By Bob Albright Correspondent
Newburyport Daily News
---- — BYFIELD – The scoreboard was not working for the entire first half of last night’s Triton-Saugus football showdown, and that was a good thing as the visiting Sachems hit the locker room with a commanding three-touchdown lead at the half.
Luckily, both the Triton offense and the scoreboard kicked into gear in the second half, however, as the Vikings mounted a spirited rally only to fall just short, 35-27.
After watching the visitors simply run over his defense in the first 22 minutes, Triton coach Pat Sheehan could not have been more pleased to see the way his young team responded in the final 22 minutes on Senior Night.
Triton fell to 1-9 and 0-4 in the league with the loss.
“I’m proud as heck of these guys,” said the coach. “We wanted them to fight. It was sloppy at times and we missed a lot of plays, but they fought the whole way and I couldn’t be prouder of them. They never gave up and they never gave in.”
Leading the inspired second half rally was a pair of underclassmen in junior quarterback Bradley Whitman (2 rushing TDs, 1 passing TD) and tough-as-nails sophomore tailback Luke Boyle (108 yards, TD), who had a terrific all around game.
Whitman’s second TD of the game with one minute left in the third started the second-half fireworks and Boyle’s 14-yard dash around left end would get the Vikes to within two scores midway through the fourth.
Exhibiting pinpoint passing all night long, Whitman connected with Travis Kneeland from six yards out and rushed for the ensuing conversion for Triton’s final score with 1:49 to play.
“Boyle ran the ball really well, and Brad played his best game of the year by far,” said Sheehan, who knows he can take a lot of positives from this one into his team’s Thanksgiving showdown with Triton.
“We probably played our best 44 minutes of the year. Even the first half score was not indicative of how well we played. We asked them to fight and they came out and fought to the very last second.”
Saugus (1-4, 5-5) rushed for better than 250 yards in the first half alone on its way to a 28-7 lead. Whitman’s 22-yard dash for the lone Triton score was the one offensive highlight.
Saugus 35, Triton 27
S — 14 14 0 7 — 29
T — 7 0 6 14 — 27
S— C.J. Randolph 2 run (Matt Trainor kick) 5:48
T — Bradley Whitman 22 run (Justin Cashman kick) 1:35
S —Randolph 13 run (Trainor kick) :48
S — Ryan Henehan 29 pass from Randolph (Trainor kick) 8:59
S — Randolph 2 run (Trainor kick) 1:14
T — Whitman 3 run (kick failed) 1:01
S — Nick Benoit 7 run (Trainor kick) 10:56
T — Luke Boyle 14 run (rush failed) 6:24
T— Travis Kneeland 6 pass from Whitman (Whitman rush) 1:49
Rushing: T — Boyle 18-103; Whitman 9-42; Cashman 1-2; Tyler Figueredo 2-4; Connor Barry 1-7 . S— Randolph 22-124; Benoit 16-166; Justin Barrasso 4-25; Dan Cacciola 1-17
Passing: T — Whitman 14-24-140-1-0. S— Randolph 2-3-49-1-0.
Receiving: T — Kneeland 4-68; Barry 3-46; James Wood 3-18; Boyle 1-3; Jack Germinara 1-2; Figueredo 1-1.