DERRY — Pinkerton Academy head coach Brian O’Reilly said his Astros did something Friday they couldn’t do last week against Bedford: run the ball with authority.
His team overcame a 14-0 deficit to defeat Central, 37-20, in Derry Friday. Pinkerton runners, led by Manny Latimore, racked up 247 yards rushing.
“That was missing last week and it was missing in the first quarter” said O’Reilly. “That’s what our program has always been about: dominating the line of scrimmage.”
Pinkerton dug itself a hole early with two quick turnovers. A fumble on the handoff to Manny Lattimore gave Central the ball on the 19.
Five plays later Jorge Gomes punched the ball in from the 3. With a successful two-point conversion Central led 8-0.
On the ensuing Astros possession, Central’s Tyler Kelly intercepted a pass from Jacob Froehlich and Central had the ball again at their 33.
That turnover led to a 60-yard touchdown pass to Abe Madra. After a failed conversion the Little Green led 14-0 after one quarter.
But the tables turned in the second quarter when Central began coughing up the ball.
Jesiah Wade put the ball on the ground and Pinkerton turned it into a touchdown. After a three-and-out, Pinkerton drove to a second score to tie the game at 14.
Then with only seconds remaining on the clock another Central gave the Astros the ball at the Little Green 49.
That was just enough time for quarterback Jack Hanaway to complete a 35-yard pass and put the Astros in field goal range. The 30-yard kick made it 17-14 at the half.
Central received the ball to start the third quarter and Wade fumbled again at the Central 39. Jason Hanson capped off the drive with a three-yard plunge to make it 23-14 Astros.
But despite the miscues Central stuck with Wade and it paid off when scored for the Little Green on the following drive. The touchdown and missed conversion made it 23-20 Pinkerton.
A fake punt helped the Astros extend their next drive and it led to another Jason Hanson touchdown to make it 30-20.
The Pinkerton defense held Central and the Astros had the ball back with 6:45 to go. Hanaway kept giving the ball to running backs TJ Urbanik and Ryan Day, who gashed a tired Central defense.
Finally Lattimore punched it in from three yards out and the Astros had a 17-point win.
“We just ran out of gas” said Central coach Ryan Ray. “And we started making mistakes against a very good team.”
“They have an excellent offensive line and running backs,” Ray added. “If you aren’t in the exact right place you will get beat.”