EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 7, 2012

Astros play physical, batter Memorial

DERRY — Pinkerton Academy had a decided size advantage against Manchester Memorial yesterday, but that only makes a difference if the big kids decide to play.

Without a doubt, Pinkerton’s kids did. The Astros simply put the hammer down, playing physical football at every level to pummel the Crusaders, 49-6, for their fourth straight victory.

”It’s our goal every game,” said linebacker and quad-captain Jake Bernaiche. “We go out, play our hardest and hit everyone as hard as we can.”

With five first-half tackles, one for a loss, a forced fumble and a defended pass, Bernaiche personified Pinkerton’s passion on defense. Memorial (now 1-4) ended up with only 113 yards of offense while the first-stringers were playing, and senior Brett Stuart added a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“I love playing defense,” Bernaiche said. “Every time I get out there, I play like it’s my last (game). Especially (yesterday), I went out there and went crazy.”

The offense followed suit. Behind Chris St. Onge (90 yards, one touchdown), the running game was its usual bruising self with 234 yards on the ground.

Mix in timely and effective passing from quarterback Sean Conroy (5 of 8, 89 yards and 2 TDs) and add in an 89-yard Manny Latimore kickoff return to the house and you’ve got yourself a bona fide rout.

Hanson injured: Pinkerton could be missing starting left guard David Hansen for awhile as he was injured on the first drive of the day. “He has either a sprained wrist, or a potential broken wrist,” said head coach Bryan O’Reilly. “There’s no way to know until he sees the doctor on Monday.”

Putting the more in Latimore: Although his offensive numbers weren’t eye-popping (22 rushing yards, 35 receiving), Manny Latimore was a game-changer as he added a receiving TD and a rushing score to his long-distance kick return. And he could have had a 68-yard punt return touchdown in the second quarter if it wasn’t called back for a negligible holding penalty.

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