DERRY — Veteran Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly always has confidence in his players.
Okay, maybe some more than others.
But O’Reilly’s confidence is sky high on senior placekicker Brandon Roy.
“I have all the confidence in the world in Brandon,” said O’Reilly Friday night. “I’ve had some good kickers, but he might be the best. Anytime we get to the 25-yard-line, I’ll send him out there confident he’ll make it.”
O’Reilly’s confidence in Roy was well founded as the 5-foot-5, 140-pounder booted three field goals and an extra point as the Astros defeated Bedford 16-7 for their fourth straight win
It lifted them to a 6-3 record and — after a tough start to the season — qualified them for the Division 1 playoffs.
Roy also booted the ball deep on kickoffs and, on the last play of the first half, tried a 40-yard field goal that had the distance but was slightly wide.
“It feels great,” said Roy. “I was mentally preparing for the game during the day and I felt good. I thought I had that one before halftime but the wind took it a little.
“I’m glad I could help out but the offense put me in position and the defense played really well.”
The offense actually had trouble sustaining drives, but two passes in the first half helped account for 10 points.
Already ahead 3-0 on a 24-yard kick by Roy, the Astros made it 6-0 when Roy kicked another 24-yarder on a drive set up on a 26-yard play-action pass from Jeff Potvin to Brady Day.
Pinkerton then made it 13-0 on another play-action pass, this time of 75 yards to a wide-open Day, who sprinted into the end zone.
Bedford did narrow the score to 13-7, however, when it converted on a 4th-and-goal pass play from the 7 with 39 seconds left in the half.
If anything, that seemed to make the Pinkerton defense more determined. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Michael Zabriskie recorded an interception and, on Bedford’s second series, it was 3 plays and out.
That series was followed by Roy’s final field goal, of 27 yards, accounting for the final score.
Bedford got the ensuing kickoff and started on its 15-yard-line and marched downfield, taking more than seven minutes off the clock. But it was all for naught as Pinkerton’s defense eventually held and the Bulldogs missed a 38-yard field goal.
And that pretty much ended it with 5:44 to play as some hard runs by Day and a 20-yard scamper by Jacob Albert all but ran out the clock.
“I thought our defense played as well as it has all year,” said O’Reilly. “Bedford’s been a high-scoring team so to hold them to one touchdown is good.”
Among those playing exceptional games on defense for the Astros were linebackers Marcus Terrio, Evan Wilson and Jake MacInnis and lineman Aiden Fox. Terrio, in particular, had several jarring tackles.
At the end of the game, the Astros were not positive that they had qualified for the playoffs, but it became official when Goffstown defeated Timberlane.
“This is what we expect, but it didn’t look good a few weeks ago,” said O’Reilly, whose club got a huge boost last week when Goffstown upset Salem. “We’ve had to overcome a lot of injuries and we gutted it out.”
Pinkerton is scheduled to play at No. 1 seed Londonderry in the first round of the playoffs next week. Having lost to the Lancers 42-24 earlier in the year, the Astros will be an underdog.
But they were in the same position last year and won their playoff game at Londonderry.
Pinkerton 16, Bedford 7
Bedford (6-4): 0 7 0 — 7
Pinkerton (6-3): 6 7 3 — 16
P — Brandon Roy 24 FG, 6:31
P — Roy 24 FG, 1:01
P — Brady Day 75 pass from Jeff Potvin (Roy kick), 9:33
B — Aaron Skiling 7 pass from Joseph Mikol (Ryan Bobotas kick), :39
P — Roy 27 FG, 1:11
RUSHING: Pinkerton (34-186) — Jake MacInnis 9-59, Brady Day 11-45, Jacob Albert 8-66, Jeff Potvin 3-(-4), Evan Wilson 3-20; Bedford (31-91) — Solomon Sanchez 8-24, Michael Akstin 10-38, Joseph Mikol 10-20, Jack Grogan 3-9
PASSING: Pinkerton — Potvin 3-9-1, 99; Bedford — Mikol 12-24-1, 104
RECEIVING: Pinkerton — Day 2-71, Trent Leduc 1-28; Bedford — Aaron Skaling 4-23, Timothy Green 1-20, Alexander Zwickau 1-16, Sanchez 5-37, Michael Erwin 1-8