With another installment of the school's yearly clash with Massachusetts powerhouse Brockton, Pinkerton will once again be given a chance to prove itself against some of the best competition it can find.

"It's the kind of game that we want. It gives us an opportunity to match up against one of the top teams in Massachusetts and see where we stand," said O'Reilly.

"The ability to play at that level and not have it be the finality of (a season-ending game) is what helps you as a team. You learn a lot of things about yourself, win or lose. It's why we continue to play them and why I will continue to find the best teams with an open date. Playing bad teams with your open date doesn't do you any good."

In the decade-long interstate tilt, Pinkerton has gone 4-6 with one of the losses coming in overtime, but the game always prepares the two-time defending champion Astros for their perennial run at the New Hampshire Division 1 title.

"It's almost a championship game between Massachusetts and New Hampshire," said Astros quarterback Peter Mazzola. "This year, with the way we've been playing and the way they've been playing, it will be a good game."

The Boxers, who are ranked seventh in Eastern Mass., will be out for blood. When the Astros travelled down to Brockton last year, they emerged with a dominant 34-14 win after falling behind early.

"Everyone was a little nervous coming out of the gate, but I think we responded well after getting out there in the flow of the game and working out our jitters," recalled Mazzola of the game at Rocky Marciano Stadium. "If we settle in, we can play a great game. We played so well (last year), and kind of rattled them because we had such a great team."

The key for Pinkerton, said O'Reilly, is to neutralize the Boxers' trademark speed and size. With linemen that approach 300 pounds and college-level running backs with blazing speed, Brockton is a formidable foe up front.

He said, "If we get into a track meet type of game, it would be hard for us. It would be hard for us against anyone to have a game where we have to trade touchdowns, so our defense has to do what it's been doing and play well."

Brockton (4-1) at Pinkerton (6-0)

When: Tomorrow, 2 p.m.

Last week: Pinkerton rolled over Memorial 53-6; Brockton beat Fitchburg 28-0

Last year: Pinkerton pulled off a stunning 34-14 win over the Boxers, in Brockton. Jeff Ragoza ran all over the then-defending Eastern Massachusetts Division 1 Super Bowl champions, racking up three touchdowns on 84 yards. The Astros had just as much success on the other side of the ball, forcing four turnovers.

Boxers to watch: Josh Marsh, a 5-7, 175-pounder, has scored 9 TDs and burned St. John's Prep for 245 rushing yards. QB Vaughn Askew has scored 5 TDs and thrown for two scores.

Streaks: Pinkerton has won 20 straight games dating back to it's late-season 2005 loss to Brockton. Brockton has won four straight season it's season opening 35-33 setback to BC High, the third-ranked team in Eastern Mass.

The big picture: The first thing an opponent notices about the Boxers is their speed and their size.

If Pinkerton can keep Brockton from getting to the outside and breaking off long runs, it will have been successful. However, that's easier said than done. Pinkerton may have improved each of the last few weeks, but Brockton has outscored its opponents 187-34 in its last four games.

Trinity (4-1) at Londonderry (6-0)

When: Tonight at Lancer Park, 7 p.m.

Last week: Londonderry punished Nashua North 41-6, Trinity/Campbell cancelled

Last year: Londonderry downed Trinity 21-0 behind two Craig Enos touchdown passes and running back Ryan Lambert's 186 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the defense allowed a mere 55 yards of total offense. Alex Theodhosi added 158 all-purpose yards and reeled in one of Enos' bombs.

The big picture: The key for Londonderry will be its ability to hold the line of scrimmage. Coach Tom Sawyer said that Trinity creates offense by getting as many bodies as possible to the point of attack and through the hole. When Londonderry controls the ball, it will use Theodhosi and Ryan Griffin to grind out yards and pick up first downs. Trinity, which dropped out of Division 1 after last season, will be working on two weeks rest as its game with Div. 5 Campbell last week was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Pioneers' Tyrell Skinner rushed for 112 yards and scored twice two weeks ago vs. Bow. Nose guard Komet Gabriel was a force on the other side of the ball.

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