Triton has been through a difficult 1-9 season, and an even tougher week due to off-the-field issues. However, who would remember any of that with a Thanksgiving upset of Pentucket? And what about Pentucket? At 5-5, tomorrow’s game will be the difference between a winning season and a losing one.
As I make my final picks for the regular season, I consider how I believe each team will be remembered.
Newburyport at Amesbury
I think one of the best stats from Amesbury’s season is that kicker Mac Short is 33 for 33 in extra-point attempts. It sounds like an easy feat to accomplish, but I’ve seen enough high school football to know it’s not. There are countless things that can go wrong on an extra point. At least a dozen times per season, I see a bad snap result in a botched kick. I also see as many instances in which the offensive line confuses a blocking assignment resulting in a blocked kick. And I see just as many examples of kickers simply missing kicks. To convert 33 consecutive extra points, it takes more than a kicker who can hit from 20 yards on a regular basis. A high school team needs to be extremely organized. The right player has to be taking the kicks from the start of the season. The offensive line needs to be able to hold its blocks, even when the one point could be the difference in the game, as it was for Amesbury in last week’s 21-20 win over Pentucket. And the snapper-holder-kicker chemistry has to be perfect all season.
The word “chemistry” keeps coming up with this Amesbury team, much like it did in 2008 when the team won a Super Bowl. As you watch the Indians, if you ignore the faces and the numbers on the jerseys, the execution at times looks almost identical to that of the last Super Bowl champion. There are other stats more impressive than the extra-point example. For instance, Matt Talbot has accounted for 25 touchdowns, the Indians have averaged 35.3 points during their seven-game winning streak, and the squad responded to its two-game losing streak early in the season by beating its next five opponents by an average of 29.5 points. My point with the extra-point statistic is that this Amesbury team doesn’t slip. It’s a focused bunch, and I believe that legacy will be reinforced on Thanksgiving.