Saturday, October 12, 2013

Concord Over Pinkerton in OT

It was a game that was built up as the game of the week, featuring 2 of the top teams in the state of NH. It definitely lived up to the hype, as Concord scored a touchdown and 2 point conversion in the last minute of the 4th quarter to force overtime and then won it in OT 21-14. It was the first lead the Crimson Tide had all game. Concord remains unbeaten on the season at 6-0, while Pinkerton falls to 4-2 on the season in Division I.

A concord offense that has been putting up prolific numbers all season was being shut down by a very tough Pinkerton defense. Up until the last minute of the 4th quarter the Crimson Tide only had 6 points on the board and were trailing 14-6. With time running out in regulation and a long field to drive, they had to air it out. Junior QB Robbie Law ( 10/18 for 168 passing yards, 1 TD pass and 17 rushing yards) came through in the clutch big time, connecting with WR Walter Szulc (6 catches for 130 yards and 1 TD) on passes of 14, 50 and 12 yards. The last one was the touchdown pass, which cut the Astros lead to 14-12. Then on the 2 point conversion attempt Law faked the handoff to senior RB/LB Walters Ndi, kept it himself and ran it in for the score. Tie game, 14-14 with 51.1 seconds left.

Concord's ball first in overtime. It's 4th and goal from the 1 yard line. Law hands it off to Ndi, who is nearly stopped behind the line of scrimmage. But he stayed on his feet, gets it to the outside edge and dives in for the touchdown.

"When I first got the ball I saw the play was gone" said Ndi, who had 153 rushing yards and 2 TDs. "I had to use an extra effort to get in the end zone. My team believed in me, so I had to come through for them."

Now it's Pinkerton ball in overtime. But Concord's defense really stepped up, led by Dylan Naylor who made a strong hit on Astros RB Manny Latimore (173 rushing yards and 1 TD). Diego Hebra made a big hit on 3rd down, forcing 4th and long. QB Jack Hanaway's pass was batted down, and Concord wins it 21-14.

"We had this game under control with four minutes left, we had it locked up" lamented Pinkerton head coach Brian O'Reilly. "But we didn't finish. We'll be there in November, so will they. That's when it matters."

Concord was able to go on the road against a very good Pinkerton team and come from behind for the win. Not only that, but they did it while playing without one of their best players. Super sophomore Leo Sudieh, who forms a dynamic backfield tandem with Ndi, was suspended for the second straight game.

Law was brilliant on the final 4th quarter drive to force OT. The 50 yard pass he completed to Szulc was a spectacular throw - hit him right in stride. Then he finished the drive with the 12 yard TD pass and ran in the 2 point conversion.

"That was a great drive, it's what we've been training for" said Law. "On the touchdown pass I didn't see him catch it. I saw he had his man beat, but I got rocked as I threw it. Then I heard the crowd cheer, so I knew he caught it."

Pinkerton took a 14-6 lead with 1108 to play in the 4th quarter on a 2 yard TD run by Nick Liporto. The drive started back on their own 24 yard line, but then Latimore busted loose for a 17 yard run. Latimore followed that with a 45 yard run, which set up 1st and goal on the Concord 4 yard line.

It was 7-6 Pinkerton at halftime. The Astros scored first on a 52 yard TD run by Latimore. Concord answered back on the ensuing possession, as Ndi scored on a carry from 26 yards out.

Both defenses were strong all game long. Pinkerton's was led by star linebacker Matt Madden (who also had 66 yards rushing), Michael Martinoli, Phil Harper, Jason Hansen Shawn Murray and Justin Poitras. Concord's defense was led by Naylor, Marc Gaudet, Ndi, Hebra Alexander Cohen and Kristoffer Skinner.

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