Lebanon wins state quarterfinal football game in a blowout, 42-7

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 11/9/2019 10:27:03 PM

LEBANON — When he’s not coaching the Lebanon High football team or working his plumbing supply job, Chris Childs apparently has a little bit of art critic in him.

As dominant as his top-ranked Raiders were in a 42-7 NHIAA Division III quarterfinal dismantling of No. 8 Laconia on Saturday, Childs’ first remarks to his players afterward reflected the penalty-filled nature of the second half. But he praised an athletic defense that intercepted Sachem quarterback Ryan Dee four times and made use of a scoop-and-score fumble recovery to build a 21-7 halftime lead.

“I thought we did a nice job of coming out of the gate, getting up a couple of scores early,” Childs said. “We had that defensive score that got us up, 21-0, for a little bit. One of our goals was to get a playoff home game and get a win, so we’re on to next week.”

Speed won the first half for the Raiders (9-1). Senior quarterback Jon Willeman’s arms secured the second.

The Sachems’ big interior line made running between the tackles difficult, so Childs made the most of the outside. Raider speedster Jack Chamley (five carries, team-high 50 yards) twice scored on left-side sweeps in the opening quarter, dashing 23 yards for Lebanon’s first touchdown and going 9 yards with another after the first of Willeman’s three interceptions on the day. Willeman hit Calvin Bates with a 2-point pass on the latter for a 14-0 lead just before the first period’s end.

“They overloaded one side with three really good kids on one side, so we went to the left side of the offense,” Childs said. “It definitely helped that Jack got to the edge a little bit, and we did a good job of blocking there.”

Dee had Laconia (4-6) moving in the second quarter, marching to the Lebanon 19-yard line. Dee pitched the football to freshman back Kayden Roberts on second down, but Raider linebacker C.J. Childs poked the ball from Roberts’ grasp, collected it at the 30 and dashed 70 yards untouched for the 21-0 cushion with 4:05 left in the half.

“I like both of them, as a coach and a dad,” Chris Childs said with a laugh. “It’s kind of special to watch him make a play like that in a playoff game.”

Dee scored on a 14-yard quarterback draw in the final minute of the half to give Laconia some life. Lebanon responded by going to Willeman to strangle the Sachems’ hopes.

The senior QB threw for a pair of second-half TDs, a 29-yarder to Bates four plays after the interval and a 43-yarder to Cole Ames to end a flag-marred Lebanon drive in the fourth quarter. Although in possession of a 35-7 lead after Ames’ score, the Raiders bogged themselves down with three major penalties on the drive, two of which erased potential touchdowns.

Willeman finished the afternoon completing 10 of 11 passes — hitting eight of nine in the second half — for 176 yards and the two touchdowns. Playing safety in Lebanon’s man-to-man secondary, Willeman also picked off Dee twice more in the second half, and fellow defensive back Jacob Hibner added final interception to end the game.

The Raiders rolled up 349 yards of total offense, holding Laconia to just 100. Nyeoti Punni scored Lebanon’s last TD on a 47-yard dash midway through the fourth quarter.

Lebanon will host Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton in a Saturday semifinal at LHS. The fifth-ranked Redhawks — who blew out No. 4 Monadnock, 54-14, on Saturday — dropped a 62-14 contest to the Raiders on Oct. 5.

“It was a close game at the half,” said Childs, whose team used a Caleb Smith TD interception return just before halftime to ignite a huge second half. “They turned the ball over five times in the second half, so it kind of got away from them. I expect it’s going to be a close game and they’re going to be healthier this time, too, so we’re going to have our hands full, I’m sure.”

Audibles: Bates had a team-best four catches for 56 yards and the score for Lebanon. Wade Rainey caught three passes for 50 yards, but both of his would-be scores were called back by penalties. … Smith needed treatment for an issue with his right hand in the second quarter, but the lanky senior returned to action before halftime. … Lebanon sacked Dee three times for 32 yards in losses. Laconia got to Willeman four times for 27 yards and forced a fumble in the second quarter that defensive lineman DeMarco McKissic returned 33 yards. C.J. Childs’ long TD fumble return came on the drive following McKissic’s recovery. … Lebanon drew nine flags for 100 yards in penalties. By comparison, Laconia had two penalties for 30 yards, both in the second half.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.




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