By John Ferguson
---- — WEST NEWBURY — Pentucket, which suffered several frustrating losses along the way, ended its season in style yesterday.
Cody Rothwell scored three touchdowns and racked up 251 yards in his final game for Pentucket (6-5), while backfield mate Connor McGuirk added two more rushing TDs as the Sachems defeated Triton 41-12 on Thanksgiving Day.
Pentucket has now won eight of the last 10 Thanksgiving matchups between the teams and leads the all-time series, which began in 1975, 23-14-1.
“It was a good win, it’s always nice for the seniors,” said Pentucket coach Steve Hayden. “It was a nice way to end the year.”
The game began inauspiciously for Rothwell, who fumbled away the football on the first play of the game. He made up for it on the next drive, however, breaking a 60-yard run for the first of his three touchdowns.
Pentucket quarterback Ryan Kutcher would push the score to 12-0 with a 3-yard dive into the end zone midway through the second quarter.
With 1:26 left in the first half, Triton’s Luke Boyle intercepted Kutcher and returned the ball 76 yards for the touchdown, making the score 12-6.
“We got beat up but we never gave up and that’s important going forward,” said Triton head coach Patrick Sheehan. “I thought defensively we played one of our best halves of football all season long. We just stopped doing the things that made us successful in the first place.”
Triton began the second half with the ball, but a false-start penalty (one of four) forced a punt instead of a chance at fourth-and-short.
Rothwell then took his first carry of the half 40 yards for his second touchdown and what would ultimately prove the game-winner.
And while Rothwell was the source of highlight plays during the game (he had rushes of 60, 40, 34, 29, and 19), McGuirk also provided a steady stream of positive yards for the Sachems. McGuirk would score his first two touchdowns of the season in the third quarter as Pentucket began to pull away.
“It’s kind of emotional because it’s the last game, but it’s great to go out with a bang like this,” said McGuirk. “Running with Cody was awesome and the line was great today. They picked up all their assignments. It was awesome.”
Despite not forcing a turnover, the Sachem defense held strong in the second half, allowing only one Triton drive to extend beyond four plays. The Vikings’ only second-half score came with just over a minute remaining in the game. Triton quarterback Bradley Whitman found senior wide receiver Travis Kneeland for the score.
The Sachems rushed Whitman consistently throughout the game as McGuirk, seniors Franco Pizzarella and Michael McCarron and junior Chad Legault all recorded sacks during the game.
Pentucket 41, Triton 12
Triton (1-10): 0 6 0 6 — 12
Pentucket (6-5): 6 6 16 13 — 41
P — Cody Rothwell, 60 rush (run failed), 9:16
P — Ryan Kuchar, 3 rush (2-point failed), 6:39
T — Luke Boyle, 76 interception return (Kick failed), 1:26
P — Rothwell, 40 rush (Rothwell run) 8:19
P — Rothwell, 19 Rush (Rothwell run), 4:27
P — Connor McGuirk, 4 rush (kick blocked), 9:49
P — McGuirk, 4 rush (Nick Zaia kick), 6:38
T — Travis Kneeland, 17 pass from Bradley Whitman (kick failed), 1:21
RUSHING: Triton (22-86) — Justin Spillane 5-44, Bradley Whitman 11-22, Luke Boyle 6-20. Pentucket (43-349) — Cody Rothwell 17-251, Connor McGuirk 18-76, Chris Croteau 3-18, Ryan Kutcher 2-3, Jeff Porter 1-1, Andrew Noyes 1-4, JC West 1-6
PASSING: T — Bradley Whitman 8-19-1, 58; P — Ryan Kutcher 0-4-1, 0
RECEIVING: T — James Woods 1-3, Mark Boyle 1-2, Jack Germinara 3-21, Connor Barry 2-15, Travis Kneeland 1-17