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Hanover football nips Bow on last-minute bomb

  • Jeffrey Vidou, of Hanover, right, runs wide, pursued by Alex Boisvert, of Bow, during their game at Merriman-Branch Field in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • Hanover Football Coach Sam Cavallaro corrects Colin Pierce after he missed a catch in the end zone during their game with Bow at Merriman-Branch Field in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Hanover Quarterback Roger Lucas looks for his target while traying to gain yards for a first down against Bow in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/4/2021 12:22:12 AM
Modified: 9/4/2021 12:22:23 AM

HANOVER — Sam Cavallaro knew the exact play he wanted in a critical late-game situation.

His Hanover High football team, ahead with just over two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, had just allowed Bow High to drive 97 yards in less than one minute to take a 20-13 lead with 1:12 remaining. He reassured his players on the sideline that the game wasn’t over and urged them to keep fighting.

On third and 10, he dialed up a deep post route for junior receiver Brendan Logan. Senior quarterback Colin Pierce rolled left, while Logan ran right, and threw across his body to hit the wide-open target in stride. Logan ran into the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown with 49.5 seconds left. Hanover went for two for the win, and Pierce ran it in up the middle. Hanover 21, Bow 20.

“That last play for the touchdown, we did a seven-on-seven tournament at St. Johnsbury. We ran that same play to Brendan. Same result,” Cavallaro said. “I knew it was there. And the kids just executed. Colin made an unbelievable throw. Line blocked.”

Cavallaro said the sideline erupted into pandemonium when Logan scored. Pierce, who later said he was playing through a calf cramp during the pivotal moments, described the feeling as pure excitement. Senior running back Seamus Murphy thought Pierce got sacked and said he couldn’t believe they actually scored.

The decision to go for the win instead of the tie was not difficult for Cavallaro. The officials flagged Bow (0-1) for unsportsmanlike conduct after the touchdown, which Cavallaro elected to take on the two-point conversion instead of the kickoff. So Hanover (1-0) needed only 1½ yards instead of three.

Cavallaro called a timeout before the conversion and gathered his offense in a huddle on the field. He told them he made the decision to go for the win and that he’d let them decide what play to go with.

“We were all debating in the huddle; what play should we run? I’m like, ‘Coach, give it to me.’ And he had enough trust in me to go with that,” Pierce said.

“We switched up the line orientation a little bit, and that was able to get us in. Just a lot of trust from the coach.”

Hanover struck first on the game’s opening drive on a 4-yard touchdown run by sophomore Jeffrey Vidou. That score was set up by a 42-yard run by Murphy three plays earlier.

Murphy racked up 130 yards on 18 carries on the night, although he also lost two fumbles in the first half. He credited his offensive line for his performance.

“They did a phenomenal job creating holes for me,” Murphy said. “There were a couple times in the 24 dive, they knew it was coming. They would overload it with their linebacker, and we still got five or six yards on that. That was amazing. Can’t thank them enough.”

Bow also scored on its first drive of the game on a 2-yard run by senior Myles Rheinhardt. The Falcons took a 12-7 lead in the second quarter on a 42-yard run by junior Ryan Lover, who finished with 125 yards on 15 carries and the touchdown.

They nearly scored again before halftime, as Murphy’s second fumble gave Bow possession at the Hanover 29-yard line with 1:28 to play. But Pierce made a huge tackle for loss to end the half as Hanover came up with an important goal-line stand.

Hanover regained the lead in the third quarter on a 16-yard pass from Pierce to Logan.

Cavallaro knows his team didn’t play a perfect game. Hanover got in its own way often, especially in the first half. Between the fumbles and committing eight total penalties for 80 yards, HHS had plenty of mistakes. But the coach said winning a thriller like this — he called it one of the best games he’s ever been in — sets a positive tone going forward.

“I think it’s just great,” Cavallaro said. “Everyone in the whole state was picking against us, and we love that. It’s just a tribute to the hard work of these kids. It means a lot to our student body; you saw how excited they were. To me, this is what football’s about. To get the community involved and have a win like that, it’s awesome. These kids are just so happy, and that makes me happy.”

Hanover will hit the road next week to take on Manchester West.

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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