By Matt Williams
---- — SWAMPSCOTT — The Triton football team hadn’t tasted victory in 51 weeks, and Saturday at Blocksidge Field the Vikings knew they had waited long enough.
Quarterback Brad Whitman (173 yards passing) and running back Justin Spillane (143 yards rushing) did the bulk of the damage as Triton took care of Swampscott 33-7 in the season opener for both teams.
“A lot of teams didn’t want to play this first week, but we were chomping at the bit. The kids came out fired up,” said Triton coach Patrick Sheehan, whose Vikings were the only Cape Ann League Large team to play opening weekend.
“We hadn’t won since Week 2 last year and every loss it’s harder to get the kids snapped out of it and ready to go. We should have a great week of practice after this one.”
Triton (1-0) beat Swampscott (0-1) for the first time in four tries with crisp execution of the spread offense and timely plays on defense. The Vikings intercepted Big Blue quarterback Brendan McDonald three times and picked up yardage in big chunks to the tune of 410 yards on 49 snaps.
Whitman was remarkably efficient, completing 15 of his 20 throws including touchdowns to Mark Boyle and Nicholas Desrocher. The QB also ran for a score and Spillane and Desrocher picked up rushing TDs.
In comparison, Swamspcott was particularly inefficient on offense. McDonald completed 9-of-27 for 100 yards and the Big Blue had no luck running into the teeth of the Triton defense. The Vikings held the opposition to 67 rushing yards on 23 carries, less than three yards per try.
“One thing we battled in the preseason was consistency and I was impressed with the way the kids played for all four quarters today,” said Sheehan.
With Triton ahead 14-0 after Desrocher’s 11-yard run, a 2-yard TD strike from Whitman to Mark Boyle and a Spillane conversion rush, Swampscott forced a turnover. McDonald led his team’s only scoring drive late in the second half capped by a 16-yard TD pass to Mike Faia. Despite a big edge in total yards, the Vikings led just 14-7.
A sack by Mike McCuish put Triton in 3rd and 20, and tight end Boyle split the safeties up the middle. Whitman found him for a 45-yard completion that swung momentum back to the visitors.
“Huge,” said Sheehan. “We turned it over on the previous drive and we were backed up. Mark Boyle had a great game today, he ran that route well and Brad delivered a perfect pass.”
With poise, Whitman drove his team the rest of the way and found Desrocher for a 9-yard score and the crucial two-score, 21-7 halftime lead.
“That was killer,” said Swampscott coach Steve Dembowski. “What we got today was a healthy dose of great coaching and good execution by Triton. They neutralized all our strengths.”
Spillane made a linebacker miss and broke another tackle on his way to a 51-yard touchdown run early in the second half as Triton extended its lead to 27-7. Whitman scored the final TD of the game when he scampered in from three yards out with 6:45 to go
“We can rely on Brad to throw and run, and Justin’s kind of our thunder. He can deliver the big blows out there,” said Sheehan.
Triton was excellent in coverage against Swampscott’s passing attack and the Viking defense forced three straight three-and-outs in the third and fourth quarters as they built an insurmountable lead. The Vikings turned it over twice on fumbles, but overcame that by getting stops on defense and executing on third down (the Big Blue were just 3-for-12 on third down).
“Triton has a quarterback that will make them very competitive this year and there were times their running back made us look silly,” said Dembowski.