DANVERS — Playoff football games come with a lot of pageantry and analysis.
But they’re won in the trenches, and that’s where Masconomet was dominant last night when they opened the Division 3 Northeast tourney with an eye-opening 30-0 win over Danvers at Dr. Deering Stadium.
The sixth-seeded Chieftains, a wild card qualifier, handled the Northeastern Conference South champions at the point of the attack all night. Danvers (6-2) had its six-game winning streak snapped while rushing for just 13 net yards.
Masconomet (5-3) advances to face Marblehead (7-1) in the sectional semis next week.
“In our biggest wins this year our defense was physical, and we knew we had to be physical here,” said Masconomet head coach Jim Pugh, whose team overcame an early injury to running back Mackenzie Cashin.
Already without top running back Mike Tivinis, the Chieftains used their depth to control the game. Gavin Monagle had a game-high 111 yards rushing on 13 carries with a 55-yard TD in the second half, and Austin Cashin (Mackenzie’s twin) ran for 87 yards and a score.
“When my brother got hurt I didn’t know what to think. I just took it out on the field and ran as hard as I could,” said Austin Cashin. “The backs couldn’t have asked for more from the offensive line tonight. I love those guys.”
Masco’s Mike MacKay took a short punt 50 yards to the house in the second quarter for the game’s first points. Danvers went 3-and-out on the ensuing possession, and Masconomet ate up the next 8:01 with a physical drive that ended in Troy Bunker’s 22-yard field goal.
“Special teams are momentum swingers, and that return was a big one for them,” said Danvers head coach Sean Rogers. “We came out slow and tentative, and I’ll take the blame for that. We were outcoached by a great staff over there.”