By Phil Stacey
---- — BEVERLY — They needed just a little over 16 minutes to put up a modern day record of 61 points.
The light bulbs on the home side of the Hurd Stadium scoreboard might need to be changed after being used with extreme frequency Saturday afternoon. Beverly High tied a school mark by scoring nine touchdowns as senior captain Isaiah White had four of those to go along with 205 rushing yards in crushing Swampscott, 61-25.
The only other time in its 123-year football history that the Panthers (now 4-3) have scored more points in one game came in 1919, when they pinned a 65-0 loss on Lynn English. It was also far and away the most points the Orange-and-Black have ever hung on Swampscott; last year’s 40 points was their previous best against a Big Blue club.
“Everyone has bought into the fact that we can be really, really good,” said senior captain Zach Duguid, a guard and defensive end. “We came out today and pounded them ... and didn’t stop.”
The Panthers, who finished in a three-way tie atop the Northeastern Conference North standings, now head into the Division 3 North playoff quarterfinals on a three-game winning streak; they’ll face NEC North rival Gloucester Friday night on the road (7 p.m.) at Newell Stadium. The Fishermen defeated Beverly, 18-14, at Newell on Sept. 27.
“What I’m most proud of,” said Beverly head coach Dan Bauer, “is that even when we started slow and didn’t have immediate success, our guys didn’t give in. Instead, we started taking positive steps forward. With new guys in new roles it was going to take time for things to jell — and we have. I still feel like our best football is ahead of us.”
In what may have been its final home game of the season, Beverly’s 11 ballcarriers gained a combined 478 yards on 32 carries Saturday, an absurd average of 14.93 yards per carry. Throw in a 55-yard touchdown pass from Nick Manthorne to fellow senior Sam Mulumba, and that’s 533 yards of total offense for the hosts.
But there’s more. The Panthers saw White, sophomores Matt Madden and Peter Mulumba all hit paydirt on their first runs of the afternoon, coming on scampers of 52, 47, and 62 yards, respectively.
White also had 5 and 45-yard TD runs in addition to a 39-yard interception return for a score (his second pick-6 of the season); he now has 1,140 yards rushing and 14 total touchdowns in 2013. It was his second straight 4-touchdown performance, having accomplished the same feat a week earlier at Lynn English.
“Our offensive line really came to play today,” said White. “The holes were there; I just read my keys and ran through them.”
Sophomore Jordan Rawding added a pair of second half scores for Beverly, including a 78-yard kickoff return that put BHS over the 60-point mark. He, too, had an interception.
The home team had the ball for 16 minutes and 28 seconds out of a possible 44; their first eight touchdowns were achieved in less than nine-and-a-half minutes of ball possession. Beverly’s offensive scoring drives lasted, in order, 54 seconds, 98 seconds, 12 seconds, 35 seconds, 21 seconds, 61 seconds, 120 seconds and 16 seconds.
That, my friends, is efficiency.
“Beverly executed their stuff and we didn’t. It was a pretty poor performance all the way around,” said Swampscott (1-6) coach Steve Dembowski, whose team was eliminated from the Division 4 North playoff chase last weekend. “Their backs ran hard and we didn’t tacle well or read our keys well.”
The Panthers also sacked Swampscott quarterback Brendan McDonald five times, with captain Jack Morency, fellow senior Kasey DiPaolo, Duguid and White recording one each while captain Sean Winston and junior nose guard James Aaron (Beverly ran behind him at tight end all afternoon) shared another.
The lone bright spots for Swampscott were Desmond Wilhelmsen, who finished with 198 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 18 carries; junior Ryan Cresta, whose 75-yard kickoff return set up his team’s second TD late in the second quarter; and senior left tackle Toby Hale, who lined up split wide left as an eligible receiver on the following possession and caught a fullback lateral for a 6-yard touchdown catch.
“We run that play once a year and the time was right,” said Dembowski. “Toby is a good kid who’s made some good contributions to the program, and now he’ll always have that touchdown.”