Sabers can’t keep up with unbeaten Jaguars

AMHERST – The Souhegan High School football team knew it was going to have its hands full trying to contain a Windham offense that has averaged almost 50 points a game. The Sabers ultimately gave the Jaguars their toughest match of the season but it wasn’t enough, as Souhegan fell 35-21 on Friday evening.

The undefeated Windham squad (5-0) has completely dismantled its opponents this year, as the Jaguars’ 42.5 margin-of-victory would suggest. However, the scrappy Sabers (2-2) did their best to limit the Jaguars potent offense, while the Souhegan offense admirably attempted to keep their team in the game.

“We were disappointed in the outcome, but we were proud of the way that we played,” said Souhegan coach Mike Lochman. “(Windham) is an excellent football team and I don’t think anybody’s really given them a game yet this season. So I think it showed us what we’re capable of and that’s something we can build on for the second half of the season.”

The Windham offense was clicking in the first half, averaging only five plays a drive and scoring on all four of its possessions. The Sabers offense continually answered, however, converting four straight fourth-down attempts to stay within striking distance.

The Sabers responded to Windham’s first score with an eight-minute drive, capped off by fullback Tyler Howard’s 2-yard touchdown run. Windham quickly retook the lead four plays later on a Kurtis Jolicoeur 7-yard run, and the corresponding extra point was blocked by Souhegan’s Nicholas Truchon.

Not to be outdone, Souhegan scored three plays later when Cameron Kinney found the end zone on a 64-yard run,
giving the Sabers a one-point lead.

The Jaguars pulled ahead early in the second quarter, and a subsequent, promising Souhegan drive was turned over on downs right outside of the red zone. Windham drove 90 yards down the field and scored its fourth touchdown of the half with seconds remaining.

A Windham fumble set up a Souhegan opportunity to open the third quarter, and the Sabers capitalized, as Michael Mancini found Trevor Barrett for an 11-yard touchdown. Souhegan only managed 63 yards for the rest of the half, and Windham scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

“The offense was a little more balanced (Friday) than it has been this season,” Lochman said. “I think we have the ability to spread the ball around a little bit, and that does help us on fourth down – the fact that we have a couple of different ways that we can move it. So that’s really going to help us, having that diversity.”

Kinney and Howard led the Souhegan offense with 175 combined rushing yards. Mancini finished 7 of 17 for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Windham quarterback Brendan McInnis finished 10 of 15 for 143 yards and four touchdown passes, including a pair to Anthony Gallo. Jolicoeur and Kellin Bail combined for 198 rushing yards.