Finally, after another 3-and-out by the Pinkerton offense, the Tide blocked a punt, leading to a beautiful 27-yard scoring strike on the next play, making it 28-7 at halftime.
“You can’t turn the ball over in a championship game and we had three bad turnovers — the two fumbles and the blocked punt, which was like a turnover,” Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly said. “That first fumble was like a two score swing. It might have been a little different if we had scored there.”
Things only got worse at the start of the third quarter when Ndi kicked a short bouncer that hopped high into the air and down into the arms of a Concord lineman at the Pinkerton 44. Eight plays later, after recovering from a 3rd-and-30, Hall found Marc Gaudet all alone for a 21-yard touchdown, making it 36-7.
If that wasn’t the final straw, an interception three plays later certainly was. It gave Concord the ball on the Pinkerton 29 and led, three plays later, to a 5-yard pass to Nick Comeau, making it 42-7 and, by NHIAA rules (35 points or more in the second half), led to a running clock.
The Astros did score a final touchdown late in the fourth quarter when Latimore scored from 12 yards out to cap a 68-yard drive.
On a positive note, Pinkerton’s defense pretty much contained Concord’s running game, with linebackers Jason Hansen, Matt Madden and Shawn Murray hitting hard and holding the Tide to 148 yards on the ground.
But the passing of Hall (8 of 12, 206 yards, three TDs) and the turnovers more than compensated for Concord, which completed its first-ever undefeated season at 12-0.