NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 2, 2013

An early playoff exit

Triton plagued by turnovers in loss to Watertown

By Dan Guttenplan
Sports Editor

---- — BYFIELD — The Triton football team’s first playoff appearance in school history felt like it ended before it started.

The Vikings (5-3) lost in the opening round of the Division 4 North playoffs last night, falling to Watertown 31-22 at home. The fourth-seeded Vikings will play the loser of today’s game between top-seeded Pentucket (5-1) and eighth-seeded Hamilton-Wenham (3-4).

“These kids should be proud,” Triton coach Pat Sheehan said. “They’ve done something no other Triton team has done in the program’s 35-year history. The played every game all the way to the end, and that’s what we’ll do the rest of the season. We have three games let, and we’re planning to win some of them.”

Triton didn’t play its best game last night on the big state of playoff football. Quarterback Bradley Whitman, who has been the area’s top passer all season, completed just 8 of 19 passes for 121 yards, and more importantly, he was picked off twice.

He did do some damage with his legs to the tune of nine carries for 117 yards and a touchdown. However, Whitman’s fumbled snap, which Watertown captain Eric Tirrell recovered in the backfield, at the start of the fourth quarter really turned the tide of the game.

At the time of that fumble, Triton trailed 21-15, but seemed to be able to move the ball relatively well. On Watertown’s first play on the next possession, quarterback Nick Giordano went up top to big receiver T.J. Hairston for a 30-yard touchdown. After the ensuing extra point, Watertown led 28-15 with less than 10 minutes remaining.

In addition to Whitman’s three turnovers, Triton tailback Justin Spillane, the area’s leading rusher, lost a fumble in the first half. Again, Watertown scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession.

“Those were a killer,” Sheehan said of the turnovers. “We haven’t had a lot of those all year. They hurt tonight. They came at real inopportune times.”

Watertown 31, Triton 22

at Triton Regional High

W 7 0 7 17 — 31

T 8 0 7 7 — 22

Scoring summary

First quarter

T — Justin Cashman 5 run (Mark Boyle catch from Bradley Whitman), 3:56.

W — Austin Farry 35 reception from Nick Giordano (Erik Antonellis kick), 0:06.

Third quarter

W — Mike Petrillo 3 run (Antonellis kick), 6:21.

T — Cashman 15 run (Dan Cuddy kick), 2:23.

Fourth quarter

W — Petrillo 2 run (Antonellis kick), 10:19.

W — T.J. Hairston 30 reception from Giordano (Antonellis kick), 9:45

T — Whitman 12 run (Cuddy kick), 5:46.

W — Antonellis 22 field goal, 3:26.

Individual statistics

Rushing: T — Whitman 9-117-1; Justin Spillane 19-79; Cashman 3-20-2. W — Petrillo 20-84-2; Farry 7-25; Eric Tirrell 6-20; Giordano 5-21.

Passing: T — Whitman 8-19-121-0-2. W — Giordano 11-18-226-2.

Receiving: T — Cashman 4-53; Spillane 2-59; Boyle 1-10; James Wood 1-(-1). Matt Donnell 5-107; T.J. Hairston 4-76-1; Farry 1-35-1; Joey Kelland 1-8.