By Dan Harrison Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — PEABODY — Before the Masconomet offense had a chance to run a single play last night against Peabody, the Chieftains had already put the game out of reach.
Masconomet used a pair of special teams touchdowns and a safety to jump all over the host Tanners in the first quarter of an eventual 37-6 win.
After a Peabody three-and-out, Corey Tines took the ensuing punt 63 yards for a touchdown, going untouched up the right sideline. After teammate Sean Antonuccio sacked Peabody signal caller Mike Raymond in the end zone for a safety, senior Mike Murphy then broke a 64-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and the Chieftains were ahead, 16-0, before their offense had even taken the field.
Masconomet was playing without its top two running backs in Dylan Mann and Mike Tivinis (Mann also returns punts).
“We worked all week and we didn’t look good on punt return. We were thinking maybe we should go for the block, and then Corey (Tines)
breaks one,” said Masco (5-2) head coach Jim Pugh. “And then Murph, he just wanted it and boy, he took it to the house.”
Mackenzie Cashin touched the ball twice — and both times the junior found paydirt. First, he rumbled his way in from four yards out; then he burst out for an 81-yard dive up the middle, breaking two Tanner tackles before turning on the jets.
Masconomet led 30-0 in the first quarter after kicking off to Peabody as Pugh went with mostly backups for the rest of the game.
The loss leaves Peabody at 0-7 for the first time since 1967. The Tanners have now allowed more points (303) than any other team in
school history with three games still remaining. The previous mark was 298.
“Its tough for these kids,” Peabody interim head coach Matt O’Brien explained. “They got pretty manhandled out there, but they’re going to stay positivem as are the coaches.”
There was nothing positive, at least in terms of yardage, that came out of Peabody’s first two drives. But after finding his footing, Raymond settled down nicely at QB; the sophomore even had a 14-yard touchdown run before the end of the first half.
“We lost both our starting fullbacks, so we had to get away from what we wanted to do. We had to spread the ball out and spread the field
and (Raymond) played well,” O’Brien said. “That was his first varsity start (at QB). It was a tough start, but I liked how he finished.”
The Tanner line was giving up jail-break attacks all night, but Raymond was able to buy some time with his legs on a few plays and threw the ball well in spots on a rainy, windy night. Fellow sophomore Ryan Collins (4 rushes, 23 yards) also was impressive in limited carries.
“Peabody will see better days. As I told coach (O’Brien), we’ve all been there on that side of the ledger, too,” noted Pugh. “Hopefully
they’ll get in the weight room and get ‘em healthy. They play hard and with a lot of pride.”
Senior Tyler O’Shea finished with a blocked punt and a sack while Emilio Cantone recovered an onsides kick to start the second half for
Peabody. The Tanners moved the ball better in the second half, but some bad snaps and a few holding calls sputtered some originally promising drives.
When the Masco starters were on the field, though, Peabody couldn’t move the ball at all due to the dominant play from the visitors’ defensive line.
“We were pretty good defensively. We were stronger and again, a lot of that is the weight room and lifting in the offseason,” said Pugh. “It
was a good showing and I’m glad to get our first win in the (NEC/CAL Tier 1).”
Gavin Monagle added a 20-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put Masconomet ahead 37-0.