DERRY — Young Pinkerton quarterback Nathan Campos’ already racing heart began to pound that much harder as he saw the ball free on the ground.
“I faked to the fullback too long, and when I went to hand off to the running back, there wasn’t enough time,” Campos remembered. “The ball dropped on the ground. There was a little panic. But coach always tells us, if anything happens, just run the ball.”
The sophomore, in his first varsity start, did just that. He scooped up the fumble and raced into the end zone late in the second quarter, giving Pinkerton a lead it would never surrender in a 28-0 victory over Timberlane on Friday.
“We needed a win under out belt after back-to-back losses,” said Astros (3-3) fullback/linebacker Evan Wilson, who ran for two scores. “We needed a boost to get back on track. It was a good win. And it was great watching our QB go. He’s going to be a good one.”
Campos, playing in place of injured Jeff Potvin, didn’t find out he had earned the start until Friday afternoon.
“I found out right before the game,” said Campos. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to be me or another quarterback. Coach (Brian O’Reilly) told me that he was going to give me this chance and see if I could do it. I was confident in myself and my team.”
After giving Pinkerton the lead with his legs in the first half, Campos was finally given the chance to throw the ball in the second half, and continued to deliver.
He first completion was a 58-yard connection to Jacob Albert. He then set up Wilson’s first TD with a 38-yard pass to Davin Clark. But his best was a perfectly-placed 47-yard TD strike to Gavin Auger.
“I was ecstatic that coach let me throw the ball,” he said. “He told us we were going to do the simple plays tonight because I was new. But once he saw that I got the team going, he was confident in me. It was a lot of fun.”
O’Reilly was impressed by the performance of Campos.
“Nathan did a very nice job,” said O’Reilly. “We thought Jeff might be back this week, but he wasn’t. I hadn’t given Nathan a chance. I wanted to see what he could do, and he responded very well.”
Wilson also stepped up for the Astro offense. Taking on an increased workload at fullback — in place of injured Jake MacInnis, the area’s No. 3 rusher — Wilson carried 14 times for 94 yards and the two scores.
“I had to step up to fill (MacInnis’s) shoes,” said the junior. “It’s a lot to fill. And I was still playing my spot on defense.”
Leading the Pinkerton defense were linebackers Marcus Terrio (interception, sack, 10 tackles) and Wilson (8 tackles). Andrew Guillimette and Russell Patrikas each added an interception, and Trent Leduc chipped in with a sack.
A bright spot for Timberlane (0-6) was receiver Robert Olson, who caught nine passes for 101 yards. Evan Roeger and Joseph Shivell each had a sack.
Pinkerton will look to keep its playoff hopes alive next Friday, when it hosts Concord (7 p.m.)
“We want to pop them in the mouth and show then what Pinkerton football is about,” said Wilson. “We are still confident.”
Contact David Willis at @DWillisET or DWillis@eagletribune.com.