BYFIELD — With everything the team has been through this season — and with how well Triton was running the ball Thursday morning — Pentucket co-coaches Steve Hayden and Dan Leary made a massive decision.
With 20 seconds left, quarterback Chase Dwight took the snap out of the shotgun, rolled to his left and hit Adam Payne for a 6-yard touchdown to pull Pentucket to within 14-13. The Green and White have an excellent kicker in Henry Hartford, but decided to leave the offense on the field to go for two and the win.
A bold, bold call for sure.
But Dwight, like he has been all season, was cool under pressure. The senior rolled out to his right this time, and found Payne again in the back of the end zone to lift Pentucket to an epic 15-14 Thanksgiving Day win over rival Triton as the clock hit noon Thursday afternoon.
“The guys did a great job,” said Leary. “The line protected well for Chase, and he threw a great ball to Adam. With how well (Triton) was running the ball, we didn’t want to go into overtime with the high school rules that we have where they’d get it at the 10.”
The game was a quick turnaround for a Pentucket team that just lost to Cape Ann League rival North Reading last Friday in the Division 5 semifinals.
“It was a really quick turnaround after an emotional game,” said Leary. “I give our team a lot of credit. They bounced back from a tough loss and when things didn’t look so good for us today in the fourth quarter.”
Pentucket (9-3) struck first in the second quarter when star receiver Che Condon hauled in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Dwight. The Green and White, who beat the same Triton team in the first round of the D5 playoffs a couple of weeks ago, took a 7-0 lead into halftime.
But the Vikings (4-6) fought back.
Josh Rodriguez ran in a 10-yard TD that was set up by a huge gain by Dylan Watson, and after a fumble junior QB Max Ciaramitaro added a 2-yard QB keeper for a score that made it 14-7 heading into the final quarter.
“It was a great battle back and forth,” said Triton coach Eric Burgos. “I’m proud of our kids for their effort this time around. and hats off to our senior class for changing this program for the better.
“We’ll only go up from here.”
The Vikings had the ball around midfield with a chance to extend their lead, but Pentucket forced a punt and took over midway through the fourth pinned at its own 5. But led by Dwight, the Green and White put together an impressive, 95-yard drive that chewed up the remainder of the clock and was capped by the final-second heroics.
“The way that Chase plays the game as a quarterback, he throws the ball, he runs the ball and he plays middle linebacker for us on defense,” said Leary. “He had a phenomenal year for us.”
Pentucket 15, Triton 14
Pentucket (9-3): 0 7 0 8 — 15
Triton (4-6): 0 0 14 0 — 14
P — Che Condon 60 pass from Chase Dwight (Henry Hartford kick)
T — Josh Rodriguez 10 run (Eliot Lent)
T — Max Ciaramitaro 2 run (Lent kick)
P — Adam Payne 6 pass from Dwight (Payne from Dwight), :20