A walk down memory lane reveals a potentially formidable foe.
The Chieftains wound up 19-3-2 by the end of a magical November that saw them tear through the Division 2 state tournament. They were a well rounded and experienced group, with 17 seniors determined to restoring the program, beginning with winning the Cape Ann League crown. They hadn’t won one since 1993, and doing so was a big sticking point during Emmons’ lung-crushing preseason double-sessions.
“He was drilling that into us all through training camp. He let us know right away that was goal,” said Peter Nechtem, a senior defender from that team. “I just remember running. From the minute two-a-days started, we ran. We were always the best conditioned team.”
Emmons, who retired in 2010, was famous for running along with his players. That season, he damaged a surgically repaired knee while running with the team at practice,
“I remember we could hear it kind of crunching, and you wanted to say ‘Coach are you sure that’s OK?’ but he kept going,” Nechtem recalled. Emmons missed two games after having another surgery before he was back on the sidelines.
Masco’s athleticism allows it to matchup with any all-time great team. There were a number of two and three-sport athletes, like big forward Dan Maher, and Emmons’ conditioning standards meant the Chieftains could wear down most opponents. The sheer number of seniors also meant they had the depth to plug in fresh legs when needed.
“Having a senior-dominated team, we’d win battles with strength and speed. We won a lot of games purely with athleticism,” said Andy Nechtem, the only freshman to make the varsity that fall. “We had some great skill and some great technical guys, but overall you could bet on us being more athletic than most teams.”