WINDSOR >> Jason Pinnock has already had his coming-out party this year. Now he’s just living in the moment.
The Boston College-bound receiver and defensive back caught seven passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns as sixth-ranked Windsor shut out upstart South Windsor 37-0 on Friday at Jack O’Brien Stadium.
It is the fifth shutout for the Warriors in eight games as they improve to 8-0, 4-0 in Central Connecticut Conference Division II East play. The Bobcats are now 4-4 overall, 1-3 in CCC D-II East.
Pinnock, who before this season had not been a primary wide receiver, has turned himself into one of the best in the conference, if not the state.
“I’ve never had a person who grew so quickly in such a short period of time,” Windsor coach Rob Fleeting said. “I think, fundamentally, he is the best receiver that we’ve had.”
After a slow start for the Warriors resulted in a 35-yard field goal on their opening drive by Eric Foster, Pinnock told his coaches they needed to throw him the ball.
He was right.
On the next Windsor drive, Pinnock ran past his defender and hauled in a 32-yard pass from Jakhari Grant — 11 of 13 for 202 yards — using every bit of his arm length down the left sideline for his first touchdown of the game with 3:43 left in the first quarter.
“No disrespect,” Pinnock said. “But they were playing me man with no help over-top, so we just took advantage of that.”
In the second quarter, Joe Russell completed a nine play, 62 yard drive with a 1-yard run to make it 16-0.
That lead was almost cut in half if it weren’t for a goal line stand by the Warriors as time expired before halftime.
And, yup, you guess it, Pinnock was right in the middle.
After a disastrous drive by Windsor that ended with two sacks by South Windsor and a punt, the Bobcats drove 54 yards and were knocking on the Warriors’ door. But they refused to let them in. Connor Dunn was stopped shy of the goal line by Pinnock and Tim Gardner as time expired preserving the shutout.
“They kind of punched it down our throat,” Pinnock said. “We took it personal and went to the half with zero. The coaches were just real impressed that we finally came together as a team, just shouting on the field and getting rowdy.”
Windsor’s first drive of the second half was another Pinnock TD catch. This one went for 63 yards and gave the Warriors a 23-0 advantage.
He did it one more time in the fourth.
Grant found Pinnock on a ball he had to reach out front for, but it stuck to his gloves for a 4-yard touchdown.
South Windsor did not find the red zone the rest of the game despite moving the ball with a rotation of running backs. Dunn, James Tamburro and Julian Ibes all got carries, but the Windsor defense, which is allowing less than five points per game on average, stepped up when needed.
I think we won a lot of plays,” South Windsor coach Dave Hodge said. “The only difference was the plays they won went for 80 yards and the plays we won were (for) five.”
Windsor finished off the game by forcing South Windsor to turn the ball over on downs and, on what turned out to be the final play run from scrimmage, Gardner busted through the middle and ran 64 yards for a touchdown giving him 100 for the game on five carries.
“I think our identity has changed since the bye week,” Fleeting said. “We started to run the ball a little bit better.”
And that could be a scary thing for upcoming opponents, because Hodge said this is ‘probably the best Windsor team I’ve seen in a long time and I’ve been around a long time.’
WINDSOR 37, SOUTH WINDSOR 0
South Windsor: 0 0 0 0 — 0
Windsor: 9 7 7 14 — 37
(at Jack O’Brien Stadium, Windsor)
W — Eric Foster 35 field goal
W — Jason Pinnock 32 pass from Jakhari Grant (Foster kick missed)
W — Joe Russell 1 run (Foster kick)
W — Pinnock 53 pass from Grant (Foster kick)
W — Pinnock 4 pass from Grant (Foster kick)
W — Tim Gardner 64 run (Foster kick)
Team records: South Windsor 4-4 (1-3 CCC D-II East; Windsor 8-0 (4-0 CCC D-II East)