Beverly executes its wing-t offense with speed and precision. The ball could be carried by Flaherty, Pierce, Dom Abate or Isiah White on any play — and defenders that cheat on one guy get burned. Masconomet will need to avoid getting caught doing that.
“They’ve been a scoring machine,” said Pugh. “One guy can’t stop that. You have to have all 11 guys reading their guys and trying not to win it by themselves. All week we preach read your key and win your battle.”
For Masco, defensive ends John Tivinis and Sean Antonuccio will be tasked with keeping Beverly’s fast, athletic line off linebackers Mike McKay and Steve O’Reilly. The Chieftains’ outside linebackers Andrew Swimm and Mac Cashin have also been strong against the run so far this year.
Beverly’s been scoring on big plays, with 10 of their 20 rushing TDs coming on runs of 20 yards or longer. QB Nick Morency has developed a nice rhythm filling in for senior Dave Rollins (illness).
“The system is working and our line play has been fantastic,” Flaherty said after last Friday’s win over Peabody. “We know Masco is a good team and we have a lot of respect for them. We have to practice hard and work hard this week.”
Masco, which is 8-1 against teams from the Northeastern Conference the last two seasons, will rely on a gang-tackling mentality to try to slow down the Beverly attack.
“You’re not going to shut them down entirely, so it has to be bend but don’t break,” said Pugh. “You can’t give up those 70-yard scores and you can’t let up for a second.”
Pugh was particularly impressed by Flaherty, who became Beverly’s all-time TD leader with his 47th career score last week. The senior’s ability to make defenders miss often masks his ability to break tackles with pure strength, something Masco’s coach pointed out.