By Dan Harrison
---- — TOPSFIELD — The Pentucket Regional football team marched into Bunker Stadium last night and made the big plays when it mattered most, defeating Masconomet 21-14.
The Chieftains took their first possession 73 yards capped off by a five-yard touchdown run by Mackenzie Cashin but the Sachems were able to buckle down defensively.
“They marched right down the field their first possession. It was chunk after chunk after chunk. But the kids hung in and made plays,” said Pentucket (4-0) head coach Steve Hayden. “It’s the third week in a row we’ve had a nail-biter. When we win, we all win.”
The Sachems literally took the game from the Chieftains (3-2) behind big plays from Liam Corkery, who grabbed two interceptions and hauled in 113 receiving yards. His second pick of the game came in the final minute on a pass that Masco receiver Corey Tines appeared to grab but Corkery ripped the ball away from him as the two tumbled to the ground.
Corkery also had some impressive catches-none more so than his lone second-half catch where he spun towards his back-shoulder and made a one-handed grab for a 29-yard gain. He and Sachems’ signal caller Ryan Kuchar (7 for 11 for 160 yards and a touchdown) had a strong connection throughout the game.
Kuchar tied the game at 7-7 on a one-yard sneak in the second quarter and then put Pentucket ahead 14-7 with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Porter. Porter added the game-winning score on a four yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“Give Pentucket credit. Kuchar and Corkery had great games,” said Masco head coach Jim Pugh. “No excuses, we got out-played and we got out-hit. They made the plays that we didn’t. Now there in good position to win the league.”
Masco tied the game with just seconds left in the first half on a 1-yard sneak by Troy Bunker. The Chieftains went 67 yards on eight plays in less than a minute and a half.
Masco looked to keep rolling in the second half when Mike Tivinis (11 carries for 154 yards) broke a 53-yard run on his first touch of the third quarter. However Masco’s star back was injured on the play and didn’t return. From that point on, Masco failed to sustain any real offense.
The Sachems meanwhile leaned on the hard running of Andrew Noyes, who churned out 111 yards on 20 carries. Porter added 42-yards on the ground and 47-receiving yards.
Pentucket 21, Masconomet 14
at Bunker Stadium, Topsfield
Pentucket (4-0): 0 14 7 0-21
Masconoment (3-2): 7 7 0 0-14
M- Mackenzie Cashin 5 run (Troy Bunker kick)
P- Ryan Kuchar 1 run (kick blocked)
P- Jeff Porter 12 pass from Kuchar (Pat Freiermuth pass from Kuchar)
M- Bunker 1 run (Bunker kick)
P- Porter 4 run (Nick Zaia kick)
RUSHING: Masco- Mike Tivinis 11-154, Mackenzie Cashin 7-48, Troy Bunker 2-7; Pentucket- Andrew Noyes 20-111, Jeff Porter 18-42, Ryan Kuchar 5-18, Chris Croteau 1-1
PASSING: Masco- Bunker 7-15-81-0-2; Pentucket- Kuchar 7-11-160-1-1.
RECEIVING: Masco- Corey Tines 4-37, Mackenzie Cashin 1-24, Nolan Rice 1-13, Harry Cwik 1-6; Pentucket- Liam Corkery 4-113, Porter 3-47