NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport football team’s defense will enjoy watching this one on film.
The Clippers (5-5) bottled up one of the North Shore’s best passing offenses in Triton (5-5) last night with a 14-0 victory at World War Memorial Stadium. Both teams entered with 0-2 records in the month of November, but the Clippers established plenty of momentum heading into their Thanksgiving rivalry game with Amesbury.
Newburyport forced four turnovers, including three interceptions of the area’s leading passer, Bradley Whitman. Triton accrued just 174 yards of total offense, and never moved inside the Newburyport 20-yard line.
“We can play defense, I’ve said that all year long,” said Newburyport coach Ed Gaudiano. “It really doesn’t matter what type of offense we see because we see a lot of different ones. (Defensive coordinator) Michael Smolski is doing a great job in his first season. That sets the tone and tempo all game.”
The Newburyport defense set the tone by forcing the Triton offense to go three-and-out on its first two possessions. The Triton defense matched Newburyport, but the second Newburyport punt was fumbled by Triton return man Luke Boyle. Newburyport’s Matthew Stack recovered, setting up his team’s offense on the Triton 20-yard-line.
Four plays later, on fourth-and-12, Newburyport quarterback Michael Shay completed a short pass to Drew Bourdeau, who weaved his way 22 yards for a score.
Newburyport added another touchdown in the second quarter on a four-play, 70-yard drive. Peter Greene kicked off the drive with a 37-yard run, and Ethan Northey finished it with a 5-yard touchdown run.
For the Vikings’ part, the one positive to take from the game is the fact that their defense pitched a shutout in the second half. However, the team’s offense, thought to be a strength all season, is in the midst of a postseason slump. Whitman had his second three-interception game of the postseason, and the Vikings have tallied a total of seven points in the last two games.