By Matt Williams Staff writer
The Salem News
---- — LYNNFIELD —The Danvers High football team lost its third straight game, 21-0, Saturday at Lynnfield in a contest that was all about opportunity.
The host Pioneers scored three touchdowns off three Danvers turnovers in the second quarter. The Falcons (2-3) forced three turnovers of their own, but didn’t come away with any points.
The was the difference as Lynnfield improved to 2-2 coming off a bye-week.
“We came out flat,” said Danvers head coach Sean Rogers. “We didn’t have enough motor, and that’s on me.”
The game turned in the second quarter when Lynnfield’s Alex Pascucci intercepted Danvers’ Nick Andreas to give the Pioneers possession 15 yards away from the end zone. Kyle McGah ran for a 1-yard score; then on Danvers’ first snap of the ensuing possession, Lynnfield’s Tyler Palumbo came down with a tipped interception of a Ryan Chasse pass as the Pioneers set up shop with another short field. Alex Buchanan plunged in from a 1-yard out as the hosts pulled ahead, 14-0.
Danvers then recovered a muffed punt to give itself some life at the Lynnfield 32-yard line. The Falcons drove into the red zone, only to see Lynnfield come down with another interception, this one at the 6-yard line by Cam Rondeau.
“We can’t give it right back to them like that,” Rogers said.
McGah (game-high 156 yards rushing) ripped off a 93-yard run on the next snap, and sophomore QB Dan Sullivan scored from a yard away. What Danvers hoped was a drive that could cut their deficit to one score had suddenly turned into a 21-0 hole.
Danvers stopped Lynnfield inside the Falcons’ 20-yard line on a lengthy drive that began the second half. Including Jake Cawlina’s first-half interception, the Falcons actually stuffed the Pioneers on two red zone chances.
“That’s showing what a good defense can be, with all 11 kids playing the way they need to and with the motor you need,” Rogers said. “I have to wake them up and get them playing that way all the time.”
The Falcons had just 35 net yards at halftime, but tripled that output in the second half. Late in the third quarter, captain Alex Grant gashed Lynnfield for 20 yards, and a 21-yard pickup from Alex Valles set the visitors up with 1st-and-goal. The Falcons turned it over on downs, however.
“We took a lot of time off the clock,” said Lynnfield head coach Neil Weidman. “We limited (Danvers’) possessions in the second half, and that was big being up by three scores.”
Lynnfield’s other two possessions after halftime were both three-and-outs as the Falcons outgained the hosts, 113-77, after the break. Danvers couldn’t turn that yardage into points, though, with Lynnfield’s Giulio Pellegrini coming down with his team’s fourth interception of the day with 4:46 to play.
Chasse (1-of-6, 18 yards, 3 INTs) and Andreas (3-of-9, 21 yards, INT) didn’t have a lot of time against a tough Lynnfield pass rush. Valles led Danvers with 42 yards rushing, and sophomore Jon Thomas picked up 36 on six carries. Anthony Garron was the visitors’ leading receiver with three grabs for 26 yards.