By Dan Harrison
---- — TOPSFIELD- The Pentucket football team marched into Bunker Stadium last night and made the big plays when it mattered most, defeating Masconomet 21-14.
The Chieftains took their first possession 73 yards capped off by a five-yard touchdown run by Mackenzie Cashin but the Sachems were able to buckle down defensively.
“They marched right down the field their first possession. It was chunk after chunk after chunk. But the kids hung in and made plays,” said Pentucket (4-0) head coach Steve Hayden. “It’s the third week in a row we’ve had a nail-biter. When we win, we all win.”
The Sachems literally took the game from the Chieftains (3-2) behind big plays from Liam Corkery, who grabbed two interceptions and hauled in 113 receiving yards. His second pick of the game came in the final minute on a pass that Masco receiver Corey Tines appeared to grab but Corkery ripped the ball away from him as the two tumbled to the ground.
Corkery also had some impressive catches-none more so than his lone second-half catch where he spun towards his back-shoulder and made a one-handed grab for a 29-yard gain. He and Sachems’ signal caller Ryan Kuchar (7 for 11 for 160 yards and a touchdown) had a strong connection throughout the game.
Kuchar tied the game at 7-7 on a one-yard sneak in the second quarter and then put Pentucket ahead 14-7 with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Porter. Porter added the game-winning score on a four yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“Give Pentucket credit. Kuchar and Corkery had great games,” said Masco head coach Jim Pugh. “No excuses, we got out-played and we got out-hit. They made the plays that we didn’t. Now there in good position to win the league.”
Masco tied the game with just seconds left in the first half on a 1-yard sneak by Troy Bunker. The Chieftains went 67 yards on eight plays in less than a minute and a half.
Masco looked to keep rolling in the second half when Mike Tivinis (11 carries for 154 yards) broke a 53-yard run on his first touch of the third quarter. However Masco’s star back was injured on the play and didn’t return. From that point on, Masco failed to sustain any real offense.
The Chieftains also had two very costly errors in the first half. First, Harry Cwik fumbled the ball after a 30-yard punt return setting up the Sachems’ first score of the game. Bunker meanwhile threw a bad interception in the endzone when Masco was in the redzone in the second quarter.
“We say, like Tom Brady does, that you want to live to get another shot,” said Pugh referring to the redzone interception. “We can’t throw that pick.”
Members of Masco’s 1963, undefeated team were on hand for the game and the group was honored at halftime before giving coach Pugh the game ball from the Chieftains league-clinching over Pentucket win 50 years ago.