The Lancer football team’s advantage? The man in ‘The Nest.’

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The Lancer football team’s advantage? The man in ‘The Nest.’

Lancer defenders pose with defensive coordinator, Coach Clement. The Lancers completed an undefeated season with a dominant defense led by Clement.

Lancer defenders pose with defensive coordinator, Coach Clement. The Lancers completed an undefeated season with a dominant defense led by Clement.

Courtesy of Cole Keegan

Lancer defenders pose with defensive coordinator, Coach Clement. The Lancers completed an undefeated season with a dominant defense led by Clement.

Courtesy of Cole Keegan

Courtesy of Cole Keegan

Lancer defenders pose with defensive coordinator, Coach Clement. The Lancers completed an undefeated season with a dominant defense led by Clement.

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“It’s the man up in the box,” said senior cornerback, Matt Pemberton.

“We couldn’t do it without his knowledge,” said senior safety, Alex Tsetsilas.

“We call him the hidden player,” said senior cornerback, Kyle Proulx.

This man behind this dominating defense isn’t on the field or the sidelines. Rather, he’s the genius in the press box. This hidden player is Coach Clement, the defensive coordinator for the Londonderry Lancers. 

Under his leadership, the Lancers’ starting defense for the undefeated team gave up the least amount of points in the state, having given up 95 total points this year. This is on average 10 points allowed a game. 

But how does Clement do it? 

To get it you have to understand why Clement became a coach in the first place. 

“I fell in love with the game of football at 7-8 years old,” Clement said. “I believe football teaches you all the valuable lessons; hard work, putting the team first, teamwork, and how preparation can beat talent any day.” 

Clement learned these lessons while being a “standout defensive back” at Manchester West according to londonderrylancerfootball.com. His senior season may have ended, but he didn’t stop there. 

“Since I graduated, I knew I always wanted to share that knowledge and give back,” Clement said.

Where did this guy learn so much about the game? Well, it wasn’t easy I can tell you that.

“We were still [using] VHS and DVDs, so I got a projector at a yardsale, and a group of us used to watch film in my basement,” Clement said. “It’s an ongoing process. I’ve studied a lot about the game, and I try to keep learning by attending clinics in the off-season.”

According to his players, the knowledge he has obtained through the many hours of dedication led him to be able to come up with the best defensive schemes for the team. 

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some of the Lancer defenders had to say:

“Coach has given us the perfect game plan every week to destroy the offense of other teams,” said senior linebacker Tyler Kayo.

“I feel like we’re unstoppable when I’m out there because of the preparation he puts us through,” said junior linebacker Will Reyes.

“His game plans always have us working together and emphasizes that if we don’t work as a team, the defense won’t work,” said senior linebacker Jeff Wiedenfield.

It may look easy to call plays for a defense, just say the name of the play and see how the team does, right? 

It’s not quite that easy.

If you call the wrong adjustment, it can turn into a touchdown for the other team. A lot of time and attention to detail goes into creating a game plan, along with pure focus during games to know what to call. 

“On average I would watch 5-10 hours of film a week,” Clement said. “I try to find what they do best and take it away. We play multiple coverages and fronts in order to cause confusion for the offense.” 

Five to ten hours of film is not all Clement does for one opponent. 

Clement has to use his knowledge of both sides of the ball in order to find the right defensive setup, he needs to know how the other coach thinks, what he likes to do. Therefore, he dives into the analytics of the other teams’ play calling. 

It’s much more than calling plays, it’s a complete chess match. 

“I’m big on tendencies. Every team has them,” Clement said. “Do certain formations correlate with a certain play? Do certain motions/alignments correlate to certain plays? When do they like to pass the ball?, Now I don’t do everything by numbers. I call plays based on the feel of the game. Do we need a big play? Or can I play it safe?”

Londonderry took in Clement’s knowledge and only let up 14 points in the semi-final win against the Salem Blue Devils, who were ranked 3rd in the state, and who were said to be Londonderry’s downfall. 

Londonderry took the road to UNH to play for the state championship against the Exeter Blue Hawks. The Hawks were praised in the Union Leader about their defense and how they would cause problems for Londonderry’s dominant defense.

In a November 2019 article, reporter Roger Brown of the Union Leader previewed the state championship matchup between Londonderry and Exeter. He wrote:

The Blue Hawks are a clock-killing machine on offense (they had a 20-play, 14-minute drive in Saturday’s semifinal victory over Merrimack) and you won’t find a sounder team on defense … And what will make things extra-tough on Londonderry’s defense is the fact that this Exeter team — unlike many past Exeter teams — can and will throw the football.” 

This negative coverage didn’t phase Clement.

“I’ve never cared about my name in the papers,” Clement said. “The defensive unit knows how hard we work, and the results speak for them.” 

The game against Exeter was said to be the Lancers’ most difficult game this season, but the defense rose to the occasion and won the state championship, 21-10. 

But the game did not come easy. 

Exeter surprised the state by going up on the Lancers in the second half—the first team to do it this season. Defense was a huge part in this game, and Clement took that challenge on. 

 “I tried mixing up coverages and fronts almost every play to give different looks,” Clement said. “We also blitzed quite a bit to cause some chaos.”

With a team as close as this one, nothing comes nearly as special as this moment for them. That wasn’t just a football team playing at “The Swamp.” (The Lancer fan section.) It was a complete family of brothers playing their hearts out for each other, doing anything to get a win for each other.

“A couple of words I would use are surreal and validated,” Clement said. “Coach Lauzon, my brother, and I had this dream since we were kids playing football ourselves. Also, the story behind this team with all of the hard work from both the players and coaches, it was a great moment to change the culture for Lancer football and bring a title home to LHS.’’ 

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