Season finale this Friday in North Reading

Published April 21, 2021


BYFIELD — Trap games can be tricky.

When playing a lesser deemed opponent the week before one of the biggest games on your schedule, it can be a recipe for disaster. Last Saturday afternoon, a week before battling arch rival North Reading, the 4-1 Pioneers found themselves in this predicament on the road against 0-4 Triton.

“I have to give it to coach Ryan McCarthy, they’ve been in every game this year,” commented Lynnfield head coach Pat Lamusta on the Vikings season. “His players are battle-tested, and their quarterback Kyle Odoy is easily one of the best athletes in the league.”

On the very first drive of the game, coach Lamusta’s point was made abundantly clear.

THE LYNNFIELD offensive line gets ready to rumble against Triton. Pictured is Mekhi Peters (55), Dom Ferrante (50), Nik Marotta (66), Evan Balian (76) and Ethan Downey (78). (Kristine Marengi Photo) 

Facing 3rd and 11 from their own 35 yard line, Odoy picked up a Triton first down scrambling for a 17 yard gain. On another 3rd down play, Odoy kept the drive alive again connecting with Kyle Scibetta for a gain of 12. When the Vikings faced 3rd down once more, Odoy stepped up in the pocket and hit junior receiver Jared Leonard in stride for a 30 yard touchdown. An Eliot Lent extra point then gave Triton an early 7-0 lead.

Only a mere five weeks stood between the last time these teams squared off. In the season opening matchup, Pioneer senior quarterback Austin Sutera broke two individual game records (points scored and touchdowns thrown) while finishing the game with a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Sutera (17-23, 153 yards, 2 touchdowns) continued to impress on Lynnfield’s first drive, but not through the air.

Following back-to-back scrambles of 13 and 15 yards, the senior quarterback lead the Pioneers into the Triton red zone. On 3rd and 3, Sutera looked to a familiar target hitting senior captain Jack Ford (4 catches, 46 yards, 1 touchdown) on a screen pass which turned into a gain of 7 yards. On 1st and goal from the 6 yard line, senior captain DJ Capachietti (13 carries, 49 yards, 2 touchdowns) took a direct snap and followed his blockers all the way to the end zone. A missed extra point would make it a 7-6 game.

The remainder of the first half was a battle of the defenses, but the Vikings were able to finish strong. With 5:26 left in the 2nd quarter, Triton began from their own 24 yard line. Following a 16 yard pass from Odoy to Leonard, the Vikings attacked Lynnfield with their ground game. After taking almost four minutes off the clock, Triton capped the drive off with an Odoy quarterback sneak giving the Vikings a 14-6 lead at the half.

After stopping the Pioneers on a 4th and 2 attempt, Triton had momentum on their side and a chance to close out Lynnfield. Continuing to run the ball, the Vikings meticulously moved 76 yards down the field in nearly eight minutes. With just over eight minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, Triton had the ball at Lynnfield’s 5 yard line. Despite bending, the Pioneers defense would not break.

On three straight plays, Lynnfield’s defense shut down Triton’s rushing attack. On 4th and goal, the Vikings trotted out their kicker to make it a two possession game. With the way Triton was able to run the ball, a successful field goal try would likely end any chance of a Pioneer comeback. When the ball was snapped, Lynnfield sent an all-out field goal block. Senior captain DJ Capachietti was the first Pioneer on the scene and was able to successfully reject the potential game winning kick.

“We sent everyone,” commented coach Lamusta on the huge field goal block. “The theme this year has been senior leadership and this game you saw it.”

Despite the new life, Lynnfield’s offense would be unable to turn it into points. With 3:35 left in the 4th quarter, the Pioneers defense once again needed another stand. Following two consecutive penalties, Triton found themselves in a 2nd and 30 from their own 20 yard line. The defense would complete the task and give the Pioneer offense one more chance to complete the comeback.

THE PIONEERS will bring a 5-1 record into North Reading for their season finale against the rival Hornets (3-2) on Friday. (Kristine Marengi Photo)

When Lynnfield got the ball back only 1:54 remained in regulation. A short punt set the Pioneers up at the Triton 37 yard line. On 2nd and 10, Sutera rolled left and found Jack Ford in the open field who turned it up field for a gain of 17 yards. After a quick pass to senior receiver Blake Peters (5 catches, 29 yards), Lynnfield would be inside the Vikings 10 yard line with a chance to tie it. With 25 seconds left in the game, the Pioneers turned to their workhorse back as Capachietti pounded the ball into the endzone from two yards out. On the critical two-point conversion, Sutera hit Ford on a quick slant to make it 14-14.

On the first drive of overtime, Lynnfield got off on the wrong foot with a holding call which drove them back to the Triton 20 yard line. That would be of no issue on the next snap when Sutera threw a high arching 20 yard touchdown pass to Ford in the corner of the endzone. On the two-point try Sutera found Peters on a quick slant to give Lynnfield a 22-14 lead.

The Pioneer defense had a chance to end the game on 4th and goal from the Lynnfield 6 yard line, but Odoy kept the Vikings in it. The senior quarterback fit the ball in a tight window to Justin Leonard in the end zone for the 6 yard score. On the two-point attempt, Odoy looked Leonard’s way again and kept the game tied 22-22.

Having finally found their offensive groove, the Pioneers were quickly celebrating in the end zone again when Sutera found senior captain Bakari Mitchell (5 catches, 48 yards, 1 touchdown) over the middle for a 3 yard touchdown. Blake Peters would be the recipient again on the two-point conversion to give Lynnfield a 30-22 lead.

On 3rd and goal, the Vikings were 5 yards away from potentially delivering the game’s third overtime. The Pioneer defense had other intentions though when Steven Dreher and Spencer Riley came barreling through the line of scrimmage for a 10 yard sack. Triton still had one more chance on 4th down, but Odoy’s throw to the end zone would be knocked away by Mitchell.

“I told everyone ‘you guys like making it a little bit harder than it needs to be,’” said coach Lamusta after the double overtime victory. “It was a fun game because they were a very good team to compete against. They had us on our heels most of the game, and we just kept fighting.”

While Lynnfield was able to avoid the textbook trap in the season’s penultimate game, now only one contest remains.

To cap off the unconventional Fall 2 season, the Pioneers have a date next Friday night, 4:30 p.m. with Thanksgiving rival North Reading at NRHS. Having not taken down the Hornets since 2015, no player on the current roster has ever experienced the feeling of beating North Reading. There may not be a Cape Ann League title for Lynnfield this season, but perhaps that pales in comparison to the feeling of leaving Arthur J. Kenney Field next week with a victory.

“We got a week left now,” stated coach Lamusta. “The message is, whatever you want your legacy to be, it has to be all out this next week.”