MANCHESTER, N.H. – This strange and unique season had seen reigning Division III champion Trinity punching above its weight so far when it came to facing higher division schools, but that streak didn’t continue on Friday.
The Pioneers couldn’t make it a perfect 3-0 against Division I and II schools in 2020, falling to visiting Bishop Guertin, 28-7.
Both teams started off strong as Bishop Guertin quarterback Dylan Santuosso finished the Cardinals’ first drive with a six-yard touchdown run, followed by Trinity’s Malith Yor also adding short-yardage score on the Pioneers’ subsequent drive.
Yor’s score would mark the zenith of Trinity’s offensive production as the two squads appeared to prepare for what would be a grinding game of inches on a rainy and gloomy October night.
Then, the rain began to slow and Bishop Guertin’s offense began to pull away. First, the Cardinals went 60 yards on 13 plays to break the deadlock, culminating with Santuosso finding Connor Guibord on a five-yard pass into the end zone. That was followed by a quick 31-yard pass from Dylan to Matt Santuosso, putting the Cardinals two yards away from another score, another run from Dylan just moments before the half.
Trinity Head Coach Rob Cathcart says the key Santuosso to Santuosso pass came from a blown coverage, something Bishop Guertin Head Coach John Trisciani has seen plenty of during what has been a frustrating season so far for the Cardinals.
“The end of the half, we’ve been on the opposite sides of those giving up a score just before the end of the half. We tried to use our clock management well and we were lucky the rain died down a bit,” said Trisciani. “It was huge, it gives you a lot of momentum for sure.”
The rain slowly picked up again in the second half, with a three-yard touchdown run from Daniel Fleming capping the scoreline with just over four minutes to play.
Fleming led all rushers with 92 yards on the night, with Trinity as a team combining for 79 ground yards in total. Dylan Santuosso had 91 yards through the air, connecting on 8-of-14 passes while adding 38 rushing yards in the win.
Bishop Guertin now goes from looking at a winless season to possibly playing for a playoff spot or at least Gate City bragging rights against Nashua South next week.
Meanwhile, Trinity is now 2-2 with a crucial Division III matchup against Campbell next up.
While Bishop Guertin’s student population is almost twice the size of Trinity’s, the peculiar scheduling brought forth by COVID-19 pandemic helped refoster what was once a Catholic school rivalry, even if only for one night.
“It’s pretty neat,” said Trisicani. “It used to be a rivalry. I think if the Catholic Schools could do something together again, that’d be kind of neat, but even if we don’t, it’s kind of a thing where if we’re not playing them, we want to root for them and see them do well.”