AMESBURY — Matt Talbot never considered that the Amesbury football team might have its fourth losing season in a row this fall.
Too much talent on the roster. Too many experienced players to lead the way. Too much history between a group of Amesbury seniors who have been playing together since their youth football days with the Amesbury Jets.
But a losing record is what the Indians had after three weeks this season, fresh off a lopsided 21-7 loss to North Reading. The Indians had blown a 27-12 lead against Lynnfield the previous week, and the momentum of the two losses threatened to submarine the season.
“We knew we should have won both games,” Talbot said. “It made us hungrier. We thought we were going to be a good team this year. We won both preseason games and our opener against Manchester Essex. Those two losses showed us we have to be more humble. We’ve got to work. It doesn’t happen just because you expect it to happen.”
The team’s collective reaction to the North Reading loss may serve as a turning point to the season. The Indians (3-2) have since posted victories over Hamilton-Wenham, the defending Cape Ann League Division 4 champion, and Ipswich. Talbot has been the catalyst in both wins, combining to complete 13 of 19 passes for 203 yards and five touchdowns. The dual-threat has also contributed with his legs, turning 21 rushing attempts into 137 yards and another score.
“Matt has done a great job embracing the offense,” Amesbury coach Thom Connors said. “It’s a lot different than what we did last year. Fundamentally, a lot of things are the same, but there’s a lot more emphasis on his decision-making.”
Talbot earned the starting quarterback job during preseason of his junior year, and for much of last year, he orchestrated a standard wing-T offense. Talbot’s primary responsibility was to take the snap, turn around and hand the ball to a tailback or halfback.