SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

October 19, 2013

Danvers topples Salem to clinch first NEC South championship in eight years

DANVERS — Did even the most optimistic of Danvers High football fans have their favorite team winning a league championship this fall?

You probably could have put those odds in the same category as the Red Sox making it to the World Series before the 2013 baseball season began.

But with the Olde Towne Team on the verge of improbably advancing to the Fall Classic, so too have the Danvers Falcons done what few thought was possible less than two months ago.

Behind two touchdowns each from captains Alex Valles (179 yards rushing) and Anthony Cordoba and the best line play they’ve displayed all season, the Falcons won the Northeastern Conference South crown with a 26-7 victory over Salem last night.

“This is a testament to our seniors, especially the captains,” said Danvers (5-1) head coach Sean Rogers, alluding to Mike Favreau, Cordoba and Valles. “They never allowed their teammates to get too high after wins or feel too bad about themselves during the tough times. They’re always pushing the guys to do a little bit more and work a little bit harder ... and it’s hard to say no when they’re the ones leading that charge.”

Conditioning really paid off for Danvers in the second half, particularly in the third quarter when they swung the tide in their favor for good. With many of the Falcons playing on just one side of the ball, they were able to stay fresh, eat up the clock and punch in two more scores to salt the contest away.

The Falcons piled up 376 yards of offense (all on the ground), with 272 of those coming after intermission. In addition to another big night from Valles (he now has 814 rushing yards and 10 TDs in 6 games), backfield mates Chris Behen (78 yards on 7 carries) and Cordoba (70 yards on 9 carries) helped keep the sticks moving all night. They also unselfishly blocked for one another (“you block and you get the rock,” said Rogers).

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