Pinkerton punctuates rivalry, beats Brockton, 20-14
BROCKTON, Mass. - For the past 17 years, one thing has been certain when Brockton faces its annual interstate test with Pinkerton Academy of Derry.
The game will be in question until the final minute.
So, why not one last time? With Pinkerton forced to drop Brockton from its schedule next season due to playoff realignment in New Hampshire, Friday night was the finale between two of the most storied programs in New England.
As was the case in 1996, when Pinkerton came in and shocked the Peter Harris-led Boxers, the Astros came away victorious, as five Brockton turnovers proved costly in a 20-14 defeat at Marciano Stadium.
'I mean, say no more,' said Brockton coach Peter Colombo when addressing the four lost fumbles and interception that led Brockton to fall to 3-3.
'There's nobody we can't beat if we don't beat ourselves. I mean, that's a great football team, but we beat ourselves and that makes you upset.'
From the opening possession everyone in attendance knew this would be another classic Brockton-Pinkerton matchup, as the Brockton defense stuffed the Astros on a fourth-and-3 inside the 10 after Pinkerton had driven 64 yards.
However, the first Brockton turnover proved costly as Pinkerton's Sean Conroy recovered a fumble on the Brockton 26.
Two plays later, junior sensation Manny Lattimore, who ran for a game-high 135 yards on 25 carries put the Astros ahead on a 27-yard pitch sweep around left end, 7-0.
After Brockton fumbled on its next possession, a Pinkerton punt led to an 82-yard punt return by Brockton junior Aaron LeClair to pull to within 7-6.
LeClair amassed 254 total yards and two touchdowns, as the junior later added a 64-yard kickoff return to his 99 rushing yards.
A 35-yard kickoff return by Lattimore set up a 33-yard play-action touchdown from Conroy to James Toohey to put Pinkerton ahead, 14-6.
Brockton, in turn, turned in its best offensive possession turning a six-play, 67 yard drive into a 26-yard touchdown run on a pitch sweep by LeClair.
A rollout pass from Micah Morel to Ricardo Calixte on the conversion tied the score at 14 with 3:33 remaining.
Pinkerton (6-1), which had lost nine of the previous 10 in this annual meeting, scored the go-ahead touchdown with just 31 seconds remaining in the half.
The Astros went 58 yards over nine plays while converting a huge fourth-and-3 at the Boxers' 20 on an eight-yard pickup by Lattimore. Lattimore then took a 13-yard sweep down to the Brockton 1, to set-up Ryan Day's winning score on a 1-yard run over left tackle, to take the 20-14 halftime lead.
'It turns out that's the game- winner,' said Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly in his 36th year. 'The way we had Manny rolling in the first half, we didn't think that would be it, but it was.'