, Salem, MA


September 26, 2013

Football Focus: Call Them Defensive Masconomet doesn't take offense when you talk about their stingy defense (with videos)


Which is exactly what the Chieftains did in a 27-0 triumph. “Shutting down a very good Gloucester team like that was reminiscent of some of our championship-type teams we’ve had,” admitted Pugh.

A large part of the Chieftains’ success when protecting their half of the field goes to assistant coaches Joe Kulis and Gavin Monagle. Demanding and exacting, yet following the team’s credo of giving players who put in the time and effort a shot, the two veterans have developed a formula for success that’s obviously working.

There are playmakers in the defensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary for Masco; as a group they’re blessed with terrific speed, great size and an inate ability to attack the football and whoever happens to be carrying it on a particular play.

Junior Kyle Taggart, a 6-foot-1, 260-pound two-way tackle, is a perfect case in point. He got his feet wet on the varsity as a freshman, got worked into the rotation even more so as a sophomore and is just now starting to realize his full potential as a junior. Pugh said one of the few highlights in reviewing film from the Melrose loss was watching Taggart making plays downfield, “above and beyond the call of duty. That’s what it takes to win.”

Twin brothers Austin and Mackenzie Cashin are three-year starters (Austin at defensive end; Mackenzie as an outside linebacker). Joining Taggart and Austin Cashin on the defensive line are some big boys: 6-4, 220-pound Jack Butt, 6-5, 215-pound Kevin Zegel and 6-2, 245-pound Ben Rosenbaum, among others.

Mike McKay (6-2, 200 lbs.) and Steve O’Reilly (6-foot, 230 lbs.) are returning starters at middle linebacker; Mackenzie Cashin and Gavin Monagle (5-11, 185) flank them as the outside backers. Pugh said the quartet are all ferocious hitters who can track down — and cut down — ballcarriers who make it through the first wave of D.

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