Salem Blue Devils Football '17

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 01:00 PM @ Salem
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Pinkerton 14 17 0 14 45
Salem 0 13 15 0 28

Lineman McCormack’s two unlikely touchdowns sends Pinkerton past Salem, into title game

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Saturday, November, 11 By David Willis
Staff writer

SALEM — With a trip to the Division 1 championship game within reach, Pinkerton’s Josh McCormack would not be denied.

With the Astros clinging to a three-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, McCormack burst through the offensive line, saw the fumble pop loose and grabbed on as tight as he could.

“I saw the ball, grabbed it and wouldn’t let it go,” said the senior lineman. “I saw it come loose and I was in the right place in the right time. I dove and it was just crazy.”

McCormack recovered the fumble in the end zone for his second touchdown of the day — the first two of his football career — to extend Pinkerton’s lead to 10 points with 6:01 left in regulation.

It was all Astros from there, as the No. 3 seed surged past No. 1 Salem 45-28 in the New Hampshire Division 1 semifinals.
“This is amazing,” said running back Ty Hicks, who rushed for a game-high 145 yards. “We feel like we are back where we should be. Salem had taken the momentum in this game, but we took it back and got the job done. Now we’re heading back to the championship.”
With the victory, Pinkerton (10-1) advances to the Division 1 title game against East champion Winnacunnet (11-0), which beat Goffstown 21-6 in the other semifinal. The two teams will face off on Saturday at the University of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Field (6 p.m.) The two teams did not meet in the regular season.
The Astros last appeared in the championship game three years ago, when they rolled over Bedford 37-0 at UNH.
“It feels great,” said co-captain Aiden Goujon, who threw two touchdowns. “I haven’t been to a championship game, but it’s where Pinkerton football belongs. There was a lot of emotions throughout this game. We were up, then we were down. But we did it in the end. Now we can’t wait for next week.”
It was a truly unexpected day for Astro lineman McCormack.
The 5-foot-10, 205 pound lineman had never scored a touchdown heading into Saturday. But he wasted no time adding a score to his resume.
With 2:14 left in the first quarter, a teammate had the ball knocked loose heading into the end zone. McCormack was right there to pounce on the fumble for a touchdown to give the Astros a 14-0 lead.
Pinkerton would eventually build a 31-13 halftime lead, heading into the break on a 16-yard Goujon touchdown pass to Kayden Baillargeon.
But Salem, which beat Pinkerton in Week 3 of the season, would not go away quietly.
“Salem was tough and they had a lot of fight,” said Hicks. “They had a great comeback. We were worried. But we were able to switch the momentum up when we needed to.”
The Blue Devils came out fast in the third, and a Matt Soldano QB sneak for a touchdown with 1:27 left in the quarter made it 31-28 Astros.
But with Salem opening a potential go-ahead drive at the Astro 7-yard line, McCormack struck again. The ball came loose and he recovered it for his second touchdown of the day.
“I never could have imagined this,” said McCormack. “I thought I would go my whole career without a touchdown. I’m an offensive lineman. But in the second to last game of my high school career I score two. It’s crazy.”
Following the win, teammates were raving about the play of their McCormack.
“That second fumble changed the game,” said Goujon. “That was the biggest play of the game. He came up huge.”
From there, Pinkerton was in full control.
Salem’s offense would run just two more plays, both resulting in interceptions. First senior Joshua Ladipo picked off a pass that set up a Gennaro Marra touchdown. Then senior co-captain Baillargeon intercepted a pass, and Pinkerton ran out the clock from there to advance to the title game.
“To know that we are going to UNH next week is the best,” said Hicks. “I know I’m going to be nervous for the title game. I know I’ll have butterflies. But after the first play I know we will be ready to play.”

Game Statistics:

Division 1 North Semifinals


First Quarter

P — Gannon Fast 4 run (Brandon Roy kick), 8:21
P — Josh McCormack recovers fumble in end zone (Roy kick), 1:31

Second Quarter

S — Dominic Paci 38 run (Zach Gibbons kick), 11:53
S — Aiden Holland 36 pass from Matt Soldano (kick failed), 7:34
P — Gennaro Marra 70 pass from Aiden Goujon  (Roy kick), 7:10
P — Roy 24 field goal, 2:49
P — Kayden Baillargeon 16 pass from Goujon (Roy kick), 0:08

Third Quarter

S — Adam Maroun 3 run (Josh Maroun rush), 10:10

S — Matt Soldano 1 run (Gibbons kick), 1:27

Fourth Quarter

P — McCormack recovers fumble in end zone (Roy kick), 6:01

P — Gennaro Marra 47 run (Roy kick), 3:54



RUSHING: Pinkerton (48-324) — Ty Hicks 23-145, Gennaro Marra 9-96, Gannon Fast 11-32, Aiden Goujon 4-32, Nicholas Lombard 1-19; Salem (41-233) — Adam Maroun 16-94, Domenic Paci 6-57, Matt Soldano 14-58, Josh Maroun 3-9, Brandon Wall 2-15

PASSING: Pinkerton — Goujon 4-9-0, 111; Salem — Soldano 1-4-2, 36, Jacob Emerson 1-1-0, 31, J. Maroun 0-1-1

RECEIVING: Pinkerton — Marra 2-82, Kayden Baillargeon 2-29; Salem — Aidan Holland 1-36, Soldano 1-31

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