HUDSON, N.H. – If there’s one word to sum up the 2018 seasons of the Alvirne Broncos and Manchester West Blue Knights so far, it’s “improvement.” Despite the result, anyone that saw these teams in 2017 could see that improvement displayed on Friday night.
Alvirne rose to 5-1 on the season, defeating West 55-27, an offensive figure that could equal Alvirne’s entire seasonal totals during their last few years in Division I.
The Broncos finished with 275 yards of total offense, a figure that would have been greater if not for the outstanding starting field position they obtained throughout the night. Indeed, Alvirne scored touchdowns on all but one of its drives, with Kyle Gora and Jack Regan connecting in the air for a pair of scores, and Gora adding two more touchdowns on the ground.
Alvirne also obtained a pair of rushing touchdowns from Alexander Giuffrida, with Alex Prescott and Owen Pedi also adding scores, but the contest was not as one-sided as the score might suggest.
The Blue Knights also scored on their first two drives, with West head coach Tom Bozoian opening up the passing game on the third drive to avoid a one-dimensional attack as well as exploit a tightly packed Bronco defensive front emerging to counter West’s various wildcat formations.
This approach proved to be the turning point, as West quarterback Jaymeson Maheux threw three straight incompletions, followed by a botched punt that gave Alvirne the ball back just two yards outside of the end zone.
Alvirne would score on the game’s next play, taking the lead for good.
Still, Maheux and Shawn St. Felix would add touchdowns later in the contest, adding to the earlier scores from Maheux and Tyrese Harris.
West ended the game with an impressive 316 total yards, a figure that was not enough to overcome the Knight’s defensive shortcomings.
“They’re a physical team, it was a physical game,” said Bozoian. “I liked the way we moved, I liked the way we played offensively. We needed to improve defensively. We were weak on the run and they exploited it.”
But much like the Alvirne squads of recent years, the performance shown by West on Friday night alone could have equaled the output from multiple games last year, and this wasn’t even their best performance of the year.
Although it’s a long shot, West could potentially reach the Division II playoffs if they win their next three games, including a critical road matchup next week against St. Thomas Aquinas.
“I think we can compete, we’ll continue to compete,” said Bozoian. “This has been a step up from last year and we’ll continue to plug.”
Giuffrida led all rushers with 123 yards on 16 carries, with Maheux leading West with 114 yards on 22 carries.