NEWBURYPORT — Newburyport coach Ed Gaudiano was in no mood to size up his team’s playoff chances last night following his team’s 21-7 loss to Masconomet at World War Memorial Stadium.
The loss dropped the Clippers (3-3 overall, 2-2 CAL) into third place in the Cape Ann League Divsion 1 behind Pentucket (4-0, 3-0) and Masconomet (4-2, 3-1), leaving Newburyport’s playoff fate to other teams in Division 4 as it will no longer be assured an automatic bid for placing in the top two spots in the league.
The Clippers will have to hope their strength of schedule is strong enough to earn a wildcard berth.
“I don’t even think about that,” Gaudiano said. “I know we have 11 games to play, we’ll show up for 11. I don’t know if it will be in the playoff bracket or other bracket.”
The Clippers didn’t show up for last night’s game, by Gaudiano’s estimation, as Masconomet scored two first-quarter touchdowns in a span of seven seconds to take a 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
Masco defensive back Corey Tines picked off Newburyport quarterback Michael Shay on the Clippers’ first offensive series, and returned the interception 45 yards for a score. Masconomet coach Jim Pugh called for an onside kick following the defensive score, and his team recovered in Newburyport territory.
On Masconomet’s first offensive play from scrimmage, Troy Bunker connected with Tines on a 50-yard touchdown pass to give the Chieftains a 14-0 lead.
“That was the turning point,” Pugh said. “Corey Tines had the pick-six and then the long pass. Then we just played defense.”
Newburyport was able to sustain drives on offense, but the Clippers couldn’t get on the board until it was too late. Twice in the first half, the Clippers moved the ball inside the Masco 10-yard-line with first-and-goal opportunities and came away with zero points.