Pinkerton Astros Football '10

Sat, Nov 20, 2010 12:00 PM @ Pinkerton
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Nashua North 0 7 0 0 7
Pinkerton 6 0 0 8 14

Pinkerton stands tall late to win state title

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Saturday, November, 20 By David Willis
Staff writer

DERRY — The most memorable tackle of Pinkerton defensive back Ryan Coombs’ career happened to be delivered to a teammate.

“I was so happy that I charged (co-captain) Luke Somers and tackled him,” said Coombs, with tears of joy flowing from his eyes. “The emotions just hit me like a wall. It was unreal. I have never been so happy or so emotional in my life.”

On fourth down at the Pinkerton 18-yard line, Nashua North attempted a hook-and-latter that the Astros blew up for a loss as the clock expired, giving Pinkerton the New Hampshire Division 1 state title with a 14-7 victory over the Titans yesterday afternoon.

“We did it!” screamed Pinkerton running back Emmitt Smith, leaping high into the air. “This is unreal. I can’t believe it.”

Pinkerton last claimed the Division 1 title in 2007, the final of three straight crowns. They also fell short to Nashua South in the title game in 2008. Nashua North blew the Astros out 33-7 on Sept. 18 for their only New Hampshire loss of the season.

“It’s amazing,” said co-captain Mike Mazzola. “I saw (North running back Andre) Williams go to the ground and I was jumping for joy. We did it.”

With 7:24 left in the game, Mazzola gave the Astros — who had managed just three first downs in the previous 2 1/2 quarters — the lead, breaking through the line and sprinting 15 yards for a touchdown, with Smith adding the two-point conversion.

“We knew we were running out of chances,” said Smith. “We knew we had to throw together one more big drive, and we didn’t let anyone down.”

But back came North.

Following the Astros touchdown, the Titans took over at their 37-yard line and, on 11 plays, drove to the Pinkerton 4-yard line.

However, on fourth down, North’s Brandon Karkhanis fired a pass that the Astros’ Kevin Davies reached up and knock down at the line of scrimmage with 4:07 left in the game. Pinkerton then put together a six-play drive, but had to punt it back to Nashua North with 1:12 left.

The Titans then managed one more drive, advancing to the Astors’ 13-yard line with 14.6 seconds left in the game.

But on third down, Coombs nearly came up with an interception, diving to grab the ball away from the receiver. But the play was ruled incomplete.

“I thought I had the interception,” said Coombs. “It was in my hands and I don’t think it hit the ground. I said to myself he wasn’t going to catch the ball. I wasn’t going to blow the game.”

Then, on fourth down, the Astros easily stuffed the trick play to set off a mammoth celebration on Pinkerton’s home field.

“I am very confident in our defense,” said Somers. “All year we have given up yardage, but in the end we have been a bend-but-don’t-break defense. When it comes to that final play, we have come through and made it.”

Pinkerton opened the game with an eight-play drive that Davies finished off with a 3-yard touchdown run. But, from there, the Astros struggled to find consistency on offense. They managed just three first downs and were called for eight penalties in the second and third quarter.

But, after holding the Titans on fourth down at the Pinkerton 25-yard line late in the third, the Astros managed their best drive of the game.

Pinkerton marched 60 yards on 10 plays — including five carries for 42 yards for Davies. Mazzola then took just his third carry of the game 15 yards for the go-ahead score.

“I had no idea I’d get the ball when I went in,” said Mazzola. “Davies was in there and running great. But he had to come out, so they put me in and coach (Brian O’Reilly) said, ‘You better run as hard as Kevin was running.’

“I was surprised to get the ball. But I had a great hole, and got into the end zone. I was yelling my head off. It was still early so I didn’t know what would happen, but it ended up being the winning score.”

Davies was a force for the Astros, rushing 16 times for 94 very tough yards. Smith was again the spark plug, carrying 14 times for a game-high 103 yards.

After allowing Nashua North to rush for 276 yards in their last meeting, the Astros limited the Titans to just 81 yards rushing on 39 carries yesterday. Karkhanis also finished just 14-of-31 passing.

Davies led the Astros with 10 tackles, while defensive back Brett Liporto had six tackles and a sack, Somers and Andrew Curran each had seven stops and Mazzola and Jesse Trottier each made five tackles.

“We play football to win championships and be part of something special,” said Mazzola. “It was a dream. That is what we did.”

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

P — Kevin Davies 3 run (kick failed), 7:06

Second Quarter

NN — Anton Marinchik 36 pass from Brandon Karkhanis (Kyle Regan kick), 11:51

Fourth Quarter

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

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