Thanksgiving Previews: In Lynnfield, pride’s still on the line

Lynnfield quarterback Clayton Marengi has high-play potential, says Pioneers coach Pat Lamusta. (COURTESY PHOTO FROM KRISTINE MARENGI )

LYNNFIELD — There will nothing but Pioneer Pride on the line in this year’s Lynnfield Thanksgiving clash against visiting North Reading

(10). Pride, and the desire to finish what’s been an up-and-down season on a high note with the Pioneers’ fourth win of the season.

Coach Pat Lamusta knows what the rivalry is all about, which dates back to 1959, having played in four straight Turkey Day games from 2004-2007.

“We struggled and lost all of them,” said Lamusta, a 2008 LHS grad. “The rivalry runs deep, but fortunately I have been part of two Thanksgiving Day victories as an assistant coach (2014, 2015). Regardless, it means more to me that we win this game for the players because they have put in a ton of work this year and it would be a very positive way to end the season and reset the Thanksgiving rivalry on our terms.”

While the Pioneers (3-7) hold a 35-25 rivalry edge, the Hornets (5-5) have won the last two games. They have one of the top offenses in the league, averaging 26 points a game with a potent running attack. Both teams have rock-solid defenses, each allowing about 18 points per game.

But Lynnfield may be peaking at the right time, after putting up a combined 52 points in its last two wins (both wins against Wakefield and Salem) heading into the Thanksgiving game.

Lamusta said the key to the offense will be getting the running game going with Jaret Simpson, Leo Quinn and D.J. Capachietti getting the lion’s’ share of the handoffs.

“That’s the key and we need to get those guys running behind our improving offensive line,” Lamusta said. “Hunter Allain and Cole Moretti continue to do a great job leading the O-line.

“Clay Marengi, Jack Ford and John Lee are great football players and have big play potential.”

The Pioneers’ biggest challenge will be containing the Hornets’ running attack.

“It is going to take the whole defense executing to stop the North Reading run game,” said Lamusta. “They have been very effective in that phase all year, but we will continue to lean on our seniors on defense to bring the defensive intensity on Thanksgiving.”

Key defensive players include defensive back Matt Fiore, linebackers Quinn and Simpson, and two-way lineman Moretti.

“They will all be important factors on defense against the Hornets run game,” Lamusta said.

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