NEWINGTON – Playing from behind all game Newington knew that if it was going to be able to come back and knock off Maloney, it would need quarterback Nick Pestrichello to step up.
The junior did just that, totaling six touchdowns – four in the second half – as the Indians defeated No. 10 Maloney 42-35.
“I said Nick ‘you put us on your back’ and he took us,” Newington coach Jason Pace said. “He refused to lose.”
Pestrichello rushed for 143 yards and four scores and threw for 261 yards and two more touchdowns.
“I feel like I needed to,” Pestrichello said. “This game meant everything to us. Maloney (5-0) going into this, I knew we needed some big plays. I tried to make them for our team and my lineman did a helluva job holding up for me. I love my team, a whole team effort.”
After the Newington defense held Maloney on fourth and goal on their own 7-yard line, trailing by seven with 10:43 left in the game, Pestrichello went to work.
He hooked up with Austyn Howe for a 93-yard touchdown.
Pace then made a courageous call – go for the onside kick.
“We knew we had to make plays,” Pace said. “Their offensive is explosive and on the kickoffs they were getting the ball on the 50-yard line anyway. So why not give it a shot and take a chance in big games like this?”
The Indians recovered and went right down the field as Pestrichello snuck in for a one-yard touchdown run, to give the Indians their first lead of the game.
“We knew we were scoring right away,” he said. “I knew we could seal the game right then and there.”
Trailing for the first time in the game, Maloney moved down the field and facing a fourth and short around midfield, Maloney coach Kevin Frederick called a timeout.
The Spartans came out of the timeout and elected to punt.
With the ball once again, Pestrichello kept it and raced 65 yards to score his sixth touchdown of the game.
“Obviously I’ll second guess that for myself,” Frederick said of deciding to punt. “You have trust in your defense to make plays and there was still a lot of time left and we forced them deep.
“Hopefully our defense gets a stop and unfortunately we didn’t. That’s the outcome there.”
Maloney led by two touchdowns in the first half and sophomore quarterback Angel Arce threw for five touchdowns in Maloney’s first loss of the season.
“All three of the phases of the game, they stunk,” Fredeicks said. “Offensively we couldn’t make the plays when we needed to, defensively same thing. We couldn’t stop the quarterback run.
“They kicked our butts upfront. Special teams wise, we made so many mistakes. Big kick return, mishandled the ball to get the ball back. Things didn’t go our way, we have to get better.”
Player of the Game
Newington’s Nick Pestrichello totaled six touchdowns and 404 all-purpose yards in the win.