GLOUCESTER — A slow start against a team notorious for playing its best football at home — especially on Thanksgiving — proved to be too much for Danvers to overcome.
The Falcons fell behind host Gloucester early on and were never able to get back into the contest, eventually falling, 49-22, at New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium.
Danvers head coach Sean Rogers could only tip his cap to the victors.
“They’re a good football team,” said Rogers, whose team finished the season 7-4. “We started slow and it’s tough to come back from a start like that. It started to snowball a little, we took some bad penalties and gave them a lot of stuff that kept drives going. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game — but it certainly didn’t help.”
From the opening kickoff, Gloucester sent a message that yards were going to be tough to come by for the Falcons. The Fishermen forced six straight 3-and-outs to start the game while at the same time using the strong wind, which blew from the Annisquam River end zone towards Centennial Avenue, to tilt field position in their favor.
“(Gloucester) beat us to the point of attack and pursued faster than we did. They played better,” Rogers said.
In winning its ninth straight meeting in the all-time series, Gloucester (7-4) executed its game plan perfectly.
“We told (the seniors) they only had 44 minutes left of football, and every one of them used those minutes to the best of their ability, coming out from the start, playing well and playing hard,” Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli said.
The Falcons offense came out in its standard Wing-T formation but couldn’t find any room to run, which forced them to switch to a spread look. It worked well a year ago in powering Danvers’ second half comeback attempt, but this year Gloucester was ready and shut it down completely.