Receiving to begin the third quarter, Masconomet’s Austin Cashin scored from 20 yards away early on. After another Danvers 3-and-out, Bunker plunged in with 37 seconds left in the quarter to make it 23-0.
“It was awesome to see so many guys step in with the injuries we had,” said Pugh, whose team shook off having lost two of their last three contests and looked at the playoffs as a chance for a fresh start.
“The biggest difference was practice,” said Austin Cashin. “We didn’t practice hard in weeks we lost and knew we had to practice hard this week.”
Freshman Matt Andreas had an interception in the first quarter for Danvers, but the hosts couldn’t turn the turnover into points. Captain Alex Valles was limited to 20 rushing yards in five carries, and junior QB Nick Andreas threw for 117 yards as the Falcons aired it out trying to come back in the second half. Anthony Cordoba had five grabs for 64 yards, and Danvers was disciplined with zero penalties and the game’s only turnover.
“They beat us at the point of attack and when they were on offense, they beat us at their point of attack,” said Rogers, who led the Falcons to their first playoff game in nine years. “This gave the kids a taste of what playoff football is like. Now, it’s about pride.”
For Masconomet, big men Jack Butt, Ben Rosenbaum and Mike Jesi (2 sacks) were dominant. Will Lawrence played well on both sides of the ball and David Drigo, Monagle, Corey Tines and MacKay flew to the ball on defense.
“My hat’s off the Danvers for what they’ve been through,” said Pugh, whose team wore blue-and-white ribbons on their football helmets to honor fallen Danvers High teach Colleen Ritzer. “They played their hearts out.”