By Matt Williams Staff writer
The Salem News
---- — LYNN — Thanks to six interceptions, the Masconomet football is six days away from winning a championship.
The Chieftains had Casey and Corey Tines both return picks for scores and saw QB Chris Schleer throw two touchdown passes and Dylan Mann score twice in a 39-7 win over Lynn English at Manning Field last night.
The win, coupled with Lynn Classical’s win over Revere, leaves Masconomet (7-2) the lone unbeaten team in NEC/CAL Tier 1 play. The Chieftains can lock up their first playoff trip since 2009 with a win over Revere next Friday at Walt Roberts Field.
“We’re taking it as a four game championship. We’re through the quarters and semi’s and next week’s the final,” said Cheiftains head coach Jim Pugh. “We’re happy to be playing in November for a piece of a championship.”
Lynn English (5-4) took a 7-0 lead when Lucas Harris hit Kyle O’Connor for a 33-yard score on the first drive. Harris (291 yards passing) chewed up a ton of yardage, connecting with O’Connor (five catches, 92 yards) and Cam Benton (nine catches, 175 yards) regularly.
Masconomet held English with no points on four trips inside their 20-yard line however, and turned the Bulldogs over six times in a bend-but-don’t break performance. Senior captain Mann got the interception train rolling with a critical pick outside his own end zone with the score still 7-0.
“Dylan’s pick there was major,” said Pugh.
Mackenzie Cashin ran for 31 yards and a score on a draw play to make it 7-6. Schleer then threw two TDs in the final 2:25 of the half to put his team in control. The first went for 20 yards to Mann, and the second went to junior Harry Cwik, who set up the score by intercepting Harris.
“That was Harry’s first game back from an injury and he came up with some huge plays,” said Pugh. “We had a lot of guys contribute.”
Masco fumbled its first play of the second half, but Cwik made his second interception to erase the mistake. Mann then broke free for an 80-yard TD to essentially put the game away in the third.
“We had a great second, third and fourth quarter,” said Pugh. “We didn’t play well in the first but the kids got things under control and we played some inspired football.”
Mann ran for 110 yards and Cashin rumbled for 71 and also had an interception. John Tivinis had two sacks while Corey Tines returned an interception 38 yards for a score with 3:45 left. Casey Tines then one-upped his younger sibling with an 80-yard interception return for a TD, capping 39 unanswered points for Masconomet, which has won three straight.