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Wing and a Prayer: Windham Grounds Out Win Over Hanover

  • Hanover High wingback Teddy Geraghty prepares to run a play from offensive coordinator Sam Cavallaro into the Marauders' huddle. Hanover lost 28-7 to visiting Windham. Valley News - Tris Wykes

    Hanover High wingback Teddy Geraghty prepares to run a play from offensive coordinator Sam Cavallaro into the Marauders' huddle. Hanover lost 28-7 to visiting Windham. Valley News - Tris Wykes

  • Hanover High defenders Chris Stocken (68) and Teddy Geraghty (33) pursue Windham running back Kellin Bail during the Marauders' 28-7 loss Friday. Valley News - Tris Wykes

    Hanover High defenders Chris Stocken (68) and Teddy Geraghty (33) pursue Windham running back Kellin Bail during the Marauders' 28-7 loss Friday. Valley News - Tris Wykes

  • Hanover High wingback Teddy Geraghty prepares to run a play from offensive coordinator Sam Cavallaro into the Marauders' huddle. Hanover lost 28-7 to visiting Windham. Valley News - Tris Wykes
  • Hanover High defenders Chris Stocken (68) and Teddy Geraghty (33) pursue Windham running back Kellin Bail during the Marauders' 28-7 loss Friday. Valley News - Tris Wykes

Hanover — Hanover High quarterback Shawn Cavallaro rushed 19 times for 114 yards and a touchdown Friday, but it was visiting Windham that won the ground battle, grinding out a 28-7 victory with its double-wing offense during the NHIAA Division II teams’ season opener at Merriman-Branch Field.

Windham rushed 42 times for 247 yards and quarterback Brendan McInnis completed 8-of-13 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. Hanover managed 154 yards of offense and Cavallaro completed 3-of-7 passes for 31 yards while having one toss intercepted.

Cavallaro, a fast and gritty signal-caller, is expected to shoulder much of Hanover’s attack this fall. However, he absorbed a terrific pounding while doing so Friday and Souhegan, next week’s opponent, will presumably key on him intently once it views videotape of the Windham contest.

“He’s not your typical quarterback who sits back in the pocket,” said Hanover coach Mike Ivanoski. “He’s pretty much a running back in our offense. He’s a strong kid and we’re not worried about him.”

The Jaguars, who won last year’s meeting 34-6, never trailed and began Friday’s game with a successful onside kick. Windham ran on six of its first seven plays and took a 6-0 lead when Kurtis Jolicoeur plunged into the end zone on a 1-yard run after three minutes. Anthony Gallo added the first of his three conversion kicks for a 7-0 score.

Ivanoski said Windham kicks onside fairly often and that he mentioned this tendency to his team just before kickoff. A Marauder appeared to initially corral the bouncing boot before losing the ball as players crashed together around him in a squirming pile.

“You don’t want to give them momentum right away like that,” Ivanoski said. “We held them for three plays down by the goal line, but they scored on the fourth try. They had some big plays against us on third and fourth downs tonight.”

Hanover punted on its first two possessions, but forced Windham to turn the ball over on downs and on a fumble, keeping the score close before forging a 7-7 tie with two minutes remaining in the first half. Cavallaro ran left, cutting outside the tackle and inside a cornerback, breaking one tackle before bowling over Windham standout Joey Frake at the 2-yard line and lunging into the end zone. Peter Umland added the conversion kick.

Windham cut short the home fans’ enthusiasm when it got a good return on the subsequent kickoff and then drove 59 yards in five plays. The Jaguars went up 13-7 on a 3-yard run by Frake 22 seconds before intermission. The extra point attempt sailed wide left.

The visitors received the second-half kickoff and eventually punted. Hanover ran seven consecutive times and reached Windham’s 41-yard line before Cavallaro attempted his fourth pass and had it intercepted by Frake. The turnover led to a 14-play, 90-yard drive capped by Jolicoeuer’s 3-yard run.

That march seemed to finally wear the Marauders down. They went three-and-out on their next possession and Windham again drove for a score, this time a 23-yard touchdown pass from McInnis to Gallo. A last-gasp drive by Hanover ended when Cavallaro, weaving his way through the defense, was hit and lost a fumble on the Jaguars’ 3-yard line with four minutes to play.

“We came out hard and played hard to the end, but we fumbled and we committed too many penalties,” Ivanoski said. “That’s a situation caused by not having a lot of guys with varsity time.

“We’ve got to do our job as coaches now and keep teaching them. Then you’ll see less mistakes and the kids will get more comfortable.”

Ivanoski praised freshman defensive lineman Schuyler Cyrus, a behemoth who answered questions about his varsity readiness, along with senior guard and defensive tackle Alex Tariot.

“He did a great job,” Ivanoski said of Cyrus. “Physically, we knew he was big enough, but we didn’t know about the mental side. And Alex, he was a leader out there tonight. He made some big plays.”

Notes: Hanover played without senior co-captain Noah Huizenga, who paced the sidelines with his left foot in a protective boot. Huizenga said he’s been told he has either bursitis or a hairline fracture, and hopes to get a more specific diagnosis Monday. … Cyrus, who’s in the neighborhood of 300 pounds, doesn’t fit in a normal Hanover jersey, so he wore a looser-fitting model dating back to the late 1980s. Ivanoski said a larger version of the modern jersey is on order.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.