It is only the 3rd week of the season but it was a huge match up in Division 4 between two teams that played in last year's D4 state championship. Trinity Pioneers who have gotten a lot of early season recognition traveling to the Land of Lenahan the home of the Plymouth Bobcats.
A match up between coach Steve Burns - one of the new Mavericks on the state coaching scene in his 3rd game as a head coach versus Chuck Lenahan - the living legend of New Hampshire high school football. That being said most of the media experts picked Trinity to win this one - in hindsight you have to scratch your head with that one!
Coach Lenahan had his team prepared and ready to go. There would be no last minutes heroics in this game. Plymouth was lead by a 5'10", 155 lbs. play making quarterback Colin Sullivan who let everyone in Division 4 know that the road to this year's championship is route 93 north! Plymouth wins this early season match up going away 36-14.
The first few possessions for both teams was a felling out process. Plymouth was able to come up with a big punt block by #83 Kyle Reisert on Trinity's 1st possession but the Trinity defense held strong and kept Plymouth who started inside Trinity territory at the 35 from getting on the scoreboard. Plymouth on their 3rd possession started moving the football. The drive was 13 plays highlighted by a 21 yard scamper from their little field general Colin Sullivan. Plymouth goes up 6-0 with a short run from the 3 by #26 John Thomas.
Sullivan the undersized quarterback and without his helmet looks like he should still be in junior high was the difference maker in Saturday's game. Looks are deceiving this young man is a football player! He has that instinct and vision that can't be taught. He is not big he has an average arm but he is a leader that knows how to make plays on the football field! Plymouth has other quality players besides Sullivan running back #20 Brandon Goodale is the go to guy out of the backfield.Goodale had a solid day running the football 98 yards on 20 carries. He also had 1 catch for 11 yards and a touchdown.
The wheels came of the bus quickly for Trinity in the 2nd quarter. Fumbles on kick returns and the big play that turned the game completely in Plymouth's favor came early in the 2nd quarter with Trinity driving the football. On third and 9 in a obvious passing situation Trinity Quarterback #12 Carmen Giampertruzi threw a short pass to a receiver dragging underneath the coverage.All state linebacker #26 John Thomas was sitting on the route and with perfect timing he jumped the pass intercepted the ball and ran untouched 75 yards for a touchdown. Plymouth adds a 2 point conversion and goes up 14-0. Plymouth had their foot on Trinity's neck and they didn't let up. A 13 yard run by Sullivan for the 3rd score and a 11 yard pass to Goodale and before you can blink Plymouth has taken complete control of the game up 29-0 late in the 2nd quarter. Just before halftime Trinity behind by 29 goes to the spread and Giampertruzi hit #24 Trisan Theroux to get on the scoreboard 29-8.
Trinity is a deep talented team and their double wing offense dominates most of their competition in D4. The tough question is does that offense give them a chance to win the State Championship? I know they won last year with the same offense but they had a very talented running back in Josh Hughes. Carmen Giampetruzzi throws are real nice ball with excellent touch. With the athletes they have to throw to in my opinion they would be a better team by spreading the field. They have an absolute truck at fullback, #44 6' 1" 233 lbs, Ryan Carrier. Ryan is a beast if you get him the ball out of the spread he can more easily run in space and put a hurt on some defenders. In the double wing he is running in a lot of traffic. Trinity is a good team and will go along way no matter what offense they run but they may have to come back to Plymouth in November and you know the Bobcats well be prepared to stop whatever they throw at them!
Up 29-8 at half Plymouth took a more conservative approach in the 2nd half. Trinity ran mostly spread but the Plymouth defense played back and didn't allow anything long. A lot of short underneath passes Giampetruzzi finished the day 10 for 23 107 yards 1 td and 2 interceptions. Plymouth's defense was excellent on the day especially the secondary #15 Dylan Hall, #22 Jared Kuehl, #23 Justin Robinson, # 20 Brandon Goodale and they had strong linebacker play from #44 Brandon David, #83 Kyle Reisert, #6 John Thomas, and #28 Ryan Farina.
Three weeks down in the season and Plymouth emerges as the team to beat in D4. The 2 newcomers to the division Saint Thomas and Windham are off to excellent starts at 3-0.Trinity will definitely be a play off team leaving Hanover and Kennett needing to pull off an upset or 2 to sneak into the playoffs! Windham has a big match up next week with Saint Thomas. If they can get through that they get the opportunity to make that long trip up 93 to take on the powerful Bobcats on the 29th of the month!