Lancers Football Head for Second Consecutive Title

By Chris Paul

The Londonderry High School Football team will be looking to defend their Division I championship title after beating the Pinkerton Academy Astros 21-7 at Lancer Park in the Semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 19.
The Astros were held scoreless until the third quarter and the Lancers defense kept PA out of the endzone to maintain the win.
Londonderry was able to hold the tough Pinkerton senior running backs, Cole Yennaco and Jacob Albert, to just 63-yards to help assure the victory.
Overall, Londonderry was able to gain 179-yards of total offense in the game, while the Astros were held to just 120-yards.
Albert had an off day, and the first play from the offensive line gave a good indication of how the game would go for the PA side. Albert lost his footing in that play and started with an opening fumble.
Fortunately, he recovered the ball, but the team went three-and-out to start the game.
Londonderry had a very strong opening drive, starting at their 22-yard line after PA’s first punt and was able to pound the ball down the field to get into the end-zone during a 10-minute drive.
During that drive, on fourth-and-eight at the PA 38-yard line, Londonderry quarterback, Drew Heenan, threw down the field to Anthony Amaro for a big 34-yard completion inside the ten-yard-line.
The drive ended with senior running back, Trevor Weinmann, getting the first touchdown of the game with a two-yard run. The point after by senior Jack Drabik put LHS up 7-0.
The Astros second drive of the game ended much like their first, with the Lancer defense holding them to minimal yards on the ground and forcing a three-and-out punt.
Londonderry started their second drive of the game from their side of mid-field, where Heenan made another nice pass to end the first quarter. Weinmann made a very nice juggling, sideline catch at the PA 35-yard line.
The Lancers drive ended with another fourth down attempt that was foiled by PA at the 28-yard line.
The Astros took over on downs and continued to try and run the football against the tough LHS defense.
On second down, LHS senior, Nathan Pedrick, busted through the PA line and got the first sack of the game for a 6-yard loss and helping to force another punt.
During the punt, the Special Teams squad came up big with junior Cam Brutus being able to break through and block the kick and allow fellow junior Seth Doyon to grab the ball and get into the end zone for the second score of the game. Drabik then gave LHS 14-0 lead with the extra point into the wind with four-minute left in the half.
Pinkerton’s third drive of the game had Yennaco under center, hoping for a different result in running the ball, but despite one passing play in that drive and a new quarterback the drive ended with another three-and-out and a punt.
The following LHS drive resulted in the Lancers first punt of the game, giving PA the ball at the 35-yard line where Londonderry forced another PA punt after three running plays.
Despite two nice passing plays during Londonderry’s final drive of the half, it ended with another failed fourth down attempt.
The final PA drive of the half had the Astros getting their first, first down and also saw senior kicker, Jack Drabik, taken off the field after an injury during a tackle on a Yennaco first down run with just 10 seconds left in the half.
Pinkerton saw it’s first glimmer of hope, after Lancer senior, Andrew Kullman, fumbled on his first carry of the game and the Astros Patrick Waldron recovered, putting PA just outside the LHS 30-yard line.
The PA offense had their first big passing play in the following drive, junior quarterback, Tim Hersom, had a completion to Matt Morrison on a third-and-15 play to give the Astros a first down.
The drive ended with a failed fourth-down attempt at the LHS 14-yard line, giving LHS the ball back, where they punted after three plays.
The PA momentum continued in their second drive of the third quarter, resulting in the Astros first score of the game.
PA worked their way down to the one-yard line where Yennaco put the Astros on the board with a touchdown. The point after kick by Craig Coventry put the score at 14-7 with four minutes left in the quarter.
The Astros defense held Londonderry to minimal yards in the following drive, but the Londonderry punt put PA at their three-yard line to start the fourth quarter.
The Lancers defense nearly had a sack in the end zone for the safety to start the final quarter, but settled for a punt.
During the punt, an Astros facemask penalty put LHS at the PA 13-yard line, setting up Londonderry’s third touchdown of the game. Heenan ran the ball in from the 10-yard line on third down to get the game back to a two-score lead. Senior Dylan Wrisley came in for the injured Drabik for the point-after.
That score was all Londonderry needed to give them the victory over the rival Astros and give them their third trip in four seasons to the Division I finals.
Heenan was eight for 16 in pass completions for a total of 78 yards in the air. Heenan also led his team in rushing, getting 66-yards on 16 attempts on the ground.
Junior Jake Schena had 20-yards on seven carries followed by Weinmann and Andrew Soucy who both had seven-yards.
Amaro was the leading receiver with his catch of 34-yards, Weinmann had three catches for 23-yards and junior Matt Carrol had three for 20-yards.
On defense, Pedrick led in tackles with 7.5, seven of them solo and Weinmann finished with 4.5.
Londonderry will face the Bedford Bulldogs in the championship game on Saturday, Nov. 26, at Exeter High School at 1 p.m. Bedford finished the regular season at 6-3 and their last division title was a 28-14 win over Pinkerton in 2018.
Londonderry will be going for its third title in four years, getting wins in 2019 against Exeter and a 24-14 win over Winnacunnet last year.

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