MANCHESTER, N.H. – One team is in Division III and one team is in Division II, but casual observers of Trinity and Manchester West on Saturday could be forgiven if they couldn’t tell each team’s division by what they saw on the field.
Trinity made easy work of West, returning across the Merrimack River with a 20-8 win in what was the first game between the two teams since 2015.
The defending Division III Champions recovered a fumble on the game’s opening kickoff and continued to set the tone from there. That initial turnover was transformed into a 29-yard touchdown by Peter Alisandro. Alisandro and turnovers struck again, this time with the Trinity senior taking a fumbled reception by West sophomore Edwen Rodriguez to the house.
Although the Pioneers couldn’t quite add a field goal to the list of their first-half tallies, they did limit the Blue Knight quarterback Icean Taylor to just one other reception in the second half, and limited West’s rushers outside of senior Xavier Burpee to just nine total yards after the break.
Burpee ended with 15 of West’s 20 touches on the ground in the first half and nine of their 16 rushes in the second half as well. However, Burpee would only add 10 yards to his 48-yard first half tally as West struggled with solid Trinity tackling and penalties.
“We weren’t able to get any momentum offensively. Every time we almost got some, there was a holding call or some other type of call on us. We lost and deservingly so,” said West Head Coach Tom Bozoian.
Only the final drive, created by an interception from West senior Jamal Tyler and culminated with a 24-yard pass from Taylor to Rodriguez and a subsequent two-point conversion, prevented a shutout.
Trinity also gave up a fumble on their first drive of the second half, but Taylor would give the ball back with another interception, this one to Trinity freshman Devohn Ellis.
Trinity senior James Thibault led all rushers with 84 yards on 14 carries, adding value on the other side of the ball as well.
“He ran hard between the tackles and kept the chains moving for us, he also made some big tackles of (Burpee),” said Trinity Head Coach Rob Cathcart.
West will seek to bounce back next week in another intra-city matchup against Manchester Memorial while Trinity will host Pelham.