Four players later, Kuchar, who also plays quarterback, carried it over the goal line on a 1-yard plunge, giving the Sachems a 14-7 lead.
“We made plenty of mistakes along the way that killed us,” Newburyport coach Ed Gaudiano said. “When it came time to make a play at the end, we didn’t make a play.”
Shay sparked Newburyport on the final drive with his legs. He had three carries for 34 yards, and also completed a 34-yard pass to Jonathan Bajko. It seemed fitting that Pentucket defended Shay’s final pass attempt, as the Clippers struggled to get anything going through the air all night. Shay completed just 4 of his 17 attempts for 62 yards. He was also intercepted by Pentucket defensive back Andrew Noyes.
“(Shay) had them down to the end zone,” Hayden said. “The kid’s got some wheels. He did some good things on that long drive. We had him pinned down, and he didn’t quit.”
On a night that was otherwise highlighted by strong defensive play, both teams scored touchdowns on their opening offensive drives. Pentucket’s Jeff Porter kicked off the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run, capping a drive in which he had three carries for 28 yards. Newburyport answered with a long drive of its own, which concluded with Trevor Bradbury’s 3-yard touchdown run. Bradbury also had a 51-yard run during that drive.
The second and third quarters were laden with punts, turnovers and penalties. However, it wouldn’t be a Pentucket win this season without a dramatic ending.
Had the Clippers scored on the final play of the game, Gaudiano said he would have instructed his players to go for the two-point conversion.
“I was sick of it; I had to get out of here,” Gaudiano said. “I’m too old for that. We definitely would have gone for two. Even that last drive, we wasted plays. It was a frustrating game.”