NORTH ANDOVER — How easy it would have been for the members of the Masconomet football team to look past yesterday’s annual Thanksgiving clash with North Andover and start thinking about next Tuesday’s playoff foe, mighty Everett High.
The Chieftains’ senior class wouldn’t let them, however.
Dominant from the game’s opening kickoff, Masconomet displayed laser-like focus in rolling out to a five-touchdown lead before eventually finishing with a 35-14 triumph over the host Scarlet Knights at Walsh Stadium.
“Eric Bunker, who coaches with us, talked to the seniors about his senior year here (2006) and how we made the playoffs, but lost to North Andover on the holiday. He gave them a great talk about what needed to happen (yesterday) and how they didn’t want to go into the playoffs on a loss,” said Masconomet (9-2) head coach Jim Pugh, whose squad defeated the Scarlet Knights for the fifth time in the last six seasons and eighth time in the last 11.
“So our seniors came out and were fired up. We were really happy our senior class kept the focus on North Andover. There was no looking past them towards the playoffs.”
The Chieftains scored on five of their six possessions before calling off the dogs and sending the junior varsity in. North Andover’s two touchdowns came late in the game, long after the outcome had been decided.
Andrew Swim got things started for the Chieftains by picking off a Scarlet Knights pass on the game’s opening series. Seventy yards later, Mike Tivinis crashed into the end zone from four yards out and Casey Tines booted the extra point.
In the second quarter, North Andover fumbled and the Chieftains went back to work. This time, senior captain Dylan Mann — recently named the Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League’s Tier 1 Most Valuable Player — crashed over the goal line on a another 4-yard TD run.