NHIAA Div. II: Portsmouth edges Trinity
Portsmouth's Nate Mcfarland reacts after scoring the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter vs. Trinity in their NHIAA Div. II semifinal game Saturday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
Second-seeded Portsmouth advanced to the title game by beating third-seeded Trinity of Manchester 18-14 in Saturday's Division II semifinals.
"We were trying to hit that deep, sideline area where we could catch and run," Portsmouth coach Brian Pafford said. "We were trying to stay out of the middle because they were spying Donovan a little bit. They had an extra defender in certain pass areas.
Phanor also threw a late TD pass when Portsmouth (10-1) beat Plymouth 27-22 in Plymouth during the regular season. Top-seeded Plymouth (10-1), which beat fourth-seeded Sanborn Regional of Kingston 37-13 in Saturday's other semifinal, will also be at home for Saturday's championship game.
Trinity's Austin Chambers caught two touchdown passes against the Clippers. He opened the scoring when he caught a 94-yard TD pass from quarterback Carmen Giampetruzzi with 7:41 left in the first half. Will Sheppard ran in the two-point conversion to give the Pioneers an 8-0 lead.
Trinity committed three turnovers in the game, and the third one hurt the most. After McFarland's TD, the Pioneers had a first down on their own 40-yard line, but fumbled the ball away with 2:44 to play.
Loden Formichelli and Spencer Griggs scored Portsmouth's other TDs. Formichelli caught a 3-yard TD pass from Phanor with 1:22 left in the first half, and Griggs scored on a 1-yard run with 7:01 left in the third quarter.
"Trinity matches up with us very well," Pafford said. "They take away the long ball, so I thought it would be a grind it out, move-the-chains type of day. I thought it would be a lot lower scoring than the first time, and it was."