Sunday, November 13, 2011

Trinity Wins D-IV Title, Beats Plymouth

By: DC
The Trinity Pioneers went the entire season undefeated and going into the state championship versus the Bobcats of Plymouth there were questions marks whether the #1 seed Pioneers were the best team in the division. In their first meeting back in September, Plymouth controlled the line of scrimmage until 4 minutes to go in the game.

In a dramatic turnaround after switching from their double wing run orientated offense to a wide open spread attack Trinity pulls off a dramatic comeback win behind the arm of quarterback Carmen Giampetruzzi and the pass catching of Josh Hughes (pictured above) and Andrew Lauderdale.

Were those last 4 minutes a fluke or was Trinity a team of destiny? All the question marks have been removed. After a well balanced attack lead by the senior Hughes rushing for 134 yards and several well timed completions from the sophomore Giampetruzzi, Trinity comes away with a 30-14 well earned victory to capture the Division IV championship at Gill Stadium in Manchester.

Plymouth took the opening kickoff with a strong wind in their face. The wind had a big impact on the kicking game all day. Plymouth started from their own 19 and after 3 short runs were forced into punting. Plymouth's punter Taylor Newberry had difficulty handling the wind and only managed a 19 yard punt.

Trinity starts their first possession inside Plymouth territory at the 42. Trinity comes out in their double wing formation and immediately shifts to spread. Giampetruzzi gets the shot gun snap and runs for 5 yards right up the middle. That plants the seed that the spread could and would come at anytime in the game. A great strategy move by Trinity head coach Gary Leonard and his staff. Not that this made the difference in the game but they mixed the spread in all game which kept the Plymouth defense on their heels. Trinity goes on a 10 play drive highlighted by a 19 yard pass completion and 1 yard QB sneak by Giampetruzzi for the opening score.

The second position for Plymouth is almost a carbon copy to the first. Three plays and a punt. Trinity then goes on a 10 play drive capped by a 9 yard touchdown run by Adam Chambers. Plymouth is down 14-0 with no 1st downs and looks like the start of a potential blow out. You know there is no way a Coach Lenahan team would just roll over in a championship game. Now in the 2nd quarter with the wind to their back Plymouth is able to string a few first downs together and goes on a 9 play touchdown drive to make the score 14-6 Trinity at halftime. Nick Reisert scores from 7 yards out, but Plymouth misses the extra point when the kick hits the upright.

Trinity gets the ball to start the 2nd half with the wind to their back. They move deep into Plymouth territory, but the Bobcats defense makes a huge stop and gets the ball back on downs. Plymouth's defense had a much tougher time stopping Trinity in this second match up. The Pioneers mixed in the double wing pitch sweeps, along with counters to the pitch back stopping and reverse back to the weak side, and at the same time throwing in the spread at any time. After being denied a title losing to Lebanon last year, Coach Leonard was not going to be denied this year.

One player for Plymouth who was a standout and was all over the field was the young sophomore linebacker John Thomas. What Thomas lacks in size he makes up for in intensity. He must have been in on 50% of Plymouth's tackles. Look for John's name when the top players of the 2014 class are listed on NH Notebook in a few weeks.

Plymouth gets the ball with a chance to get back in the game but on a critical 3rd down and 6 from the 28, Plymouth quarterback Will Horan throws a pass into the teeth of the wind and it is picked off by Trinity defensive back Romeo Masuku and is returned deep into Plymouth territory. Josh Hughes delivers the first of his two game changing daggers by running around the right end for a 13 yard touchdown. Hughes scores on a 2 point conversion which puts Trinity up 22-6.

Plymouth still had a lot of fight left in them. After a good kick return and a couple productive runs Plymouth running back Brandon Goodale gets Plymouth back in the game with an exciting run up the middle for 44 yards and a touchdown. A two point conversion makes the score 22-14.

Going into the fourth quarter it was anyone's game. Trinity on it's own 36 yard line on 4th down and 1 Coach Leonard makes the call of the game. He gives the ball to his senior leader Hughes who runs off tackle for 31 yards to the Plymouth 23. Three plays later QB Giampetruzzi hits 6'6" tight end Andrew Lauderdale with a 18 yard play action touchdown pass. Ryan Carrier takes it for the 2 point conversion and the game is out of reach 30-14.

I know I picked Plymouth to win this in a close battle. It was hard for me to pick against a Lenahan the legend. I was wrong though. Trinity goes 11-0 and dominates most of the play today is the class of D-IV. Congratulations to Coach Leonard, his staff and all of his players - you are well deserved champions! Good luck on Thanksgiving it should be an entertaining game vs. Manchester Central.

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