EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

November 29, 2013

Sports in a Minute

Smashing Thanksgiving success

Anyone who believed that Thanksgiving football would be rendered meaningless due to the new MIAA playoff format was proven concretely wrong on Thursday, a holiday that delivered an outstanding slate of games. And two of the most notable statements were made by a pair of local teams.

Many wondered if a team headed for the Super Bowl would simply mail in Turkey Day to rest up for the championship game. Central Catholic say no way, as the Raiders played their starters and played an outstanding game, surging past Andover.

But what about a team that made a run in the state tournament only to be eliminated just short of the Super Bowl? Could they possibly rebound and prepare for a “meaningless” Thanksgiving game?

Pentucket said yes, as the Sachems placed the heartbreaking overtime loss in the North finals behind them and dominated Triton 27-6 on Thursday.

Add in big wins for Haverhill and Methuen, teams that were eliminated from the playoffs early, and Year 1 of the new system did nothing to dampen the Turkey Bowls.

48 carries?

North Reading is known to ride its running backs in its ancient single-wing offense, but C.J. McCarthy’s 48 carries on Thanksgiving is simply mind-blowing. His previous career-high was 31 carries in the Hornets’ October upset of CAL champ Pentucket, and he carried just 91 times in his career heading into this year.

By comparison, former North Reading mega-workhorse Carl Lipani, the man McCarthy replaced, carried a career-high 40 times against Amesbury a season ago and twice hit 38 rushes. But that’s far from 48.

One back that can feel McCarthy’s pain (literally) from that workload is Greater Lawrence’s Joey Pizzuto. In 2009 he rushed 47 times in a loss to Lynn Tech and 46 times in a win over North Shore. In a quick look back in recent area history, other backs to pass 40 carries in a game include Londonderry’s Alex Theodhosi with 43 rushes in one game in 2007 and Timberlane legend Kyle Harrington’s 43 tries in 2001.

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