By Greg Phipps
The result appeared to be a foregone conclusion at halftime, as the Saugus Sachems trailed by 21 points last Saturday afternoon against the Lynn English Bulldogs at Manning Field in Lynn.
The second half would bring forth a far different scenario; however, as Saugus picked up its offensive game by outscoring the hosts, 21-7, and giving the Bulldogs all they could handle before falling short, 42-35. Trailing 35-14 at the break, the Sachems came out and marched 63 yards, capped by James Moise’s 20-yard TD jaunt. Saugus then elected to attempt an onside kick and ended up recovering it. From there, Marvens Jean eventually scampered 21 yards for another score, and suddenly the Sachems were back in the game, 35-28.
The trouble spot was the inability of the Saugus defense to stop English’s high-powered and speed-laden offensive attack, which rolled up nearly 600 yards total, although it did appear as if the Sachems would hold on after closing the gap to seven in the third quarter when they had the Bulldogs facing a third down.
The hosts then made what became the game-winning play on a sideline screen pass that turned into a 94-yard touchdown and a 42-28 Bulldog advantage. Jean would score once again, on a three-yard run for Saugus, to bring the deficit back to seven. But that would be it, as English was able to run out the clock on its final possession.
“I’m just happy with the fight the team showed,” said Saugus interim head coach Mike Mabee after the game. “We got down by a lot but we kept battling back the whole game. It just boils down to the fact that our kids are willing to fight and not get down on themselves.”
On the ground, Jean and Moise combined for 180 yards and four touchdowns. QB Mason Nickolas capped off a 71-yard drive late in the first half by racing 23 yards for a touchdown that made it a 28-14 contest.
Moise had perhaps the highlight play of the day for Saugus when he fought off several tackles on an up-the-middle run and broke free for a 59-yard score. It was the Sachems’ first TD of the day. That play briefly brought the visitors within a 14-7 count.
Kicker Javier Martinez-Moretta was perfect on the day, hitting on all five of his PAT attempts. The Sachems fell to 1-3 and have a tough challenge this Friday, as they travel to take on undefeated Gloucester (scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff).
Mabee was pleased with his team’s effort and performance, especially in the final two quarters against English: “The team stuck together and executed. We played better in the second half today. We have to focus on playing four full quarters.”