Hillsboro-Deering pulls away from West, 7-4

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MANCHESTER, NH — Forwards Mason Ferwerda and Brady Curly each notched a hat trick to lead Hillsboro-Deering past West High, 7-4, in a wide-open shootout, Thursday afternoon at William Bill Meisel Veterans Memorial Field.

Curly’s goals all came in the second half, as the Hillcats’ relentless offense wore down the Blue Knights to break open a close game.

Japhari Ramadhani, Sotir Agalliu and Kombozi Amosi had goals for West.

Despite seeing his team drop to 2-7-0, Head Coach Fernando Martinez was pleased with what he sees as progress from the Blue Knights in recent games. The team posted a stunning 3-2 upset win over Derryfield School earlier this week and the performance Thursday was competitive, against a Hillsboro-Deering team that beat West 7-2 earlier this season and 12-0 last year.

“It’s step-by-step. It’s a slow process but there’s progress,” said Martinez. “We have the players we need for this team, we just have to keep practicing and improving.”

West hasn’t had any problem scoring this season, though the four goals on Thursday marked a season high. The Achilles’ Heel for the Blue Knights has been in the defensive end, having allowed an average of 4.0 goals per game entering Thursday’s contest.

Unfortunately for West, Hillsboro-Deering (6-4-0) boasts a high-octane offense has averaged nearly 5 goals a game in 2023. Thursday’s game marked the fifth game this season the Hillcats have scored at least seven goals.

Not surprisingly, Hillsboro-Deering came out firing on all cylinders. But for the first half, West was able to match the pace and scored twice in the first 12 minutes to take a 2-0 lead. The first score came on an “own goal” in the 7th minute, as a loose ball in front of the net deflected off a Hillsboro-Deering player into the net.

Four minutes later, Max Houde sent Ramadhani in with a beautiful through pass, and Ramadhani beat Hillcats’ keeper Brayden Savoy cleanly to double the Blue Knights’ lead.

Hillsboro-Deering was able to regroup and came roaring back to take the lead. Dylan Brown got the Hillcats on the board, before Ferwerda tallied a pair. Ferwerda’s second goal, the 50th of his career, came on a penalty kick and put the Hillcats on top, 3-2, in the 20th minute.

West answered with a curling bomb from 35 yards by Agalliu, who tucked his shot neatly under the crossbar to the left of Savoy, tying the game, 3-all. It looked like the teams might head into the intermission tied but in the final minute, Ferwerda took a sensational through pass from Brown, dribbled once down the left side and beat West keeper Mahood Ali (8 saves) to his left, along the ground, to finish off his hat trick and give H-D a 4-3 lead.

In the second half, Curly took over, scoring a natural hat trick, with each goal coming from the right wing. His third goal, off a pretty feed from Ferwerda, came in the 72nd minute and put H-D up, 7-3.

Despite playing catch up throughout the second half, West continued to move the ball well in the offensive end and had several scoring chances. Midway through half, with West trailing, 5-3, Ramadhani used some nifty footwork to get a clean look from around 15 yards, only to have the shot sitter just wide of the post.

Moments later, as they pressed the attack, the Blue Knights were awarded a penalty kick after a foul in the box. Amosi took the shot but Savoy made a brilliant save with a dive to his left.

Amosi would get another opportunity for a PK after Ramadhani was taken down hard just inside the box in the final two minutes. This time, Amosi used the outside of his foot to shoot and beat Savoy to his right to close out the scoring.

West returns to action Monday afternoon with a road game at Winnisquam (1-6-0). The Blue Knights’ next home game is Wednesday at 6 p.m. versus Raymond (2-5-0).


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Bill Gilman

Bill Gilman is a veteran journalist with 33 years of experience covering community news and sports in New England. He and his wife have two grown sons and two perfect granddaughters.