MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Blue Knights of Manchester West High School did not have an auspicious start to their 2021 campaign, falling 60-14 at the hands of the Lebanon Raiders on Friday night.
West struck first, capping off a seven-play, 77-yard drive with a goal line run by Icean Taylor. The Blue Knights would be unable to convert the extra point, but they would have much larger problems in short order.
On the Raiders’ second play from scrimmage, C.J. Childs would easily find daylight on a 42-yard run, and with Tanner Ames’ extra point, the visitors would take a lead they would not relinquish.
That lead would quickly grow throughout the first half, as Lebanon scored touchdowns on their next four offensive plays. Cole Shambo grabbed the first score on a 40-yard run, but that was waved off due to a penalty. However, he would easily score again on the next play, this time from 45 yards out.
Nyeoti Punni Jr. and Childs provided the subsequent one-play drives, finding touchdowns from 53 and 99 yards out respectively. Jackson Stone then factored in scores on the Mauraders’ final two drives of the half, running the ball in from 14 yards out and then connecting with Punni Jr. with 23 seconds left before end of the second quarter.
In contrast, the Blue Knights managed to eat up the clock when they touched the ball with little to show for it, as the five drives after their first score resulted in two fumbles, a punt and two failed fourth down conversions.
Lebanon built on the 41-6 lead at the half as Mason Arado broke through on a 35-yard run just under three minutes into the third quarter, catching a 49-yard pass from Melendy Morgan on Lebanon’s next drive. Melendy would add the two-point conversion, but the Mauraders failed to convert for two-points on their final touchdown of the night, a 33-yard run from Richie Gatto with six seconds left on the clock
West added a consolation score just before Lebanon’s final drive, as Israel Lopez snuck into the end zone from three yards out.
Next week, West will host Hanover on Friday at 7 p.m. while Lebanon will host Hollis-Brookline at the same time.
Friday was not a good night for the football teams from Manchester’s other public schools as well as Manchester Central lost on the road to Portsmouth-Oyster River, 42-6 and Memorial lost to Dover, 40-6.