, Newburyport, MA

September 11, 2013

Triton's Whitman provides lesson in perseverance

Making the picks
Dan Guttenplan

---- — One of the nicer stories to come out of a light opening-week high school football schedule was Triton quarterback Bradley Whitman’s breakout performance.

The Vikings dominated Swampscott on the road in a 33-7 drubbing, and no Triton player had a bigger role in the upset than Whitman, who completed 15 of 19 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Whitman, a junior quarterback, certainly took his lumps last season when he earned the starting job as a sophomore. Triton had only one returning starter from the previous season, and Whitman was looking to fill the void left by his brother, Blaise, a former All-Cape Ann League quarterback.

Bradley Whitman struggled all season, playing himself out of the starting job for a couple of weeks at midseason before taking it back by Thanksgiving. The Vikings’ season ended with a 41-12 Thanksgiving Day loss to Pentucket with Whitman completing 8 of 22 passes for 37 yards. It was fair to wonder whether Whitman was the right guy for the job moving forward.

With a better supporting cast around him, Whitman made a big statement last week against a perenially strong Swampscott team. In a matter of one week, Whitman has emerged as potentially the biggest offensive weapon in the area, along with his teammate, Justin Spillane, who had 15 rushes for 140 yards and a touchdown. All credit goes to Whitman for weathering the storm and gaining from the experience.

On to the picks.

Friday’s game

Triton at Amesbury, 7

Recent history would indicate that Amesbury should be a huge favorite in this game. The Indians went 8-3 last season, and played a postseason game against Lynnfield. On the other hand, Triton was 1-10. However, if you scrap anything that happened before August, Triton has made a case as the top team in the region. The Vikings have the most players back from last season, and they cruised past Swampscott last week. Meanwhile, Amesbury graduated just about everybody who touched the football last season.

The pick: Triton 28, Amesbury 12

Saturday’s games

Newburyport at Lynnfield, 11

Newburyport also graduated just about everyone at the skill positions on offense. I like Mike Shay as the quarterback moving forward, but it’s tough to take the Clippers on the road against a team with postseason aspirations.

The pick: Lynnfield 19, Newburyport 12

Greater Lawrence at Georgetown, 1

Georgetown is 2-20 in its last 22 games, but I think the Royals finish around .500 this season. Quarterback Colby Ingraham is a proven winner — at least on the baseball field. Coach Paul Sobolewski loves tight end Pat Bjork. I’m taking the Royals to get in the win column this weekend.

The pick: Georgetown 20, Greater Lawrence 19

Last week’s record: 0-1