“We heard about it all week; Coach (Ben) Goodhue even brought a tape of the game into our locker room and had it playing before the game (yesterday morning),” said McGee. “I said, ‘That’s not happening today.’ It was a great way to motivate us and keep us focused on what needed to be done.”
Salem (4-7) never get untracked offensively until it was too late. The Witches, who had won two straight games at Hurd Stadium, picked up only two first downs in the first half while losing a fumble that led to a Beverly score right before the half.
“Two big plays hurt us,” said Salem head coach Scott Connolly, referring to Pierce’s 61-yard run and a 27-yard scoring pass from captain Dave Rollins to captain Brendan Flaherty, both in the second quarter. “We knew they were a big-play offense and tried to guard against that, but you can only do it against them for so long.
“We were able to find our offense later in the game and had a few big stops in the red zone, but by then they already had a big lead.”
Pierce got Beverly on the scoreboard on his team’s second possession, completing a 10-play, 81-yard drive with a 9-yard run around left end. The first of Harry Brown’s four extra points gave the hosts a 7-0 lead.
Following a Salem punt, the Panthers took over on their own 39-yard line and turned to Pierce again. Pinching the tight ends in close to the line and running to the weak side, Pierce took a sweep, cut back inside and sped 61 yards into the end zone, doubling his team’s lead.
“It’s expected I’m going to run to the outside,” said Pierce, “but this time I cut back inside. It felt good to run between the tackles.”