Category Archives: Pentucket

Amesbury boys/girls sweep Pentucket and Newburyport in outdoor track

Michaela Halloran quickly takes the lead for Amesbury in the 2-mile

Drew Everett and Brian Abel are 1-2 in the two-mile

(Newburyport MA) Good day for the boys/girls track teams of Amesbury.

The undefeated Indians came away with victories over Pentucket and Newburyport on a comfortable, then chilly, Wednesday afternoon of Cape Ann League outdoor track at Fuller Field.

Division 2 Pentucket and Division 3 Amesbury have two of the best track teams in the area.  Both were 7-1 last year. Be certain that when the CAL season ends, the Sachems and Indians will figure significantly in the post-season races.

Please permit a paragraph of whine: With no numbers, it is a challenge to  sort out names.  With no posted stats, it is a challenge to produce accurate results.

Reminds me of some Maine lore.  An out-of-towner drove into a small Maine village and hit a tremendous pot hole.  After coming to a stop, and checking his tire, the Flatlander expressed his displeasure to the first local he saw.  “Why don’t you have a sign warning about that pot hole?” he asked.  The local guy responded, “Everybody knows about it.”

Pentucket’s Keegan O’Keefe finishes the 4×100

Kind of like area outdoor track.  Who needs a program when everyone knows each other!

That’s one of the things I like about outdoor track; relaxed atmosphere.  There’s plenty of socializing and plenty of encouraging going on.

I thought that host Newburyport was wonderfully organized.  Things ran smoothly and quickly.

Fuller Field seems to be perfectly set up for outdoor track.  Are bleachers a necessity?  Not on this afternoon.

Prime reason for covering today’s meet?  Take a look at UNH commit Saige Tudisco.  The Pentucket senior delivered.  Won all four events (long jump, high jump, 100 hurdles, 200) and she was in with a next-level approach to each event.  The highlight for Saige may have been beating the very fast Caroline Schissel (Amesbury) in the 200.

Saige Tudisco edges Caroline Schissel in the 200

Caroline Schissel (left) nips teammate Schuyler Snay in the 100. Kaley Enright is 3rd.

Earlier, Caroline had a win over teammate Schuyler Snay in the 100 setting an Amesbury school record (12.19) in the process.

The Amesbury girls defeated Pentucket 79-66 while the AHS boys won 78-67.

The third school in the tri-meet (Newburyport) had wins from Sam Acquaviva (800) and Donte Harmon (100 meters).

Freshman Syeira Campbell takes the 400

Pentucket’s promising freshman (Syeira Campell) cruised in the 400 (59-84).

Amesbury’s Chelsea Lynch (400 hurdles, pole vault, 800) and Michaela Halloran (mile, two mile, 4 x 100 relay) finished first in three events.

The weather today highlighted the best of spring (sunny 60s) early on and later lowlighted the worst of spring (cloudy, windy, fog, 40s). How do you dress for such conditions?

(All of the pictures, and there are plenty, will enlarge if you click on them.)

Charlie Schissel wins tight 200

Schuyler Snay finishes the 4 x 100

John Sydlowski wins 400

Amesbury’s Sydlowski twins

400 – Chelsea Lynch, Ellison Seymour, Maia Esty

Clippers Donte Harmon wins the 100

110 hurdles – Jack Clohisy wins

Saige in the 100 hurdles

Sam LaPointe, Zach Labrecque, John Nelson watch the shot put competition

Drew Everett and Chelsea Lynch

Saige in the high jump

Chelsea Lynch won the pole vault

Beverly Browne sets to pole vault

Peter Lopata takes the mile for Pentucket

Michaela Halloran cruises in the two-mile

Saige in the long jump

Saige Tudisco

Chelsea Lynch takes 400 hurdles

Newburyport senior Anastasia Hansen honored before the meet

 

 

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Pentucket takes D2 North title with 48-33 win over Wakefield

Hannah Dziadyk harassed by three Pentucket defenders

Casey Hunt on defense against Hailey Lovell

(Lowell MA) Rome wasn’t built in a day nor was that amount of time enough for Wakefield to prepare for Pentucket’s pressure.

The result? A 48-33 win by the Sachems (23-2) over the Warriors (18-6) on Saturday afternoon at the Tsongas Arena in the Divison 2 North final.

