SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

October 19, 2013

Masconomet handles Newburyport on gridiron

NEWBURYPORT — Masconomet football coach Jim Pugh’s team may benefit from the playoff system he helped design last year.

Pugh’s Chieftains took sole possession of the all-important second-place spot in the Cape Ann League Division 1 standings last night with a 21-7 victory over Newburyport (3-3 overall, 2-2 CAL) at World War Memorial Stadium.

Pugh worked with high school principals and athletic directors last year in his role as president of the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association to implement a new playoff system that would reward more teams — rather than just the league champions.

If Masco beats Triton next week, the Chieftains would benefit from the new system, likely earning an automatic berth in the Division 3 Northeast playoffs for placing in the top two in CAL Division 2. If last year’s playoff system was still in place, Masco would be on the outside looking in.

“It’s awesome to have this playoff system,” said Jim Pugh. “It’s great for high school football. I’m hearing from coaches who were against it, and now they’re for it.”

After losing the battle for second place in CAL Division 2, the Clippers will have to hope their strength of schedule is strong enough to earn a wildcard berth.

“I don’t even think about that,” Gaudiano said. “I know we have 11 games to play, we’ll show up for 11. I don’t know if it will be in the playoff bracket or other bracket.”

The Clippers didn’t show up for last night’s game, by Gaudiano’s estimation, as Masconomet scored two first-quarter touchdowns in a span of seven seconds to take a 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

Masco defensive back Corey Tines picked off Newburyport quarterback Michael Shay on the Clippers’ first offensive series, and returned the interception 45 yards for a score. Masconomet coach Jim Pugh called for an onside kick following the defensive score, and his team recovered in Newburyport territory.

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