Freiermuth scores again
Penn State football had a disappointing afternoon in the VRBO Citrus Bowl on Tuesday, falling well behind early before ultimately losing 27-24 to the University of Kentucky. But as has been the case all season, one of the highlights for the Nittany Lions was true freshman tight end Pat Freiermuth. The former Pentucket and Brooks School star caught an 18-yard touchdown pass — his eighth of the season — with 9:00 to play in the fourth quarter, cutting Penn State’s deficit to 27-21 and giving the Lions a chance at a late comeback.
During the broadcast, the TV announcers also praised Freiermuth and speculated that he could become one of the top tight ends in the country next year. Freiermuth finished the day with two catches for 38 yards and wrapped up his first season of college football with 26 catches for 368 yards and eight touchdowns.
Former Pentucket basketball great Kelsi McNamara is enjoying a fantastic senior season with St. Joseph’s College in Maine, and on Saturday she turned in her best performance yet. The West Newbury resident scored a career-high 40 points to lead the Monks to a 74-70 win over Pomona-Pitzer in California, becoming just the second player in school history to top 40 points in a game. Overall McNamara is averaging 22.8 points per game and she has led the Monks to an 12-0 start and a No. 13 national rank to begin the season.
Local teams ranked
The Pentucket girls basketball team placed fifth at last week’s Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic, losing its opening game to Westford Academy before crushing Winnacunnet and Londonderry in the consolation rounds. The good news for Pentucket is that its first loss was treated more as a positive for its opponent than as a negative for the Sachems, as Pentucket came in at No. 9 in the Boston Globe’s Top 20 poll. Westford moved up to No. 7 from 13 last week, and fellow Cape Ann League rival Masconomet, who Pentucket will play on Friday, came in at No. 15.
Newburyport hockey also entered the Globe’s rankings, coming in at No. 18. The Clippers will have a big opportunity to move up when they host No. 5 St. Mary’s on Saturday at the Graf Rink. The Masconomet girls hockey co-op is ranked No. 15.
Clippers win again
The Newburyport boys basketball team picked up a 56-48 road win over Manchester Essex to improve to 6-1 on the year. Casey McLaren led the way with 23 points, Jacob Robertson added 14 points and Parker McLaren had 10, including a breakaway dunk. Elsewhere in the area, Pentucket beat Georgetown 63-44 and Triton beat Rockport 54-51 in overtime, getting 16 points each from Max McKenzie and Kyle Odoy. The Pentucket girls basketball team romped to victory over Georgetown on Wednesday, running away for a 66-13 victory. For full results and box scores for all of these games, visit us online.
Anybody with eyes could see that Stephon Gilmore was one of the top cornerbacks in football this season, and according to the experts at Pro Football Focus, the numbers bear that out. PFF announced this week that it had Gilmore graded as the NFL’s top cornerback this season with a 90.7 grade, ranking ahead of Los Angeles Chargers corner Desmond King II (90.4) and Denver’s Chris Harris Jr. (86.0). Fellow Patriots corner Jason McCourty also cracked the list, coming in at No. 6 with a grade of 83.1.
Coordinators getting interest
It seems like every year the Patriots’ top coordinators become favorites to land head coaching jobs elsewhere in the NFL, and this year has proven no exception. Brian Flores, the Patriots’ linebackers coach and defensive coordinator in all but title, has reportedly scheduled interviews with four different teams. Those teams are the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is also rumored to be a candidate for multiple jobs, including the Packers, despite his last-minute spurning of the Indianapolis Colts last offseason.