NEWPORT — The regular season for the Newport Tigers ends Saturday and the “real season” is scheduled to start on Saturday, Nov. 9.
Based on its current 3-5 record and a two-game winning streak, it looks like Newport will end up in seventh place in the Division III standings with a win over 1-7 Epping-Newmarket on the road Saturday.
That would see the Tigers likely facing Trinity in the opening round of the playoffs. Trinity is currently 7-1 with a six game winning streak and should have no trouble taking down Somersworth Friday night to end the regular season at 8-1.
And that would set up a first-round tournament contest against Trinity, expected to end the regular season at 8-1.
That matchup will be something special for the Tigers. John Thibault, the star running back for Trinity, wore a Newport uniform during his first two years of high school.
Last week Thibault scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 75 and 90 yards as Trinity downed Stevens, 36-13.
Newport took over seventh place in the DIII standings with a 14-6 victory over Somersworth before a slim crowd at Maryn Field on Saturday. The eight-point margin of victory came much harder than the score indicates.
At first, it looked easy when quarterback Marius Edwards dashed into the end zone for the Tigers on a fourth and one situation from the 21-yard line with 7:47 remaining in the first period. He booted the extra point and the Tigers had a quick 7-0 lead.
The teams swapped possession back and fourth until the 4:46 mark of the second period when Laconia recovered a Newport fumble to set up the Sachems only score of the game.
Following an incomplete pass, Aarohn Dethvongsa found some room to run down the right sideline for a touchdown. A run for two extra points was stopped, protecting Newport’s 7-6 lead at halftime.
In the fourth period Newport was on the move when another fumble turned the ball over to Laconia again. The visitors drove deep into Newport territory when Darshawn Chesser picked off a deflected Laconia pass and picked up some major yardage on a runback.
Newport was at the Laconia 13-yard line when a running play lost 10 yards. At that point, on a third and 20, Edwards lofted a soft pass to tight end John Proper who scored easily and with another successful extra point kick by Edwards, Newport had a bit of a cushion with a 14-6 lead and only 2:42 remaining in the game.
The TD was a first for Proper in his entire football career that started when he was in the fourth grade. “I had never scored a point in my life until today,” Proper said following the Tiger victory. He also had a pair of sacks in the first half.
Coach Proper got some help with that play from his own players. They suggested going to the pass play as the Laconia defense had been blitzing. It was the right call. In fact, running back Josh Sharron was standing right next to Proper when he hauled in the pass. There was not a Laconia defensive player around either Newport player.
Sharron was also involved in a great defensive play with 1:03 remaining in the game. Laconia was on the Newport four-yard line with a fourth and three situation. Sharron broke through the Laconia line and sacked quarterback Ryan Dee, giving Newport the ball back at its own 4-yard line.
Sharron was Newport’s leading rusher with 17 carriers good for 96 yards.
After the game, Coach Proper said Trinity has played all good teams on its schedule. As for Thibault, Proper knows his potential. Next week it will be Newport’s turn to try and stop him.
The lone Trinity loss this season came against undefeated Lebanon, 21-7. In its seven victories to date Trinity has averaged 44.9 points per game.