SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

August 23, 2010

The Master From Maine

Perrone restored the pride to Salem to become one of the Witches' all-time greats

(Continued)

While the Beverly sidelines "erupted as if they had won the Super Bowl" as Stellato recalls it, Perrone remained calm and, on a fourth down of their own from midfield, dialed up a skinny post for DePena who caught a great pass from Stellato down to the Beverly 3-yard line with just seconds remaining. The E-Train then plunged his way into the end zone, securing the win.

That holiday triumph would be Perrone's final victory as a high school football coach. Having qualified for the state playoffs, Salem fell to Whitman-Hanson the following Saturday, 13-0, in the Division 3A Super Bowl.

After the loss, Perrone and all of his assistants were fired from their coaching positions. To this day, Perrone has not coached a down of football since.

From one Witch to another

Perrone was born on June 21, 1935, in Hamden Conn., but got his career started in Maine at Dixfield High (5-3) and John Bapst (47-6-0) after graduating from the University of Maine at Orono. Bapst is where Perrone first met Marcoulier, who was a player there from 1963-65.

In the last game of the team's undefeated '65, campaign Marcoulier remembers his team trailing at halftime until Perrone made his players strip off their home white uniforms and change into green jerseys in honor of the school's old nickname, the Fighting Irish.

"It was a motivational thing; we were all psyched up. If (the jerseys) were good enough for the old guys, then they were good enough for us," said Marcoulier. "We came back and held on to win by a point, 13-12. it was something Ken just pulled out of his hat."

It was one of five undefeated seasons Perrone enjoyed in his 37 seasons coaching football (he has added two in baseball).

After Marcoulier graduated, Perrone brought him on his coaching staff and the two moved over to Brewer, where Perrone led the 1970 team to an undefeated season in which they were ranked No. 1 in Maine and New England and No. 5 nationally — a feat no other coach in Massachusetts or Maine has achieved since.

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