Merrimack falls to Pinkerton

Despite an interception from junior defensive back Chad Seaver and a defensive fumble recovery by senior linebacker Nick Simmons on a third-and-goal play from the 3-yard line, the Merrimack High School football team went into halftime down 23-0 and Pinkerton Academy added 14 more points in the second half to for a decisive 37-0 win.

Still Merrimack coach Dante Laurendi was happy with the effort against the undefeated and talent-laden Astros.

“Defense played hard,” Laurendi said. “We ran around against a really good football team.’’

The Astros (9-0) got on the board first, when sophomore running back Nico Buccieri ran in from 20 yards out to cap a three-play drive that covered 45 yards. Junior kicker Kyle Cantalupo added the PAT to give Pinkerton the 7-0 edge with 10:43 remaining in the opening quarter.

Pinkerton struck again when senior running back Peter Cyr ran in from 4yards out with 4:10 left in the opening quarter. A big play on that drive happened on a third down and 11 play when senior quarterback Jack Hanaway connected on a pass play with junior running back T.J. Urbanik which covered 42 yards and brought them to the Merrimack 25.

Later, Pinkerton’s four-play drive that came to a conclusion when Hanaway connected with Isaiah Backels for a 28-yard touchdown and Cantalupo added the PAT to make 21-0 in Pinkerton’s favor with 11:25 left in the second quarter.

Pinkerton’s defense would force a safety with 4:28 left in the half to give them the 23-0 advantage going into intermission.

Merrimack would get some momentum going on their second drive of the second half which started from their own 11-yard line. Sophomore Tyler DeNeill would reel off first down runs on a third-and-11 play, a third-and-10 play and a fourth-and-7 play on the drive. The fourth down run would bring the Tomahawks to the Pinkerton 48. Merrimack would eventually punt on the possession.

“Tyler is a very good athlete,” Laurendi said. “He’s very dynamic with the ball in his hands.”

The Astros would register two touchdowns in the second half – the first coming when Buccieri ran it in from the 10, and the second one on sophomore running back Nick Coombs’ 30-yard run.

Cantalupo would add the PAT on the first one and junior Brett Dattilo added the PAT on the final score to give Pinkerton the 37-0 victory.

“Pinkerton is a very good football team,” Laurendi said. “Physical, big, athletic all around, I was pleased at how we competed and played to the end. I thought our kids played physical and played hard so I was proud of that.”