So much for Trinity being a running team that might throw the ball once in a great while. On Friday night senior quarterback Carmen Giampetruzzi completed 13/16 passes for a whopping 401 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 2 rushing TDs. It helps when you have lots of weapons, and that he does. Austin Chambers also had a monster game, with 5 catches for 282 yards and 2 TDs, to go with 88 yards and a score on just 10 carries. TE Tristen Theroux had 5 catches for 83 yards and a TD, Brad Rhoades had 78 total yards, Zach Poole ran for 50 yards and Ryan Boldwin caught a 20 yard TD pass.
This Trinity offense is fast, they're big, athletic, they have a ton of weapons and they are all in sync like a well oiled machine. If they are this good during week 1 it's scary to think what they'll be like come mid-season. In a highly anticipated Division II showdown, the Pioneers went on the road and made a statement with a 58-37 win over a Portsmouth team that has won back-to-back D-III championships.
"I felt great throwing the ball" said Giampetruzzi, a 3-sport star who has committed to Boston College for baseball. "They came out with all 11 guys in the box. I looked up and there was 4 guys open."
It also didn't help the Clippers' cause that their top 2 QB's, who are both also starting DBs got injured. Donovan Phanor, who is one of the preseason Player of the Year favorites in D-II, sprained his ankle on Portsmouth's second drive and did not return. He was on crutches during the 2nd half. Backup QB Nathan McFarland (had a HUGE game vs. Goffstown last year, possibly best backup QB in the state) came in and threw a 20 yard TD pass to Ian MacDonald (7 catches, 83 yards, 3 TDs). But then he too also got hurt and sat the entire 2nd half.
After a Portsmouth fumble Trinity began their first drive on the Clippers' 45 yard line. That's when Giampetruzzi got his big game started, firing a pass to an open Theroux who rumbled 32 yards for the TD.On the ensuing Portsmouth drive linebacker Ian Landry delivered a bone jarring hit to Phanor for a sack, knocking Phanor out of the game. The Clippers were forced to punt. After a big hit by Portsmouth linebacker Jake Becker, Giampetruzzi once again threw a long TD pass, this time to Chambers for 49 yards and the score. 'G' fired it over to heroux for the 2 point conversion and it was 14-0 Pioneers.
"Our line did really well" said Chambers, whose older brother Adam is now playing football at Plymouth State. "We saw that they were playing us tight, so we just used our speed to get by them. 'G' throws a perfect ball."
Portsmouth hung in there for most of the game, but in the end the injuries and explosiveness of the Trinity offense were just too much to handle. They got on the board on their next drive when Becker made a gutsy run, scoring a 15 yard rushing TD on 4th down and 4. That was set up by a 42 yard run by Mikel Toar (122 yards on 13 carries).
"Toar is a beast" said Trinity head coach Steve Burns. "They're a good team. #72 (Justis Mattis-Clark), #40 (Jake Becker) and #76 (James Haslam) caused problems for us."
Trinity came right back with yet another touchdown. Rhoades rushed for 23 yards, then caught a 13 yard pass. Theroux made a 19 yard catch, and the drive ended with a QB sneak from 1 yard out by Giampetruzzi for the score. Chambers ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 22-7 THS with 9:15 left in the 2nd quarter.
Portsmouth answered with one of the 2 big kickoff returns they had on the game, as McFarland ran for 40 yards to get to midfield. But then on 3rd and 1 he tried to sneak for the 1st, go hit, fumbled it and Poole recovered for Trinity.
Then came the one time all game the Pioneers were forced to punt. The Clippers got strong 'D' by Loden Formichelli (QB sack), Becker and Christopher Peel (teamed up for big hit for no gain).
Next is when McFarland found MacDonald for a McTouchdown (sorry, I couldn't help myself). It was Portsmouth's best drive all game, as they started back on their own 26 and had to overcome a couple of big plays defensively by Theroux and Giampetruzzi. But they got a big 3rd down conversion when McFarland hit Jack Young for a 14 yard completion on 3rd and 12 which was followed by a 12 yard run by McFarland. That set up the 20 yard TD pass to MacDonald (not bad for a backup QB!).
Portsmouth was right back in the game, now only down 22-15 with 3:16 let in the 1st half after McFarland again hit MacDonald for the 2-point conversion.
However, that would be the last time it would be a 1 possession game. Giampetruzzi fired a 65 yard TD pass to Chambers, and it was 28-15 Trinity at halftime.
In the 2nd half, Portsmouth was now playing without both Phanor and McFarland. This of course hurt them on both sides of the ball. Connor DiCesare came in to play QB for the 2nd half and did an admirable job. Remember when I said McFarland is possibly the best backup QB in the state? Well, you'd be hard pressed to find a better 3rd stringer than DiCesare.
Haslam intercepted a Giampetruzzi pass which got the Portsmouth sideline pumped up as they now had a chance to cut the lead to 1 possession. But after a big hit by Theroux and Cam Brown they were forced to punt. On Giampetruzzi's next pass attempt after the pick he threw a 54 yard pass to Chambers down to the 1 yard line. From there 'G' snuck it in for his second rushing TD of the game to give THS their first 3 possession lead of the game at 34-15 with 7:13 left in the 3rd quarter.
"I was impressed with how Carmen even after throwing the interception threw a bomb right after that" said Coach Burns. "He throws a very good football."
Give credit to Portsmouth, because right after going down by 3 scores for the first time all game they came right back with the longest play of the game by either team. Young took the ensuing kickoff and ran 80 yards for the TD. It was an incredible return by Young, who was simply on a mission. He dodged defenders, showed speed, vision and some great open field moves. That once again cut the Pioneers' lead to 2 scores at 34-23, and with plenty of time left (6:57 to go in 3rd quarter) they were still very much in this game.
The teams continued to trade touchdowns. 'G' hit Boldwin for a 20 yard TD strike (get it, because he's also a pitcher in baseball). That was set up by a 45 yard run by Chambers. Trinity now led 42-23 with 4:40 left in the 3rd. Then they forced Portsmouth to punt, and it was looking like this game was in the books.
But wait, the Clippers were not ready to give up yet. Mattis-Clark made a big hit on 'D' to force a turnover on downs, followed by a 19 yard TD pass from DiCesare to MacDonald. The extra point was good (Isabelle Pafford was perfect on PAT's for the night) and it was again back to a 2 score game, 42-30. There was still plenty of time left for the Clippers.
But it wasn't meant to be. Trinity's offense is just too good, too many weapons. On their next drive Giampetruzzi threw a 33 yard pass to Chambers, then a 16 yard completion to Theroux. The possession ended with a 10 yard TD run by Chambers, followed by a pass play to Rhoades for he 2-point conversion. At this point the game was all but over, with Trinity now leading 50-30 with just 5:20 left in the 4th quarter.
Sean Fabian scored from 3 yards out on the Pioneers' next drive, and Portsmouth capped the scoring with an 18 yard TD pass from DiCesare to MacDonald.
Watch out for Trinity this season folks, they're for real.