The Masconomet and Pentucket football teams have had some incredible battles on the gridiron over the season.
It’s possible that none carried the emotion, or importance, or one of the first meetings, 50 years ago in 1963.
It was a battle of unbeatens that the Chieftains won, 22-0, in a game contested in the days after America lost one of its icons in President John F. Kennedy.
Tonight, as Masconomet hosts Pentucket, the Chieftains will honor the 50th anniversary of that 1963 sqaud, which went 9-0 and to do is Masco’s only unbeaten, untied football team.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” said Dave Doughty, one of the co-captains in ‘63. “We did a big reunion for the 25th, and we had a lot of people and a lot of laughs. I know there are guys flying in from Oregon, Wisconsin and Arizone to be here. It could be our last hurrah.”
Pentucket was certainly the biggest win for Masco, which lost out on that year’s Class D state title on points. The Chieftains had Steve Chew, who led the state in scoring in ‘63 (142) and graduated wirh 424 career points, along with a big line and plenty of athletes.
“We’d heard that Pentucket hadn’t allowed a run of more than 10 yards all year. We opened with a 20 yard sweep right and a 20 yard sweep left,” Doughty recalled. “The lead into the game was really big for us.”
There was a crowd of nearly 5,000 that day, as the battle of unbeatens was the only game in Essex County. It was also one of the first games playes after Thanksgiving, moved from Friday the 23rd to the following Saturday after the assassination.
“That brought a screeching halt to the game, and to America,” said Dick Ray, another ‘63 captain. “It made you realize, you thought this game was important and now a beloved President died. It hit us pretty hard.”