While there was unquestionably frustration within the Pinkerton Academy football program last month when the varsity Astros ended an otherwise superb 2017 season by losing to the incredibly tough Winnacunnet High Warriors in the Division I title game, a whole slew of PA grid standouts received all-conference honors as the team’s talent was recognized.
Longtime PA head football coach Brian O’Reilly’s Astros had eight players notch All-South Conference First-Team recognition and five others bag honorable mention status in the wake of their stellar season, in which they went 8-1 during the regular campaign before vanquishing Nashua South and Salem in the D-I playoffs. The championship game loss to Winnacunnet of Hampton at the University of New Hampshire left the Astros with a final 2017 mark of 10-2.
Perhaps the most promising fact regarding the all-conference picks are that barring some unforeseen complications no less than nine of those stalwarts will be back in Pinkerton football uniforms for the 2018 campaign.
First-team defensive picks included senior defensive back Kayden Baillargeon, junior defensive linemen Gannon Fast and Rob Fahey, and junior linebacker Tyler Mackiernan. Honorable mention defensive selections were senior defensive backs Josh Ladipo and Matt Newman and junior linebacker Max Mosely.
Baillargeon led his team in interceptions with six while also amassing some 39 tackles, 32 of which were of the solo variety.
Mackiernan paced the Astros in tackles with 79, 41 of which were solos. He also notched one quarterback sack.
Fast led Pinkerton in sacks with 8.5, and he collected 34 tackles from his defensive end spot. Fahey also tallied 34 tackles and sacked opposing quarterbacks three times.
Ladipo, whose biggest individual game of the 2017 campaign came in the playoff victory over Salem in which he had two pass interceptions and a fumble recovery, finished up with 46 tackles and four picks.
Tough-as-nails linebacker Mosely was second on his team with 76 tackles, and he picked off one pass.
The Pinkerton crew’s offensive first-teamers were senior halfback Ty Hicks, junior linemen Cam Macro and Allen Gault, and junior quarterback Aiden Goujon. Honorable mention selections included junior split end Ryan Auger and junior tight end Mike Sarette.
Offensive general Goujon completed some 49 passes for 1,249 yards and 12 touchdowns during the fine season. He was only intercepted once, and the lefty signal-caller also ran for three scores.
And the biggest Pinkerton weapon out of the backfield was senior Hicks, who ran for 1,166 yards and 17 touchdowns on 104 carries. His yards-per-carry average was a pretty stunning 11.2. Talented offensive linemen Macro and Gault played huge roles in opening big holes for Hicks and his fellow backs.
Split end Auger caught eight passes during the successful campaign for his Astros, with three of those going into end zones for touchdowns.