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Pembroke football team goes out on a winning note

PEMBROKE – Coach Brian Gridley always felt his Pembroke Academy football team could dig deep when it mattered most. Clutch scores, timely turnovers and a disciplined tempo lifted the Spartans to yesterday’s memorable 14-12 overtime victory over Con-Val on senior night.

“It’s nothing we’ve done as coaches,” Gridley said of his team’s performance. “I just think it’s the players we have on the team. We challenged them all season long to be physically and mentally strong.”

Pembroke (4-5) and Con-Val (2-7) each entered the game knowing it had already been eliminated from playoff contention. However, an excited crowd watched both squads deliver a contest filled with inspired play that ended with Vinny Dustin and Zachary Wiggin sealing the win for the Spartans. Dustin’s 7-yard touchdown run put Pembroke up 12-6, but Wiggin’s score on the two-point conversion proved to be the deciding factor.

“What a way to end. I think the guys came together and weathered the storm,” Gridley said.

The Cougars almost went ahead midway through the fourth quarter. Jeremy Doubleday’s 19-yard pass to Riordan McCole evened things up at 6-6. But Pembroke’s Joe Boisvert blocked the extra point attempt and preserved the tie. It was one of a few big plays on special teams that helped the Spartans keep pace.

Early in the second quarter, Ben Paradis converted on a fake punt with a 19-yard rush up the right sideline. Pembroke suddenly found itself on Con Val’s 12-yard line and Wiggin cashed in just three plays later on a 7-yard run to make it 6-0. Later, senior Nicholas Francois pinned the Cougars on their own 4-yard line after a 60-yard punt to end the third quarter.

Pembroke relied on its stout ground game, as well. Wiggin gained 79 yards in the first half and finished with 109 on 16 carries. The Spartans ran for 157 yards as a team compared with Con Val’s 170. However, a critical play halfway through the third quarter dashed a Cougars team that couldn’t hit stride when it mattered. Running back Benjamin Edes fumbled on Pembroke’s 6-yard line, ending a 31-yard drive prematurely. The mistake-free play of the Spartans was just enough to edge out their Division-III rivals.

“We really came together as a team and overcame the adversity pretty well,” Dustin said. “We had a lot of guys step up and pull each other out of some trouble.”

Dustin’s winning score came from the help of senior Chris Ford. The play was designed as a basic trap scheme and Dustin followed the left-side pull with Ford leading the way. Quarterback Chris Cushing made the final key block for the overtime touchdown. For a team that featured no seniors last season, Gridley feels 2012 proved to be a step in the right direction.

“The seniors were able to build a foundation of Pembroke football that we will use in the future,” he said. “We want to take the next step forward and be one of those teams vying for a playoff spot.”

FOOTBALL

Concord 49, Spaulding 37

Concord accomplished its goal of a winning season, rolling to a 49-37 victory in Rochester.

With two straight wins, the Crimson Tide finished the season at 6-4 overall, 4-4 in Division I, just one win out of the playoffs.

Spaulding finished at 2-8 overall, 2-6 in Division II.

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