The Salem News
---- — Five things you should know about the Masconomet-North Andover Thanksgiving game:
1. Recent history favors Chieftains: North Andover may hold a sizable advantage in the overall series between the two rivals, but Masco has held the Knights in check recently. The Chieftains have won four of the last five holiday meetings.
2. Unimpressive, but efficient: There’s nothing on paper about the Chieftains that is going to blow you away. Even though they’re playoff-bound after capturing the Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League Tier 1 title, they don’t have any gaudy statistics. There isn’t a running back that will reach 1,000 yards this season, and it’s unlikely that quarterback Chris Schleer will throw for 1,000 yards, either. But they’re a stout defensive team, averaging a little over 13 points allowed per game, and their offensive balance is usually a problem for opponents.
3. North Andover hopes to cash in without Cashin: Masco faces a big loss with fullback/linebacker Mac Cashin expected to sit out with an ankle injury. A good defensive player and a hard runner on offense, Cashin has done the job opening holes for running backs Dylan Mann and Mike Tivinis, and he’s more than held his own when toting the rock himself (457 yards, 6 TDs).
4. Road Warriors: If North Andover is looking for a home-field advantage in this game, it might want to find another angle: the Chieftains have rolled to a 5-0 road record this fall.
5. A possible points explosion: After playing the first half of its schedule with point totals usually in the 20s, Masco has boosted its production in the second half of 2012. The Chieftains have outscored their last four opponents by a 152-30 margin, including 39-0 and 42-0 shutouts of Lynn English and Revere, respectively. North Andover has been susceptible to giving up big totals, too; the Knights have allowed 50, 49 and 38 points in different games this year.