As for what to look for from Newburyport moving forward, the Clippers haven’t shown the consistency of Pentucket or Triton this season, although the Clippers did beat Triton in the lone meeting. If they can play that well all postseason, they have as much chance as anyone to come out of Division 4 North. If they play as they did in losses to Masconomet or Pentucket, they will likely fall into the non-playoff bracket on Friday night.
Amesbury (3-4) was the first of the local teams to experience a crushing defeat that eliminated the squad from playoff contention on the final weekend of the regular season. The Indians were in complete control of their own destiny about 8:45 on Friday night, looking for one last first down on fourth-and-inches to run out the clock. Manchester Essex stopped the fourth-down attempt, and rallied to win 22-18. Amesbury will visit Weston this weekend in a non-playoff bracket showdown.
The Indians may be able to offer the best insight as to how the new playoff system could improve after this season, seeing as though the team’s November games will be decided on a week-to-week basis, and may not include a familiar opponent from the Cape Ann League.
Heading into the weekend, Pentucket (5-1) appeared to have a stranglehold on the top seed in Division 4 North, and that proved to be the case. With not much to play for, the Sachems dropped a 28-14 loss to North Reading Friday night. They still squeaked out the top seed over Lynnfield, but by less than a percentage point. Pentucket will host eighth-seeded Hamilton-Wenham Saturday at 2 p.m. Hamilton-Wenham benefited from the Amesbury loss Friday night, earning the second automatic bid from CAL’s Baker Division.