MANCHESTER – One week before its showdown with border-rival and undefeated Londonderry, Pinkerton ran itself above the .500 mark with a convincing performance Friday night at Gill Stadium.
Doing what they’ve always done best, the Astros eclipsed the 300-yard rushing mark for the second straight week while scoring the game’s first five touchdowns in a 35-7 victory over Manchester Central.
“I like running clocks as long as they’re not against me,” O’Reilly said. “But there were a few things that we didn’t do well which we talked about at halftime. I actually thought we did better in the second half with some of the things we were trying to accomplish.
“We certainly got scores in the first half but I’m not sure we were able to consistently do some of the things we need to do in order to win. Those are the things you need to do to win championships. Next week is just one game. We don’t focus on just one game. We focus on the whole season getting better.”
After surviving Central’s game-opening drive that lasted 14 plays and went 85 yards before running out of downs, Pinkerton took control with its rushing attack.
Jake MacInnis, who entered with 298 yards rushing through the first two games, first capped an 88-yard drive with a 4-yard run for his first rushing touchdown of the season. A Thomas Macdonald fumble recovery set up the Astros (2-1) for a 32-yard David Clark touchdown early in the second.
MacInnis scored each of the next two rushing touchdowns, the second of which was set up by a 42-yard tipped completion to Clark from Jeff Potvin. Evan Wilson finished the scoring with an 11-yard run midway through the third quarter for a 35-0 lead that initiated the running clock.
The Astros had 318 yards on 40 carries (8.8-yard average) as MacInnis put up a game-high 111 on his nine attempts. Clark had 92 on only four carries.
“That’s what we do,” said O’Reilly. “That’s what we’ve done for 40 years here. That’s a wing-T offense. We run the ball with all backs. If we can’t run the ball, then we’re never going to have a good offense. Some of the things tonight, we did not do well … but yes, we run the ball.
“Jake is a load inside. Most people don’t like to tackle Jake. We have some speed with Jacob (Albert, 76 yards). Evan Wilson is a tough hard-nosed runner, and David Clark made some nice plays tonight. We’re getting Brady Day back for next week, which would be nice because we haven’t had him for a while.”
Things will be much tougher Friday when Londonderry comes to Derry to play on Pinkerton’s
new turf. The Astros twice defeated the Lancers last year, including a 20-14 win in the state quarters.
“I’d like to expand our horizons and get our passing game going so we’re not so dependent on the run,” MacInnis said. “Our run game is going good right now, but we have to fix up some things.
“All our fans look forward to (playing Londonderry). The players look forward to it. It’s definitely one of the biggest games of the year. We’ll take care of some things in practice and we’ll be ready for it.”
Pinkerton 35, Manchester Central 7
Pinkerton (2-1): 7 21 7 0 — 35
Manchester Central (1-2): 0 0 0 7 — 7
Pinkerton — Jake MacInnis 4 run (Brandon Roy kick) 3:36
Pinkerton — David Clark 32 run (Roy kick) 10:18
Pinkerton — MacInnis 12 run (Roy kick) 5:07
Pinkerton — MacInnis 14 run (Roy kick) 0:46.5
Pinkerton — Evan Wilson 11 run (Roy kick) 6:31
Central — Aidan Kelley 28 run (Benjamin Mikus kick) 3:56
RUSHING: Pinkerton (36-318) — MacInnis 9-111, Clark 4-92, Jacob Albert 7-76, Jack Mackiernan 1-23, Wilson 4-19, Will Brown 4-18, Cole Yennaco 3-11, Hayden Shattuck 2-(-5), Patrick Cotnoir 1-(-5), Jeff Potvin 1-(-11); Manchester Central (31-168) — Luis Sanchez 13-74
PASSING: Pinkerton (3-4-1, 73 yards) — Jeff Potvin 3-4-0, 73, Shattuck 0-1-1; Manchester Central (7-23-0, 75) — Tyler Filroy 5-15-0, 62
RECEIVING: Pinkerton — Clark 1-42, Wilson 1-20, MacInnis 1-11; Manchester Central — Shawn McGarvey 4-36