GOFFSTOWN, N.H. — Pinkerton seemed to be in full control as halftime arrived on Saturday.
With 0:10 left before the break, QB Jeff Potvin connected with Michael Zabriske for a 27-yard touchdown, and the red-hot Astros rolled into the half with a two-touchdown lead and all of the momentum.
Goffstown, however, quickly spoiled Pinkerton’s season opener.
The Grizzlies scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half, returned a fumble for another score then halted a last-minute Astros drive to defeat Pinkerton, 35-29.
“We took control of the game right before halftime,” said Astros head coach Brian O’Reilly. “That should have been our game. But we allowed them to come back and get three quick scores. We were out-manned today.”
Pinkerton seemed to take command in the second quarter.
On their third possession of the game, the Astros delivered a 75-yard drive that running back Brady Day finished off with a 20-yard touchdown run.
Robert Leake then intercepted a pass, and two plays later, Potvin hit Connor Colburn for a 44-yard touchdown.
Goffstown responded with a score, but Potvin — in his first varsity start — gave Pinkerton a 21-6 advantage with his 27-yard strike to Zabriske right before the half.
The Grizzlies, however, would not go quietly.
“You know what Pinkerton can do when they get the ball,” said Grizzlies coach Justin Hufft. “It feels like every time they have the ball, you’re holding on for your life. We had to find some things that would work, and we had to stay positive. The first drive (of the second half) was huge.”
Goffstown opened the second half with a 70-yard touchdown drive, and followed with three more unanswered scores to take a 35-21 lead with 8:39 left in the game.
Pinkerton cut the deficit to just six points when freshman Jacob Albert broke a 52-yard touchdown, and Jake MacInnis added the two-point conversion with 6:22 left.
The Astro defense then stepped up. Tackles by Marcus Terrio and MacInnis (12 tackles for the game) and a combined stop by Thomas MacDonald and Rocco Mulrennar forced a Goffstown punt with 1:46 left.
Pinkerton was able to drive to the Goffstown 37-yard line, but a sack and two incomplete passes ended the rally.
“They beat us today,” said O’Reilly. “We had turnovers they turned into touchdowns, and that hurts. We also had injuries everywhere. We are missing so many people right now.”
Pinkerton was forced to play much of Saturday without two of their top players. Running back/defensive back Day left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, and kicker Brandon Roy left just after halftime with a possible concussion.
The Astros were already playing without top lineman Max Delangie and defensive back Dominic Zirn, who are both hurt.
“We should have a good team,” said O’Reilly. “But we are missing too many people right now. Hopefully, by Londonderry (in Week 3) we will get our whole team back. But we will be fine.”
Goffstown 35, Pinkerton 29
Pinkerton (0-1): 0 21 0 8 — 29
Goffstown (1-0): 0 6 15 14 — 35
P — Brady Day 20 run (Brandon Roy), 7:28
P — Connor Colburn 44 pass from Jeff Potvin (Roy kick), 5:30
G — Will Sasso 11 pass from Jarrett Henault (kick failed), 1:42
P — Michael Zabriskie 27 pass from Potvin (Roy kick), 0:10
G — Zach Picard 4 run (Picard run), 8:00
G — Caden Perry 29 pass from Henault (Kyle Pinard kick), 5:48
G — Jonah Lopez 46 pass from Henault (Pinard kick), 11:51
G — Wilton Geissenhainer 77 fumble return (Pinard kick), 8:39
P — Jacob Albert 52 run (Jake MacInnis run), 6:22
RUSHING: Pinkerton (38-266) — Jack MacInnis 15-134, Evan Wilson 9-18, Brady Day 4-34, Jacob Albert 8-93, Jeff Potvin 2-(-13); Goffstown (38-114) — Zach Picard 25-76, Jarrett Henault 9-19, Uziel Mpoyo 4-19
PASSING: Pinkerton — Jeff Potvin 6-15-1, 116; Goffstown — Henault 8-17-1, 170
RECEIVING: Pinkerton — Connor Colburn 2-62, Gavin Auger 1-12, Trent Leduc 1-12, Brady Day 1-3, Michael Zabriskie 1-27; Goffstown — Jonah Lopez 3-60, Caden Perry 3-95, Will Sasso 1-11, Ryan Cote 1-4