EXETER, N.H. -- Here's one reason why time of possession can be a misleading statistic: Pinkerton Academy had the ball for 39 seconds in the second quarter Thursday night and still managed to outscore Exeter by 21 points during that 12-minute span.
Pinkerton ran three offensive plays in the quarter and scored a touchdown on each. It was part of a 42-16 Pinkerton victory that had some in attendance wondering if the Astros are the best team in New England.
“Offensively we nickled and dimed enough to hang, but defensively we didn't hold up,” Exeter coach Bill Ball said. “If you miss those guys they go, and they go real fast. That's a very good team.”
With Pinkerton leading 7-3, fullback Kevin Davies scored on a 67-yard run. Senior running back Emmitt Smith scored the two other second-quarter touchdowns. His TDs came on a 96-yard run and a back-breaking 80-yard run with 13.9 seconds left in the half.
Smith finished the game with 289 yards rushing and four touchdowns on eight carries. He also scored on a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter. His last rushing attempt came with 9:42 to play.
“We've been really working on getting to the outside and I had a clean corner for most of my runs, so I was able to run as fast as I could and usually in a straight line,” Smith said. “We can hit quick. That really knocks the air out of you. “
Pinkerton, the No. 3 team in ESPN Boston's New England Top 10, led 35-3 after three quarters.
The victory raised Pinkerton's record to 6-0 overall, and 5-0 in Division 1. Exeter, which entered the contest as the only other unbeaten team in Division I, dropped to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in Division I.
“Speed is a wonderful thing to have,” Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. “Emmitt Smith is track fast obviously. There isn't anyone in this division who can contend with him. There is no one that is as good a speed running back as Emmitt Smith. No one, because Emmitt can block, Emmitt can run, Emmitt can catch and Emmitt can cut back. So I'm happy to have him on our team.”
Backchecking: Davies, a 240-pound senior, also scored three touchdowns in the victory and ended his night with 114 yards on seven carries.
In addition to his 67-yard TD run in the second, he opened the scoring on a 3-yard run in the first quarter, and added 4-yard TD run on Pinkerton's opening possession of the third.
“The real secret to our team is that Kevin Davies is a beast,” O'Reilly said. “If you don't pay attention to him he's fast enough to run by you and he's obviously tough enough – he likes to run over people. For defensive backs that causes problems. Most defensive backs don't like to see that coming at them.”
Sophomore Manny Latimore, Pinkerton's No. 3 running back, may be the best college prospect on the Pinkerton roster. Latimore gained 68 yards on six carries against Exeter.
“The only thing wrong with Manny is he's a sophomore and Coach O'Reilly doesn't let him have the ball as much as the other guys, but Manny will be around for the next two years after this,” O'Reilly said.
Numbers game: The Astros have outscored their six opponents 251-50, and have scored at least 41 points in each of their five Division I victories.
Pinkerton has already navigated the toughest part of its schedule. The Astros beat Nashua South 56-14 and dismantled Salem 49-14. Nashua South, Salem and Exeter each have one loss.
“We're hard to contend with because we can go left, right, up the middle and we can throw the ball a lot more than we do, I just don't want to do that,” O'Reilly said. “There isn't much we can't do as far as what part of the field can we hit. We can do that if we really have to.
“I knew we had a good team, but yes, I am continuously surprised how our kids keep answering the bell week after week after week.”
Mass. appeal: Brockton is next on Pinkerton's schedule. The Boxers, who are 1-3 and have been shut out twice, will make the trip to Derry, N.H., Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest.
“Now we'll get ready for Brockton,” O'Reilly said. “We'll give the kids three days off this weekend and then they come to our place next Saturday. I'll go watch them [Saturday night] at Fitchburg.”
PINKERTON 42, EXETER 16
PA (6-0) 7 21 7 7 --– 42
EX (5-1) 3 0 0 13 --- 16
P – Kevin Davies 3 run (Ryan Coombs kick)
E – Logan Laurent 23 field goal
P – Davies 67 run (Coombs kick)
P – Emmitt Smith 96 run (Coombs kick)
P – Smith 80 run (Coombs kick)
P – Kevin Davies 4 run (Coombs kick)
E – Tyler Grant 1 run (kick blocked)
P – Smith 23 run (Coombs kick)
E – Ethan Joyce 5 run (Laurent kick)