NHIAA Div. III: (Brandon) Bell tolls for Stevens in win
Junior fullback Brandon Bell had his best offensive performance of the season Saturday, and it came at a good time.
On a day when the Epping-Newmarket football team bottled up Stevens of Claremont running back Donald Pellerin, Bell gained 118 yards on 13 carries to help the second-seeded Cardinals defeat the third-seeded Blue Devils 13-0 in the Division III semifinals.
Pellerin scored both touchdowns, but was held to 45 yards on 18 carries.
"They had the best (defensive) game plan we've seen all year," Stevens coach Paul Silva said. "They took away the outside, so we kept giving it to Brandon. He had a 100-yard game against Farmington, but he had a 70-yard run that day. He earned it in this one with a lot of 7-yard runs and 8-yard runs. He was just outstanding for us."
Stevens did all of its scoring in the first quarter. Pellerin scored on runs of 2 and 20 yards.
Stevens (8-2) will face top-seeded Bow (9-1) in Saturday's Division III championship game. Bow moved on by beating fourth-seeded Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough of Meredith, 42-0.
Stevens will be appearing in a championship game for the first time since 2005, when it dropped a 15-13 decision to Hanover in the Division IV title game. The Cardinals haven't won a state championship since 1962.
Bow beat Stevens 28-14 during the regular season, but the Cardinals have won seven games in a row since that loss.
"I wasn't happy with our lack of physicality in that game," Silva said. "From that point on they stepped up."
Stevens hasn't allowed more than six points any of its last five games.
Epping-Newmarket completed its season with a 5-5 record.
"Ross (Epping-Newmarket coach Ross Salovitch) has done a great job with that program," Silva said. "They're a much better team than people give them credit for."