GOFFSTOWN — It wasn’t what you would call a complete four-quarter effort, but the Goffstown High School football team turned in a second half to remember in its Division I opener.
Goffstown trailed by 15 points at halftime, but scored the first 29 points in the second half and hung on for a 35-29 victory over Pinkerton Academy on Saturday.
The Grizzlies, who trailed 21-6 at the break, tied the game by scoring 15 points in the third quarter, and added two more touchdowns early in the fourth. The Grizzlies took their first lead on quarterback Jarrett Henault’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Jonah Lopez on the first play of the fourth, and extended that lead to 35-21 when Wilton Geissenhainer returned a fumble 72 yards for a score and Kyle Pinard kicked the PAT with 8:39 to play.
“Third quarter was great,” Goffstown coach Justin Hufft said. “At halftime we tried to clean some things up. Make some adjustments. We just told the kids it’s a long game. … The kids had to fight for it. I’m proud of how they pushed through. It was really doing stuff that we do, and the kids making plays.”
The Astros pulled within six points on Jacob Albert’s 52-yard TD run and the successful two-point conversion midway through the fourth, but the Astros failed to pick up a first down on their next drive and turned the ball over on downs at the Goffstown 39-yard line on their final possession.
Henault’s 29-yard TD pass to Caden Perry helped Goffstown tie the game, but Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly said the key drive in the game came when the Grizzlies moved the ball 70 yards on 11 plays and scored on the first drive of the second half. Running back Zach Pinard capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run.
The Astros scored on a 31-yard pass from quarterback Jeff Potvin to Michael Zabriskie with 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter to take a 21-6 lead into the half.
“We took control of the game just before halftime,” O’Reilly said. “That should have been our game. To let them drive down the field on us … that hurt.”
Pinkerton grabbed a 14-0 lead on a 43-yard TD pass from Potvin to Connor Colburn. Goffstown’s first-half TD came on an 11-yard pass from Henault to Will Sasso.
“The shortest preseason we’ve ever had came back to bite us today,” O’Reilly said. “We are atrociously out of shape. We have injuries everywhere. In third quarter down by a score I turned around and I didn’t have any of my starting running backs in the game. They were all (injured) on the sideline. We lost our kicker today — it would have been an interesting thing had we scored and tied it up.”
Brady Day, who scored the game’s first touchdown on a 20-yard run, was among the injured Pinkerton running backs. He left the game with a shoulder injury in the first half and didn’t return to the game.
“He’s a talented two-way player,” O’Reilly said. “I had two freshmen in the backfield in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. I’ve never had two freshmen in the backfield before.
“We deserved to lose today. We didn’t play as well as we should have.”
Goffstown’s 29-point second half came after the Grizzlies were limited to four first downs through the first two quarters.
“Anytime you can beat Pinkerton,” Hufft said. “It was intense. They have quite a reputation and they’ve earned it, so anytime you can go on the field and compete with them it’s something. If you can come out on top it’s a special feeling.”