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Concord football team caps late rally with overtime win over Pinkerton

DERRY – Seventy-six yards that seemed like a mile and 21∕2 minutes that seemed like a few seconds stood between Concord and its quest for perfection. Trailing nemesis Pinkerton, 14-6, late in last night’s game, the Crimson Tide football team stood poised on the brink of its first loss of the season.

What happened next was a blur, turning the visiting grandstand delirious.

Concord marched those 76 yards in eight plays, scoring on fourth down to pull within 14-12, then running in the conversion to tie it with 51 seconds left. The Tide stopped Pinkerton’s final possession as time ran out. Concord scored on fourth-and-1 in overtime. And the Tide sent the Astros (4-2) reeling backward on their OT series, ending the game when Dylan Naylor swatted away a fourth-down pass, keeping Concord undefeated through six games with a 21-14 victory.

Tested for the first time this season, Concord showed it can respond to adversity.

“These guys kick our (butt) every year; it just feels great to come out here and take them down finally,” said Jacob Szulc, who caught the TD late in regulation.

The game-tying drive started ominously when the Astros sacked Rob Law for the fourth time in the second half and sent him scrambling for another loss on the next play. Not to be deterred, Law (10-for-20 for 174 yards) hit a sliding Szulc over the middle for a 14-yard pickup and a first down, then on the next play delivered a 50-yard bomb to Szulc down the right sideline.

The next three plays netted just 3 yards, but on fourth-and-7 from the 12, Law got drilled as he released the ball, landing on the ground just as Szulc pulled in the pass in the left corner of the end zone.

“It was a great pass, he caught me right in stride,” Szulc said of the 50-yarder, part of his 130 receiving yards. “It was great blocking by the line, gave him enough time to get it off to me. It was just a great play overall.”

With the wind knocked out of him, Law caught a bit of a break when Pinkerton called time out before the conversion. He took the snap, faked a handoff to Walters Ndi (23 carries for 160 yards) up the middle, then scampered untouched around right end to tie the game with 51 seconds to play.

“We came in and gave them an idea that we were going to come out with our jumbo package and then to run that play when they weren’t expecting it I think is the key,” Concord Coach Eric Brown said. “I think that was a case of the unexpected.”

Kris Skinner and Wyatt LaBombard sacked Pinkerton’s Jack Hanaway to run out the clock and force overtime, where each time gets a crack at the end zone from the 10-yard line.

Going first, Concord picked up 3 1∕2 yards from Marc Gaudet, then 5 yards up the middle from Ndi. On third down, Pinkerton stuffed Ndi at the 1, then on fourth down appeared to have him caught in the backfield, but the Tide senior muscled his way through the defense and into the end zone, with Kevin Condict’s kick giving the Tide a 21-14 lead.

“I needed to get in the end zone for the team,” Ndi said. “At that point I gave myself up for the team. I did put an extra effort, everything I’ve got, to get in the end zone.”

Pinkerton got the final crack, and with the dangerous Manny Latimore (22 carries, 173 yards) in the backfield, the Tide faced a stiff challenge. Latimore gained 3 yards up the middle before being stopped by Ndi on first down, then was met by Naylor for a 1-yard loss. Diego Hebra, who had perhaps the best game of his career on defense for Concord, wrapped up Latimore for a 3-yard loss on third down. And Naylor finished it off with his swat of the final pass.

“With these guys, we always have a shot,” Brown said.”

Latimore’s 52-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter gave Pinkerton a lead it held until the final minute. Concord answered that first TD on its next drive, when Ndi scored from 25 yards out, but a missed extra point kept the Tide behind, 7-6.

A 45-yard run by Latimore set up Nicholas Liporto’s 2-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, giving the Astros a 14-6 lead. But Concord’s defense kept the Astros, who had averaged 40 points per game in their four wins, at bay long enough for the wild ending.

Shawn Jobin had a pair of pass breakups, Alex Cohen, Naylor and Gaudet all added sacks, Gaudet batted a pass at the line, and Ndi, Hebra and Logan Lamoureux came up with tackle after tackle to keep the game close.

“These guys are hungry,” Brown said. “The guys got together in the huddle and talked about three years we’ve gotten beat up pretty good by these guys. They’re hungry.”

(Sandy Smith can be reached at 369-3339 or ssmith@cmonitor.com.)

Concord 21
Pinkerton 14, OT

Concord (6-0) 0 6 0 8 7 — 21

Pinkerton (4-2) 7 0 0 7 0 — 14

First Quarter

Pink—Manny Latimore 52 run (Kyle Cantalupo kick), 11:44.

Second Quarter

Con—Walters Ndi 25 run (kick failed), 1:12.

Fourth Quarter

Pink—Nicholas Liporto 2 run (Cantalupo kick), 0:56.

Con—Jacob Szulc 12 pass from Rob Law (Law run), 11:09.

Overtime

Con—Ndi 1 run (Kevin Condict kick).

Con Pink

First downs 14 13

Rushes-yards 41-152 45-306

Passing 174 (-2)

Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0

Comp-Att-Int 10-20-0 1-7-0

Sacked-Yards Lost 4-19 3-18

Fumbles-Lost 3-0 2-1

Penalties-Yards 6-45 4-25

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Concord, Ndi 23-160, Marc Gaudet 3-6, Seimou Smith 3-3, Law 12-(minus-17). Pinkerton, Latimore 22-173, Matt Madden 5-65, TJ Urbanik 7-43, Jack Hanaway 7-13, Ryan Day 3-10, Liporto 1-2.

PASSING—Concord, Law 10-20-0-174. Pinkerton, Hanaway 1-5-0-(minus-2), Latimore 0-2-0-0.

RECEIVING—Concord, Szulc 6-130, Smith 2-25, Nick Comeau 1-11, Shawn Jobin 1-8. Pinkerton, Hayden Sturdevant 1-(minus-2).

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