Team of the Decade: 2018 Ipswich Tigers Football Season Recap

Team of the Decade: 2018 Ipswich Tigers Football Season Recap

Erik Anderson, Max Kievakas


The 2018 season was a very successful year for the Tigers of Ipswich: An 8-3 record, a playoff appearance, and a split of the Cape Ann League Baker Division title. The team has not experienced this much success since 2006 which ended in a Super Bowl victory. “We were very successful this season because we had guys who bought in the system and really worked hard,” said Coach Kevin Fessette on the season. When asked how the team may improve next year, Ben Yanakakis, the team’s quarterback, suggested more dedication from the upperclassman to model for the younger players.

Going into this season, there wasn’t very high expectations for Ipswich due to losing seventeen seniors and returning only four. The Tigers went into the season with nineteen new starters but this wasn’t  the worst thing to Fessette. “Every year is different. With this year’s team we are very young which is okay. You still have those young and inexperienced mistakes on the field. These kids aren’t used to getting yelled at, but when you have solid leadership from the captains on down, everything can work out.”

In week one, the Tigers matched up against Essex Tech and won  a high scoring affair, 44-36. This started a streak of four wins to start the season with Newburyport, Triton and Manchester-Essex. The fifth game bucked that trend with a 20-14 loss to Amesbury. This game was evidence of an underlying theme for Ipswich. A starting player was suspended for substance abuse. This was one of nine suspensions for the team. “Substance abuse is on the rise around the whole country and is especially in this area. These kids need to learn that they are really hurting themselves and the team.” Fessette continues, “If all our players could have stayed healthy and out of trouble, we could have really gone far but now, that will always be a what if.”

After picking up wins against Lynnfield and Georgetown, the Tigers entered the playoffs with a 6-1 record and a matchup against Northeast Metro Tech. In another disastrous turn of events, three starters, including two captains, were suspended. The game ended in a 30-8 defeat for Ipswich in a rain soaked, mud bowl field. “This was the low point of the season. In my opinion, the better team did not win. We put guys in who weren’t ready and were put into a terrible situation with the weather on top of it. We had been putting in a game plan since January and I was really disappointed with those who made those decisions.” The disgruntled Fessette reminisced about the dark memory.

Following the playoff exit, the team split its consolation games against Austin Prep and Bishop Fenwick. The final foe to fight was the rival Hamilton-Wenham on Thanksgiving. Ipswich surprised all and steamrolled the Generals 36-0. “Thanksgiving was the highpoint of the season. Seeing all the alumni from my previous three years here come back and support their former teammates was great. That type of culture was not here when I first arrived.” Fessette now 3-1 on Thanksgiving. With a large amount of returning players, the 2019 Tigers should look to add on to a successful 2018 season.