SWAMPSCOTT — You might think there aren’t many high-pressure defensive plays in a football game decided by five touchdowns.
Beverly faced a number of those on Saturday, however, and the Panthers defense made just about all of them. The Black-and-Orange stopped host Swampscott inside the 25-yard line four times and forced two turnovers at Blocksidge Field, running their record to 9-0 with a 40-6 win.
The Panthers’ offense scored on every possession that wasn’t ended by halftime, running for 438 total yards and averaging 11.8 yards per carry. Luke McDonald (93 yards, TD), Isaiah White (81 yards, TD), Kenny Pierce (84 yards, TD) and Joey Kozlowski (83 yards, TD) did the bulk of the damage for Beverly, which can earn its third postseason berth by beating Marblehead in a highly anticipated game next Saturday at Hurd Stadium.
“I’m very proud of how our guys played,” said Beverly head coach Dan Bauer. “They played hard, and they didn’t get distracted by looking ahead, which is always a concern.”
As dominant as Beverly’s running game was, it was the plays made by the Panthers’ defense with their backs against their own goal line that enabled another one-sided win. The Big Blue held the ball for 23 of the game’s first 33 minutes, but came away with no points. Swampscott (4-5) turned it over on downs deep in Beverly territory three times and fumbled at the Beverly 7-yard line, as well. Each time the Big Blue turned it over, the Panthers scored to extend their lead. “It’s execution,” said Swampscott head coach Steve Dembowski.
“Beverly’s good, they’re well-coached with good athletes, but we have to play better. The way we played wasn’t good enough to hang with the big dogs.”
Pierce took a counter 45 yards to the house on Beverly’s first possession. Swampscott recovered a muffed punt but turned it over on downs and the Panthers answered with Brendan Flaherty’s 2-yard TD. Pierce then picked off Brian Santry, and Isiah White carried twice for 34 yards to extend the lead to 20-0.