By Greg Phipps
Amid much external turmoil throughout the season, the Saugus Sachems enter this year’s annual Thanksgiving clash against Peabody with a chance to improve on last year’s performance.
The Sachems earned their fourth victory by dumping Pentucket Regional, 21-7, last Saturday at Stackpole Field. The win left Saugus with a 4-6 mark for the season. A triumph on Thanksgiving would give the Sachems a one-win improvement over 2017.
Against Pentucket, RB Marvens Jean continued his stellar play with a 60-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Jean also achieved a 1,000-yard rushing season by gaining 50 yards on the ground. Quarterback Mason Nickolas threw for 130 yards and a TD. Christian Correia caught a 14-yard scoring pass, and Dante McGrane ran one in from eight yards out to account for the Saugus scoring.
The Sachems, who finished 4-7 last year, have had to overcome what started out as a turbulent 2018 campaign when head coach Anthony Nalen was suspended before the season opener and eventually terminated from his position. Former middle school coach Mike Mabee has performed the head coaching duties this season.
The Sachems now move on to face Peabody in the 73rd Thanksgiving Day contest between the two foes next Thursday (10 a.m.) at Peabody High School’s Veterans Memorial Stadium. This is shaping up as one of the more intriguing matchups in several years. Both teams hold 4-6 records and qualified as a sixth seed in the Div. North state playoffs.
Saugus upset Weston in the Div. 5 North opening round and gave Amesbury a formidable second-round battle before succumbing, 20-0, when the Indians scored 20 fourth-quarter points to escape victorious. Meanwhile, Peabody lost in the Div. 2 North first round to Reading.
Saugus has lost the last four Turkey Day games and trails the series, 44-28. The Sachems last won in 2013 when they defeated Peabody, 25-14, at Stackpole Field. Peabody was a 33-7 winner in last year’s game.