LYNNFIELD’s DEFENSE, including the pictured Devin DeLuties (34) and Sam Gazit (8) were swarming all night in a 37-0 season-opening victory over Saugus on Friday night. The Pioneers travel to D3 Super Bowl champion Marblehead this week. (Kristine Marengi Photo)



SAUGUS – In high school football, season openers are synonymous with sloppiness.

With 10 months standing between now and the last time you competed against another opponent, showing signs of rust is completely understandable.

However, last Friday night when the Pioneers traveled to Saugus for the first game of 2022, Lynnfield would come out of the gates galloping, all the way to a convincing 37-0 season-opening shutout.

A booming kickoff from senior Kevin Connolly (2 PAT’s and a 40-yard field goal)

forced the Sachems offense to begin from their own 5-yard line. Heavy pursuit from a ferocious Pioneers defense quickly sent the home team’s offense back to the sideline. Standing on the edge of his own endzone, Saugus punter Tommy DeSimone just barely got off a low lining knuckle ball towards senior return man Robert Marley (2 carries, 17 yards). Running full steam ahead, the senior captain snatched the ball from the turf and quickly made a Sachem tackler miss. After another shake and bake move, Marley darted up the right sideline for a 39-yard score.

Barely two minutes were shaved from the game clock and Lynnfield already found themselves with a 7-0 lead.

“That was huge,” claimed Pioneers head coach Pat Lamusta on the quick score. “That goes a long way I think on a first drive. You get to play your game and the offense can play a little more calm, cool and collected.”

Following another Saugus three-and-out, Lynnfield’s offense would get their first play from scrimmage with a touchdown lead already in their back pocket.

While many speculated it would be a two-man quarterback competition between returning junior David Tracy and senior Nick Razzaboni, it was sophomore Tyler Adamo (7-11, 93 yards, 2 touchdowns) who got the nod to start under center.

Some may have scratched their heads at the decision to start the season on the road with the younger and inexperienced player, however, it would only take one play for the underclassman to validate his coach’s selection.

Standing near midfield atop the Saugus logo, Adamo dropped back on 1st down and delivered a strike. Without any hesitation, the new quarterback looked to his left and heaved a bomb down the sideline where junior Joey Cucciniello (2 catches, 59 yards, 1 touchdown) was there to haul in a 49-yard touchdown.


JOEY CUCCINIELLO (5) celebrates his 49-yard touchdown catch with Quinn Hardisty (62). (Kristine Marengi Photo)


“It was nice to see the development of Tyler Adamo in his first start,” commented coach Lamusta. “He battled hard all preseason – it was a pretty tense competition battle and he’s just done a great job in terms of decision making and using his speed and athleticism to move the chains and you saw that tonight.”

Leading 14-0, the Pioneers continued their dominance and showed no signs of complacency. For the fourth straight drive, Saugus failed to move the chains on offense following a 3rd down sack from senior captain Chase Goldberg. An 18-yard punt return from Marley set Lynnfield up with tremendous field position deep in Sachem territory.

Two plays later, Adamo hit senior captain Charlie Capachietti (1 catch, 5 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 two-point conversion) in the flat where he was met by a swarm of white jerseys. Like we saw so many times before from his older brother DJ, Charlie would not go down without a fight and muscled his way into the endzone.

Only 46 seconds remained in the 1st quarter and the Pioneers were in complete control up 20-0.

Things would not get any easier for the Sachems, as Lynnfield’s defense continually suffocated their opponent all night.

The Pioneer defense did not relinquish a first down until the 3rd quarter, the only pass Saugus completed the entire game resulted in a 1-yard loss, and on 14 out of 41 snaps, the Sachems either lost yardage or barely returned to the line of scrimmage.

“I loved how our guys were pursuing on defense,” coach Lamusta proudly stated. “I thought our team speed really showed today on defense as we were able to mix it up with some pressures and get some guys in some turnover situations.”

Twice the Lynnfield defense forced a turnover with a Robert Marley fumble recovery and Kevin Julian interception. Despite accumulating 69 yards rushing, the 58 yards lost from sacks gave Saugus only 10 total offensive yards the entire night.

In the end, the Pioneers left Serino Stadium the victors with a 37-0 season opening shutout. Clicking in all three phases of the game, Lynnfield has a lot to be excited for but the path will not get easier.

The Pioneers go on the road again next Friday night at 6:30 p.m. to battle defending Division 3 state champion Marblehead.

It will be the first time in history these teams meet so there will be some unfamiliarity on both sides. When it comes to winning though, the Magicians are all too familiar. Coming off a 25-6 win last week, Marblehead has now won 21 consecutive games.

For Lynnfield to end that streak, coach Lamusta knows his team needs to bring the same level of intensity, which starts on the practice field.

“We’re a team that’s really great at practicing,” says coach Lamusta. “Marblehead is excellent so the feeling right now is to enjoy this win, but next week, we have to practice even better.”