Hanover ends drought with shutout

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/25/2020 9:51:00 PM
Modified: 9/28/2020 11:59:32 AM

LANGDON, N.H. — Sam Cavallaro sprinted over to his team, appropriately distanced in Fall Mountain’s north end zone, and yelled out the obvious question.

“How’s it feel to win a game?” the sixth-year coach of the Hanover High football team asked emphatically.

Pretty darn good after 720 days without one.

Seamus Murphy and Ben Williams each ran for two touchdowns and combined for 211 rushing yards as the Division II Marauders cruised to a 38-0 victory Friday night over the D-IV Wildcats.

Hanover’s last win came in 2018, a 26-6 blowout victory over Gilford. Last year it finished 0-9, but played loads of underclassmen. The year of patience and growth seemed to pay off on Friday night.

“These guys, nobody could explain it,” said Cavallaro, whose team was outscored, 320-86, last year. “Not knowing if you’re going to play. Of course you want to win because of how it feels for the kids and the coaches, too. But also to get a win for these seniors. I’m just so happy for these guys.”

Hanover’s offense appeared in command from the beginning of the season opener. It started the game with a seven play, 65-yard drive less than three minutes long, capped off by Murphy’s first score of the night.

Taking the early 7-0 lead, the Marauders exchanged drives with Fall Mountain until early in the second quarter, when Murphy and quarterback Colin Pierce disconnected on a toss, resulting in a Wildcat fumble recovery.

Hanover took over possession at its own 8-yard line after it forced a Fall Mountain four-and-out. Murphy started off with an 11-yard run, and Williams followed with a 17-yard gain to move the ball to the Marauders’ 37-yard line.

That’s when Cavallaro called a timeout to converse with his quarterback. Pierce told the coach that he saw a chance to hit wide receiver Moe Kado on a fade route.

When the Marauders lined up, Kado was left wide open, and Pierce threw an easy 63-yard touchdown pass.

“He called me over and said, ‘This is open,’” Cavallaro said of Murphy’s touchdown dart, which put Hanover up, 14-0. “For some reason, their kid didn’t see Moe. I thought to myself: ‘This is the perfect play call.’ And Colin made a great throw. That’s the hardest throw to make, when the kid’s wide open.”

On Fall Mountain’s opening drive of the second half, Marauder Josh Bucci deflected Luke Gay’s pass on third-and-7. Kado caught the ball on the run and returned it for a 52-yard pick-six.

The touchdown halted any Fall Mountain momentum and gave Hanover a commanding 26-0 lead.

“It was good to not only win a game, but play the entire game,” said Williams, a sophomore who had taken the field only three times as a freshman. “I was here last year, and it was tough. So it was great to come together and get the win.”

Cavallaro said the victory against the Wildcats is a good opening win. While Fall Mountain contends two tiers down in D-IV, it made it to last year’s division championship game and is picked to be a top team in D-IV this year.

But after a season full of losses in 2019, he’s not getting ahead of himself, and players won’t be resting on the laurels of one shutout.

He said the Marauders aren’t satisfied yet and that Hanover’s linemen, especially captain Ben Wagner, will hold the team accountable and keep the pressure on.

“He demands a lot from that group,” Cavallaro said. “I mean after practice, they get together on Zoom and watch film. That’s what kind of leadership you need. And once you have that, it is contagious. Then everyone wants to raise the bar.”

NOTES: The Marauders’ defense was huge in the win, holding Fall Mountain to under 100 yards and forcing two turnovers. ... Hanover visits Stevens on Friday night. ... Pierce finished 2-of-3 for 91 yards. ... The Wildcats chose to honor their senior class at their first game due to the unpredictable nature of this football season. ... Each team sent only one captain to midfield for the coin toss. ... Both teams waved to each other at the end of the game instead of the traditional postgame handshake line.

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com.


 Hanover High's Moe Kado intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown in Friday's 38-0 victory over Fall Mountain. An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified who had the pick-six.  

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