BEDFORD, N.H. — After waiting nearly two full quarters, Windham finally found the play that seemed to swing the momentum.
Senior Riley Desmarais took a handoff, broke a tackle and sprinted 59 yards for the touchdown with 13 seconds left that sent the Jaguars into halftime trailing by just 10 points to defending Division 1 champion Bedford.
“That was a good flash for what we can be,” said Windham head coach Jack Byrne. “We’re here to swing for a the fences, and that was an exciting play.”
Bedford, however, responded with scores on three straight possessions in the third quarter, to pull away from Windham for a 41-7 victory in the season-opener for both teams.
“We made tons of little mistakes,” said Byrne, in his first season as Jags head coach following nine seasons as the team’s defensive coordinator. “Some of those mistakes were devastating. Things like special teams fumbles are so hard to come back from. But we can bounce back from that.”
Windham’s defense was up to the task early, forcing the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs on each of their first two possessions.
But two Jaguar turnovers quickly turned into two Bedford touchdowns.
“With how we matched up with those guys, we needed to make some big plays,” said Byrne. “We had to establish the run to tire them out, and catch some balls. But we didn’t do that. They did a great job stopping the run, and that prevented us from spreading out the field.”
After Windham was limited to 21 yards through the first half, Desmarais finally delivered the Jaguars a jolt when he broke his 59-yard score with 13 seconds remaining before halftime.
But Windham couldn’t build off that momentum, managing just one more deep drive into Bedford territory, on a 36-yard QB sneak by Rocky Heres.
“We have leadership, team speed, it’s all there,” said Byrne, whose Jags host Goffstown in their home-opener next Saturday. “We just have to find the little things that will open up the big changes for us.”
Bedford 41, Windham 7
Windham (0-1): 0 7 0 0 — 7
Bedford (1-0): 14 3 17 7 — 41
B — Michael Akstin 9 run (Ryan Bobotas kick), 2:25
B — Jack Grogan 4 run (Bobotas kick), 0:03
B — Bobotas 22 field goal, 0:56
W — Riley Desmarais 59 run (Adam Burke kick), 0:13
B — Akstin 19 run (Bobotas kick), 8:51
B — Bobotas 30 field goal, 5:58
B — Elie Menderson 53 run (Bobotas kick), 0:00
B — Aaron Skaling 80 run (Bobotas kick), 2:04
RUSHING: Windham (41-140) — Riley Desmarais 10-63, CJ Giardino 10-12, Rocky Heres 6-40, Thomas Travers 6-18, Curtis Shattuck 4-2, Dev Patel 3-1, Stephen Mague 1-3, Dan Charest 1-1; Bedford (39-296) — Michael Akstin 24-114, Elie Menderson 4-92, Aaron Skaling 2-77, Solomon Sanchez 4-23, Jack Grogon 1-4, Joseph Mikol 4-(-14)
PASSING: Windham — Kyle Keenan 0-9-0, Thomas Travers 2-10-1, 42, Stephen Mague 1-5-0, 11; Bedford — Mikol 5-19-0, 26
RECEIVING: Windham — Joey Dasilva 1-34, Bobby DiCicco 1-11, Stefan Robert 1-8; Bedford — Timothy Greene 3-15, Sanchez 2-11