WEST NEWBURY — They form a mobile defensive line because that’s what’s required.
Pentucket football coach Steve Hayden lets an anecdote do the talking when describing his five defensive players who buck the trend of the 200-plus pound behemoth.
“We had a coach that was coaching at Central Catholic, and he saw Mike McCarron and said, ‘He’s just like a little paper boy,’” says Hayden. “So that just tells you (something).”
Senior defensive tackle McCarron stands 5 feet, 10 inches tall and tips the scales at 170 pounds. Right defensive end Connor McGuirk is the heaviest of the bunch, weighing in at 185 pounds and 5 feet, 11 inches. Defensive end Franco Pizzarella is the giant of the group at 6-feet-2, 155 pounds. And the baby of the bunch, junior right defensive tackle Chad Lagault, comes in at 5-feet-11, 174 pounds. Senior defensive end Dan Thornton (175 pounds) was sidelined for the season with a broken wrist.
“Basically, everyone is bigger than us,” says Lagault. “When someone says, ‘Oh, these kids are big.’ We say, ‘Yeah, obviously, every single (player) we face is 100 pounds heavier than us. So, we’re kind of used to taking a hit.”
These Sachems (5-5) certainly take the hits like everyone else, but their relatively smaller stature lends itself to a quicker, more agile style of play while defending their junior quarterback, Ryan Kuchar.
“We’re probably quicker than a lot of the defensive lines out there,” says McCarron. “So we do a lot of stunting, that helps out, because we can get around the bigger kids, where we can’t get through them. We hear a lot about leverage and stuff. But when you start like four inches below everybody else, it’s a little bit easier to get underneath them.”
“When someone is trapping (me), I can get low enough to take out their legs and clog up the hole,” says McGuirk. “Or blow up the play by wrong-shouldering them.”