GOFFSTOWN, N.H. – With playoff plans looming, the Crusaders of Manchester Memorial found a harsh reminder that they have not yet completed their transformation from perennial doormat to title contender.
Memorial concluded their 2020 football regular season on Saturday with a 46-13 loss to undefeated Goffstown.
The Grizzlies 46 points came unanswered following Memorial’s opening drive touchdown, a five-yard score from Erik Seymore just over three minutes into the contest.
Memorial did have a golden opportunity to respond to Goffstown’s first touchdown, an eight-yard run by senior quarterback Jeremy Henault, but a red-zone interception by Goffstown junior Caden Perry stole the Crusaders’ momentum.
“I think any time you can get a turnover when you’re in your own red zone, it’s important in changing the game said Goffstown Head Coach Nick Hammond.
That would mark the first of three interceptions on the day for Memorial quarterback Jeffrey Josefik, with Goffstown junior Toby Halpern immediately forcing a fumble on a completed pass to Christian Sebo that would turn into a Goffstown score.
Between poor secondary play and squandered moments like Sebo’s 84-yard kickoff return in the first half that ended in a missed Will Clark field goal or the successful 13-yard fake punt rush by Clark later in the first half that went for naught, Memorial had more than enough mistakes to hand victory to a team of Goffstown’s caliber.
“For the most part in the first half we were able to stop them from driving consistently, but if you blink your eye they throw an 80-yard touchdown pass or they make you miss a tackle. They’re great athletes,” said Memorial Head Coach Rob Sturgis regarding Goffstown. “They tire you out with their big physical rushing game and their tempo and their defense does a good job of being aggressive and they don’t miss tackles. If you don’t take advantage of the opportunities they give you, you’ll struggle.”
Goffstown’s lead grew to 24-7 at the half thanks to a four-yard touchdown from senior Zach Picard and a 47-yard touchdown completion from Henault to junior Adam Lydick.
Henault added a fourth touchdown just one play into the first half, connecting with Perry for a 44-yard passing score. Picard added Goffstown’s other score, a 34-yard rush with just seconds left in the third quarter.
Junior Braden Hafeman added Memorial’s other touchdown, a five-yard run with under a minute left in the contest.
Junior Kai Colson led the Crusaders on the ground with 86 yards on the day, with Picard providing 182 rushing yards for the Grizzlies.
Henault connected on six of his 19 passing attempts, throwing for 169 yards and an interception in addition to those two passing touchdowns.
Josefik was 13-for-29 for 72 yards.
Both teams now head to the playoffs with Goffstown able to claim the crown of Division I North Conference Regular Season Champion, although schedules for the playoffs remain undetermined.