Watching the final play of the Division 2A Super Bowl from the sideline was not where Beverly High senior Kenny Pierce wanted to be, but after everything, he probably deserved a little break.
A late injury sent Pierce off the field. He didn’t head to the sideline without doing his usual damage.
Pierce ended the season with a masterful performance, scoring his team’s first two touchdowns against Natick on runs of 27 and 4 yards, respectively. He finished with 71 yards on just seven carries, consistent with the average he put up all season when tucking the football under his arm.
He certainly made the most of his touches, scoring 15 rushing touchdowns on just 72 carries; that means he hit paydirt more than 20 percent of the time his number was called. Pierce finished the season with 901 rushing yards (a ridiculous 12.5 yards per carry) and ended his career with 2,075 rushing yards on 217 carries (9.42 YPC) and 28 TDs.
He may have been known for his offense, but Pierce was also an integral part of the defensive secondary. Although it was Ryan Shipp and Dom Abate who came up with some big pass breakups on Saturday against Natick, Pierce also made his presence felt.
Pierce did an excellent job keeping the Natick receivers in front of him, then stepping up and wrapping up, not letting the Redhawks gain any extra yardage.
Here’s an interesting tidbit: the combined record of Beverly’s 13 opponents this fall was 79-66 (.545 winning percentage); those same squads were a combined 48-30 (.615) when they took on the Panthers.
Naturally, Burlington (10-2) and Natick (11-3) bumped those figures up considerably. Factoring in just their regular season foes, the Panthers matched up teams with a combined 58-62 record; 27-28 when they played BHS.
The Panthers came up just 13 yards shy of finishing with 5,000 yards of offense this fall, an absurd amount for a high school football team. They averaged 383.6 yards per game, with 88 percent of those yards coming via the ground game (4,392).