SOMERSWORTH — There’s little need to pass the ball if everything can be had on the ground.

Over the course of Somersworth’s 42-6 Division III win over Epping/Newmarket on Friday night, the Hilltoppers attempted just a single pass and it fell incomplete. Instead, Somersworth road the coattails of its two-headed monster in the backfield, as Christian Abkarian (18 carries, 230 yards) and Anthony McHugh (18, 103) combined to rush for 333 yards and five touchdowns.

The Hilltoppers’ sixth touchdown also came via the run, with quarterback Brogan Bonsaint plunging in for a 2-yard score late in the first quarter.

“I thought the offensive line did a real good job,” Somersworth coach Dan Hodsdon said. “We worked all week long getting on our blocks and trying to stay on our blocks. Overall, I think they did a good job of that and they gave these guys (Abkarian and McHugh) an opportunity to get through the first line of defense and get into the second level. They’re pretty dangerous once they get to the second level.”

Abkarian proved as much in the third quarter when he took a handoff and ran through the right side of the offensive line, sprinting free for a 47-yard score that put the Hilltoppers ahead 36-6.

“We were all hitting our blocks and we never gave up,” Abkarian said. “We were hitting the holes 110 percent. If we saw a cut, we just went through it and didn’t look back.”

Abkarian scored his first touchdown with 8:42 remaining in the first quarter. It was the first score of the game for either team, and following a Chase Sprague extra point the Hilltoppers (3-4) led 7-0.

Bonsaint followed with his touchdown roughly eight minutes later with the opening period winding down. A fake field goal saw Sprague pass to Jason Tardif for the two-point conversion and the Hilltoppers carried a 15-0 advantage into the second quarter.

“We had a hard time getting them off the field on defense,” Epping-Newmarket coach Ben Bourgoin said. “In the interior we got pushed around a little bit. We tried a couple of different looks with our 'backers and tackles, but moving forward we have to get physically stronger and a little bit tougher to try to get teams off the field.”

Even when the Blue Devils (1-6) ere able to take possession of the ball, they struggled to move it. Their offensive line had trouble opening up holes for the running backs and it showed as Devon Titus was unable to get loose, totaling just 56 yards on 22 carries, an average of 2.54 yards per rush.

“Our offensive line is young and inexperienced, but they’ll absolutely get it,” Titus said. “Their defensive line did a hell of a job blocking up the holes.”

The line was able to buy enough time for Colby Bost to find Noah Bilodeau for a 10-yard score with just under five minutes left in the first half, which cut the Hilltoppers' lead to 23-6 after McHugh had scored his first touchdown of the game with 9:51 remaining in the second.

McHugh went on to score a second time with 5:47 left in the third quarter, just three minutes before Abkarian ripped off his long touchdown. McHugh then added one last score early in the fourth quarter when he drove his way in from 4 yards out.

The win now gives Somersworth a chance at securing a playoff spot with two games remaining in the regular season.

“We want to make it to the playoffs,” Abkarian said. “We’ll see how it goes then. Hopefully we’ll be 5-4 to end the season. That’s our goal. We just can’t let up now.”

The Hilltoppers will host Kearsage next Friday, while Epping/Newmarket will be home against Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton next Saturday.



Somersworth 15 8 13 6—42

Epping/Newmarket 0 6 0 0—6

First Quarter

Som—Abkarian 10 run (Sprague kick), 8:42.

Som—Bonsaint 2 run (Tardif pass from Sprague), :05.

Second Quarter

Som—McHugh 11 run (Bonsaint run), 9:51.

EN—Bilodeau 10 pass from Bost (pass failed), 4:55.

Third Quarter

Som—McHugh 5 run (pass failed), 5:47.

Som—Abkarian 47 run (Sprague kick), 2:48.

Fourth Quarter

Som—McHugh 4 run (pass failed), 11:54.


RUSHING—Somersworth, Abkarian 18-230, McHugh 18-103, Suwu 1-18, Holland 3-13, Thelusma 2-7, Bonsaint 2-6. Epping.Newmarket Titus 22-56, Moore 3-10, O’Neil 3-7, Hale 1-7, Bost 1-(minus 1).

PASSING—Somersworth, Bonsaint 0-1—0. Epping/Newmarket, Bost 7-16—55 (TD).

RECEIVING—Epping/Newmarket, Bilodeau 3-30, Moore 4-25.