, Newburyport, MA

September 27, 2013

Game of the week: Thanksgiving rivals Pentucket and Triton primed for September matchup

Newburyport Daily News

---- — Triton (2-0)

Triton has started 2-0 for the first time since 2009. From 2010 to 2012, the Vikings logged a cumulative record of 7-26. The Vikings have outscored their two opponents 73-14 after getting outscored 325-181 last season.

Triton coach Pat Sheehan added two accomplished assistants to his staff prior to this season — former Newburyport offensive coordinator Ryan McCarthy and former Ipswich head coach Ted Flaherty. McCarthy serves as the offensive coordinator, calling the plays each game. Flaherty assists defensive coordinator Shawn McElligott, also a former head coach in the Cape Ann League. McElligott coached his alma mater, Triton, from 2005 to 2007.

Triton will not play its first home game until October 11 when it hosts Newburyport. The Vikings’ junior class may have more varsity experience than any other team in the Cape Ann League. Sixteen different players received starts last season as sophomores.

Key to victory: Win the battle at the line of scrimmage.

Pentucket dominated on both sides of the ball against Amesbury. The offensive line paved the way for Pentucket ball carriers to rush for 283 yards on 32 carries — an average of 8.8 yards per carry. Defensively, Pentucket limited Amesbury to 66 yards on 28 carries — an average of 2.4 yards per carry.

Pentucket (1-0)

Pentucket leads the rivalry series against Triton — which is typically played on Thanksgiving — with an all-time record of 23-14-1. The Sachems have won eight of the last 10 Thanksgiving matchups, and have not lost to Triton since 2009. In last year’s Thanksgiving showdown, Pentucket won 40-12 thanks to 2013 graduate Cody Rothwell’s 252 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Rothwell finished the season with 2,019 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.

Steve Hayden opened his 32nd season as the Pentucket head coach last Friday night when the Sachems beat Amesbury 42-7. Hayden’s all-time career record is 185-144-2, including a state-championship win in 1999. Assistant coach Chris Perry has been on Hayden’s staff for 30 years.

Transfer Liam Corkey of Arizona comes from good stock. His father, Tim Corkery, was a standout nose guard at Central Catholic. Pat Freiermuth is the younger brother of 2013 graduate, Tim, who starred in a school play last year.

Key to victory: Protect the football.

Triton’s offense generates headlines, but the defense deserves the credit for the dominant start. The Vikings forced four turnovers against Amesbury, one of which was returned for a touchdown. The previous week against Swampscott, the Vikings intercepted Big Blue quarterback Brendan McDonald three times.