NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport coaching staff went into last night’s showdown with Ipswich hoping that they could exploit what they saw as a weakness in the Tigers’ punting game. Let’s just say they did so — and then some — enabling the Clippers to blow out their guests, 38-7, to capture their first win of the year.
A pair of blocked punts keyed an eventful second quarter leading to a pair of scores. When the dust had finally settled, Newburyport had a 24-0 lead at the half and Ipswich punter Connor McAdams was heading to nearby Anna Jaques with a broken tibia, which he suffered on the second block.
The first block broke open a tight, scoreless game in the second quarter as Newburyport’s Trevor Bradbury took the deflection 30 yards for the first score.
“Special teams can definitely change the complexion of the game and that’s what happened,” said Newburyport coach Ed Gaudiano. “We saw that they had had trouble punting the ball, and we put in a couple different ways to pressure them which probably rattled them a little bit.”
“The long snapping has been an issue with us all year, and they took advantage of it,” said first-year Ipswich coach Greg Brotherton whose team fell to 0-2. “Obviously, they scouted us and they knew. They overloaded one side every single time, and I can’t say I blame them.”
It looked like it was going to be a pretty close contest through a scoreless first quarter at World War Memorial Stadium. Ipswich controlled the play early behind the sharp passing of senior quarterback Kyle Blomster, who connected early and often to senior captain Nate Glaster on the outside and also hit Aleks Kuljik on a pretty seam pass up the middle for 30 yards.
Things took a big turn in the eventful second period when the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Dillon Guthro came crashing through on fourth-and-6 at the Tigers’ 40 and blocked the first punt of the evening. The ball was deflected into the waiting hands of Trevor Bradbury at the 30, who scampered in from there for the first score of the evening.