, Salem, MA


December 1, 2012

Unbeaten champions never let go of the rope all season



Shipp wasn't finished. He immediately shot up, spotted the bouncing pigskin in the Beverly end zone and pounced on it for a touchback. Nine plays and 80 yards later, the Panthers scored to take a lead they'd never relinquish.

"I saw (Robinson) break free and made a beeline for him, hit him with my shoulder and the ball popped out," said the 17-year-old Shipp. "So I just sprinted for the ball and managed to fall on it.

"That's the thing. I know my role on this team: It's to play solid defense and make plays when I need to," Shipp continued. "I don't need to be on the front page of the paper; I just do my job to help us win."

McGee could have echoed those same sentiments. A tight end and special teams maven, he prides himself on getting downfield quickly on punts. Prior to Saturday, one of the biggest plays of his career came last year at Manning Field in Lynn, when his forced fumble off a punt helped the Panther reverse a 21-0 hole into a remarkable 35-34 win over Lynn English.

But following a three-and-out by Beverly on its opening drive of the second half, McGee got a new Biggest Play Of His Career.

Sprinting straight upfield after Harry Brown's punt, McGee drilled Natick's punt returner, Brian Dunlap, forcing a fumble before falling on it at the Redhawks' 18-yard line. Again, Beverly quickly made the Bay State Herget titlists pay by pounding in another touchdown, this one a 3-yard fullback trap from Flaherty to go up by 14 (21-7).

"Good things happen for me on special teams," said the affable McGee. "I'm always trying to go full speed downfield and make something, anything, happen. I was able to get a hand in there, knock it loose and get both hands on the ball before one of their guys jumped on my back.

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