Bishop Guertin Cardinals Football '08

Fri, Sep 05, 2008 07:00 PM @ Bishop Guertin
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Pinkerton 0 0 3 0 3
Bishop Guertin 7 3 0 0 10

Shorthanded Astros fall in opener

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NASHUA, N.H. — Despite battling injuries before the kickoff and subpar play for almost three quarters, Pinkerton still found itself within a touchdown against a jacked-up Bishop Guertin squad.

But when junior speedster Eric Guinto was felled by cramps in both legs and left the contest for good early in the fourth quarter, Astros head coach Brian O’Reilly realized his offensive gun had essentially run out of bullets. The highly anticipated season-opening clash ended up on the side of the Division 2 Cardinals, 10-3 over the three-time defending Division 1 champs before around 2,000 fans at steamy Stellos Stadium.

"It’s our fault we lost," O’Reilly said. "(Bishop Guertin’s) a fine football team, and I’m sorry when I say that if it takes anything away from their victory, but we should have taken control early on and we didn’t."

Pinkerton had a shot to get on the scoreboard first when senior Dennis Stevens recovered a Guertin fumble on its first possession at the Cardinal 34-yard line, followed by two carries by Guinto (15 attempts, 130 yards) that quickly set the Astros just four yards from paydirt.

But missed connections on a second-down handoff put the ball on the turf and Cardinal defensive end Pat Rhodes recovered it at the 8. And behind Elias Kassis (11 carries, 80 yards) and Adam Hall (6 carries, 59 yards), Guertin made the turnover hurt even more as the hosts traversed the 92-yard distance to score.

After six plays moved the Cardinals to the Astro 41, Hall took an option pitch from quarterback Andy Vailas and busted cleanly down the right sidelines to the end zone. Clark Preston’s point-after kick with 5:59 left in the opening quarter gave Guertin all it would need to win.

The turnover was only the start of Pinkerton’s offensive horror show. Going into the game without 245-pound junior guard Matt Crow as well as running backs Scott Lefleur (leg injury, out for the year), Colby Verge (out indefinitely) and Chris George (broken arm, cleared for defensive play only late this week), the three-time defending Division 1 champion Astros played like an inexperienced team.

Six first-half possessions ended with four lost fumbles, an interception and a punt as Pinkerton finished with six turnovers. In between, running backs ran into blockers, snaps and handoffs weren’t always clean, all things out of character for the Astros.

Pinkerton’s defense held its ground, yielding just a 22-yard Preston field goal in the second quarter while forcing three first-half fumbles, which were recovered by Stevens, Ryan Sullivan and George.

The offense opened the second half with a nice drive. With Guinto on the bench, a 44-yard screen pass from junior quarterback Ryan Simpson (8 of 11, 112 yards) to Matt Mangano led to a 32-yard Shawn Clukey field goal midway through the third quarter.

But the injury bug continued to bite.

Sophomore Zach Tulley was lost for possibly the rest of the season in the second half. Then Guinto, after having both legs worked on between quarters, limped off the field after the second play of the fourth quarter not to return.

"With the other guys out, everything focused around Eric," O’Reilly explained. "Once Eric went out ... I’m not a magician. I did what I could, but it was very hard.

"If you told me we’d hold them to 10 points, I’d feel we’d win easily. But you can’t run a traditional offense with no fullback and no wingback. If we do get them back, maybe we can, but all I’ve got now is a whole bunch of little guys. And it still should have worked but we turned the ball over six times."

BG was without coach Tony Johnson, who was suspended for a game for criticizing the officials after the Cardinals’ loss to Exeter in last fall’s Division 2 title matchup.

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

BG — Adam Hall 41 run (Clark Preston kick), 5:59

Second Quarter

BG — Preston 22 FG, 10:21

Third Quarter

P — Shawn Clukey 32 FG, 6:03



RUSHING: Pinkerton (40-121) — Eric Guinto 15-130, Mike Mazzola 1-12, Matt Mangano 6-10, Jeff Guilherme 2-1, Christian Diaz 1-(-5), Ryan Simpson 15-(-27); Bishop Guertin (37-175) — Elias Kassis 11-80, Adam Hall 6-59

PASSING: P (8-14-1, 112) — Simpson 8-11-0, 112; Luke Somers 0-3-1, 0; BG (2-5-0, 30) — Andy Vailas 1-4-0, 25; Tony Phillips 1-1-0, 5

RECEIVING: P — Mangano 4-75, Guinto 1-17, Mazzola 1-10, Mark Maguire 1-5, Colton Desmarais 1-5; BG — Pat Rhodes 1-25, Timmy Ahern 1-5

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