By Nick Curcuru
---- — BOXFORD — After scouting Gloucester’s first two games, Masconomet head football coach Jim Pugh laid out his team’s biggest key to victory when the two squads met last night at Roberts Field: match the Fishermen’s physicality.
With a dominant 27-0 win in their home opener, the Chieftains did just that and then some, matching Gloucester blow for blow while dominating the line of scrimmage and out-executing their previously unbeaten opponent.
“We knew they would be a tough and physical team, and they were. But we matched their physicality,” Pugh said. “We played good, hard-nosed football and we made big plays. It’s nice to get into the win column against a quality team.”
It was a total team effort for Masconomet (1-1). With the Fishermen defense focusing most of its attention on dangerous running back Mike Tivinis, it was his supporting cast that rose to the occasion. MacKenzie Cashin had a 56-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Corey Tines had a few nice receptions and a pair of interceptions on defense, halfback Mike MacKay threw a touchdown pass and quarterback Troy Bunker made several key runs in the win.
Masconomet smothered Gloucester’s running game to a season low 111 yards while forcing a three-and-out on four of Gloucester’s first five possessions.
“(The front eight) was dominant,” Pugh said.
The victors also hit several big plays offensively.
The problems for Gloucester (2-1) were simple: blocking and tackling.
“Blocking and tackling wins football games and we didn’t do that,” Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli said. “Give Masco credit; they were flying on defense and we couldn’t block them. They ran harder than us, blocked better than us and came after us all night.”
Harry Cwik got the Chieftains going with a 49-yard punt return touchdown in the first quarter to put his team ahead, 7-0. After forcing a three-and-out on Gloucester’s next drive, Cashin raced 56 yards to the end zone for a 13-0 Masconomet lead.
“Last week I thought we were a bit tentative,” Pugh said. “But this week back on our home field in front of a big crowd, the kids came out ready to play and really came up big early.”
MacKay took a pitch from the backfield and threw a strike to Tines for a 25 yard touchdown later in the half, and Bunker added the conversion for a 21-0 lead.
The Fishermen looked to get some momentum back before the half ended, recovering a punt that hit off the Masconomet up-back at the 21-yard line. The Chieftains defense, however, came up big stopping Gloucester at the one yard line on the final play of the half.
Tivinis would add a 40-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.