By Dan Harrison
---- — IPSWICH — On the road in Ipswich last night, the Swampscott High football team found itself tied with an Ipswich midway through the second quarter.
But behind strong efforts in both the defensive pass rush and the offensive running game, the Big Blue were righted the ship with consecutive touchdowns before intermission. It was easy sailing from there as Swampscott downed the host Tigers 42-13 behind a four-touchdown night by Desmond Wilhelmsen.
“We gave up a big score and left points on the board before the half,” explained Swampscott (3-6) head coach Steve Dembowski. “The kids played hard and adjusted well. We got our run game and pass game going and we got off the field (defensively) on third downs.”
After Mike Faia broke a 51 yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter, Ipswich rallied to tie the game on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Blomster to Aleks Kuljic, who caught the ball on a hitch and made a Big Blue defender miss before putting on the boosters.
Swampscott responded three plays later when Wilhelmsen used a stiff-arm to help him go 53-yards for the touchdown run. He punched in a one-yard TD-run before the end of the half while adding a pair of touchdown catches (6-yards and 49-yards) over the final two quarters.
Overall, seven different guys caught passes from Big Blue signal caller Brendan McDonald, who was 9 for 11 in the second half with two touchdowns. He also added a 28-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper.
“We put a couple things in where we thought we could get him (Wilhelmsen) matched up on an outside linebacker but I thought all our skill guys contributed,” said Dembowski. “We’ve never had this many wide receivers catching passes and it makes it easy for the quarterback.”
The biggest defensive play for Swampscott came just after Wilhelmsen’s first score when Toby Hale had a strip sack with a vicious backside hit on Ipswich quarter back Kyle Blomster. Swampscott went on to make it 21-7 five plays later and never looked back.
“We knew we needed a pass rush and he (Hale) gave us that spark,” said Dembowski, who also pointed to stellar play from Nathan Raustad.
Ipswich meanwhile didn’t quit in the fourth quarter down 35-7 when Derek Chamberlain muscled his way in from six yards out. Chamberlain and Eddie Flaherty combined for 94 yards on 21 carries while Blomster went 10 of 15 through the air for 163 yards.
Kuljic finished with five catches for 114 yards as Nate Glaster saw double coverage most of the night.
“Aleks is a tough receiver who can take hits. The move he made (on the touchdown), I didn’t know he was that fast,” said Tigers head coach Greg Brotherton. “Derek was awesome leading through the hole and taking on number 35 (Jordan James) and Eddie ran tough as always. I was happy with the run game.”