LYNN — If all teenagers displayed this type of time management, parents the world over wouldn’t have a care in the world.
Pounding the football all evening and owning both lines of scrimmage, the Danvers High football team chewed up huge chunks of time off the clock at Manning Field Friday night, needing just five possessions to maintain possession for 28 minutes and 47 seconds of this contest’s 44 total minutes.
The Falcons converted all four of their fourth down attempts — three of those for touchdowns — and now find themselves in next weekend’s Division 3 North final after thoroughly dismantling host Lynn English, 28-7.
“This, it’s what we’ve been working towards all week all season, from summer until now. It’s what we’ve been (working towards) every day,” said senior quarterback Brendan Treacy.
Piloting the Danvers offense behind a sublime effort from its offensive line — Tom Walfield, Lance Ledesma, Jacob Stone, Ron Remotigue, Andrew Chronis, and tight ends Justin DiTomaso and Almany Vargas, as well as fullbacks Jack Strangie and Russ Canova — Treacy was at peak efficiency.
He handed the ball off to senior captain Matt McCarthy 25 times, resulting in 136 yards; called his own number 13 times (most in short yardage situations) for another 37 yards and two touchdowns; and took to the air 14 times, completing eight passes for 95 yards and two more scores: a 7-yarder to Ezra Lombardi and a 15-yard strike to DiTomaso, both of which occurred on fourth down.
Defensively, the Falcons (7-2) were aggressive and quick to the ball, limiting the previously once-beaten Bulldogs to just 102 yards of total offense.
Essentially, head coach Ryan Nolan and his Danvers staff — who felt their team took their foot off the gas after building up a big lead in last week’s playoff win over Belmont and wanted to change that — couldn’t have drawn this one up any better.
“We really couldn’t have,” said Nolan, who praised Ledesma for his two-way play. “(Offensive coordinator) Bruce Rich did a great job, the line was terrific with Coach (Todd) Lemoine, and Timmy Rich, Bruce’s son, really contributes to that. We did a great job controlling the ball.
“(There were times) we ran a waggle or a boot, which you have to do to keep people honest,” added Nolan. “Bruce has been around a long time, and he knows when to do that.”
Momentum swung for good after Treacy found DiTomaso for a score, then rushed around left end for a 2-point conversion and a 14-6 lead. The Falcons, wanting to keep the ball out of Prince Brown’s hands, tried an onsides kick that was successful, with Lombardi (who kicks off) recovering it with 2:45 to go until halftime. Freshman Chase Eary and Russ Canova made big blocks that allowed Lombardi to snare the loose ball.
Needing just seven plays to march 46 yards (with a Treacy-to-McCarthy 20-yard pass along the left sidelines the key play), Treacy snuck into the end zone between center and left guard for a 21-7 halftime lead.
Danvers then got the ball to start the second half (senior Nick Geissler fell on an English attempted onsides kick) and milked another 6-plus minutes off the clock before Treacy’s 1-yard run and Max Leete’s second extra point made it a commanding 28-7 lead for the visitors.
“We have amazing skill players ... amazing players in the line, too,” said McCarthy, who broke 1,000 yards rushing (now at 1,064) for the season.
Chronis, who suffered a neck injury three weeks ago against Beverly but (fitted with a protective cover) was looking in prime form Friday night, said the line did exactly as they were asked. “We’d get back to the huddle, think about the next play and we were ready to go,” he said.
Lynn English (7-2) took the opening kickoff 59 yards to the end zone, with four-year starting QB Matt Severance sneaking in from two yards out and Tyler Drinan adding the point after. But it was all Danvers after that as the Bulldogs ran only four offensive plays the rest of the half.
Injuries also played a big part: star tailback Ishmile Bangura, who missed last week’s playoff win over Concord-Carlisle with an ankle injury, reinjured it early on Friday night and was limited to 33 yards on six carries, all but one of those on his team’s opening drive. Standout wide receiver Prince Brown (1 catch, 2 yards) was also hampered, and Mathias Fowler went down on the second defensive series.
“Injuries are a part of football, and durability is a huge part of being successful,” said English head coach Chris Carroll. “Hats off to Coach Ryan and his team; they took it to us. They flat out took it to us.”