The Plymouth Bobcats and Trinity Pioneer's met back in September with Plymouth winning a one-sided contest that saw Plymouth take advantage of several Trinity turnovers scoring the games first 29 points on it's way to a lopsided 36-14 victory. Coach Steve Burns brought a different team North in the rematch from 2 months ago.
"We went back and looked at a lot of film of the first meeting and I thought we had a good idea of what they were going to throw at us."
Coach Burns' defense kept the Bobcat's off the scoreboard until the final minute of the game but that was not good enough with Plymouth winning a hard fought defensive battle 7-0.
"Our hats are off to them, my kids fought hard with character and a lot of heart but it wasn't enough to come away with win. I still love them and I am very proud of how hard they played today."
These two teams battled each other for the full 48 minutes with neither team able to take control of the game until Plymouth's little field general #10 Colin Sullivan made the play of the game when hit a wide open senior captain #28 Ryan Farina at the goal line with the winning 27 yard pass and only touchdown of the game. Coach Lenahan wins his 19th state championship and his 13th undefeated season with a 7-0 defensive dominated victory.
"800 waggle was the play call said Farina, as soon as I left the line of scrimmage I could see the corner biting up on the run and I new I was going to be open."
Coach Lenahan called the same play earlier in the game but Sullivan tried to hit the underneath receiver to the flat.
"Coach told me to look for the deep guy he is open" said Sullivan. Collin is a special player he is only 5' 10" 155 lbs. with decent speed but what he lacks in speed and size he makes up for in his ability to make big plays when his team needs them.
"I couldn't see Ryan at first but then I could see he had gotten behind the defender I just let it go as I was getting wrecked by a Trinity kid. I never saw the catch but when I heard the crowd yell I knew it was a touchdown".
The first half was a sparring session that saw the Plymouth defense come up with 2 takeaways on Trinity's first 2 possessions. Trinity won the coin toss and started their first possession on the 37. After a couple first downs on a 4th and 6 from the Plymouth 35 the Bobcat all state linebacker John Thomas intercepts Trinity quarterback Carmen Giampertruzzi and stops a potential scoring threat. On the next Trinity possession Thomas rips the ball right out of the hands of a Trinity running back. Thomas who is only a junior is the best defensive player in D4. He is tough, fast and has a knack of finding the football.
Plymouth was making big plays on defense but not to be out done the Trinity defense was playing just as well. Led by #44 Linebacker Ryan Carrier they held Plymouth from scoring when the Bobcats had the ball 1st down at the 10. Four straight running plays ended with a host of Pioneer defenders tackling Sullivan at the one. Trinity moved the ball out to the 20 when Giampertruzzi nailed a 60 yard punt which dramatically improved field position Unfortunately on the punt Trinity lost their starting outside linebacker John Graveline to a serious leg injury. Graveline was taken from the field in a ambulance but was able to give the crowd an encouraging thumbs up!
With the game scoreless at halftime both teams went to the locker room looking to make some adjustments to get the offenses going. Trinity's defensive trying to adjust to the loss of Graveline came up with a big sack by #65 Pat Tailon to stop Plymouth's first drive in the 2nd half. Then another sack by #54 Ian Landry to stop the Bobcats second drive. With the game still scoreless and the start of the 4th quarter Trinity had a golden opportunity to take control of the game.
After a long run Plymouth's Thomas fumbled the ball turning it over at the 47. A Trinity first down then a big personal foul call moved the ball down to the 17. Plymouth's defense held strong and on a 4th and 3 from the 10 Trinity elected to go for it instead for kicking the go ahead field goal. Plymouth's defense tackles #7 Romeo Masuku for a 2 yard loss.
Plymouth's next drive didn't produce a score but it changed the field position which set up the game winning scoring drive.The Bobcat's #20 Brandon Goodale and #22 Jared Kuehl both ripped off big runs moving the ball to midfield. Goodale was held in check most of the day by the Trinity defense had a total of 87 yards on 22 carries and caught 1 short pass for 2 yards. Kyle Reisert punt pinned Trinity back to the 14 with 5:23 to play.
After the game coach Lenahan was asked what Goodale has meant to his team "I have coached a lot of good kids over the years he is one of the handful of really special ones. He has meant so much to this program."
Trinity needs to move the ball to take time off the clock and get themselves into good field position to hopefully win the game with a field goal or touchdown. Unfortunately 3 plays and out and a 31 yard punt gives Plymouth the ball at the 48 and enough time on the clock for the game winning drive. Sullivan's game winning throw to Farina was only his 2nd reception of the season but it will go down in storied Plymouth football history as 'the catch'!
The season was only minutes over and I was already thinking about next year and the 3 division alignment. Division 2 is going to be a blast to cover. So many more potential big match ups! Who wouldn't like to see Plymouth and Souhegan play again.
As far as Plymouth goes they lose some very good talent but they still have Sullivan, Thomas, Reisert, a couple lineman plus their next go to back the young Justin Robinson who looks like he is going to be a really good one. At Plymouth they find away to just reload every year! Coach Burns says that the Pioneers are only losing 5 starters so Trinity will be back next year competing for a title.
Coach Burns also reminded me that their season isn't over " We still have Central on Thanksgiving." I asked if this is the year they pull off the upset " I don't know they are pretty good."