OK, I admit, it’s a little early … two games … to anoint anybody among the greats.

But you see Peter Mazzola, even for a few plays, and it’s hard not to hold back.

The Pinkerton Academy senior is just trying to do his job, which is lead the Astros to another state title (they’ve won two straight), and join some of the recent great ones -- Chris Sharpe, Graeme Clohosey and Bryan Farris.

“That’s an incredible group,” said Mazzola, a senior from Derry. “Would I love to be mentioned with that group? Sure. That would be an honor.”

Mazzola has some work to do as a first-year starter at quarterback as a senior. Last year he was a running back, though not by choice. Farris was at quarterback.

“Peter came here as a quarterback but it was pretty evident that when Bryan was here, he was our quarterback,” said Astros coach Brian O’Reilly. “But Peter was an athlete. We had to get him on the field. I asked him to move to running back, and he did.”

Mazzola, the backup quarterback last year, simply wanted to play.

“I love this game and Bryan was great. I had no problem playing running back,” said Mazzola. “We were a very good team. It was fun just being a part of it.”

But quarterback is the position he loves and there was no question where he was going when Farris graduated (he now attends Phillips Academy in Andover).

“Quarterback is great because you are in charge,” said Mazzola. “I always knew I could lead a team. That’s the best part.”

Two games into his quarterbacking career and Pinkerton is averaging 31.5 points per tilt with Mazzola under center.

On Friday night, he was 4-for-6 for 175 yards, which included a beautiful pass from Mazzola, who appeared to be running while he rolled out to his left before finding Bobby Dattilo for a score.

“That play was set up to look like a run,” said Mazzola. “Opposing teams know I am going to run a lot so it is a big help. On that play the outside linebacker came up and I threw the ball to Bobby.”

Mazzola’s contributions aren’t only at QB. He is also a starting defensive back.

“I would rather he not be on the field for defense, to keep him fresh, but he’s our best defensive back,” said O’Reilly. “Peter is a football player. He’ll do whatever we ask him to do.”

O’Reilly has a history with Mazzola in the spring, too. Mazzola is one of O’Reilly’s best lacrosse players, as a midfielder.

“He’s a smart kid. He’s a good kid,” said O’Reilly. “He could play football or lacrosse in college. It will be up to him.”

Mazzola says those decisions too far away right now. Manchester West, which is 2-0, and next on the docket, is the only long-term issue he says he is concerned with now.

“We had a scary game on Friday against Manchester Central,” said Mazzola. “But we pulled it out. We made it a little interesting (on defense), but we won.”

That’s important at Pinkerton, which is in the midst of a winning streak spanning three seasons, and two state titles.

“Peter is starting at quarterback for the first year, but he has experience playing in big games and making plays,” said O’Reilly. “He’s a veteran.”

Because of how big Pinkerton Academy is, athletes like Mazzola, who turns 18 on Jan. 2, usually have to wait their turn when it comes to being “the man.”

The wait has apparently been worth it.

“I really like playing for Coach O’Reilly,” said Mazzola. “He’s very smart at breaking down the other team and always seems to call the right play. And I’ve learned so much watching Bryan and Graham at quarterback. I have no complaints.”

Neither does Pinkerton.



Bill Burt is executive sports editor of Eagle-Tribune Publishing. You can e-mail him at bburt@eagletribune.com.

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