Five things you should know about the annual Peabody-Saugus Thanksgiving game:
1. Looking for the lead: Peabody isn’t just looking for its first win of the 2012 season — it’s looking for its first lead. The Tanners haven’t been ahead on the scoreboard in any of their nine games, and in fact they’ve only been tied after 0-0 once (7-7 against Haverhill in September). Peabody is hoping to avoid its first winless season since 1958 (0-8) and just the third winless season in school history while also avoiding its second 10-loss campaign (1-10 in 2007).
2. Ray(mond) of hope: Sophomore Michael Raymond, who has played both quarterback and receiver, is one of only four players on the North Shore to have a touchdown passing, receiving and throwing this fall. He is Peabody’s leading scorer with six total TDs and would be the first sophomore to lead the Tanners in scoring in 20 years.
3. Home cooking: Saugus has only won at Coley Lee Field once since 1981. The Sachems have a multipronged rushing attack led by QB C.J. Randolph (13 rushing TDs) and augmented by Nick Benoit (6 TDs), Isham Minya, Dan Cacciola and Ryan Hennehan. Keep an eye on the Sachem kicker, Zach Verrengia, who has four field goals on the season.
4. Defensive stoppers: Junior Cody Wlasuk has been one of the leading tacklers for the Tanner defense over the last several weeks and will have an active morning if the hosts are to corral the Sachems’ option attack. Other defensive playmakers to watch are sophomores Ryan Collins and Tanner Moquin, and senior Brian Norwood.
5. Running downhill: Peabody’s offensive line, led by senior Jared Vachon, Norwood, Max Gordon, Frankie Lowry and sophomore Ethan Mercedes, needs to open some holes to get the Tanner rushing attack going. If Peabody can control the clock with some tough running by sophomore Billy Teehan, they have a chance.