LYNN — The Peabody High football team did not find its first win of a new era at Manning Field last night, as Lynn English came away with a 29-15 victory.
The Tanners did, however, find an offensive line hungry to open some holes, a young running back eager to burst through them and plenty of reasons to look forward to the rest of the season.
Sophomore Doug Santos ran for 167 yards and Peabody had a chance to tie the game twice in the second half before the hosts Bulldogs (1-0) scored to put the game away in the season opener for both clubs.
Mistakes cost the Tanners as four of their first five drives in the second half were ended by turnovers. In all, Peabody lost four fumbles and had an interception. Penalties didn’t help either as Peabody took seven, with too many of those procedural errors that put the offense in third-and-long situations.
“You can’t give the ball back to a team like Lynn English five or six times,” said Peabody’s Mark Bettencourt following his head football coaching debut. “If holding onto the ball is what we’re working on, we’re moving in the right direction.”
Peabody’s other possession in the second half was an impressive 80-yard drive, keyed by Santos’ 47-yard run on 4th-and-1 in his own territory. The sophomore was pressed into action when captain Cody Wlasuk was lost to an ankle injury in the first quarter and burst through holes opened by the offensive line: captains Brandon Rapoza and Joe Molica, Ethan Mercedes, Anthony Christo and Matt Crawford.
Santos ran for 132 of his yards in the second half as Peabody went back to the pro-set, double-right and power-I formations fans remember from the glory days.
“We found a warrior in Doug Santos,” said Bettencourt. “We leaned on him when Cody went down, and the way we moved the ball late in the game against a good team with good athletes was encouraging.”