There are certain norms which are maintained each September when the Pinkerton Academy and Londonderry High School fall varsity sports teams face off in the exciting Mack Plaque games.
Folks from both sides get excited about and turn out for many of the games, with the football contests often drawing as many as 5,000 people and the other games drawing plenty of spirited spectators as well. The Mack games also provide the competing teams with a playoff-type atmosphere which challenge them to their very limits. And, lastly and unfortunately for one side, the larger school located in Derry usually winds up with bragging rights and the plaque in its possession.
All of those facets were in place for the most recent Mack battles, most of which took place last week on Londonderry High Lancer soil. And as has been the case for 17 consecutive years now, Pinkerton Academy ended up keeping the plaque in Derry.
The schools sat tied up at 1-1 in 2018 Mack action when play for the week of Sept. 17 began due to the fact that the PA and LHS cross-country teams split in three-team meets at LHS several weeks earlier.
The next Mack contest was the golf match between the Astros and Lancers on Londonderry’s home links at the Passaconaway Country Club in Litchfield last Wednesday the 19th. And the academy squad wound up bagging that victory by finishing eight strokes ahead of the LHS contingent at 196-204.
Now leading 2-1 in Mack play, everybody’s attention turned to the Friday, Sept. 21 battle between the two undefeated football squads which, at least on paper, looked to be a virtual toss-up. In reality, on the LHS gridiron in front of an estimated crowd of more than 5,000 fans, Pinkerton collected a pretty convincing 34-14 win to claim a 3-1 Mack Plaque lead.
Most of the four slated matches at Londonderry High on Saturday were seen as toss-ups, but the Derry school won all but one with a 3-0 shutout in girls’ volleyball, a pretty stunning 2-1 overtime win in girls’ soccer, and a 3-1 victory in field hockey before the LHS boys’ soccer team managed a 2-1 win in the day’s final contest that afternoon.
Hence, the final tally had Pinkerton keeping the Mack Plaque based on a 5-2 record in seven match-ups. Had it been necessary, the state spirit championships in November would have served as the tie-breaker.