On the other hand, Newburyport never really fully hit its stride this season. It started with Wile’s injury, which was devastating to a team looking to repeat its Division 3A title. Wile passed for 2,006 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, and the Clippers expected more of the same during his senior season. Instead, they struggled to a 3-3 record as they waited for Wile to return, and even when he did, he was not the player who would often drop back 30 times per game last fall. He was limited at first, and he is just now starting to gain full flexibility and range in his shoulder.
Could I see Wile make a big step forward with 10 days between his last game and tomorrow’s kickoff? Sure. He only returned to action Oct. 19, so an extra 10 days won’t do anything but help. But if we’re going with the theme that Thanksgiving Day games cement legacies for seasons, I’m going with Amesbury to potentially make a Super Bowl run, and Newburyport to fall just short.
The pick: Amesbury 21, Newburyport 16
Triton at Pentucket
Triton’s season has been a prolonged struggle. The Vikings started the season with one starter returning from last year’s team. Coach Pat Sheehan’s spread offense is as complicated as any in the league. When it is clicking, it can be unstoppable. But the complexity of the scheme also makes it difficult to integrate a couple of new starters per season, let alone 10. The Vikings started 1-1 before dropping their last eight, but there have been some signs of hope lately. For one, Bradley Whitman has overcome some inconsistent play at midseason to solidify his spot as the starting quarterback of the future. The Vikings are finally clicking on offense; they scored 27 points in their last game against Saugus. But I believe the biggest take-away from this season will be Triton’s success at the sub-varsity level. Two years from now, as we size up the Thanksgiving matchups, I think we might mention the fact that this year’s Triton junior varsity team went undefeated, culminating with a 42-13 victory over Pentucket last weekend.