Knights suffer stunning loss in their final CAL game
Thursday, November, 24
By Steve Palladino
BOXFORD — Losing the first-place showdown against Lynn English 13 days ago was a bitter pill to swallow. Yesterday’s fourth quarter collapse may have hurt almost as much.
Looking to end its 41 years in the Cape Ann League on a high note, Merrimack Valley Conference-bound North Andover blew a 12-0 fourth-quarter lead and lost to Masconomet, 13-12, on a Mike Tivinis 6-yard run with 18 seconds remaining.
Leading 12-6 with 1:57 to play, North Andover gambled on fourth-and-three from the Masconomet 42 but John Iannone was stopped inches short.
“I thought I had it,” said Iannone, who left it all out on the field with 30 carries for 143 yards and a score.
The Chieftains (7-4) needed just seven plays to cash in. Eric Anastasio split the uprights for the game-winner.
It was the only successful extra point of the game. North Andover missed on a kick attempt and two-point pass play. Masconomet missed a kick on its first score.
“There is a lot of disappointment, tremendous disappointment,” said North Andover head coach John Rafferty. “When you lose your last two games of the year, regardless of what you did before (during the season) it is very disappointing.”
North Andover built a two-touchdown lead on scoring runs from Nick Oswald (25-yard run in the first quarter) and an Iannone 6-yard run in the third.
“John had a great career and a great senior season. I am proud of him,” said Rafferty. “He always runs hard and always run tough.”
Coming into the fourth quarter, the Knights, led by senior linebacker Bobby Trickett, were pitching an impressive shutout.
Just before halftime, Masconomet coughed up the ball at the 2 and senior Greg Ryan pounced on it. On the half’s final play, a 38-yard pass was stopped at the North Andover 2.
Masconomet’s first drive of the third quarter was stopped at the Knights 4 when defensive back Tommy Moody made a touchdown-saving tackle on fourth down.
From there, Brandon Walsh engineered a 96-yard, 11-play drive that culminated with Iannone’s touchdown.
Masconomet responded with a 14-play, 70-yard drive, which saw the Chieftains succeed on all three third-down conversions.
“They made the plays and we didn’t,” said Rafferty. “They threw the ball and we didn’t defend.”
NA — Nick Oswald 25 run (kick failed), 1:00
NA — John Iannone 6 run (pass failed), 3:57
M — Mike Tivinis 3 run (kick failed), 7:34
M — Tivinis 6 run (Eric Anastasio kick), 0:18
RUSHING: North Andover (36-174) — John Iannone 30-143, Nick Oswald 3-34, Dan Laorenza 1-3, Brandon Walsh 1-0, Casey Walsh 1-(-6); Masconomet (30-158) — Mike Tivinis 18-116, Dylan Mann 10-38, Kurt Hunziker 1-3, Chris Schleer 1-1
PASSING: North Andover — B. Walsh 9-18-0, 110; Masconomet (15-26-0, 161) — Ben Panunzio 15-25-0, 161; Tim Towler 0-1-0, 0
RECEIVING: North Andover — Brandon Lash 3-54, Laorenza 3-26, Tommy Moody 2-21, Isaiah Nelsen 1-9; Masconomet — Towler 5-63, Nathan Silveira 4-51, Hunziker 4-44, Tivinis 2-3