(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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.)