Campbell Fends Off Stevens’ Comeback Attempt

Claremont — Campbell scored twice on tipped passes, including a 67-yarder to win the game in the fourth quarter, as the Cougars nipped Stevens Friday night, 21-20, in a New Hampshire Division III clash at Barnes Park.

“I think I’m having a heart attack right now,” Campbell coach Greg Gush said after the game. Gush was coaching his first varsity contest.

While Gush was not having a heart attack, Stevens coach Paul Silva wasn’t feeling so hot, as he said he would spend the weekend second guessing himself. The dilemma that faced Silva came after Stevens scored with 1:24 to play, closing in on Campbell, 21-20. He then had to decide to go for the kick in an attempt to tie or run a play from scrimmage for two points and the possible lead. He pretty much solved his own problem when he noted that his kicker, Austin Tenney, had been having problems with cramps for the second game in a row. Silva said that his team was 1-for-5 in extra point attempts this season.

So Stevens went for two and came up short, dropping its record to 1-1.

Stevens spent the whole night playing catch-up, falling behind 14-0 before tying the game at 14-14 and then falling behind again 21-14.

The one big advantage that Campbell, based in Litchfield, N.H., had was that the coaching staff was at Stevens’ win over Somersworth last week, in which running back Donald Pellerin ran for 205 yards and four TDs on 38 carries.

“We saw what Pellerin did last week and we did the best we could against him,” Gush said. “He’s such a great runner.”

When Pellerin ran the ball 38 times last week, Silva said he would have to try and find offense elsewhere to take the load off Pellerin. He’ll probably have to wait another week to implement that thought, as Pellerin carried the ball 46 times for 220 yards and all three Stevens touchdowns Friday night.

One of the things that Gush was not terribly surprised at was the two tipped passes for scores.

“We practice the tip drill at practice every day,” he said. “We really do.”

After falling behind 14-0, Stevens got back into the game with a score just before the half. Aided by a helmet-to-helmet call (there were three of those calls in the game), Stevens went 75 yards as Pellerin carried the ball eight times during the 11-play drive, eventually taking it in from the 4-yard line. The kick for the point after was wide left making it 14-6 at the half.

Campbell scored the first 14 points on plays that looked like they were going to be stopped. The first score came on a flare pass to Kyle Manning in the flat, and he had nothing but Stevens players in front of him. None of them, however, could take him down and off he went, 50 yards into the end zone. The second score to make it 14-0 came on a pass to Manning from Christian McKenna at the two yard line. Manning was not the intended receiver on the play, but the pass was tipped right into his hands as he trailed on the play.

Stevens, which fumbled the ball three times, including once on the Campbell 3, had a clean drive to start the fourth quarter, tying the game on a Pellerin dive from the two. During the drive the Cards had a 29-yard pass play from quarterback Ryan Tanguay to Brandon Bell. Pellerin also ran for the 2-point conversion in to tie the game at 14-14.

The play that Campbell pulled off to take a 21-14 lead was a monster pass play of 67 yards that went to Cody Alward after it was tipped by a Stevens defensive back.

Stevens goes to Bow next Saturday.