LYNN — It’s been a season of growing pains for the Salem High football team and the growing pains continued on Friday.
The Witches dropped their fourth straight game, bowing to Lynn Classical, 48-8, in a Northeastern Conference South game at Manning Field.
Salem (0-4, 0-2 league) got on the board after the Rams scored their final touchdown when Devin Tolbert returned the kickoff 75 yards to the end zone with 3:52 on the clock, which was running since the beginning of the second half.
On the conversion, Wayne Holloway reached the end zone on a keeper around the right end.
“We’re still making progress,” said Salem coach Matt Bouchard. “We need to build more consistency and when we do that, it will lead to success.”
Lynn Classical (2-2, 1-1) led 35-0 at the half. The Rams scored on four of their first five possessions with running back Kalvin So (10 carries for 108 yards) scoring two first-half touchdowns (three total) and quarterback Danny Gissone (five carries, 80 yards) running for two scores and completing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeffrey Hill with 11:52 left in the third.
“We got off to a good start and that helped,” said Lynn Classical coach Brian Vaughan. “We did well on offense and on defense, we put some good pressure on them.”
“They made some big plays and we didn’t put guys on the ground when we needed to,” added Bouchard.
The Witches threatened early in the second quarter after Holloway (5-for-10, 32 yards) completed a 27-yard pass to Jeandavis Cardenas down the right sideline, moving the ball to the Lynn Classical 26. After Tolbert gained two yards on first down, the Rams stopped Salem for a loss on two of the next three plays and Lynn Classical took over on downs at its own 35.
“We had a couple of good plays and we took a step back,” Bouchard said. “We’re still looking for that consistency.”
After the Rams stopped Salem’s only threat of the first half, the Witches’ defense forced Classical to turn it over on downs on the next series at the Salem 39. Markin Bautista tackled Kyle Durant for a five yard loss on 4th-and-6.
In the second half, Lynn Classical added two more touchdowns. After Salem punted on the opening series of the third quarter, So ran through the middle of the line to reach the end zone from the 12.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Nicholas Galeazzi scored the Rams’ final touchdown on a 41-yard gain up the middle.
Next Friday, Salem hosts Saugus, while Lynn Classical visits Winthrop.