“No team in the Middlesex League plays that type of aggressive, double-teaming defense,” said WHS coach Jason Pavey afterwards. “It was tough to prepare for them in a day.”  The Warriors reached the D2 North final with a win over Wilmington on Thursday.

With today’s victory, Pentucket will return for a sixth time for a tournament game (Tuesday 5:45PM) at the TD Garden.  The good news for Pentucket is that they won’t be facing D3 Archbishop Williams.  The Sachems are 2-3 at the Garden and all three losses have been to the Archies.

The Warriors (18-6) had size and seniors.  After being down by seven in the first quarter, Wakefield started the second on a run of five points on a rebound basket by Allee Purcell and a free throw as well as a layup by Hannah Butler.  That narrowed the Pentucket advantage to 13-11 after two minutes in the second quarter.

Allee Purcell (11 points) ahead of everyone after a Pentucket turnover

That would be as good as it would get for Wakefield. The rest of the quarter the Pentucket defense stymied Wakefield while the Sachems scoring picked up.  Last six minutes of the half?  The Warriors had only a free throw (Hannah Dziadyk) while Pentucket collected thirteen points.

In that breakaway segment, Maddi Doyle had a free throw, but all the other points were on 3-pointers.  Casey Hunt started with an old-fashioned three.  Then it was Maddi Doyle, left all alone, draining a long one from straight away.  The last two?  Angelina Yacubacci set up by Casey Hunt and Liv Cross.

Angelina Yacubacci (15 points) made three 3’s

“The NBA lines on the court made it a little confusing at the start,” said Angelina after the game.

The Warriors trailed 26-12 at the half.

“We were better in the second half,” said Coach Pavey, “but we’d dug ourselves too deep a hole against a very good team.”

Pentucket’s lead was down to eight (33-25) after a buzzer-beating layup by Hannah Butler at the end of the 3rd period.

“They cut the lead to eight but then Angelina (Yacubacci) hit a three which was huge,” explained Pentucket coach John McNamara.

Pentucket applies pressure

The Warriors began the final quarter with four turnovers and the Sachems regained separation, 39-25, for good.  The final was 48-33.

It is easy to notice the Pentucket defense but what I am starting to notice is their ability to run an effective half-court offense when they have to.  Up by double-figures in the final quarter, there was plenty of organized movement that opened up lanes to the basket for layups or resulted in foul shots.

Angelina Yacubacci led all scorers with fifteen points.  Allee Purcell paced Wakefield with eleven points.

One of the keys to the Pentucket win was their ability to contain senior Hannah Dziadyk.  In this year’s post-season, Hannah had five 3’s against Burlington, seventeen points versus North Reading, and twenty-two points against Wilmington.  Maddi Doyle was the primary defender on Hannah although it seemed to me that there were multiple defenders most of the time.

Wakefield used a zone defense for part of the game.  “It was the first time we’ve seen a zone in a while,” said Coach McNamara.  The Sachems had several turnovers in the early going, trying to force passes into the interior of the Warrior zone.

Jelly Hurley hemmed in by Allee Purcell

“Wakefield hasn’t been this far in the tournament for a while, “said Coach Pavey.  “We had a lot of nervous energy and they wouldn’t let us settle in.”

“We want the other team to play at our pace and we try to force turnovers,” explained Casey Hunt afterwards regarding her team’s style of play.

“Our defense will take us as far as we’re going to go,” said Coach McNamara.  “Hopefully it will take us a couple more games.”

I like the Tsongas Arena.  The lighting is terrific.

Pentucket box

Wakefield box

(All of the pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jess Galvin (8 points) puts up a three as Coach John McNamara watches

Maddi Doyle guards Hannah Dziadyk

Pentucket celebrates

Pentucket team

Jelly Hurley (24) gets away from Olivia Dziadyk

Casey Hunt (20) covered by Hailey Lovell (22)

Liv Cross (8 points) in for two

Angelina Yacubacci (22) on a breakaway after a steal

Casey Hunt drives on Allee Purcell

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket reaches D2 North finals with 59-45 win over Melrose

Pentucket celebrates after defeating Melrose

Casey Hunt (14 points) shoots over Sam Dewey

(Danvers MA) Pentucket dominated the beginning and the end defeating Melrose, 59-45, in the Division 2 North semi-finals on Thursday night at St. John’s Prep.

