The Rams figure to be another challenging opponent this year.
Both teams come in with 3-1 records with Classical riding the momentum of an impressive 16-14 victory over North Andover.
“They don’t run a ton of plays, but what they run, they run to perfection,” Connolly said. “They love to pound the ball, but a win (tomorrow) would be enormous for our confidence. We haven’t beaten them since 2004 and that would be a confidence booster. They play tough, hard-nosed football and that’s why they’ve been so hard to beat.”
The Rams rely on a strong offensive line and a stable of dangerous backs.
Devon Crayton, Brad Scuzzarella, and Justin Avery carry most of the load for Classical.
Classical is also known for a strong defense and that unit’s top priority against Salem will be keeping senior captain Christian Dunston in check. Dunston, a quarterback, fills the stat categories like no other player on the North Shore.
Dunston leads the Witches in passing with 335 yards and four touchdowns. He also leads the team in rushing with 173 yards and two more scores. He’s second on the team in receiving with 77 yards and another TD.
Other than Dunston, the Witches spread the ball around effectively. Senior captain and wide receiver Ben Kapnis is a tall, athletic target for Dunston on the outside.
Connolly knows that the more stops his defense can create, then the more opportunities for his skilled players to make things happen on offense.
“As everyone says, our best offense is our defense,” Connolly said. “We want to get them in three-and-outs and second-and-longs. It will be huge for our defensive linemen to play great. That’s what we need to do, but it’s a tough task because they’re very good up front and they’re well coached.”