It may have been the Windham High School football team's best performance of the season, and it certainly came at a good time.
Windham's 52-20 triumph over Trinity of Manchester in Windham on Saturday handed the Jaguars sole possession of first place in Division II South.
Windham (7-1) and Trinity (6-2) will meet again when the conference championship game is played in two weeks. Saturday's victory means that contest will likely be played in Windham.
"There are things we can certainly do better, but overall this was a pretty good performance," Windham coach Bill Raycraft said. "We did a great deal of scouting on them. We told the kids they would have to be able to handle a couple of punches from them and we'd have to answer them twofold. They did that."
Windham, which scored 37 points in the second half, received three touchdown passes from junior quarterback Brendan McInnis, who completed 11 of 15 pass attempts for 188 yards. McInnis hooked up with Anthonty Gallo for an 11-yard TD pass in the first half; tossed a 20-yard TD pass to Kellin Bail with 9:32 left in the third; and connected with Joey Frake for a 70-yard TD pass with 10:25 to play.
Windham's other TDs came on a Guillaume Gauthier 4-yard run, Bail's 3-yard run, Kurtis Jolicoeur's 7-yard run and a 16-yard run by Tyler Siverhus. The Jaguars made four two-point conversions, three of them runs by Jolicoeur.
"They're a good football team," Trinity coach Steve Burns said. "They have a good-sized line and they come off the ball, got to our linebackers and created some problems."
After missing three games because of illness, Carmen Giampetruzzi started at quarterback for Trinity. Giampetruzzi was intercepted twice, and the Pioneers also fumbled the ball away twice. Windham scored on three of the four possessions that followed those turnovers.
"I didn't think the offense did too bad," Burns said. "I think we had plenty of yards. The problem became turnovers."
Trinity's Zach Poole ran for two touchdowns (2 and 12 yards). Trinity also scored on a 15-yard TD pass from Giampetruzzi to Ryan Boldwin with 8:15 left.
Merrimack Valley 34, St. Thomas 13: At Dover, Merrimack Valley (7-1) secured the first playoff berth in the program's history with a win over St. Thomas Aquinas, improving to 7-1.
Ivan Niyomugabo threw for two touchdown passes and rushed for two more to lead the way for Merrimack Valley. Cole Martin had a 12-yard touchdown run and Ryan Simoneau hit a 22-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
The loss dropped St. Thomas to 6-2.
Portsmouth 51, Pembroke 7: At Pembroke, quarterback Donovan Phanor tossed three touchdown passes and ran for a TD to help the Clippers improve to 7-1 in Division III. Portsmouth's Joey Auger caught a 21-yard TD pass and ran for a 1-yard TD. The loss dropped Pembroke to 3-5.
Stevens 9, Newport 6: At Newport, Stevens received a 31-yard field goal from Bryan Rouillard and a 1-yard run frm Donald Pellerin. Newport's touchdown came on a 1-yard run by C.J. Lawrence. Newport, Stevens and Mascoma Valley are all 5-2 in Division I West.
Mascoma 59, Newfound 36: At Bristol, wingback Kyle Kosiorek scored six touchdowns to help the Royals raise their Division III record to 5-2. Kosiorek ran for four touchdowns, caught a TD pass and recovered a fumble in the end zone. Mascoma's Andrew Cash had a 9-yard TD run and an 85-yard punt return for a TD.
IL/Moultonborough 18, Winnisquam 8: At Tilton, tailback Nick Brothers ran for two touchdowns and came up with an interception for Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, which raised its Division III record to 4-3. Fullback Nick Hurd added a 16-yard TD run in the victory.