Saturday, November 3, 2012

Team Effort for Trinity in Semi-Final Win Over Windham

It's hard to just single out 1 or 2 guys as the star players for the Trinity High football team. Carmen Giampetruzzi, Ryan Carrier, Austin Chambers, Romeo Masuku, Tristan Theroux, Jon Graveline, Patrick Taillon, Russell Pallas, Colin Bouchard, Ryan Boldwin, Brad Rhoades - all of them played well and made big plays in Saturday afternoon's 20-13 win over Windham in the Division IV semi-finals at Gill Stadium in Manchester.

"It was 11 guys playing as 1" said Trinity first-year head coach Steve Burns. "It sounds cliche but it's true. They really pulled together."

Giampetruzzi hit Theroux with an 8 yard touchdown pass for the winning score, which was set up by a big 10 yard run by Chambers on 3rd and 8 on the Windham 18. Carrier dove into the end zone for the 2 point conversion to put the Pioneers up 20-13 with 6:05 left in the game. Trinity held on from there for the win. They will take on unbeaten Plymouth in next Saturday's title game.
"Tristan made a good adjustment on that play, and the line gave me time to throw" said Giampetruzzi, who is a also a standout athlete in basketball and baseball at Trinity. "The run was successful for us, and so the pass was successful too."

The fact that this game was so close, and that Windham actually had the lead halfway through the 4th quarter is significant. After all, these same 2 teams played each other in their regular season finale last weekend - Trinity crushed the Jaguars 42-7 in that game. Today it was a MUCH different football game.

"We held a lot back last week knowing that we would be playing them again this week" said Windham senior Danny Cannone. "But we had a good week of practice and came out fired up today."

Windham got on the board first, as senior Kevin Cooney scored on an 18 yard run to put the Jaguars up 7-0 with 8:34 left in the 2nd quarter. Cannone had a number of tough runs on the drive, including one for 17 yards. Cooney finished the game with 88 rushing yards and 1 TD on 15 carries. Cannone meanwhile had 87 yards rushing on 20 carries, plus 3 receptions for 33 yards (120 total yards). Cannone also had 9 tackles on defense, including some bone-jarring hits.

Trinity answered back though on their next possession. Just like Windham did on the previous drive, the Pioneers were slowly and methodically moving down the field by grinding out first downs with the running game. Then Giampetruzzi completed a 22 yard pass to Boldwin (who is only a sophomore). That set up Carrier for a 4 yard TD run. The 2 point conversion was no good though, so Windham still led 7-6 with 3:50 left in the 1st half.

"The key for both teams was controlling the line of scrimmage" Coach Burns explained. "The line and linebackers on both sides played well. We had success when we ran the ball well and so did they."

On the next drive, Windham made a gutsy call for a fake punt which came back to hurt them. They had the ball 4th down and 6 on their own 38 yard line. They faked the punt, Cooney ran the ball but only picked up 2 yards which gave Trinity the ball back. The Pioneers made them pay - Giampetruzzi hit Masuku with a 34 yard pass, then Chambers ran in the TD from 6 yards out to put Trinity up 12-7 with 1:07 left in the 2nd quarter.

"If I could do it over I would have still called the same play" said Windham head coach Bill Raycraft. "The wind was a factor, and Joe (Lorenz) didn't feel comfortable kicking it then. We gave it to Cooney running to the outside, I like those odds. It just didn't work that time."

The Jaguars took the lead back with :21 left in the 3rd quarter on a 10 yard TD run by senior Thomas Anderson. The score was set up by a 19 yard run by Cooney and a 10 yard run by the QB Lorenz. The 2 point conversion was no good, so Windham now led 13-12.

That's how the score remained until the winning TD pass from Giampetruzzi to Theroux later on.

After that Windham got the ball back with one last chance to tie or win the game. They were down 20-13 with 6 minutes left in the game. It was do or die here. The Jaguars had a long field to drive, as they started back at their own 20. But they got a good drive going, mixing the run with short passes.

Then came a HUGE play for Windham on 4th and 2 on the Trinity 44 yard line. Lorenz ran it up the middle on a QB keeper play, but he was stuffed at the line of scrimmage and stopped for no gain. Turnover on downs.

Windham's only chance now would be to force a turnover somehow. But Masuku made a big 40 yard run on the Pioneers' ensuing possession to get all the way down to the Jaguars' 10.

"That run definitely iced it for us" said Giampetruzzi, who was 6/7 passing for 130 yards and 1 TD. "He broke 3 or 4 tackles too and then turned on an extra gear."

Trinity then took a couple of knees and the game was over. They will travel to {Plymouth next Saturday to take on the Bobcats in a rematch of last year's D-IV final (which Trinity won).

"They're a good team and they executed" said Coach Raycraft. They deserve to make the ride up 93."

As for Windham you have to give them a lot of credit. This is only the third year they have had a varsity program, and only the second year they have had a senior class. Not only that, but this year they moved up a division this year from D-V to D-IV. Last year they made the D-V finals and this year they made the D-IV semis. Not a bad way to start a program.

"This group of seniors came in as freshmen when we first started the program" said Raycraft. "I'm proud of them, we took some beatings that first year when we only had freshmen and sophomores but they're great kids and have worked hard."

The talented senior class for the Jaguars includes Lorenz, Cannone, Cooney, Anderson, Zach Breton, Jacob Estevez, Artem Aristov.

"We all grew up together ad always football together" said Cannone. "We're like brothers, so it's pretty emotional right now. It means a lot that we came in and built the foundation and tradition for this program."

Plymouth won the first meeting vs. Trinity back in September by a 36-14 final. Plymouth defeated St. Thomas this afternoon in the other semi-final. The Pioneers will have their hands full if they want to make it back-to-back titles.

"Going up 93 to play them will be tough" said Giampetruzzi. "But we'll be ready for them."

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