“It was a little heartbreaking thinking we might not be in the playoffs,” said Dickey. “Now you can tell a lot of the guys are really excited and pumped up. We know we’ve played a lot of close game that didn’t go out way, so we have to focus on playing a full game and playing the way we know we can play.”
Hamilton-Wenham’s player know they’ll have to play mistake free football to hang with a Pentucket team that could be destined for an all-CAL D4 North final against Lynnfield. Mistake-free isn’t impossible, though, and the Generals are looking forward to taking their best shot.
“The kids are fired up,” said Morency. “It’s been an emotional, up and down year so far and with the way it all turned out they feel like they’re kind of back in it. It’s like the cat having nine lives, and it feels like the kids are in a mode where they don’t want to let this one slip away.”
“Being in the playoffs is what you hope for,” added Dickey. “Not every single week went the way we wanted, but being here was the big goal.”
If it seems like workhorse running backs are making a comeback on the North Shore, it might be because they are. Four different player ran for more than 200 yards last week, bringing the total number of 200-yard games by area rushers to an impressive 12 with a month to play.
Johnny Thomas of St. John’s Prep had two 200-yard efforts before a knee injury ended his season, and Beverly’s Isaiah White and Danvers’ Alex Valles have also each eclipsed the 200-yard mark twice.
North Shore Tech’s Ross Murphy, Bishop Fenwick’s Rufus Rushins, Beverly’s Peter Mulumba, Hamilton-Wenham’s Ian Dickey and Peabody’s Cody Wlasuk have also each run for at least 200 yards in a game.