The Sachems (22-2) take on Wakefield on Saturday (2PM) in the D2 North finals at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell.  Melrose and Wakefield split in their two Middlesex League games this season.

Pentucket ran and pressed Melrose into mistakes from the outset and had a 10-0 lead after 4 ½ minutes.

“We never got into any kind of rhythm,” said Melrose coach Bill Hirchfield afterwards. “They were right on us from the get-go.”

Peri MacDonald (11) looks for a pass

What looked like a bad matchup early was anything but that as the game progressed.

Pentucket still led by ten (22-12) with 1 ½ minute left in the first half before a three-minute, twelve-point surge gave the Lady Raiders (19-4) the lead, 24-22, early in the third quarter.

During the run of good Melrose offense, Sam Smith’s big three ended the first half. Lily Cunningham (13 points) continued the Melrose scoring with a full-court layup and free throw.  Freshman Sam Dewey (17 points) finished the drive to the lead with a put-back.

“We scouted her (Sam Dewey) and knew she was good,” explained Pentucket coach John McNamara.  “She is very hard to handle down low.”

Freshman Sam Dewey (17 points) led all scorers

Liv Cross (10 points,10 rebounds) reignited the Pentucket offense with a rebound basket to tie things at 24-24.

Angleina Yacubacci (10 points) followed with two free throws that gave the Sachems the lead for good with four minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.

This game, however, was anything but settled.

The Lady Raiders stayed within one or two possessions until the Sachems gained serious separation with a run of seven points early in the final quarter to pull up by ten, 46-36.

That ten-point separation was just about as safe as that 10-0 lead at the start!

Alexis Doherty and Lily Cunningham drained three’s and Sam Dewey hit a free throw.  Suddenly that “comfortable” lead was once again a one-possession lead with three minutes left.

As I said at the start, Pentucket finished strong.  In the final stretch they controlled the ball without any turnovers and forced Melrose to foul by constantly going to the basket.

The Sachems late-game foul shooting was a very good eleven-for-fourteen.  There was also a Jess Galvin (11 points) layup set up by Casey Hunt (14 points).

The Lady Raiders could get just two free throws (Alexis Doherty) in those outcome-deciding final three minutes.

Peri MacDonald surrounded by Sachems

The final was 59-45.

“Everything we do is based off of our defense,” said Coach McNamara.  “When we play good defense, our offense opens up.”

That Sachems’ defense created a whopping thirty-two turnovers including six during the fast start and four during the strong finish.

The Lady Raiders were at their best when they turned Pentucket misses into fast breaks.  Lily Cunningham went the distance several times for Melrose.

“They were a good team,” said junior Liv Cross afterwards.

Liv gave credit to Coach McNamara: “He knows exactly what will work against teams.  He puts a lot of time and effort into scouting other teams.  We are always well prepared.”

Coach McNamara cited the play of junior Maddie Doyle: “She did a spectacular job on #32 (Alexis Doherty).  She is their high scorer and Maddie was very disciplined to keep focus on her.  Those little things are what gets a team to the divisional finals.”

Angleina Yacubacci (22) tries to drive by Abby Cunningham

The Sachems drove frequently to the basket. “We knew that they weren’t too deep, so we wanted to attack them and get them into foul trouble,” said Caoch McNamara. “We want to wear the other team down.”

I arrived early and wondered where everyone was.  Of course, I was at the old gym.  I told Coach McNamara about my mistake before the game and he said that he liked that old gym because Pentucket had never lost there.

The new gym is very nice.  The old one had one scoreboard.  This one has several.  I am not a fan of seats in the end zones but overall, I liked it.

Melrose’s last win over Wakefield gave them the Middlesex League Freedom Division title for the first time in ten years.

Melrose box

Pentucket box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge if you click on them.)

Liv Cross (32) blocks a shot attempt by Sam Dewey

Jess Galvin (11 points)

Sam Dewey guards Liv Cross

Casey Hunt dives for a loose ball

Lily Cunningham (10) went coast-to-coast several times

Casey Hunt tied up by Lily and Abby Cunningham

Maddie Doyle (21) defends Alexis Doherty

Casey Hunt (20) takes off after another steal

Freshman MacKenzie Currie at the line

 

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Late run gets Pentucket past Newburyport 63-57

Nate McGrail (19 points) starts Pentucket on an eight-point run with this layup in the final quarter

Parker McLaren (19 points) shoots over Alex Willis (22)

(Newburyport MA) This game was close, very close.

