SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

October 22, 2012

No looking ahead for unbeaten Panthers

BEVERLY — They say all the right things, respect every opponent and are so earnest in their convictions that you really want to believe them.

We are not looking ahead on our schedule, insist the members of the unbeaten Beverly High football team. We’re only worried about the team we’re playing this week; after that, we’ll worry about the team we’re playing next week. Ours is a singular focus: winning this week’s game. Nothing more, nothing less.

It’s human nature to peer into the future and think about what could be or what might happen. Who doesn’t dare to dream?

But if their current approach is working — and it obviously is — for the lava-hot Panthers, then why change it?

A 35-13 victory over Danvers on a splendid afternoon at Hurd Stadium on Saturday pushed the Panthers’ record to 7-0. They have not been unbeaten this far into a season since the fabled 1988 squad finished a perfect 10-0.

After spotting the visiting Falcons the game’s first score (just the second time all season Beverly has trailed in a game, and the only time so far it hasn’t scored first), the Orange-and-Black reeled off five straight touchdowns to prevail in their Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League Tier 2 league opener.

But if it seems as though everyone in the Garden City can’t jump onto the team’s bandwagon fast enough, the players have remained even keeled, focused and undeterred by all the attention surrounding them.

“We all know every team we play will be bringing 110 percent towards us,” said mustachioed senior Brian Perry, a two-year starter in the trenches. “We’re expecting it. That’s why we practice hard and practice fast, so we’re ready (on game days).”

“These are the games that actually count,” added senior linebacker Rob Cattell, referring to Beverly’s five-game slate of league contests. “This is the good stuff, what you’ve worked for all offseason and during the (regular) season, to get to this point.”

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