Pinkerton Astros Football '11

Sat, Nov 19, 2011 12:00 PM @ Pinkerton
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Playoff Game
Exeter 3 7 3 10 23
Pinkerton 0 13 0 0 13

Turnovers, lack of offense costs Pinkerton in title game

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Sunday, November, 20 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer


DERRY — As often happens in a championship game, it’s the little things that make a world of difference.

And, in the case of Pinkerton Academy, those little things added up to one big defeat.

With a big regular-season win in the books as part of a dominant campaign, the top seeded Astros were a heavy favorite against No. 2 Exeter. But with the offense struggling at its best, and turning over the ball at worst, all the Blue Hawks had to do was be themselves.

Chewing up the clock behind junior Tyler Grant and adding a game-changing element in kicker Logan Laurent, Exeter shocked the Granite State football world along with the 2,000 fans in attendance with a 23-13 victory.

The Astros showed the big-play explosiveness that made the first meeting a rout as Emmitt Smith (game-high 189 yards on 12 carries) busted off a pair of 78-yard jaunts to the end zone in the second quarter, but could never develop a reliable ball-control offense.

On four of their 10 possessions, the Astros suffered at least one penalty. None of those drives yielded any points. And apart from Smith’s breakaways, Pinkerton gained just 117 yards on offense.

More importantly, ball-hawking play from the Blue Hawks forced two crucial Astro turnovers and three overall, starting when junior Ethan Joyce pounced on a loose ball at the Pinkerton 37-yard line midway through the first quarter. And with four minutes left in the third quarter, defensive back Conor Carrier punched a ball free and teammate Joseph Moser recovered near midfield. 

The Astro defense stiffened despite the quality field position, holding Exeter to a pair of Logan Laurent field goals, but the loss of sustained drives hindered Pinkerton all day.

“When two good teams are playing and you make mistakes, that usually doesn’t bode well,” said Astro head coach Brian O’Reilly. “(Exeter) kept the ball out of our hands.”

With help from the errors, the Blue Hawks slowly emerged from the hulking shadows defenders like Kevin Davies, Matt Madden, Matt St. Onge and Jesse Trottier (37 tackles between the four) were casting. Exeter had the ball for 30 of the game’s 48 minutes, running 65 offensive plays. Battering ram Tyler Grant (31 carries, 119 yards) took the starch out of the Astro defense, and halfback Carrier took advantage for the biggest TD of the day.

Running through a huge hole off left tackle, the senior sprinted 37 yards to paydirt with 7:10 left in the game to give the Blue Hawks their first lead of the afternoon, one they wouldn’t relinquish.

“We were just trying to win this any way we could,” Grant said. “We have a little depth at running back and it really helps, to keep fresh legs out there and just keep pounding it down their throat and tiring them out.”

And after a dominating day with three field goals and four touchbacks on kickoffs, Laurent caught a break when his squib kick hit an Astro player with Carrier recovering at the Pinkerton 41. No points came from it but two valuable minutes ran off the clock, time that made an Astro comeback impossible.

“We were going against the wind and we tried to kick it to the second or third level (of Pinkerton’s return team),” Exeter head coach Bill Ball said. “Do you want to put it up and have (Emmitt) Smith catch it on the 5 with a full head of steam?”

Just as he respected Smith’s game-changing abilities, Ball respected the success Pinkerton has earned over the years.

“It’s an honor to come in here and win a game against that program,” said Ball. “I have a lot of respect for that program and those coaches, and to come in and get that done is an honor.”

Game Statistics:

Division 1 championship

First Quarter

E — Logan Laurent FG 35, 0:00

Second Quarter

P — Emmitt Smith 78 run (Ryan Coombs kick), 11:09

P — Smith 78 run (kick failed), 7:14

E — Lucas Gajewski 15 pass from Jamieson Tymann (Laurent kick), 3:42

Third Quarter

E — Laurent FG 40, 0:04

Fourth Quarter

E — Conor Carrier 37 run (Laurent kick), 7:10

E — Laurent FG 23, 2:02



RUSHING: Exeter (59-227) — Tyler Grant 31-119, Conor Carrier 9-71; Pinkerton (27-238) — Emmitt Smith 12-189, Kevin Davies 8-36, Chris St. Onge 4-15, Manny Latimore 3-(-2)

PASSING: Exeter — Jamieson Tymann 2-6-0, 20; Pinkerton — St. Onge 4-10-0, 35

RECEIVING: Exeter — Lucas Gajewski 1-15, Grant 1-5; Pinkerton — Ryan Coombs 1-22, David Andrews 1-14, Latimore 1-6, Smith 1-(-7)

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