals entered Friday night’s game in last place with a 1-2 mark, with the top two in each conference advancing to the postseason.

With an impressive 42-12 win over the Wildcats, however, Stevens’ chances for a postseason game increased dramatically.

“We really needed this one,” said Stevens coach Paul Silva, who knew a loss and a 1-3 record with three road games coming up would not have been a good situation. “We knew we needed to get physical and I think we did that.”

At 2-2, Stevens is tied with Fall Mountain at the moment, but Newport (2-1) and Mascoma (1-1) are in action today.

Silva was also pleased that he didn’t have hand the ball to workhorse Donald Pellerin all night. As it was, the speedy senior had 116 yards in 20 tries.

“At least he didn’t have to carry the ball 40 times,” Silva said.

Stevens got a lot of contributions from several players including impressive freshman Richard Bell, who had a follow-your-blocking 60-yard TD scamper.

It was a disappointing night for the Wildcats, who came off a year away from varsity competition with high hopes winning two of its first three games. Friday night, however, was a reality check.

“We did not have a good week at practice and we were not focused tonight,” Fall Mountain coach Frank Brown said. “Our offensive line couldn’t get out of its own way. We just have to get better.”

Stevens got outstanding plays from defensive linemen Noah Ladd (270 pounds), Robbie Knight (240) and Kai Kleyensteuber (200), who delivered some hard licks on the Wildcats runners.

“We just have to show teams that we can play some smash-mouth football,” Silva said.

On its first possession, Fall Mountain was forced to punt from its own 20. A slow developing snap and punt attempt was blocked by the Cardinals’ Collin Belt and recovered in the end zone by Nathan White. Bryar Rouillard’s point-after made it 7-0. The score started a streak of three straight touchdowns, as the Cards jumped into a quick 20-0 lead. They next two touchdowns were scored by Pellerin who took it in from the 1- and 4-yard lines.

The Wildcats showed their tent wasn’t folded yet, as they went on a 83-yard march that culminated in a 4-yard TD pass from Matt Wood to Clay Gendron.

Stevens answered right back with a 23-yard scoring strike from Ryan Tanguay to junior Brandon Bell to make it 28-6 at the half.

The game started to get out of hand in the third quarter, when speedy Stevens freshman Richard Bell, showing poise in following his blockers, dashed 60 yards to the end zone to make it a 35-6 game.

The final Stevens score came on a 13-yard run from Brandon Bell at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Stevens heads on the road to Mascoma, Farmington-Nute and Newport before returning home on Nov. 1 to host Raymond in the Cardinals’ final regular-season game.