NORTH READING — At halftime, Pentucket seemed to have be in perfect position.
The Sachems led by a pair of scores, and their defense had limited dominating North Reading running back Carl Lipani to just 30 yards.
But Pentucket could not sustain that momentum in the second half against the Hornets’ girding offense, and a late turnover went for naught as the Sachems fell to North Reading 17-14.
“Pentucket is a very disciplined, very tough team like always,” said North Reading coach Jeff Wall. “They took it to us the last time we played, but our kids came together and played a great game.”
The Sachems took control early, when Ryan Kuchar hit Mike Tashjian for a 35-yard touchdown with 5:25 to go in the first quarter.
The Green added to the lead with 1:45 to go in the half, when Cody Rothwell broke free for a 35-yard touchdown. Rothwell finished the first half with 78 yards on just nine carries.
The Pentucket defense was also a force in the first half, limiting the Hornets to just 63 total yards and twice stuffing them in the red zone, once for a turnover on downs, and the other a field goal.
“Pentucket is such a tough team,” said Lipani. “It is always big to beat a team like Pentucket. They have a great line and an aggressive defense.”
But they could not sustain that attack in the second half, as the Hornets opened the third with a nine-play scoring drive, then forced a fumble and scored again late in the third for the winning margin.
Pentucket’s best chance for a rally came with 3:24 to go, when Mike McCarron recovered a fumble. But the Sachems, who were limited to 30 yards in the second half and no yards passing, could not muster a late rally.
Rothwell finished the day with 89 yards and 12 tackles, while Tim Freiermuth paced the Sachems’ defense with 14 tackles. Nick D’Agostino added an interception.
David Willis is a sportswriter/videographer for The Eagle-Tribune. You can see his video profiles at eagletribunetribune.com/ sports