, Newburyport, MA

September 14, 2013

Triton's quick ascent

Vikings dominate Amesbury, push to 2-0

By Dan Guttenplan
Sports Editor

---- — AMESBURY — The Triton football team needed only six days to make last year’s 1-10 season a distant memory.

The Vikings collected their second blowout victory in less than a week last night, taking down defending Cape Ann League Small champion Amesbury 40-7 at James J. Landry Stadium.

Triton’s victory came just six days after the squad opened the season with a 33-7 victory over Swampscott. The Vikings have outscored their two opponents 73-14 after getting outscored 325-181 last season.

Suddenly, Triton looks like a potential favorite in the Cape Ann League Large, which also includes Newburyport, Masconomet, Pentucket, Saugus and North Reading.

“We haven’t played a league game yet, so we’ll take it easy on the league favorite,” Triton coach Pat Sheehan said. “These guys played together last year, and they got their butts kicked. They took their lumps. They were tired of it, and they worked their tails off in the weight room in the offseason.”

It marks the first time Triton has started 2-0 since 2009. From 2010 to 2012, the Vikings logged a cumulative record of 7-26.

On the other hand, Amesbury played its opener last night after having a Week 1 bye, and the first-game jitters came through in the form of turnovers. The Indians had four, none bigger than the first, which came in the closing minutes of the first quarter. Driving into Triton territory with his team trailing 7-0, Amesbury first-year starting quarterback Mac Short attempted a sweep. He was tied up by multiple defenders behind the line of scrimmage, and Triton linebacker Mark Boyle ripped the ball out of his arms and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown.

In a matter of seconds, Amesbury’s fate was sealed for the night. Instead of threatening to tie the game 7-7, the Indians trailed 14-0.

“The turnovers came at inopportune times,” Amesbury coach Thom Connors said. “That was unfortunate because I thought we did some good things at times. We installed some things this week, and a couple of them worked. But we turned the ball over.”

Triton tailback Justin Spillane followed up his 140-yard rushing effort against Swampscott with another big night. He had 16 carries for 98 yards and three touchdowns. Triton quarterback Bradley Whitman was in command all night, although his numbers don’t necessarily tell the story due to a few dropped passes. He completed 6 of 16 passes for 91 yards.

Short was up and down in his debut at quarterback. He started strong, completing his first four passes for 89 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jack Fortin. He cooled off after that, finishing 7 for 18 for 121 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Amesbury will host Pentucket on Friday, while Triton will enjoy its bye week after a better-than-expected start to the season.

“This Triton team is a good team,” Connors said. “They beat us in every aspect of the game. I take my hat off to their coaches. They were a much better team than us tonight. I’m not discouraged at all. We just need to iron some things out.”