WEST NEWBURY — Senior quarterback Ryan Kuchar threw for a pair of touchdowns and junior defensive back Luke Strangman batted down a potential game-tying touchdown with under 10 seconds remaining as Pentucket survived a scare from Triton and held on for a 19-13 win Saturday.
After a failed onside kick, Triton’s defense forced Pentucket to punt on fourth and 1 from the Vikings’ 48. The ball was downed at Triton’s 10 with 1:09 left and Pentucket up by 6.
With 35 seconds left and the ball at the Vikings’ 33, Justin Spillane took a pass from Bradley Whitman near the line of scrimmage and bolted down the right sideline to the Sachems’ 23. That was followed by a 12-yard hookup from Whitman to Justin Cashman, placing Triton at Pentucket’s 11 with 12.6 seconds remaining.
Whitman took a chance on a receiver in the back of the end zone, but Strangman was able to get a hand on the ball for an incomplete pass. Whitman then passed to running back Spillane on the near side, but he was tackled inbounds, allowing the clock to run out.
“We got tired, we made mistakes, and they took advantage of it,” said Pentucket coach Steve Hayden. “We knew they were a good team. They fought hard, and for a high school game, you can’t get much closer than that.”
While the Sachems (2-0, 1-0 Cape Ann) fought to keep the lead, they took little time establishing one early. On the fourth play, junior running back Jeff Porter burned through a hole on the right side for a 37-yard score just 1:40 into the game.
Triton (2-1, 0-1) got on the board with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. After the Vikings recovered a fumble at the Pentucket 30, Spillane pushed through for a 1-yard touchdown run. The PAT failed and the Sachems still led, 7-6.
Pentucket would reestablish its 7-point lead on the ensuing drive. Kuchar only completed one pass in the first half, but the 4-yard strike found Andrew Noyes in the end zone, giving the Sachems a 13-6 lead when the game broke for halftime.
After Porter carried the offense in the first half with 79 yards on eight carries, it was Kuchar who started hot in the third. A 26-yard pass to Noyes set up a 5-yard laser through traffic that found Liam Corkery for 6 points. Kuchar’s bid at a 2-point conversion fell short, keeping the Sachem lead at 19-6 with 4:34 left in the third.
But the momentum changed in the fourth quarter when Spillane took control. Carrying five times for 55 of his 115 yards, the senior finished the drive with a 3-yard trot that cut the deficit to 19-13.