By Jean DePlacido Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — MIDDLETON — School records were falling like colorful leaves off the trees Saturday at Barry Field.
The North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie football team set a school record for most points in a half, biggest margin of victory over an opponent and its biggest shutout ever in throtting Mystic Valley, 60-0.
The offense clicked on all cylinders and the defense made big play after big play as the Bulldogs scored 30 points in the first quarter and 24 more in the second stanza in their Commonwealth Conference Small opener.
The Bulldogs (5-2) could do no wrong, scoring on the first six possessions. The defense then recorded a safety when Bryan Jackson tackled Mystic Valley’s Amro Ali in the end zone, and on the ensuing kickoff Yordany Sanchez returned it for a 45-yard score and 54-0 halftime lead.
“We played precision football and executed very well,” said North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie coach Paul Worth, whose team has won four of five games at home this season. “Honestly, I’m a little surprised at the score because Mystic Valley played Whittier very tough last weekend.
“What happened today was because of the quality opponents we play. Those games prepared us well, and in the second half we were able to get a look at a lot of young kids. For many of them, this was their first taste of varsity action.”
It was the second-most ever scored in one football game by the Bulldogs, surpassed only by their 2004 game against Manchester Essex, a 63-32 triumph.
The Bulldogs were hungry, coming off a tough loss to Shawsheen in overtime last week. They quickly put that behind them with a punishing running game on Saturday led by junior Ross Murphy, who had touchdown runs of 14, 47 and 5 yards. By halftime he had rushed for 127 yards on seven carries before Worth went with the backups the entire second half.
Senior running back Chris Sudak got the ball rolling when he scampered up the right sideline for a 38-yard touchdown in the opening minute of play. The next time the Bulldogs got the ball, fullback Tyler Skane broke up the middle for an 18-yard TD run. Murphy then struck for two in a row, followed by a quarterback keeper by Tim Anderson, and another Murphy touchdown after Dan Bailey recovered a MV fumble.
“This was a big win for us because it’s our first league game,” said Anderson, who is from Beverly. He also made the biggest hit of the afternoon on Yosef Abuhasan to prevent a completion. “It’s a good start ... our offense was unstoppable, and emotionally a big win like this will help us.
“We’re a tight family already, and this just brings us closer. Everybody did a great job; this shows our younger guys what they’ve got to do to help us win.”
The Bulldogs rushed for 228 yards in the first half alone and finished with 291 total, even though the clock was running for the entire second half.
The second unit put together an 11 play, 63-yard scoring drive, capped by Ian LaFavour’s QB keeper from a yard out early in the fourth quarter. The NST/EA defense was dominant, holding the Eagles (coached by former Ipswich head man Rollie Hinckley) to only two first downs, and one came as the result of a penalty on North Shore.
The victory capped a big day for the Bulldogs, who started off with an alumni football game followed by a Powder Puff game between the senior and junior girls.