Fourth and Goal

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Generals prepare for touchdown drive against Maldens defense. 10/5/19, taken by Matt Dearborn

Experience. That’s what the issue appeared to be for the Generals’ football team at the start of the 2019 season. With new and returning players on the field, the team’s chemistry still had a few bugs to work out.  34-7 and 41-15 losses were not the results the team was looking for. After losing the first two games of the year, things were looking down. 

Senior Captains Ian Coffey and Finn Brophy reflected on the losses, 

“We came out of the gates a little slow. It’s an inexperienced team,  “said Coffey.

Brophy added, “It was a tough start but we’ve played a lot of good teams.” 

However, Coffey is optimistic, “Everyone has bought in; it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together and getting the experience.”

The two were accurate in their assessment. Many players are either taking varsity snaps for the first time in their careers or haven’t played tackle football in years. The two teams they faced at the start of the season currently hold an astounding combined record of 9-0, outscoring opponents 309 to 110.  

However, more recently, things were looking up. After a spectacular comeback that almost resulted in a victory, the Generals fell 22-28 to undefeated Pentucket on September 28th. Falling behind 21-0 at the half, a blowout appeared imminent. The Generals had other ideas. A touchdown pass from Coffee to Colby Cala, then a run by Coffey, and finally another run from Cala brought the Generals within one touchdown winning. Unfortunately, the Generals could not complete the comeback, but this game demonstrated the mettle and grit of this year’s team. 

The Generals continued their forward momentum taking Malden by storm on the following Saturday, October 7th, resulting in a blowout 35-7 victory. All the pieces finally came together; a full four quarters and a strong defensive showing, to complete the puzzle. 

Led by quarterback Coffey’s 2 passing touchdowns and one rushing, on 240 all purpose yards, the Generals overpowered Malden’s defense. Up 14-7 at the half, the game appeared close, but the Generals pulled away with a dominant second half. Wide receivers Ryan Monahan and Tristan McCarthy and running back Colby Cala also scored touchdowns. Defensive highlights in the game included two picks by Junior Ryan Monahan, one by Senior Max Lech, and two forced fumbles that the Generals scooped up. Additionally, sophomore Zach Wales also made every extra point in the game, going a perfect five for five. Captain Brophy, Louis Preston, Costas Savingo, Ethan Moynihan, and Chance Augustine all agreed it was a statement game, and hopefully, one that will turn the season around. 

“Getting that first win of the season meant a lot. For the first few games we weren’t playing four quarters, and we knew that’s what we needed to win” commented Brophy. 

New additions and surprising players are helping, with Junior Ryan Monahan having a strong season and Senior Tristan Mccarthy returning to the program, adding depth at the receiver position. They have been contributing every game, both defensively and offensively. 

Captain Finn Brophy high fives a teammate during the Generals game against Malden. 10/5/19, Photo by Matt Dearborn

According to Brophy, one of the most electrifying additions has been Senior Chance Augustine, referred to affectionately as “Big Chance.” Brophy is confident saying, “We moved him to right tackle. He’s playing well on the line. Kid’s a hoss.” 

The closeness of the senior class and its strong leadership has been a primary strength of the team. Additionally, the team draws on its camaraderie spending time together both on and off the field. Nothing is more important to a team’s success than being unified and having strong leaders.

Coach Pugh expects great things from his seniors this year, especially his Captains, saying, “I’m looking for Ian, Finny, Ethan, and Colby to lead us.” 

Heartbreakingly, the Generals chance for the Playoffs came to an end on October 25th, when the Generals fell to Lynnfield 26-27. While they did not achieve their playoffs goal, the team was proud of its improvement throughout the year and how close they came against some good teams. Brophy believed that “You can’t see how far the team has come just by looking at the record besides, we always had a good time, w

hether we were winning or losing.”

While the team has three games remaining, their focus has shifted to the Annual Thanksgiving Day dame against Ipswich. The Tigers have taken the last two but the Generals are not going to let this one go, particularly because this is last game the seniors will play in a Hamilton-Wenham uniform. 

Brophy passionately declared,  “Thanksgiving Day game is the biggest game of the year. I have had my eyes sets on that one. Any player returning knows we take those losses personally and will do anything to win that game.”