LOWELL — When Lynnfield and Amesbury met Sept. 14, the Pioneers fell behind, 21-0, before rallying for a 31-27 victory.
In Tuesday night’s sequel in the Division 3A semifinal, a comeback was not necessary.
Boosted by Kyle McGah’s 165 yards rushing and four touchdowns, Lynnfield (9-2) dominated Amesbury, 35-14, at Cawley Memorial Stadium.
The Pioneers, champions of the CAL/NEC (Division 4), will play Saturday night at Gillette Stadium for the Division 3A championship.
“The kids really played well,” said Lynnfield coach Neil Weidman. “It was one of the best all-around games we played. It might have been the best game we played all year, against a real solid opponent, too.”
The teams traded punts on the first three series before Lynnfield broke the draw. The Pioneers drove 51 yards on eight plays, finished with a 5-yard TD run by McGah to make it 7-0.
Lynnfield’s defense, which forced four turnovers, got the ball back three snaps later when Amesbury’s Matt Talbot was intercepted by Matthew Kramich off a deflection. McGah made it 14-0 when he bounced off two defenders, tiptoed down the sideline, and dived into the end zone on the 17-yard play.
“We knew going into the week our goal would have to be trying to keep their offense off the field,” Weidman said. “I think we did that pretty well. Obviously, defensively in three-and-outs, but offensively we were able to hold the ball at times.”
The Indians (9-3) cut the deficit to 14-7 with a 15-play, 70-yard drive that ate 6:09 off the clock. After a pass interference call placed the ball at the Lynnfield 2, Ben Cullen took a pitch and broke the plane from 2 yards for the score.
Lynnfield jumped to a 21-7 lead on the opening drive of the third quarter, driving 67 yards in eight plays and finished with a 3-yard plunge from McGah.
“We knew we had the ball coming out in the second half,” Weidman said. “To be able to come out at half and have a good drive there put a little distance between us. I think the kids were able to settle in and go forward from that point.”
Kramich came up with his second and third turnovers on the next two series, recovering a fumble after Talbot was sacked at the Indians’ 39 and grabbing another interception near midfield.
Lynnfield quarterback Mike Karavetsos danced through tacklers on a 5-yard run for a 28-7 lead with 9:23 to go.
The Pioneers got their third pick of the game when Anthony Costa snagged a Talbot pass on the next series, and McGah turned it into his fourth TD eight plays later from a yard away for a 35-7 lead.
“It’s tough to win when you turn the ball over,” Weidman said. “You only get so many possessions, plus with 10-minute quarters, the possessions are fewer and fewer.”
Talbot found Thomas Connors Jr. on a 3-yard pass with 1:10 remaining for the game’s final score.