NORTH READING – After the last night’s game, Masconomet coach Jim Pugh told his players they had to improve in a hurry, and that they were lucky to escape with a victory. It took a come from behind fourth quarter touchdown by the Chieftains to edge a gritty North Reading team, 21-18.
It was not Masconomet’s finest performance, especially on defense. They gave up 190 yards on the ground in the first half alone, but tightened up after intermission. The Chieftains mixed up the run and pass effectively to pull out the win.
When the Hornets were able to contain the run, Masco went to the air led by quarterback Troy Bunker, who threw two touchdown passes. Bunker hit Harry Cwik for a 31-yard TD reception with 7:21 remaining in the game. He found Nolan Rice in the back of the end zone, and the 6-2 receiver leaped up to make a big catch on the two point conversion to put the Chieftains ahead for good.
With the win Masco is now 3-1 overall and looking forward to the anniversary home game against Pentucket next Friday night. They came away with a victory, but may have lost running back Mike Tivinis was injured on the go-ahead drive. The senior captain either dislocated or broke his finger after an eight yard gain. Mackenzie Cashin was the workhorse the rest of the way.
“We did not play well, but all the credit goes to North Reading,” said Pugh. “We couldn’t stop the run, and C. J. McCarthy and (Mike) Cresta played their hearts out. We didn’t play smart football, but did just enough to win.
“The Cape Ann League has a lot of good teams that are well coached. You have to be ready every week, and we lacked intensity. We’ve got some holes to fill, especially now that Tivy is hurt. The bottom line is we have to get better.”