Pinkerton Astros Football '07

Sun, Nov 04, 2007 12:30 PM @ Pinkerton
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Nashua South 7 13 7 3 30
Pinkerton 7 0 0 0 7

Pinkerton suffers first league loss in 22 games

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Monday, November, 05 By David Willis
Staff writer

DERRY | The feeling was foreign to Pinkerton senior Josh Lane.

"We have a few things we have to deal with if we want to become state champions again," said the lineman. "As a team we need to come together and straighten things out."

For the first time in more than two seasons, the Astros found themselves on the short end of a league game, falling to Nashua South 30-7. The game was postponed a day due to rain.

Pinkerton dropped to No. 2 in the New Hampshire Division 1 playoffs, which start next week. It will host No. 3 Manchester West Saturday at 1 p.m. West qualified by beating Salem on Friday.

The loss snapped a 22-game Division 1 winning streak for the Astros, including four tournament games, two of which state championships. It was Nashua South that handed them their last Division 1 loss, a 13-7 overtime defeat on Oct. 14, 2005. Pinkerton also fell to Brockton (Mass) two weeks ago.

"The difference was our inability to even slow down their offense," said Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly. "Their offense has given us problems for the last few years. If you aren't able to solve that, you'll get into a track meet. ... And we don't have the kind of offense to keep up in a track meet this season."

Pinkerton managed only 129 yards of total offense, its fewest since gaining only 126 yards in a 24-6 loss to Nashua in Week 7 of the 2002 season.

Of those yards, 64 came on the first possession of the game, and 18 came on the final possession when the Purple Panther backups had entered the game.

The Astros also gained just 97 yards on the ground, the first time they failed to break 100 yards rushing in a game since Week 2 of the 2004 season, a loss to Concord.

"We couldn't get the offense going after the first drive, then we had a couple turnovers," said Mike Crupi, a linebacker, fullback and kicker for the Astros. "The defense stepped it up in the second half, but it wasn't enough. We needed to step it up sooner."

The Astros allowed 269 yards to Nashua South and forced them to punt only twice | the final two possessions of the game.

"That is what they do," said O'Reilly. "We made some adjustments that helped, but doing it in practice and getting up in your lanes and making plays in the game is not the same thing."

After the game's opening drive, it looked as if it would be Pinkerton's day once again.

The Astros took the opening kickoff and executed a picture-perfect 10-play drive that resulted in a 4-yard touchdown run for Crupi. After he added the point-after, it was 7-0 Pinkerton.

But Pinkerton managed only three first downs after that drive, and never advanced past the Nashua 30-yard line. Astros QB Peter Mazzola struggled, completing only two of nine passes for 32 yards and was picked off three times.

"We have to worry about beating Manchester West now," said Crupi. "They played us tough the first time, so we have to be prepared."

The Astros squeaked past West, 16-14, in Week 3 of the season. The Blue Knights dominated Pinkerton for much of the first half, leading 14-0, before a goal line stop before halftime vaulted the Astros back into the game.

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