Amesbury evened the score on a long drive that started on the final play of the first quarter and spilled over into the second. Mroz capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run, although Talbot converted three third-and-long situations with passes of at least 13 yards on the drive.
“We’ve been throwing the ball quite a bit all year,” Connors said. “(Newburyport) has two great defensive ends and two inside linebackers who are really tough. We hoped to spread their guys out, and wear out the middle of the defense for later in the game. Perry Mroz was outstanding finishing the game.”
Tied at 7-7 coming out of halftime, Amesbury received the opening kick, and Ben Cullen returned it to the Amesbury 40-yard line. Six plays later, Short teed up his first field-goal attempt of the season, giving the Indians a 10-7 lead. Although Short had not attempted a field before yesterday, he is 34 for 34 on extra-point attempts this season.
“He’s been perfect all year,” Connors said. “He’d been kicking PATs over the wall and fence. We knew he had more than enough leg. We talked about it all the time this year. I said, ‘Some day, Shorty, you’ll win us a game with a kick.’”
Newburyport responded immediately after facing its first deficit, piecing together an 11-play, 50-yard drive to the Amesbury 10-yard-line. Wile then tied the game with a 26-yard field goal, setting the stage for Short’s game-winning kick.
“He’s one of the best kickers I’ve ever coached,” Connors said of Short. “Last year, as a sophomore, he struggled. This year, he’s been solid. There wasn’t any hesitation at all. The play before, we ran the ball and didn’t get the first down. I said, ‘Where are we (on the field)?’ Then I said, ‘Let’s kick it.’”