THE PIONEERS were pumped to run onto their home field for the first time in 2023 on Friday night. Lynnfield cruised to 3-0 with a 42-13 win over Essex Tech. (Jen Doyle Photo)
Update post publication:
Lynnfield moves to 4-0 defeating Pentucket 38-7 (Sept. 29)
By JAMES CRANNEY
LYNNFIELD – As the sun set last Friday night, it marked the official end of the summer season but also reflected a new beginning. For the first time in the 65 years of Lynnfield football, the 2-0 Pioneers matched up against the newest members of the Cape Ann League welcoming 0-2 Essex Tech for Lynnfield’s home opener of the 2023 season.
“We have played them a little bit at 7-on-7 competitions over the past couple summers, so we got to know them a little bit,” stated Lynnfield head coach Pat Lamusta regarding playing the Hawks for the first official matchup. “I’ll tell you what, they got a quarterback and running back who just pound the ball, so we knew we really had to play well up front.”
Lynnfield did just that as they cruised to a 3-0 record with a 42-13 win.
For the third straight week, the Pioneers scored on their first possession as Arthur Chiaradonna’s (2 carries, 25 yards, 1 touchdown) 4-yard run gave Lynnfield an early 7-0 lead. When Essex Tech got the ball back though, the Hawks showed in addition to pounding the ball, they could also move it through the air.
On a 1st and 10 from Essex Tech’s 32-yard line, sophomore quarterback Jacoby Casinelli-Tarasuik rolled to his right before heaving a 41-yard bomb landing in the arms of senior captain Brodie Callahan. Following a 4th down conversion where Casinelli-Tarasuik connected with senior receiver John Taylor, the Hawks were inside the redzone. Casinelli-Tarasuik capped the drive off with a 5-yard touchdown pass on the run to sophomore receiver Makaio Bey tying the game 7-7.
When the Pioneer offense came back on the field, they picked up right where they left off.
Lynnfield junior quarterback Tyler Adamo (11-13, 147 yards, 4 touchdowns) marched the troops downfield with huge pass plays to junior receiver Jesse Dorman (3 catches, 48 yards, 2 touchdowns) and senior running back Niccolo Antidormi (12 carries, 79 yards rushing, 3 catches, 48 yards receiving, 2 receiving touchdowns). On the edge of the Hawks 10-yard line, Adamo made it a 14-7 game connecting again with Dorman for an 11-yard touchdown.
As he had done on the previous possession, Casinelli-Tarasuik moved Essex Tech down the field and into Pioneer territory. On three consecutive third down situations, the sophomore quarterback moved the chains twice with a pass and once via a 5-yard scramble.
With a little under 4 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter, it looked as if the Hawks would tie the game again. That was until senior captain Quinn Hardisty came barreling up the middle. Right as Casinelli-Tarasuik released the ball, Hardisty crashed into the quarterback causing the pigskin to hang in the air before junior defensive back Spencer D’Augusta picked it off.
“Spencer’s been unbelievable, he’s just a ballhawk,” commented coach Lamusta on the interception. “He’s been tremendous back there, in terms of a turning point interception he’s had one each game.”
It certainly stood as the turning point in the contest, as Lynnfield did not look back.
The Pioneer offense snuck in one final touchdown before the half with a balanced attack of Adamo passes and Antidormi runs. After advancing the ball to Essex Tech’s 5-yard line, Adamo dumped it off right to Antidormi who plowed his way into the endzone for his 3rd touchdown of the season.
Lynnfield took their 21-7 lead into the second half picking up right where they left off. Running six plays in three minutes, the Pioneers capped their series off with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the endzone to Ethan Francis (4 catches, 49 yards, 1 touchdown). A Massimo Lograsso (6/6 PAT’s) extra point now gave Lynnfield a commanding 28-7 lead early in the 3rd quarter.
As has been the story of the year, the Pioneer defense continued suffocating their opponent in the second half forcing continuous three-and-outs.
“It’s all new guys, whether they’re new seniors or new juniors they’re mustering up to the task,” claimed coach Lamusta on his team’s defense which only returns one starter from last season. “We got guys like Quinn Hardisty, Anthony Morales, Alex Baldini, Joey Cucciniello…then Cole Hawes, a senior, he didn’t play a whole lot last year but he’s stepped up at inside backer.”
Lynnfield’s offense was not too shabby either, as they continued lighting the scoreboard up with a touchdown on every second half possession. With the Pioneers bench emptied, the Hawks would get a last-minute touchdown, but inevitably fell in their first ever meeting with Lynnfield 42-13.
Next week, Lynnfield will be back home for another Cape Ann League matchup. This time, it will be a familiar foe, as 2-1 Pentucket comes to town. With a good week of practice and the hopeful return of injured Jared Bernabei and Madux Iovinelli, coach Lamusta hopes to celebrate another big victory.
The Pioneers have passed every test they have faced thus far, but the head coach knows his team cannot get ahead of themselves.
“You just have to keep trying to find a way to win. You’re never safe in the Cape Ann League.”