SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

September 27, 2013

Moving the Chains: Marblehead, Swampscott meet early this year

(Continued)

Others that come to mind are Tyler Coppola’s 151-yard effort for the Prep in a 2010 Super Bowl loss to Everett. Peabody’s Frank Candela topped the century mark against Everett twice, rushing for 113 yards in 1995 (a 31-26 Tanners win) and 133 in 1996 (a 38-26 Everett win).

Everett doesn’t allow a 100-yard rusher very often, never mind anyone getting close to 200. Yet Thomas, who is committed to the University of Maryland, is arguably the best running back the state has seen in many years. He’s rushed for 200-plus yards in a game seven times and gone over 100 on a remarkable 19 occasions.

It’s clear that Thomas would rather run for 50 yards and win than rumble for 250 and lose. The significance of hitting either of those milestones against what’s become the marquee program in Mass. high school football, however, can’t be ignored.

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Tonight’s Peabody/Danvers contest appears to have major implications in the NEC South chase even though it’s the first game for both schools in league play. The key for the Tanners (1-1) will be the health of their middle linebackers, Cody Wlasuk and Billy Teehan, who both missed last week’s win over Somerville and are considered day-to-day.

Containing the Falcons’ Alex Valles, a tailback and team captain who torched Beverly for 233 yards and four TDs two weeks ago, would be difficult for a veteran defense. It may prove impossible for lesser experienced players, especially since the Falcons (1-1) will be rested coming off a bye week.

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Other nuggets heading into this weekend’s slate of games:

Visiting Beverly (1-2) is looking for its third consecutive win over Gloucester (2-1) tonight, something the Panthers haven’t accomplished since 1992-1994 ... Salem hasn’t beaten Lynn Classical since 2004, a dubious mark they’ll try stopping tonight at Manning Field ... Bishop Fenwick is also looking to take two-in-a-row from Arlington Catholic for the first time since 2004-05. The Crusaders snapped a six-game skid against the Cougars last year ... Pingree and Tilton are tied 3-3 all-time, with Tilton winning the first three meetings and the Highlanders entering tomorrow’s home game (3 p.m.) having won three straight.

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Moving the Chains, a column on North Shore high school football, runs in The Salem News every Friday during the fall season. Contact assistant sports editor Matt Williams at 978-338-2669, MWilliams@salemnews.com and follow him on Twitter @MattWilliams_SN.

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