Hoop hero steps up for Souhegan

AMHERST — Souhegan Regional senior Andy Geffrard got fooled once. John Stark High ran the motion away from his the Saber’s corner and then sneaked the tight end back there for a touchdown in Saturday afternoon’s opener.

Geffrard never forgot.

So when the Generals came calling into the red zone late in the fourth quarter, trailing 14-7, Geffrard was one step ahead.

“They ran the same play before, and I just knew they would try it there (on fourth and goal in the final minute),” said the 5-foot-11, 165-pounder. “They run everyone off and the tight end just drags under the coverage out to my side. On the snap, this time, I saw the tight end coming. I stayed put and then just undercut his route.”

The interception in the end zone sealed the impressive victory in the opener for the upstart Sabers, on the road in Weare.

“It was a defensive game, and our defense stepped up big,” said Geffrard.

“We stopped them just about every time.”

The win over Stark, a playoff team a year ago with a legit returning cast and a playoff-type resume behind new QB Parker McQuarrie, has to send a message in

Division 2 where Souhegan looks to rally behind first-year coach Robin Bowkett.

“We had a good plan. We wanted to try and force (McQuarrie) to run. He’s a better passer than (his older brother Drew),” said Geffrard. “We’re a different team this year. We’re a real competitor in Division 2, and I think we can take it pretty far.”

Geffrard, known more for his prowess on the basketball court, also court a 25-yard TD pass earlier in the game. The former QB is now settled in, both at corner and receiver.

He earned those positions, first and foremost, by his work through the summer.

You only get one senior year, and Geffrard knows it.

“We have like 20 seniors back on this team. We know we can make a run,” he said. “I was here every night with workouts through June and July. I’m bigger, stronger and faster too.”

GAME WITHIN A GAME AT MILFORD

Milford High coach Keith Jones clearly delivered the game within the game Friday night when he sent his senior cornerback Owen Hutchinson into a one-on-one battle outside with ConVal receiver Makeen Wilson.

Wilson, at 6-feet, 190 pounds, clearly had the size advantage over the 5-foot-9, 155-pound Hutchinson.

And it was a slugfest, from beginning to end.

Wilson had his moments, catching a seven-yard TD pass off a Dan Spezzaferri scramble Hutchinson got a little lost in the end zone. He also had a Welker-esque catch off a ricochet that had heads shaking from sideline to sideline.

But it was Hutchinson coming up huge on defense in the overtime, swatting away a couple lob attempts and holding his end of the bargain up.

The battle was a draw, but of course Wilson and the Cougars took home the war, 17-14, in overtime. What a way to kick off the 2017 season.

Wilson, who caught four balls for 95 yards and the TD, won’t see much single coverage all year. Big props for Hutchinson stepping up and for Jones showing the confidence in his kid.

BY THE NUMBERS

As for Spartan numbers, they don’t tell the story that well of Milford’s offensive woes Friday night. Milford ran 52 plays for 272 yards (5.2 per snap), which isn’t too bad. But take away the two longest runs of 63 from Dylan Salisbury and 28 from Maverick Dodier, and it’s 50 for 183 or 3.6 per snap.

And that doesn’t include the four snaps for four yards total in OT. …

Salisbury ran five times for 70 yards. Dodier went 5 for 60. The rest of the Spartans? Ouch, 28 for 77.

QB Zach King was under siege much of the night and got very little help from his receivers, hitting on 6 of 14 passes for 65 yards. King’s interception was one of three costly Milford turnovers in the loss.

THIS WEEK’S MATCHUPS

Sanborn (0-1) vs. Hollis Brookline (0-1)

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: At Hollis

LAST WEEK: Windham 49, Hollis Brookline 18; St. Thomas 27, Sanborn 0

LAST YEAR: Hollis Brookline 28, Sanborn 22

FYI: There were pretty telling openers for both teams. Hollis Brookline lost its quarterback, Joey Delaney, to a broken collarbone early vs. the Jaguars. Sophomore Sander Wimmer entered and did a commendable job in relief, despite spending much of the time running for his life. The Cavaliers, playing the special night game at home under the portable lights, have to and most likely will do a better job in the trenches. Chris Hannah, on 22 carries, accounted for 156 of Sanborn’s 190 total yards in the opening loss to St. Thomas. Meanwhile, HB looked a bit susceptible against the run last week vs. Windham.

Windham (1-0) vs. Milford (0-1)

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: At Milford

LAST WEEK: Windham 49, Hollis Brookline 18; ConVal 17, Milford 14 (OT)

LAST YEAR: Windham 42, Milford 6

FYI: Windham blitzed through the South Division without a loss last year and hasn’t appeared to have taken a step backwards if last week’s win is any indication. The Jaguars have an explosive rushing game with Tommy Emrick, Royce Belski and Jake Aleksa. Windham played some pretty solid defense, too, against Hollis Brookline with nine QB sacks. Milford ran into a stingy ConVal defense in the opener and a handful of Spartan mistakes were too much to overcome. Any mistakes this time around will likely be lethal vs. the Jags.

Campbell (1-0) vs. Inter-Lakes (1-0)

LAST WEEK: Inter-Lakes 60, Fall Mountain 14; Campbell 41, Raymond 0

LAST YEAR: Did Not Play

FYI: So who blinks this week? Each team rolled up the points in the opener. Inter Lakes will have its hands full trying to stop this two-headed Cougar running machine. Keegan Mills (146 yards) and Ryan Yanuszewski (131) rolled up the numbers a week ago. The road trip is the first of a handful of brutal rides for Campbell.

HECTOR LONGO’S PICKS

Hollis Brookline 31, Sanborn 17 … The sophomore at QB has “player” written all over him.

Windham 37, Milford 7 … That was a mighty impressive opener for the Jags Saturday. The Spartans are better than they showed, but not Windham-good, yet.

Campbell 32, Inter Lakes 12 … Mickey Dolenz once said of Campbell, “I’m a Believer.” (Google it kids!)

Note: Souhegan, because of Trinity dropping varsity football, has a bye this week.

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