Heading into Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day clash at Northeast Tech, the Essex Tech football team hadn’t played a game in 13 days.
That extended layoff seemed to have some effect for the Hawks in their season finale as they were unable to seize much momentum while seeing their four-game winning streak snapped in a 42-6 loss.
“There wasn’t a lot of good to come out of the game, to be honest,” admitted head coach Dan Connors, his team finishing at 5-6. “I think the biggest issue was the time off we had; it’s not an excuse but we were very, very slow coming out. We really spotted them 16 (points) right off the bat.”
Those 16 points all came in the opening quarter for Northeast as running back Steve Donnelly ripped off runs of 65 and 80 yards, respectively, to help the hosts jump out to an early lead.
Trailing 22-0 at halftime, the Hawks finally showed some life in the third quarter. First, they recovered an onside kick to seize possession near midfield before Shane Field went 48 yards to paydirt on a wheel route pass from Devin LeBron (127 passing yards).
But that was about all she wrote for ET, who shot themselves in the foot with some costly mistakes and were unable to crawl out of the hole. Being without star receiver Jayce Dooley as well as Colin Holden certainly didn’t help, but Connors admitted his team simply didn’t make enough plays to come out on top.
“We had opportunities; we just couldn’t hit them,” said Connors. “Some really, really sloppy mistakes that we hadn’t made in the last 4-5 games ... some missed opportunities all around. We just weren’t sharp and I think that bye week hurt us.”
Freshman kicker Kaio Dos Passos was a bright spot in the loss.
Essex Tech waives goodbye to just four seniors, all of which helped the program make strides and set the stage for what could very well be an exciting and win-filled 2022 campaign.
“I told (the senior class Wednesday) that they were a very special class,” Connors said of 12th graders Reese Cavalho, Yurry Charles, Cael Dineen and Zach Soltys. “It’s a rarity to have kids passionate enough to play four years — and three of those guys played all four years. It’s a tribute to them for kind of sticking with us through some really hard times in the program, and they were very much a part of our turnaround. So it’s a legacy to be proud of.”
Contact Nick Giannino at NGiannino@Salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickGiannino_SN.
Northeast 42, Essex Tech 6at Northeast Metro Regional Vocational Technical School, Wakefield
Essex Tech (5-6) 0 0 6 0 6
Northeast (9-3) 16 6 6 14 42
Scoring summary NE- Steve Donnelly 65 run (Christopher Zullo run)
NE- Donnelly 80 run (Zullo run)
NE- Zullo 30 pass from C.J. Moriconi (2-pt fails)
ET- Shane Field 48 pass from Devin LeBron (2-pt fails)
NE- Donnelly 15 run (2-pt fails)
NE- Anthony Tinkham 35 pass from Moriconi (Moriconi run)
NE- Niko Panagopoulos interception return (2-pt fails)
RUSHING: Essex Tech — Devin LeBron 12-26, Shane Field 4-21, Harry Lynch 1-1.
PASSING: Essex Tech — LeBron 9-23-127-1-1.
RECEIVING: Essex Tech — Field 1-48, Ruddy Dejesus 2-33, PJ Norton 3-20, Lynch 2-23, Luke Joyce 1-3.