There were six lead changes and seven ties.

It was a one-point game (53-52) with three minutes left.

Anyone’s game, for sure, before Pentucket took it over with eight straight points and defeated Newburyport, 63-57, on Senior Night on Friday.

Newburyport coach Dave Clay referenced his team’s defense afterwards: “We needed to play better help defense.”  Who could argue?  The Sachems registered seventeen layups, by my count.

In the crucial eight-point streak in the final three minutes of the game it was four drives to the rim that turned this game to Pentucket.

George Coryell gets Casey McLaren (22) an open shot

According to Pentucket coach Ed Hickey, containing the McLarens (Parker and Casey) was crucial.  “They were terrific tonight.  We made adjustments at halftime to help us to cover them better.  Casey (18.6 points per game) is always capable of scoring a lot of points.”

The Sachems played a high 3-2 zone that limited the outside looks of NHS.  It did open things up for Parker McLaren (19 points) in the lane area.

Junior Spencer Pacy (17 points) got to the rim successfully eight different times.

Let’s review the game-changing segment in the final three minutes.  After a three by Casey McLaren (15 points), the home team trailed by only a point (53-52).  Nate McGrail (19 points) then scored a layup and was fouled but missed the freebie.  Next possession by Newburyport ended with a technical foul.  Gus Flaherty tallied both technical free throws boosting the Sachems lead to 57-52 with 2:45 to go.

Gus Flaherty shoots the technical foul shots

After a turnover, Pentucket had two profitable possessions in a row.  Both were assisted layups.  First by Sam Stys from Alex Willis and then Gus Flaherty from Spencer Pacy.  Those two plays extended the Pentucket advantage to nine (61-52) with a minute left.  Game. Set. Match.

“We made extra passes and it opened things up,” said Coach Hickey.

The visitors from West Newbury had another run of eight unanswered points in the final three minutes of the first half changing a 31-23 score into a halftime tie.

Newburyport put a 10-2 collection together in the first period with five different players (Ryan MacDonald, Ryan Archie, George Coryell, Casey McLaren, Parker McLaren) contributing.

The Clippers will close out the regular season with four straight away games.

The Sachems have now defeated Newburyport three straight times.

The Sachems have a 7-5 edge versus NHS over the past five seasons.

The Pentucket defense collapses on Parker McLaren

Gus Flaherty had twenty-three points in the first meeting (68-54 Pentucket win) including five 3’s.  The Clippers took the long shot away (Gus had only one 3 in tonight’s game) but gave up too many inside scores.

The Clippers five seniors, and their families, were honored before the game and started the game even though none of them were normally starters.

Newburyport (11-6) and Pentucket (12-5) are both in the post-season tournament and both are in Division 3.  And both of them are in the north.  Point?  They could meet again this season.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

(For the second game in a row I am disagreeing with the official scorer. Maybe I should stop believing my lying eyes?)

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

George Coryell guards Spencer Pacy

Harry Bovee (1) guards Spencer Pacy

Sam Stys (8 points) draws a foul on senior Noah Van Schalkwyk

Parker McLaren (44) and Alex Willis (22)

Senior Austin Rosseau sets to shoot

Nate McGrail (24) flies out to defend Casey McLaren

Alex Willis and Spencer Pacy trap Casey McLaren

Senior Ryan MacDonald puts up a shot

Senior Jeevan Kowalski looks for someone to pass to

Senior Jake Valcich (9 points) covered by Sam Stys

 

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Masco edges Pentucket 74-73 in the final seconds

Spencer Pacy of Pentucket gets close in the final seconds

Will Schena (20) prepares to shoot two free throws with six second left in the game

Gus Flaherty (14) and Colby Jacques (2) chase a loose ball

(West Newbury MA) You thought the Super Bowl had an exciting finish?  You should have been at Pentucket tonight!

Masconomet was the opponent and the game came down to two clutch free throws and a missed layup just before the buzzer.

When it was over the Chieftains had a 74-73 win and qualified for the MIAA tournament.

“It was two good teams going at it,” said a relieved Coach Bryan Duplissie of Masco afterwards.  “Just a great game.”

The team from Boxford trailed by a point with twenty seconds left after missing a shot, but Pentucket turned the ball over giving the Chieftains time to organize with seventeen seconds left.

