Will host Watertown to open playoffs Friday night
Published in the October 28, 2015 edition
BY TOM CONDARDO
LYNNFIELD — So much for the preliminaries.
The Pioneers celebrated Senior Night in style, finishing their Cape Ann League Baker Division schedule with an emphatic 49-8 beating of Hamilton-Wenham Friday night at Pioneer Stadium.
Prior to the final home game of the regular season, 20 Pioneer seniors and their parents were honored. After the photographers and flowers were whisked away, the Pioneers proceeded to pound a depleted Generals team for their sixth win of the season, completing a perfect 5-0 CAL Baker Division record. It was Lynnfield’s 20 straight league win, a streak that stretches back to the beginning of the 2012 season.
With the victory, the Pioneers nailed down the third seed in the Division 4 North and will host sixth seed Watertown Friday night to kick off the playoffs.
The Pioneers expected a tougher battle from Hamilton-Wenham (2-3 Baker, 2-5 overall) but the Generals came in without the services of several key players including starting quarterback C.J. Cooper and top lineman captain James Craig.
H-W sophomore QB Hunter Wilichoski put up solid numbers, completing 14 of 30 passes for 186 yards and a TD in a tough assignment. Another sophomore, Cam Peach, was outstanding, hauling down seven passes for 135 yards and the lone General touchdown.
Pioneer head coach Neal Weidman, who was hoping for a better test heading into the playoffs, said the fact that the Generals did not have “a full team was not necessarily beneficial for us. But we were able to jump out quickly and got a lot of people involved early.”
Defense stifles H-W
The Pioneers’ defense stifled the Generals’ ground game, holding them to minus 11 yards rushing for the first three and a half quarters. Wilichoski hit Peach with a 45-yard strike for the lone Generals’ score midway in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the high-octane Pioneers’ offense was on full display from the start. They scored on five of their six first-half possessions and seven of their first nine overall. Captain Drew McCarthy again led the way, scooting for 116 yards and a pair of TDs on only eight carries. He averaged 14.5 yards per touch.
Max Robert put the Pioneers in position early, picking off Wilichoski on the first play of the game. A 29-yard run by McCarthy followed by a 19-yard scamper into the end zone put the Pioneers on the board quickly.
Bronshvayg boots another record
Dan Bronshvayg booted the extra point and the Pioneers led 7-0. Bronshvayg drilled seven PATs on the night, tying a single game record set by Scott Milne in 1985.
A 59-yard pass from Jake McHugh (6/11, 116 yards, 2 TDs) to captain CJ Finn put Lynnfield up 14-0 midway in the second quarter. A nine-yard run by McCarthy, a 63-yard scamper by Nick Kinnon, and a 10-yard pass from McHugh to Louis Ellis gave the Pioneers a 35-0 halftime lead.
Alex Soden blasted in from the 1 in the third and Cameron Lilley scored from six yards out on the second play of the fourth quarter to round out the Lynnfield scoring. The Pioneers piled up 469 yards of offense, 357 on the ground.
The game was a fitting ending for the graduating seniors who were recognized before the game. This group has been part of four championship seasons, a Super Bowl trip and a division title. Their record over the past four years is 35-7.
“This is a really good group of seniors and we’ll be sad to see them go,” said Weidman. “We’re going to miss them. They’re a really, really good group of kids.”
The Pioneers still have some meaningful games to play and the first one begins with Watertown on Friday (see separate story).