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Cards Get Revenge

Stevens Tops Toppers in 2 OT

Claremont — Donald Pellerin had both overtime touchdowns as Stevens High opened its NHIAA Division III football season Friday night with a surprising 31-25 double-overtime win over Somersworth at Barnes Park in the lid-lifter for both teams.

Pellerin had in one game what a lot of players would like to have for the season. Not only did he score both overtime tallies, he also had an 84-yard kickoff return for a TD and another score on a dash to the corner from the 30. He carried the ball for an incredible 39 times for 197 yards from scrimmage.

“We’ve got to find a way to ease his workload,” Stevens coach Paul Silva said.

Pellerin, who is listed at 180 pounds, said he was a little tired, but none the worse for wear.

“We just dug down and got the job done,” he said. “It was all about momentum.”

The score was 19-19 after regulation, at which point each team had four downs from the 10-yard line. Somersworth went first and, on a second down from the 5-yard line, scored on a Nick Honaker rush. Freshman kicker Will Paradis-Collins, who had booted a clutch extra point near the end of regulation, missed this time.

When Stevens got the ball Pellerin ran three straight times, going in from the 2 to make it 25-25. Austin Tenney’s point-after attempt to give the win to Stevens went into the line.

This gave the Hilltoppers a new life, but in the second OT they failed to score. Noah Ladd made a key tackle for Stevens on a fourth-and-6.

There was never any doubt what Stevens was going to do, as Pellerin ran three straight times again, getting the game-winner with a dive from the 1 on third down.

“He was not going to be denied,” said Silva, “He’s our bread and butter. Even though they (the Somersworth defense) knew he was going to get the ball, he wouldn’t be stopped. My only instruction to (quarterback) Bryar (Rouillard) was to keep giving Donald the ball.”

It was a little revenge win for the Cardinals, who were knocked off by Somersworth in the playoffs last year.

“It’s been a good rivalry with Stevens,“ said Somersworth coach Dan Hodsden. “We’ve had some good games. Let’s hope we meet again in the playoffs.”

The Toppers hurt themselves in a couple of ways in the first half, fumbling the ball away once on the Stevens 3 and again at the 27. They also went into a strange formation on two conversion attempts, putting three players in the middle of the field and the eight others out to the side. Twice they did this, and twice they failed.

Stevens took a 19-12 lead with 6:32 left when Pellerin, on a third-and-30, cut outside and beat the defense to the flag. The Cards had a chance to get a two-score lead, but failed on a 2-point pass attempt.

Somersworth, with its back to the wall, showed some spunk and came right back for a touchdown on a 47-yard pass play, quarterback Mike Paquette to Colie Blackemeyer. That put a lot of pressure on Paradis-Collins, the kicker, who went right down the middle for a 19-19 deadlock, setting up the overtime.

There was only one touchdown in the first half, Stevens scoring on a four-yard pass, Rouillard to Tenney.

Somersworth scored on its first possession of the second half, but failed on the conversion. Pellerin then returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a 13-6 Stevens lead.

The Toppers scored at the start of the third quarter to close to 13-12.

Stevens hosts Campbell next Friday night.