Div. III: Bow back rises to occasion
Running back Matt Ehrenberg turns a corner against Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough during Bow's 42-0 victory last Saturday in the Division III semifinals. Ehrenberg is the first Bow player to rush for more than 1,000 yards. (HARRY KOZLOWSKI)
At a glanceDIVISION III
Stevens (8-2) at Bow (9-1), 1 p.m.
Second-seeded Stevens of Claremont will be attempting to win its first state championship in football since 1962 and the school's first state championship in any sport since 1989, when the boys' soccer team won the Class I title. … Top-seeded Bow last won a state title in 2004. … Each team has a 1,000-yard rusher. Stevens' Donald Pellerin has run for 1,377 yards and 22 touchdowns on 255 carries. Bow's Matt Ehrenberg has rushed for a school-record 1,380 yards this season. … Bow posted a 28-14 victory over Stevens in Bow during the regular season. Ehrenberg was held to 75 yards on 15 carries that day, but the Falcons scored in each quarter. Pellerin gained 70 yards on 17 carries in the loss. Stevens quarterback Ryan Tanguay completed 11 of 16 passes for 139 yards. … Bow advanced by defeating previously unbeaten Pelham 18-6 in the Division III South championship game, and then knocked off Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough of Meredith 42-0 in the semifinals. Alex Reitze, who missed the first five games of the season with appendicitis, was Bow's leading rusher against Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough with 98 yards on 14 carries. … Stevens beat Newport 34-6 in the Division III West championship game, and then eliminated Epping-Newmarket 13-0 in the semifinals. … Seven of Bow's opponents failed to score more than seven points. The Falcons have posted four shutouts. Teddy Nappen, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle, is among the standouts on the Bow defense. … Stevens hasn't allowed more than six points in a game since Week 5. The Cardinals have given up 24 points in their last five games.
Roger Brown's pick: Bow 21, Stevens 20
"That would be fantastic," Ehrenberg, a junior, said of Reitze, a senior. "That's what we are all trying to do."
"He's been our go-to guy on the offense since Week 3," said Bow coach Paul Cohen. "Matt is a potent force, someone the other team has to stop.
Ehrenberg, has gained 1,382 yards this year, becoming the first Bow player to surpass 1,000. He's also scored 22 touchdowns, including six in a 43-23 victory over Bishop Brady of Concord and four last week in a 42-0 semifinal rout of Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, a cooperative team of players from two Lakes Region schools.
Ehrenberg started the season as the Falcons' No. 2 back, behind Reitze, but when the senior was felled by illness — coincidentally in that Week 3 victory over Stevens — the junior stepped in and stepped up his game.
Cohen didn't know what he had in Ehrenberg when the season began, the coach said. As a sophomore, Ehrenberg has spent most of his time at defensive back.
Ehrenberg has been so potent on offense, his contributions at safety and on special teams sometimes get overlooked.
"Matt is our field general on defense, commanding everyone in front of him," Cohen said. "We adjusted our defense to facilitate Matt's role."
The adjustment has worked. Bow's average of 8.4 points allowed per game is the best in the entire state, and the Falcons have recorded four shutouts, including two in the last three games.
Cohen expects Stevens to focus on stopping Ehrenberg, but Ehrenberg said such a strategy would only lead to someone else producing for the Falcons.
Bow certainly did that in its first meeting with Stevens, but, said Cohen, "Both teams have improved greatly since we played last."
Before last Saturday's 13-0 shutout of the Epping/Newmarket cooperative team in the semifinals, Stevens had allowed just six points in each of its previous four games.