---- — GOFFSTOWN — Salem’s quest to spoil Goffstown High School’s Homecoming celebration fell short yesterday, losing in a back-and-forth contest 28-22.
The Blue Devils, who were coming off their first victory since November of 2011 over Manchester West last weekend to snap a 17-game losing streak, came just short of defeating the Grizzlies of Goffstown in a game that saw the two teams exchange turnovers and touchdowns in the second half.
After receiving the game’s opening kickoff, Salem burned almost eight minutes off the clock on their first drive, but they couldn’t get any points on the board after a missed field goal attempt.
The lone points of the first half came after a costly miscue by the Blue Devils. After forcing Goffstown to punt after their first drive, the return team for Salem couldn’t handle the punt, and Goffstown recovered the ball. Just a few plays later, Casey Gervais hit Connor Borque on an 8-yard slant to put the Grizzlies up 7-0 with just over a minute left in the first quarter.
Defense was the name of the game for the rest of the second quarter, as Salem’s Chris Stanton picked off a Gervais pass on the Grizzlies’ second drive, and he then swatted away another pass that could have gone for a touchdown on the next drive to force a punt.
The game went into halftime with the Blue Devils trailing 7-0.
Unlike the first half, the second half was all about offense.
Goffstown opened up the half with a 53-yard drive that ended with Gervais scoring up the middle on a 3-yard QB keeper that expanded the Goffstown lead to 14-0 with 9:27 left in the third quarter.
Salem quickly rebounded with a touchdown drive of its own, with Jason Martinez scoring the first of his three touchdowns. The PAT attempt was blocked, making the score 14-6 in favor of Goffstown.
During halftime, Salem head coach Rob Pike told his team “all it takes is one play and we’re back in it.” Well, that one play was about to happen.
On the ensuing kickoff, Goffstown was unable to handle the squib kick rolling up the sideline. The ball was recovered by Salem deep in Grizzlies territory and they made the most of it. Jason Martinez added to his touchdown total just a few plays later with a 14-yard scamper up the middle. Salem converted the two-point conversion to tie the ballgame with 6:37 left in the third quarter, battling back from a 14-0 deficit.
Two drives later, with the score still tied, Salem’s quarterback John Cerretani threw an interception that gave Goffstown the ball on Salem’s 37-yard line. Goffstown would capitalize with a touchdown, and they would score again two drives later on an 8-yard reception by Paul Texeira.
Down by 14 points once again, Salem tried to climb back into the game. On the Blue Devils’ ensuing drive, they marched 64 yards in 3:16. Martinez capped the drive off with an 8-yard touchdown along with a two-point conversion.
Martinez finished the game with 40 carries for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
It wasn’t enough, though, as Goffstown was able to hold Salem off in the game’s final minutes.
“We had our chances,” said Pike. “They made a play and all you can do is tip your hat to them and hope that you can get better.”
Goffstown 28, Salem 22
Salem: 0 0 14 8 — 22
Goffstown: 7 0 14 7 — 28
S — Jason Martinez 3 run (kick blocked)
S — Martinez 14 run (Martinez rush)
S — Martinez 8 run (Martinez rush
RUSHING: S — Martinez 40-167
PASSING: S — John CerRetani 5-13-2, 75