MANCHESTER — The opportunity was certainly there.
The end result, however, was not.
Based on the overall 44-minute performance by both teams, the Gloucester football team outplayed Masconomet Saturday afternoon at Hyland Field, But the visiting Chieftains capitalized on three huge plays to score all of their touchdowns and leave with a 21-19 victory.
“Those big plays will kill you,” said Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli. “Ultimately, they did us in; that makes the loss that much worse.”
Playing one of its best games of the season, the Fishermen (1-4) came in with a game plan and stuck to it. They ground it out offensively by using running backs Jordan Pallazola (15 carries, 59 yards), Jon Good (9-26) and captain Mark Horgan (11-22) to hammer away at the Chieftains’ defense methodically.
At the same time, quarterback Santo Parisi picked his spots and found open receivers in Devin Hemeon and Horgan on both waggle and pop passes.
Defensively, Gloucester used its strength -- stopping the run -- against Masconomet’s stout running game and came out on top most of the time. They held the Chieftains to just 77 yards rushing and 120 yards of total offense while allowing only six first downs.
But oh, those big plays they allowed.
Big Play No. 1 came after Gloucester went three-and-out on the game’s opening series and punted the ball away. Masconomet captain Dylan Mann caught the ball on his own 26-yard line, saw a wall of blockers in white shirts similar to his along the left side of the field and raced 74 yards to paydirt.
Casey Tines’ extra point made it 7-0.
Gloucester never relented, however, scoring twice in the second quarter to take a 12-7 lead.
The Fishermen went on a monster 17-play, 82-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes, culminating when Parisi found Horgan over the middle for a 30-yard touchdown, making it 7-6. Horgan finished with three catches for 70 yards on the day.