By Nick Curcuru
---- — TOPSFIELD — A fast start and a strong finish ultimately made for a good night for the Masconomet Regional football team.
The host Chieftains scored the game’s first 20 points and held off a late Gloucester charge to defeat the Fishermen, 20-14, at Bunker Stadium for the second time this season.
The Chieftains (6-4) got a fine outing from junior Roby Deschenes, who was making his first start at quarterback. He hooked up with Harry Cwik for a 42-yard touchdown pass in the middle of the first quarter to get his team off to a 6-0 lead, and Masconomet never trailed thereafter.
“It was a great win for us, I wish we could have cleaned it up at the end, but a win is a win — especially against Gloucester,” Masconomet head coach Jim Pugh said. “We had a bunch of players step up, and we dominated the first half.”
Masconomet carried play in every facet of the game in the first 22 minutes by getting a push on both lines, running harder, covering better and executing better.
Following their first touchdown, the Chieftains marched right downfield on their next drive behind tough running from Austin Cashin and Gavin Monagle, along with a nice push from their offensive line. It all resulted in another score as Monagle found the end zone from 5 yards out. Deschenes then hit quarterback-turned-wide receiver Troy Bunker with the conversion to make it 14-0 in the middle of the second quarter.
The Chieftains used a little trickery to get their third score of the half as Deschenes threw a backwards lateral to Bunker, who found a wide open Cory Tines for a 40-yard touchdown pass, making it 20-0 to capping a dominant first half for the home team.
“Roby played an awesome game in his first start,” Pugh said. “And Troy had a big game at receiver, too. That’s where he’s going to play in college, so we wanted to get him some time there. But it was nice to see him throw a touchdown, too.”
Gloucester (6-4), which went 57 yards on its first play from scrimmage on a perfectly executed double-reverse pass from wingback Conor Harris to Mike Decaro, could do little else over the first three quarters of play.
“You have to come out and play 44 minutes of football,” said Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli. “We didn’t do that, and the result is what you should expect if you don’t play the whole 44 minutes. “We were better in the second half, but we were dominated in the first half. It was disappointing to see, to come in here twice (this season) and not show anything.
Gloucester scored twice in the fourth quarter after Jason Irwin picked off Deschenes to set up Jordan Pallazola’s 1-yard TD run (his 20th of the season). Pallazola scored again on the Fishermen’s next possession on a a 2-yard plunge, but the ensuing onsides kick was recovered by Chieftains and they ran out the clock for the win.