Sabers open with defeat at John Stark
McQuarrie leads Generals to 35-14 win over Souhegan
WEARE – Drew McQuarrie 18, Souhegan 14.
While that wasn’t what the scoreboard said at John Stark Regional High School on Saturday afternoon, the highly-touted quarterback proved that the preseason buzz wasn’t just hyperbole, leading the Generals to a 35-14 victory.
John Stark got on the board with their first possession of the day – a five-play, 80-yard drive capped with a goal-line run by Kyle Booker. Souhegan quickly countered less than a minute later, with Dante Savo going 66 yards to the house on the Sabers’ second play from scrimmage.
The Sabers kept things close, due in large part to Savo. He added a second rushing touchdown later in the half, followed by another Booker score on the following drive.
McQuarrie put the Generals ahead on a 4-yard touchdown run just before the half, but the home team wouldn’t be able to put the game away until the fourth quarter. That’s when McQuarrie broke away for a 28-yard touchdown run to truly seal the victory.
He tacked on a third score halfway through the quarter for insurance, with John Stark’s defense holding the Sabers despite a late six-minute drive that ended on downs in the red zone just before time expired.
Savo ended the day with 145 yards on 16 rushing attempts, serving as the figurative fastball alongside the changeup of Souhegan’s five other rushers, who totaled a combined 91 yards on 29 attempts.
"We knew that we’d be able to run the ball against them, it might be a type of shootout situation, so that doesn’t come as any surprise to us," Souhegan head coach Mike Lochman said. "Our offensive line worked really hard in the offseason and they showed us something as a group, so we’re happy there."
However, Souhegan quarterback Palmer Belowski struggled in the air, connecting on only one of six passing attempts, which included an interception late in the second quarter.
The Sabers were also able to grab a pick off McQuarrie, but that was about the only major mistake he had on the day – finishing with 100 rushing yards on 17 carriers and going 15 for 25 in the air for 159 yards.
Add that performance to a pair of third-quarter Souhegan fumbles and Lochman concluded it just wasn’t his team’s day.
"I think we did some things really well, but at the end of the day, they had some good players and we made some mistakes," he said. "And you can’t make mistakes against a team that good."