By Matt Jenkins
---- — One hundred percent healthy or not, it’s easy to see the difference Mike Tivinis
brings to the Masconomet football team.
A junior running back, Tivinis missed the first two weeks of the season with a minor injury. But he wasted no time making his presence felt once he returned to the Chieftains’ lineup. He produced 130 yards on 19 carries in a 22-13 win over Wilmington last week.
“He wasn’t quite 100 percent, but he was pretty darn close,” Masconomet head coach Jim Pugh said. “He just opens up more of the offense because there might not be a hole, but he can find
a hole. He has great instincts and just makes us better.”
Dylan Mann and Mac Cashin
had been handling most of the running duties with Tivinis on the shelf, and the senior duo have each performed well. Both already have 100-yard rushing games to their credit, and Tivinis’ performance against Wilmington is proof that Pugh’s offense will be tough to stop now that they’re all healthy again.
“We’re bringing him along and he’s getting better,” Pugh said of Tivinis. “He and Dylan and Mac, they’ve all worked really hard since last December; they’ve been some of the hardest workers in the weight room.”
Masco’s three-headed backfield monster will need to be firing on all cylinders when they meet Catholic Memorial, a Division 1 non-league foe, tonight in West Roxbury.
Catholic Memorial beat Marshfield in its opener, but has since lost two straight to Westford Academy and St. John’s Shrewsbury. Still, CM plays in the Catholic Conference, one of the toughest leagues in the state.
“They lost a ton of starters (from a year ago), but the top teams in any sport, when you say they lost starters, they just reload,” Pugh said. “We’re assuming they’re reloaded. We’re expecting a real tough game.”
Pingree began its Evergreen League schedule a bit shorthanded last week against Portsmouth Abbey, but senior quarterback Jerome Cappadona
came up huge nevertheless. He completed 22-of-36 passes for 301 yards and one touchdown, and ran for 110 yards and another score in Pingree’s 26-13 win.
His timing in producing such a dominant statistical game couldn’t have been any better as the Highlanders were playing without dynamic running back/wide receiver Johnny Spears , who is day-to-day with an injury.
“When I did the stats I was shocked. I didn’t realize he had such a great game running-wise,” Pingree coach Chris Powers
said. “He ran for almost 700 yards last year and had 100 yards against Portsmouth Abbey last year (in) his first start.
“He’s a dual-threat kind of guy, and that has an affect on how teams can play us.”
The Pingree defense also got standout performances from linebackers Nick Antenucci and Hossam Hamdan.
Antenucci, who ran for two touchdowns and caught another, led the way with 13 tackles.
Pingree plays at Proctor Academy tomorrow, looking to move to 2-0 in the league. The Highlanders are 3-2 against Proctor, having won the last three meetings; Proctor is coming off of a 36-0 opening game win over Kents Hill.
Marblehead hasn’t seen a complete roster turnover from their Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League Tier 2 champions from a year ago, but it isn’t exactly the most experienced team out there, either. So how have the Magicians quickly emerged as No. 2 on the list of NEC/CAL Tier 2 favorites this year behind Beverly?
The key has been the development of some younger and/or inexperienced players.
“I was just talking to John Perry, who was an all-star outside linebacker for us last year. His younger brother Nick is a senior this season,” Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff
said after Friday night’s win over Winthrop. “Nick wasn’t even on the depth charts last year, and he wasn’t even on the depth charts this summer. I had no expectations of Nick helping us out this year ... maybe a little on special teams. But now he’s starting for us both ways and he’s just been phenomenal.
“We’ve had kids step up for us that are doing things for us that we never in a million years expected.”
Rudloff hopes his team continues to grow throughout the next stretch of non-league games against Minnechaug, Newburyport and Malden Catholic.
Minnechaug was a late addition to the schedule after there was a mixup with a game Marblehead believed it had scheduled with Hingham.
Minnechaug, a Division 1 team from Western Mass., is a bit of an unknown. According to masslive.com, the Falcons are 3-0 and like to play at a fast pace. Quarterback Alan McDonald has thrown for over 500 yards and four touchdowns so far, and running back Ben Sheehan has rushed for 393 yards and six touchdowns. K.J. White and Joshua Henry
are two of McDonald’s favorite targets.
“We have two Div. 1 opponents in the next four weeks (plus) Newburyport, so it’s a tough road ahead,” Rudloff said. “We could get thumped pretty hard. It’s good to get this phase of the season over with; now we’re going to go up against some guys that can really put a hurt on us if we don’t get better.”
According to Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School records, Trevor Lyons’ 91-yard touchdown pass to Christian Ecker last Saturday broke a six-year-old record, besting a 90-yarder thrown by John Mattook
Even though it happened in Week 3 and wasn’t a league matchup, Hamilton-Wenham’s 12-7 victory over Newburyport was huge.
“We needed this one bad. Everyone is good on our schedule, so we knew we couldn’t let this one slip away after (losing the previous week, 34-15, to) Pentucket,” H-W coach Andrew Morency said after his team improved to 2-1. “My hat’s off to this team. We feel like this was a little bit of a signature win, distinguishing them from last year’s team.”
Moving the Chains, a column on North Shore high school football, runs each Friday during the fall in The Salem News. Contact staff writer Matt Jenkins at 978-338-2648, by e-mail at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @MattJenkins_SN.