(Haverhill MA) His running style isn’t complicated.
“I see space and I hit it,” explained Pentucket quarterback Chase Dwight.
Chase scored three short-yardage touchdowns and that was enough for the Sachems (4-1) to defeat Newburyport, 21-7, on Saturday afternoon.
Chase ended up with a career day that included 148 yards rushing and 152 yards passing (10-for-17).
Both teams produced TDs on their opening possessions and the score was tied at, 7-7, at halftime.
Anyone’s game going into the second half.
After matching turnovers to start the second half, Pentucket dominated on both sides of the ball.
The next two possessions Newburyport punted while the Sachems scored each time.
The defensive key for Pentucket was limiting Clippers QB Finn Sullivan. The talented senior came into today’s game with seven touchdown passes, and five rushing touchdowns.
Finn finished with fifty-five yards passing (seven-for-seventeen) and seventy-six yards rushing on sixteen carries. Little of the yardage came in the second half.
“Defensively, we were able to keep their quarterback under wraps,” said Pentucket coach Steve Hayden afterwards.
“He ran all over us last year,” added Coach Hayden recalling last year’s 40-6 loss to the Clippers.
“After their first score today, we kept our gaps controlled a little bit better,” said Coach Hayden.
On offense, Pentucket overcame bad starting field position in the second half twice (their eight and their ten) and turned in two time-consuming scoring drives.
“The key to our offense is 4 (Chase Dwight) and his composure,” said Coach Hayden.
In the go-ahead score, Chase rushed for three first downs and passed to Adam Payne for another to set it up.
In the backbreaker (for Newburyport) third score, Chase converted three 3rd downs while still on the Pentucket side of midfield. Passes to Will Sutton and CJ Condon kept the sixteen-play drive going.
The beauty of the third score for Pentucket was that it cleared 10 ½ minutes off the 4th quarter clock while giving them a two-touchdown advantage.
The Clippers were left with a little over a minute of game-time and a fourteen-point deficit.
“They took the wind out of our sails in the second half,” said NHS coach Ben Smolski afterwards.
“They established a good ground game by winning in the trenches,” Coach Smolski added.
“Their defense gets after it,” said Coach Smolski. “They get eleven guys to the football. They always have that relentless effort.”
Pentucket started with the ball in the first half and put points on the scoreboard. Chase passed for first downs to Che Condon and Adam Payne before plowing in from a yard away.
Henry Hartford added the extra point as Pentucket led, 7-0, at 6:57 of the first quarter.
The Clippers responded with their own touchdown. Finn Sullivan was key in the seventy-yard drive.
Finn opened space for himself with well-executed fake handoffs. His speed and elusiveness created big gains for the Clippers.
Finn passed to Grant Mosesian for the final nine yards.
“Finn went for the initial read and didn’t see it there and popped it into Grant,” said Coach Smolski of the scoring play.
Finn added the extra point with Chris Salvatore holding.
It was Finn’s eighth touchdown pass of the season and Grant’s second touchdown catch.
The Clippers started three other first-half possessions in very good field position: Newburyport 49, Pentucket 46, Newburyport 42. The upgraded Sachems defense, however, did a better job of containing Finn Sullivan and so punts ended each opportunity.
In both of Chase Dwight’s second-half touchdown, the Sachems were close to the goal-line. There was no mystery as to who would carry the ball. The mystery was, in which direction will he run.
Chase carried a defender into the end zone on the second touchdown (six yards). On the third score (two yards), he went left and into the end zone still standing.
“Chase (Dwight) is just a hard-nosed kid,” said Coach Smolski. “He is mentally and physically tough. He’s hard to bring down.”
Chase is a baseball pitcher so I knew that he could throw a ball. On most of his throws, he was on the move.
What caught my attention about Chase was his speed. I also noticed that he wasn’t shy about lowering his head on potential tacklers.
Chase Dwight: “There was a lot of excitement going into this week. Newburyport is a good team, so we had some nerves, but we played to our potential. We kept pounding today. We kept confidence in ourselves.”
The Sachems were winless last year. I asked Coach Hayden what the difference has been this season: “Our seniors have stepped forward.”
Pentucket’s blocking was very good today. “The guys up front did a good job,” said Coach Hayden, “that includes; John Smith, Remo Pezzi, Bryce Winter, Ethan Drummond, and Chris Tineo.”
Chase is also a very talented baseball pitcher. “He has several options for next year,” added Coach Hayden.
Chase’s three TDs today give him six for the season.
A key missing piece for Newburyport is Luke Stallard. Luke had four TD receptions and may well have been Newburyport’s best defender.
“Luke is out for the season with a broken collar bone,” said Coach Smolski.
Newburyport (3-2) had won three straight.
Two years ago, Pentucket defeated Newburyport, 35-7.
I was impressed with Haverhill’s Trinity Stadium. There are plenty of seats and there is room behind the team areas.
It was senior day for Pentucket, and twenty-one students/cheerleaders were honored.
AD Dan Thornton has PA announcer skills!
(All the pictures should enlarge significantly if you click on them.)