“We wanted the ball in his (Will Schena) hands,” said Coach Duplessie. “We ran a play for him and he got fouled.”

Will Schena (20) and the final score

Will drained both pressure-packed free throws with six seconds left giving the visitors a one-point lead. “He’s the guy we wanted in the clutch,” said Coach Duplessie. “He hit a three against Peabody to force overtime.”

Plenty of time for Pentucket.  Masco opted to double-team Nate McGrail to keep him from getting the inbounds pass.  That left Spencer Pacy with the ball.

“They took away Nate but Spencer is usually a good finisher,” said Pentucket coach Ed Hickey.  “We had the opportunity but just didn’t finish.”

Spencer dribbled the length of the court and into the lane with three defenders. He got off a shot that missed before the buzzer sounded.

The combination of the clock running down, and the lack of any shot-block attempt by the Chieftains’ defenders probably influenced Spencer’s shot.

“We got lucky,” said Coach Duplessie. “We told our players that when they go to the rim we have to step in and take a charge.  They went all the way to the rim and we were fortunate that the shot didn’t fall.”

Nate McGrail (24) gets to the basket

So you can see that the end was pretty exciting.  The rest of the game wasn’t too shabby either.

Pentucket put a 9-point run together in the first quarter to get ahead, 17-10.  In the final quarter, Masco used an 8-2 segment to create a, 62-54, margin.

Other than that this game was very tight.  In a 32-minute game there were EIGHTEEN lead changes and six ties.  There were six lead changes in the last three minutes of the game!

Both teams had players who could score and neither team was shy about taking the ball to the rim.

Both teams changed defenses frequently.

Battle around the basket

The Chieftains were better on the boards and had four second-chance baskets.  “It was a physical game,” said Coach Hickey.  “We needed to do a better job rebounding.  We have them too many extra opportunities.”

The Sachems had fourteen turnovers while Masco had twelve.  Two of the Pentucket miscues were in the final ninety seconds.

Division 2 Masconomet (10-4) has now won six of their last seven games. The Chieftains were 6-14 last season.

Division 3 Pentucket (10-5) had beaten Masco three straight times before tonight’s loss.

Masco and Pentucket will meet again in eleven days at Masco.  I suspect that it will be another close one.

It certainly didn’t help Pentucket’s chances of winning to miss six free throws in the final quarter including the front end of a one-and-one.

The Sachems have lost twice to another D3 team (Lynnfield) that is also in the playoffs.

David Hunter (16), Will Schena (15) and Daniel Monagle (14) led the Masco scorers.

Spencer Pacy guarded by Daniel Monagle

Nate McGrail and Gus Flaherty had fifteen points to pace the Sachems and Spencer Pacy added thirteen points.

(My stats disagree with the official scorebook but being old and stubborn I choose to think that my unofficial stats are right…..although I could be wrong.)

Pentucket box

Masco box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

David Hunter scores two

Colby Jacques (2) leads a break

David Hunter in the lane

Mike Budrewicz (11) passes as Gus Flaherty defends

Justin Snow (5) lets a three fly from the corner

 

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Pentucket rides last quarter to 44-32 win over Newburyport

Casey Hunt tries to drive past Krysta Padellaro

Sophomore Angelina Yacubacci had sixteen points to lead the Sachems

(Newburyport MA) Pentucket 44, Newburyport 32.

It’s why I cover games!  Scores alone can be very misleading.

This wasn’t a “twelve-point” game. This was a close game with FOURTEEN lead changes through three quarters.

“Newburyport is a very good team,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.

And that they were……….for three quarters.

The 4th quarter?  The Clippers defense was still good, but the offense disappeared.

“We needed to take better shots,” conceded Newburyport coach Gregg Dollas. “We needed to move the ball.  We really struggled with shot choices in the last quarter.”

Today’s last quarter probably brought back bad memories from the last time Pentucket and Newburyport faced each other.  It was March 1st in the first round of the D2 North tournament.  In that one the Clippers were down 12-1 after a quarter and ended up losing badly, 46-19.

Abi Gillingham and Liv Cross near the basket

Today it was the last quarter that sunk the Clippers. They were outscored 9-1 in that quarter and squandered a game in which they were impressive otherwise.

The Sachems (8-1) are a team that will press and use defense to create offense.

