Sat, Nov 20, 2010
12:00 PM @
Davies drops the Astro hammer
Saturday, November, 20
By Hector Longo
DERRY — Kevin Davies delivers in doses — vicious, painful, repetitive doses.
Yesterday, the bruising Pinkerton Academy junior was lethal, pummeling Nashua North with a state championship up for grabs.
Trailing 7-6 and reeling in the fourth quarter, the top-seeded Astros punched back, hitting North right in the mouth with Davies off tackle.
The adjustment in tactics — and more importantly attitude — fueled the game-winning drive to the Astros’ 10th state championship under coach Brian O’Reilly, 14-7.
“It’s what I have to do,” said Davies, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder. “I’m called on to lay the wood on people.”
Pinkerton, down a point, picked up the ball at its own 23 and put it on the ground per usual. This time, though, Davies took the featured role.
He bulled through the pack to move the chains on 3rd and 1 at the 32.
He pounded for six, then smacked into the pile for eight more. Two downs later came another bone-jarring six yards, followed by a 19-yarder on which he carried a handful of Titans to their own 15. That last run set up Mike Mazzola’s game-winning TD.
“Kevin is a powerhouse, to try and bring him down is … I just don’t utilize him enough,” lauded O’Reilly. “If I could get him off the defense, he’d be a phenomenal offensive player. He just does so much for us on defense.”
A regular on the Astros varsity for three seasons now, Davies clearly understands what it takes to be a champion, except for ordering clothes the right size.
His regular No. 48 jersey, new this year, simply didn’t fit over his carved frame, forcing him to bump up a size to No. 88.
Clearly though, he has been the Astros’ money back.
“All these years of coaching, it takes a while to learn certain things, you have to know all the small nuances of offense. ... I was able to utilize it with my vast experience,” said O’Reilly, a bit tongue in cheek. “Give the ball to Kevin Davies, give the ball to Emmitt Smith and stand back. That’s pretty much all we did. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what to do.”
There have been flashier Pinkerton championship teams, star-laden juggernauts, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a grittier, more hard-nosed group in Astro history.
It’s a group that takes its cue and then nurtures itself with energy from Davies, who seemed pretty satisfied with the Astros’ playoff performance over the last eight days.
“We slugged it out, up and down the field,” said Davies. “Defense won this championship.”
Defense, toughness and attitude — they are three aspects of the game which have been overlooked pretty easily in this era of shootouts and exotic spread offenses.
Davies has infused this Pinkerton program with all three.
When things went awry at any point this season — take a six-penalty for 50-yard second quarter for example — Pinkerton found ways to survive. Most likely, it was about getting back to basics, pounding the ball at people with Davies, and as he said, “slugging it out.”
Yesterday, and for that matter the entire state title season, the Astros reaped the dividends, right to the final whistle of the title win.
P — Kevin Davies 3 run (kick failed), 7:06
NN — Anton Marinchik 36 pass from Brandon Karkhanis (Kyle Regan kick), 11:51
P — Mike Mazzola 15 run (Emmitt Smith run), 7:24
RUSHING: P (45-258) — Emmitt Smith 14-103, Kevin Davies 16-94, Mike Mazzola 5-21, Chris St. Onge 4-19, Manny Latimore 5-18, Luke Somers 1-3; NN (39-81) — Andre Williams 29-88, Jahmar Gathright 8-0, Brandon Karkhanis 2-(-7)
PASSING: P — St. Onge 0-2-0; NN — Karkhanis 14-31-0, 162
RECEIVING: P — none; NN — Anton Marinchik 9-128, Gathright 3-22, Eric Muite 1-11, Williams 1-1