By Jean DePlacido Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — PEABODY — There was plenty to celebrate on before the game on Senior Night at Coley Lee Field in Peabody. The new scoreboard was dedicated and Nancy Krouse won the Pride of the Neighborhood Score Big contest that was promoted by Freihofers Bread and WROR.
Lynn Classical spoiled the festive mood by returning the opening kickoff 78 yards to jump out to a 6-0 lead and went on to score the first 40 points of the game in a 40-7 decision that leaves the Tanners 0-9 for the first time in school history.
Brad Scuzzarella had the first four touchdowns, racing 45 yards up the left sideline late in the first quarter after the long kickoff return, and then adding a 46 yard run. Scuzzarella also hauled in a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Brown to stake the Rams to a 28-0 lead with 8:43 still remaining in the first half.
“Whenever something goes bad we tend to lose focus,” said Peabody coach Matt O’Brien. “We wanted a squibb kick, but instead it went deep, and they ran it right down the field for a touchdown in the opening seconds. We really have to focus on the second half of tonight’s game when we moved the ball, made good plays, and had hard hitting. Those things are all positives; that’s what we hope to build on.”
Coming off a bye week, O’Brien had hoped his team would show improvement right from the start.
“We’ve got one game to get it right,” he said of the team’s finale against Saugus on Thanksgiving.
“It would be great to end with a win, but that’s not the most important thing. We want to have our seniors go out on top, and to do that we need to be competitive throughout the game. The morale on this team is great; our younger guys haven’t been around that long to get discouraged, and they are getting a lot of experience.”
Classical improved to 7-2 with the win. Tino Fernandez scored on two short runs late in the first half to give the Rams a 40-0 lead at intermission.
“Our kids came out ready to play,” said Classical coach Tim Phelps. “This was a good win, and our boys showed maturity. I told them before the game not to think about Peabody’s record, but to do the things they needed to do for us to win the game. We have three good backs, and Scuzzarella has been there for us all year.”
Peabody had the ball for almost nine minutes in the third quarter and drove to the Rams 26-yard line before Cody Wlasuk’s pass was picked off by Brown near the goal line. The Tanners managed to get on the board on their next possession, aided by a short punt by Lynn.
Quarterback Mike Raymond completed a 12-yard pass to Jake Summit, and on the next play Billy Teehan ran for a dozen more. Raymond scored on a six yard QB keeper, and Pat Tuohy added the extra point.