The Clippers (7-2) play a tight man-to-man defense and will run with turnovers and rebounds.

The most impressive thing about Newburyport (IMO) in this game was that they had fewer turnovers (12) than Pentucket did (19).  The Clippers took good care of the ball.

The most impressive thing about Pentucket?  Their game-long organized offense. They certainly looked to get the ball inside to junior Liv Cross (“She’s a stud! – Coach Dollas) but they were patient about it.

That patience on offense was most noticeable in the final quarter when Newburyport raised the pressure.

Angelina Yacubacci blocks Meghan Winn’s shot

Sophomore Angelina Yacubacci topped all scorers with sixteen points.  Angelina drained a three in the third quarter and made four straight free throws in the final two minutes to make NHS pay for fouling.

The best one-on-one matchup was between Cape Ann League All-Stars Casey Hunt and Krysta Padellaro.

Krysta lost some time because of fouls.  “We can’t have her sitting on the bench with foul trouble,” said Coach Dollas.

Coach McNamara also had a key player on the bench with fouls. Inside threat Liv Cross sat out in the first half with two quick fouls. “We missed having her out there,” said Coach McNamara.

Newburyport broke away from a 9-9 tie 1 ½ minutes into the second half.  A rebound basket by Abi Gillingham, a steal and layin by Anna Hickman, and a Maggie Pons jump shot from the right had the Clippers in front by six (15-9).

Back came the visitors with nine straight points.  Two inside scores by Angelina Yacubacci and a layup by Emily Riley was followed by a 3-point shot (off the backboard) from straightaway by sophomore Angelica Hurley.

Against some teams a Pentucket run like that one is the beginning of an avalanche of points.  Not this time.  The Clippers had answers and took the lead three more times.  An inbounds play by NHS (to Abi Gillingham) tied the score at 31 with thirty-five seconds left in the 3rd period.

Thereafter, Newburyport’s inability to make shots or even draw fouls did them in.  Meanwhile, the Sachems scored the next seven points, including another three by Angelica Hurley (from Casey Hunt) that put Pentucket up, 38-31.

The Clippers finally got a point (free throw Meghan Winn) with two minutes left but the last six points scored in this game were by Pentucket’s Angelina Yacubacci.

Pentucket is looking to win their fourth straight Cape Ann League title.

Abi Gillingham deflects Angelica Hurley’s shot

Player to watch?  Newburyport’s Abi Gillingham. The 6-1 freshman is a presence at both ends of the court.  She discouraged several Sachems shooters from even attempting a shot in close to the basket.  “She has potential,” added Coach Dollas.

Now in his 12th year, John McNamara has a remarkable 240-42 record.  Many of those losses are against non-CAL teams.

The Clippers did put a 33-29 win together against Pentucket last season on February 14th at Newburyport.

The two Division 2 opponents will meet again on February 9th at Pentucket.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

(All pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Angelica Hurley dives for a loose ball

Jess Galvin takes a three from in front of the Pentucket bench

Anna Hickman chases a ball going out of bounds

Krysta Padellaro sees an opening

Krysta Padellaro guards Angelina Yacubacci

Paige Gouldthorpe and Liv Cross collide

Bella Doyle

Pentucket had nineteen turnovers

 

 

 

 

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Newburyport uses Pentucket turnovers to gain 21-13 victory

Senior Myles Maloof (9) followed some excellent blocking to get two Newburyport TDs

Thomas Murphy (10) intercepts a pass intended for Jake Etter

(Newburyport MA) You can’t always get away with things in a football game.

And that was certainly the case for Pentucket on Friday night as they were done in by three turnovers.

The costly result of the three miscues was a 21-13 loss to Newburyport in a Cape Ann League matchup and an extension of a losing streak that has now reached four.

The Sachems (1-5) led 13-7 entering the fourth quarter but the Clippers (3-2) tied things one minute into the final frame.

The visitors followed with a forgettable possession that included a holding penalty (Liam Murray), a sack (Connor Smith), and an interception by junior Thomas Murphy.

Set up on the Pentucket 36 with 7 ½ minutes to go, Newburyport ran senior Myles Maloof right on one play and left on the next.  On the first play, Myles was untouched thirty-six yards into the end zone.  On the second play, Myles was untouched for the two-point conversion.  NBPT led 21-13.

Untouched runs always direct your attention to terrific blocking and there was plenty of that for Newburyport with the outcome in the balance.

