By David Willis
---- — DERRY — After a rough start, the Pinkerton Astros took command and defeated Manchester Central, 37-20, in their first home game under the lights Friday.
Senior Manny Latimore provided the opening spark, shaking two tackles and breaking free for a 33-yard touchdown run, and by halftime the Astros had firmly grabbed control.
“We wanted this win a lot,” Latimore said. “It would have been awful to start the season 0-2 after going in as the preseason No. 1-ranked team in the state. We knew we would be fine, and once we got the two scores, we were really in the groove.”
Big defensive tackle Philip Harper led the Pinkerton defense with eight tackles, senior Nick Liporto turned in a team-best 12 stops and Matt Madden made 10 tackles.
“The defense was incredible like always,” Liporto said. “We knew we had to step up in this one.”
The Astros were thrilled to be debuting their new lights after a lifetime of playing Saturday afternoon games.
“We loved the lights,” Latimore said. “I love the nighttime atmosphere. The fans were going crazy and it was great.”
Liporto said that Pinkerton had planned for the occasion.
“We worked on punt and kick returns and deep passes with the lights in our eyes,” he said. “But it was fine. It was a great experience to be out there.”