DERRY, N.H. — Londonderry crossed the border into Derry looking to end nearly two decades of frustration.
And this time, nothing was going to prevent the Lancers from making history.
You’d have to go back to the 2001 season to find the last time Londonderry had gotten the better of archrival Pinkerton on a football field. And after 22 consecutive losses — including playoffs — it was fair to wonder when, if ever, the streak was going to be broken.
But Friday proved to be as good a time as any.
Londonderry entered ranked the No. 1 team in the state, and finally put its Pinkerton demons to rest with a 42-24 victory. The Astros cut a 28-point deficit to 10 in the second half, but nothing was stopping the Londonderry train from barrelling through one of the program’s toughest barriers over the last two decades.
“I’ve been working for this for so long,” said sobbing Londonderry running back Jeff Wiedenfeld, who was not born the last time his school beat their rival. “It was all in our heads. We knew we had, physically, what it took to win. But it was between the ears. Mentally, we had to get there. And we did it tonight.”
Londonderry (4-0) took the lead in the first quarter on a Wiedenfeld touchdown run, then grabbed full control by outscoring Pinkerton 28-7 in the second quarter to take a 35-7 lead into halftime.
Pinkerton (2-2), however, made it seem for a time that the Astro curse may strike again.
After Brandon Roy opened the second half with a field goal, Pinkerton defensive lineman Rocco Mulrennan intercepted a screen pass. Then two plays later, QB Jeff Potvin hit Russell Patrikas for a 46-yard touchdown.
The Astros then forced a 3-and-out, and a big punt return and a long run by Patrikas set up a Will Brown 5-yard touchdown run. Suddenly, it was 35-24 with the entire fourth quarter to go.
“We had to answer when adversity hit,” said Londonderry coach Jimmy Lauzon, who was in middle school during Londonderry’s last Pinkerton win. “In the first half we played almost flawlessly at times. We knew Pinkerton would hit at some point. We had to answer when things weren’t going out way.”
Londonderry did just that, answering with a clock-killing 71-yard touchdown drive capped by a Jake McEachern 10-yard run that all but sealed the contest. Pinkerton had just one more possession, but the Lancers intercepted a pass and ran out the clock.
“I’m happy for the guys,” said Lauzon. “The last few years we got closer and closer. They weren’t scared of the moment and got it done.”
McEachern was on fire for the Lancers. The senior QB finished 8 for 12 through the air for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns to top target Alex Tsetsilas. Wiedenfeld added 79 yards on the ground and a pair of scores, and Tyler Kayo completed the first-half scoring with a 2-yard touchdown scamper.
Pinkerton was led by fullback/linebacker Jake MacInnis, who rushed for a game-high 90 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown. He also made 12 tackles.
“We’ve lost to rivals in the regular season before, like last year, only to come back in the playoffs and beat them at their home field,” said Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly. “We’ve been down this road before. We aren’t thinking, ‘What the heck happened?’ We’ll be alright.”
Londonderry 42, Pinkerton 24
Londonderry (4-0): 7 28 0 7 — 42
Pinkerton (2-2): 0 7 10 7 — 24
L — Jeff Wiedenfeld 2 run (Zach Fawcett kick), 3:59
L — Wiedenfeld 1 run (Fawcett kick) 11:10
P — Jake MacInnis 35 run (Brandon Roy kick), 8:49
L — Alex Tsetsilas 28 pass from Jake McEachern (Fawcett kick), 6:22
L — Tsetsilas 57 pass from McEachern (Fawcett kick), 3:54
L — Tyler Kayo 2 run (Fawcett kick), 0:17
P — Brady Day 38 field goal, 5:18
P — Russell Patrikas 46 pass from Jeff Potvin (Day kick), 3:09
P — Will Brown 5 run (Day kick), 11:56
L — McEachern 10 run (Fawcett kick), 7:40
RUSHING: Pinkerton — Jake MacInnis 13-90, Brady Day 5-45, Russell Patrikas 5-49, Jacob Albert 2-10, Will Brown 2-10, Evan Wilson 3-8, David Clark 5-4, Jeff Potvin 5-(-15); Londonderry — Jeff Wiedenfeld 17-79, Jake McEachern 15-62, Trent Kayo 4-16, Alex Tsetsilas 2-(-2)
PASSING: Pinkerton — Potvin 3-9-2, 116; Londonderry — McEachern 8-12-1, 220
RECEIVING: Pinkerton — Trent Leduc 2-70, Patrikas 1-46; Londonderry — Cole Keegan 4-100, Alex Tsetsilas 4-120