IPSWICH — Penalties, injuries and red-zone mistakes cost the Ipswich High football team its fourth loss of the season after falling to Amesbury 35-14 Saturday afternoon at Jack Welch Stadium.
“We weren’t ready to play,” said Ipswich head coach Ted Flaherty. “I have to give Amesbury a lot of credit; they took care of the ball and controlled the line of scrimmage — they whacked us. We’ve been playing really, really hard all year and tough, but I’m not sure what happened (Saturday). I don’t know why we were so flat. We just couldn’t execute.”
The Tigers (1-4) couldn’t get stops when it counted and had a hard time punching in their own scores. Amesbury, meanwhile, scored three of its five touchdowns off Ipswich turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble recovery). Making matters worse, the Tigers lost two of their two-way starters, Nate Glaster and Matt Carey, to injuries during the contest.
Despite some missed opportunities, the teams were tied at 7-7 in the second quarter, but by halftime, the Tigers found themselves down by two scores.
“We had a couple of penalties that hurt us in the red zone,” Flaherty said. “It’s the type of football that you just can’t play and expect to do well. We didn’t convert on third and fourth downs, penalties knocked us back, and our energy level was just down. We seemed to hang our heads — and I haven’t seen that at all this year.”
Even on a night where the Tiger energy may have been low, Amesbury head coach Thom Connors knew his team would be in for a fight.
“Ipswich is as tough as any team in the league. We all woke up sore the next morning,” Connors said. “It was just a battle. When they attacked us, sometimes rushing eight or nine guys, we responded — we were patient, and we made big plays when it mattered. We have that ability, and I’m proud of this team for fighting the way they did.”