Even critics of the new high school football playoff system have to admit we have never seen this much excitement on the gridiron in the final weekend of October.
Newburyport, Amesbury and Triton were all playing for their playoff lives, and two of the three clinched berths with wins.
The most emphatic statement of the weekend came from Triton (5-2) Friday night when the Vikings crushed playoff-bound Masconomet 33-6, locking up the first playoff berth in program history with their most convincing win of the season. The win was strong enough for Triton to earn a home game in the opening round of the Division 4 North tournament. When the pairings were released yesterday, Triton learned it earned the fourth seed, drawing a home game against fifth-seeded Watertown Friday night.
All of the sudden, Triton has a new identity heading into the postseason. No longer are the Vikings the team that beats up on non-playoff foes and loses to teams destined for the postseason. Instead, the Vikings are a team capable of rolling playoff foes. Looking back at Triton’s one-score losses against Pentucket and Newburyport — both Division 4 North playoff qualifiers — the Vikings had chances to win late in both games despite not playing its best.
Newburyport didn’t make the same statement in terms of posting a victory over a similar quality of opponent as Triton, but the Clippers played the only game on their schedule and earned their way to the postseason with a 41-8 victory over Saugus. The sixth-seeded Clippers will visit third-seeded Bedford Friday at 6:30 p.m. for its first-round tournament game.
In Bedford (6-1), Newburyport will face the co-champion of the Dual County League Small. Bedford finished just a few tenths of a percentage point behind second-seeded Lynnfield in the Division 4 North power ratings used to seed the tournament.