Sat, Sep 08, 2012
01:00 PM @
Pinkerton falls in title game rematch
Saturday, September, 08
By David Willis
DERRY — Pinkerton entered yesterday with revenge on its mind, hosting the team that shocked the Astros in the title game a season ago.
Unfortunately for Pinkerton, they left their home turf yesterday with the same frustration.
“We still have a sour taste in our mouth from last year’s championship game,” said quad-captain Matt St. Onge. “We still remember that. We wanted revenge. Now we have an even worst taste in our mouth because we couldn’t come up with a win today.”
For the second straight week, the Astros struggled to find consistency on offense, and their defense fell victim to a pair of key big plays on the way to a 24-20 loss to Exeter in a battle of the No. 1 and 2-ranked teams in New Hampshire, and a rematch of last season’s Division 1 state title game.
“We expected a battle and we played our hearts out,” said quad-captain Chris St. Onge. “But we came up short. We were hungry for this one, but coming up short makes us want to see them again (in the title game) that much more. I really feel like we will see them again.”
A week after grabbing six turnovers in an opening-day victory, it was the Astros the were hurt by miscues. Exeter turned a pair of Pinkerton turnovers into points, the first touchdown of the day and the game-clinching field goal.
“We threw two interceptions and we aren’t even a passing team,” said Astros coach Brian O’Reilly. “We gave them that first touchdown, and we sure didn’t help ourselves out on the second one.”
Pinkerton’s offense scuffled badly in the second half, gaining 73 yards after halftime — 66 of those yards coming on a Manny Latimore touchdown run – and no first downs on just 12 plays. This marked a far cry from last year’s regular season matchup between the two teams, when Pinkerton rushed for a stunning 449 yards against Exeter.
“We have some issues (on offense) we need to work out,” said O’Reilly. “Defense was tough, but we gave up a couple of long runs, which happens against the straight-T (offense).”
Pinkerton seemed to be starting in style, as Chris St. Onge took the opening kickoff back to the Exeter 10-yard line. But the return was nullified due to a holding penalty, and a play later Exeter picked off a pass and the next play turned it into seven points.
The Astros responded quickly with a 66-yard drive that Chris St. Onge finished off with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
After the Blue Hawks retook the lead, Pinkerton employed some trickery to reclaim momentum. Quarterback Sean Conroy pitched to Chris St. Onge — the former quarterback who moved running back this season — and he connected with James Toohey on a 53 yard pass. Four plays later, Matt St. Onge rushed for a 1-yard score.
Pinkerton then seemed to steal momentum midway through the third, trailing 21-14, when Latimore — who had been held to only 7 yards in the first half — broke free for his 66-yard score. But a missed extra point prevented the Astros from tying the game, and Exeter tacked on a field goal in the fourth to lock down the victory.
Big plays hurt Pinkerton, as Tyler Grant notched touchdown runs of 54 and 60 yards on his way to 197 yards on 20 carries for the day. Grant rushed for a team-high 119 yards in last year’s title game.
“I can’t really figure out quite what happened,” said Matt St. Onge. “I thought we played tough between the tackles, but those couple of big plays hurt us. We played tough, but they played tough too.”
Massive 330-pound tackle Phil Harper was a force in the middle for Pinkerton, making nine tackles. Camden Crowell added eight tackles while both St. Onge brothers and Latimore chipped in with six stops each. Conroy picked off a pass for the Astros.
“We have some adjustments we need to make,” said Chris St. Onge. “I knew we can beat them if we see them again. I know we can straighten it out.”
E — Jameson Whiteley 18 pass from Ethan Joyce (Matt Oppiei kick), 10:58
P — Chris St. Onge 3 run (Erik Anderson kick), 7:26
E — Tyler Grant 54 run (Oppiei kick), 10:55
P — Matt St. Onge 1 run (Anderson kick), 6:28
E — Grant 60 run (Oppiei kick), 8:42
P — Manny Latimore 66 run (kick failed), 7:51
E — Oppiei 31 field goal, 5:33
RUSHING: P (31-148) — Manny Latimore 4-73, Sean Conroy 7-26, Chris St. Onge 10-22, Matt St. Onge 8-22, Matt Madden 2-5; E (42-265) — Tyler Grant 20-197, James Vogt 9-38, Ethan Joyce 3-14, Chris Kelley 5-7, Galen Anthony 3-9
PASSING: P — C. St. Onge 1-1-0, 53, Conroy 3-7-2, 53; E — Joyce 1-6-1, 18
RECEIVING: P — James Toohey 2-72, C. St. Onge 1-29, M. St. Onge 1-5; E — Jameson Whiteley 1-18