(Amesbury MA) Amesbury is good and appear to be getting even better.
Today the Indians (4-1) made it look easy as they defeated Pentucket, 22-0, on Saturday afternoon.
The significant issue for Amesbury ahead is whether or not they will play another game.
Next Friday they were scheduled to face Newburyport but the Clippers, for Covid-19 reasons, have cancelled that game and therefore the rest of their season.
Amesbury will try to find an opponent to fill that final slot.
“It’s a shame what happened to Newburyport,” said AHS coach Colin McQueen afterwards. “We just want to keep playing if we can.”
The Indians might scare off possible opponents if the livestream of this afternoon’s game is seen.
Amesbury now has three straight shutouts and appears to be getting stingier each week.
“Our defense loves running to the football,” said Coach McQueen. “They take pride in it. They watch a lot of film and they understand the game. They have a good idea what the other team is trying to do.”
I don’t keep “official” stats, but I think Pentucket had only one first down all afternoon.
Five of the Sachems six series ended in punts. The other series was done after a fumble.
“Amesbury was tough,” said Pentucket coach Steve Hayden postgame. “It was what it was.”
The Indians scored on both possessions in the first half and were on the Pentucket two when the half ended.
Amesbury loves to run the ball and run the clock. Teams that can’t stop the run are likely to get a non-stop dose of it.
That’s what happened to Pentucket early on.
The Indians reached the Pentucket 32 on run after run (three first downs).
A fake inside and JT Tilton went around the left side to open the scoring for his second TD of the season.
“That buck sweep today for the first touchdown may have been executed as well as we’ve done it during the four years I’ve been here,” said Coach McQueen.
“We kept on our blocks and the back let the blocks develop. He cut up like he was shot out of a cannon!”
Senior Kyle Donovan plunged over right tackle for the 2-point conversion. Amesbury was in front, 8-0, at 3:40 of the first quarter.
The AHS second touchdown drive was the one that surely would get a future opponent’s attention.
The key to the second drive was the passing of QB Drew MacDonald. Who saw this coming? To date, the AHS passing attack had been as ineffective as the running game had been effective.
“Drew told us pre-game that he felt good,” said Coach McQueen. “He played with confidence. He threw some awesomely catchable passes. It was certainly his best passing game.”
Completions to Kyle Donovan and Tyler Mazzaglia put Amesbury in the Red Zone. Runs by JT Tilton, Jeremy Lopez, and Kyle Donovan (1 yard score) took it the rest of the way. This was Kyle’s sixth touchdown of this season.
Drew’s pass to all-alone Kyle Donovan gave Amesbury the 2-point conversion and a 16-0 lead with 4:24 to go in the second period.
“We wanted them to pass, and we made them go to the air more than they usually want to,” said Coach Hayden.
Unfortunately, for the visitors from West Newbury, the Amesbury passing game was very good on this afternoon.
“We did pass more than we usually do,” confirmed Coach McQueen. “It’s all about what the defense will give you. They were stout in the middle and were moving defensive linemen and slanting a little bit. It was difficult at times for us to do what we wanted to do.”
The “difficulty” seemed a minor hindrance on an afternoon when the home team moved the chains twenty-two times, by my count.
The Pentucket defense had their best moments in the third quarter. On Amesbury’s first second-half series, junior Will Sutton intercepted a pass at the goal line. On AHS’s next series the Sachems were able to take over on downs.
On Amesbury’s third possession of the second half, Pentucket wasn’t as fortunate. A heavy dose of Brady Dore’s running led to a score. Brady ran for three first downs in the drive and finished the final eight yards on a sweep left for his second TD of the season.
The two-point conversion attempt was easily Pentucket’s best defensive effort of the day. Drew MacDonald tried to roll right but at least five of the Sachems had the play figured out and drove him out of bounds with authority.
The Amesbury lead was 22-0 with 7:40 left in the game.
After Andrew Melone’s fifth punt, the Indians went heavily to their reserves.
“It’s the best when you can get everyone in,” explained Coach McQueen. “We don’t have many bodies, so everyone is involved in some capacity. They work and prepare just like the starters. I’m proud to see how happy our team was to see them out there.”
Pentucket (0-4) will get another chance to get that elusive first win on Friday against Triton.
Pentucket had won six of the previous seven meetings against Amesbury.
Taking pictures of the Amesbury offense in action is particularly challenging. There are often fake handoffs and many of those fakes worked against ME!
I asked Drew MacDonald about the steady flow of deception, that he’s a big part of, after the game: “It is the whole point of this offense. If the defense doesn’t know where the ball is, then they can’t stop it.” Or get many good pictures of it…..in my case.
Pentucket fumbled on the first play of three drives and were able to recover two of them.
Derek Couture had a fumble recovery for Amesbury.
It was a cloudy day, but it didn’t rain. Surprised a bit by the teams that opted to play in the bad weather of Friday night.
All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.