Nathan McGrail (2) had eight catches and two Sachem scores

The Sachems had 7:29 left to catch up.  They ended up with two possessions. During this game’s hectic ending, quarterback Gus Flaherty had first-down passes to wide receiver Nathan McGrail in both possessions.  Nathan’s catches brought Pentucket to the Clippers 32-yard-line where both drives ended.

In the first of those Pentucket possessions, a sack by NHS senior Eben Mulvey was the killer.  The next possession?  A game-deciding interception by Myles Maloof that turned out to be the last play of the contest.

Truly an exciting game at a terrific stadium with fine weather to boot for a mid-October night game.

Nathan McGrail encounters Connor Smith

I referenced the costly mistakes of Pentucket.  There were others they made that weren’t costly but could have been.  The Sachems had fumbles in the first and second quarters that were recovered (Gus Flahery, Brian Wilbur).  Later, a low snap by center Jack Mitchell on an extra point attempt threw off the timing of Daniels Lathum and his kick went wide right.

The missed EP didn’t hurt because the Clippers missed on their EP attempt after their second touchdown.

The Sachems had serious trouble, especially in the second half, stopping Myles Maloof.  Clever ball-handling by QB Owen Bradbury was a factor.  (I found myself visually chasing the wrong runner on several occasions.)  I have included pictures to show the kind of blocking Myles had in front of him.

Ethan Dore left the game early with a leg injury

A leg injury sent two-way Sachems starter Ethan Dore to the sidelines on Newburyport’s second possession of the game.

Give credit to the Sachems because despite all these handicaps they gave the Clippers plenty of trouble.

Pentucket was able to run the ball (Brandon Wilbur) and pass it during the first half.  The second half?  The Clippers took away the run.  That left the Sachems one dimensional and easier to defend.  The Clippers single coverage gave way to zone coverage in the end game and interceptions resulted.

Nathan McGrail (8 catches/132 yards) and Jake Etter (7 catches/68 yards) were favorite targets of QB Gus Flaherty.

Nathan McGrail got behind the Newburyport secondary twice for touchdowns

Nathan torched the NBPT secondary twice for scores.  Both times the Clippers deep defenders appeared to underestimate the arm strength of Gus Flaherty (17-for-24 217 yards) and were beaten deep.  Later when Newburyport’s zone coverage was in place, there was no getting beaten deep.  Extra defenders downfield in the pass-receiving areas led to the two crucial late-game interceptions.

Connor Smith excelled on offense and defense for the home team.  With good height and instincts, he provided constant problems for Pentucket.

Just wondering: If coaches can manage defenses without having a player come to the sidelines and report back in, why can’t they do it on offense?  I think of that when a team needs to move quickly because they are trailing, but instead the trailing team waits while the seconds run off for the quarterback to go to the sidelines and then back to the huddle.

Brandon Wilbur (21) tries to excape Noah Van Schalkwyk (20)

How to drive your coach crazy.  Late in the game, Newburyport had the lead and the ball.  Pentucket was burning it timeouts hoping for another series of downs.  Newburyport quarterback Owen Bradbury looked to be running an option but at the last second decided to pass into the flat.  The ball was dropped and the clock STOPPED with 59 seconds left instead of running and running until a 4th down punt was attempted quite a few seconds later.

Pentucket had won four of the last five meeting with Newburyport.

Both teams were defeated badly by Masco.  Lynnfield also took down Newburyport by a big score (32-0).  Pentucket has the Pioneers ahead on their schedule.

The lights and the setting at the stadium were excellent.

Wide receiver Nathan McGrail showed the ability to jump over defenders.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Nathan McGrail

QB Owen Bradbury pitches to Myles Maloof

Brandon Wilbur (21) looks for running room

Jake Etter (left) interferes with Owen Bradbury

Leaping catch by Nathan McGrail in front of Noah Van Schalkwyk

Nathan McGrail (2) finishes his 2nd TD

Donte Harmon (15) tries the right side

Myles Maloof (9) finds the end zone

Action at midfield

Gus Flaherty (7) was 17-for-24 with two touchdown passes

Myles Maloof behind excellent blocking

Myles Maloof (9) outruns Jake Etter for six

Myles Maloof (9) heads for the end zone

Myles Maloof (9) ends the game with an interception

 

 

 

 

 

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