Merrimack offense sizzling as season grinds on

MERRIMACK – With a trio of must-win types of games on the horizon, Merrimack High took care of business against winless Keene.

The Tomahawks built a 27-0 lead by halftime and put the game well out of reach with two early scores in the second half en route to a 40-6 blasting of the Blackbirds.

Merrimack won its second straight and improved to 4-2. Keene slipped to 0-6.

“We really haven’t been very consistent this season, even in the games we’ve won,” Merrimack head coach Kip Jackson said. “We did a better job of that tonight.”

One thing the Tomahawks did do consistently was convert on long touchdown passes.

Senior quarterback James Dowling (8 for 15, 293 yards) tossed four of them: one each to seniors Jared Dyer (75 yards), Devin Wood (44 yards) and Zach Twardosky (37 yards), and one to junior Ryder Morris (73 yards).

Morris’ TD came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and gave the Tomahawks a 33-0 lead. Less than three minutes later, Dowling used his legs to score another TD, rolling in with a keeper from nine yards out. Sophomore Roth Colin’s point-after kick made it 40-0.

Keene finally got on the board on Cole Masterson’s 2-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter, but it was a blip on the radar screen.

This one was all Merrimack.

“We pass the ball a lot, which is pretty unusual for a high school team in New Hampshire,” Jackson said. “But our offensive coaching staff puts a lot of work in, and I really think it shows in games like this.

“Judging by how (Keene) was defending us early on, we knew we’d have a lot of chances in the passing game and we took advantage of it.”

The Merrimack ground game also had its opportunities.

Twardosky opened the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown run up the gut 3:27 into the game and the Tomahawks were up 6-0.

Twardosky and Dowling each had five carries for 31 yards while Morse finished with 104 yards on just two carries.

Dyer pulled in three passes for 98 yards and Wood had two catches for 54 yards.

“I was happy with the way we played well tonight,” Jackson said, “and it was nice to see a lot of different people involved.”