By Jean DePlacido
---- — Two Peabody Raider youth football teams won the Northeast Conference Super Bowl titles. The Spartan Division (5th and 6th graders) was won by the Raider Silver team, and the Gladiator Division( 7th and 8th graders) was claimed by the Raider Black. Both Peabody squads bested Salem teams in the finals.
It was a complete turnaround for coach John Doherty’s Gladiator Black team that went 9-1 this season after winning only one game in 2011. Doherty was assisted by Gary Hufnagle, Mike DeMayo, James “Rocky” Hollinhead, Robert Rotondo, and Carmen Cuzzi.
They blanked Salem, 30-0 led by Jack Doherty, who threw two touchdown passes, ran for another, and had an interception. Luke Hufnagle ran for another score, and Rotondo caught two TD passes and kicked three PAT’s.
The Peabody Spartan Silver squad had a tougher time against Salem, but put together a strong second half to come out on top, 13-6. After a scoreless first half that was dominated by strong defensive play on both sides, Peabody took a 7-0 lead on a touchdown run by William Plourde, and point after kick by Joey Mastromatteo. John Ranieri broke tackles for a nifty touchdown run to put Peabody ahead, 13-0.
Salem returned the ensuing kickoff, but Matt Moran blocked the extra point kick. The offensive line was outstanding led by co-captains James Taylor Jr. and Christian Plourde while fullback Brandon Caniff-Melchionda had some big runs.
The defense was spearheaded by ends Evan Bun and Mastromatteo; tackles William Plourde and Christian Plourde; nose tackle Taylor; cornerbacks Ranieri and Colby Therrien; linebackers Ryder Pare and Caniff-Melchionda; and safeties Declan Russell and Jared Ridley. They allowed only 57 points all year (fewest in the league).
The entire coaching staff was back from last year’s Super Bowl champion Crusader level team (3rd and 4th graders) led by head coach Scott Therrien and assistants Robert Forti, Tavar Davis, Ben Russell, and Ed Roberts.
Members of the Spartan Silver squad are Joseph Mastromatteo, Colby Therrien, Patrick Carbone, William Plourde, Christopher Diranian, Jared Ridley, Dean Roberts, Christian Plourde, Declan Russell, David Dabney Jr., Dylan Walsh, Jake Paragona, John Ranieri, Krisli Miraka, Robert Forti, Brandon Caniff-Melchionda, Collin Sullivan; Sean Letarte, Tyler Norman, Aidan Wilkinson, Travis Leite, Evan Bun, Matthew Moran, James Taylor Jr., Mason Davis, Eniola Falayi, Patrick Russo, Ryder Pare, and Nicholas Patturelli.
Gladiator Black team members are Sean Pacheco, Connor McCarthy, Michael Martinello, Cole Cuzzi, Cedric Gutierrez, Nicholas Palmer, Mason Zeuli, Luke Hufnagle, Eric DeMayo, Andrew Hamel, Jack Hamel, Jake Doherty, Devon Jacques, Roberto Ortiz, Jace Hollinhead, Bruno DeSima, David Pence, Jason Celona, Dan Heredia, Brian Barrett, Kyle Griffin, Michael Tracchia-DiPietro, Nicholas Grenham, Nick McLeod, James McCarthy IV, Kodey Cutliffe, Josue Perez, and Tyler Rotondo.