MANCHESTER-- Head coach Tony Zerilli and the Gloucester football team knew the task at hand Saturday against unbeaten NEC/CAL Division 2 front-runner Beverly.
The Fishermen knew what to expect out of the Panthers wing-t offense and put a game plan in place to stop it. While Gloucester certainly did not do a poor job executing its game plan, all the preparation in the world could not prepare it for Beverly’s speed at the skilled positions.
Led by a backfield quartet of Brendan Flaherty, Dom Abate, Kenny Pierce and Isiah White, Beverly showed off its superior foot speed en route to a 35-6 win over the Fishermen at Hyland Field.
Gloucester’s loss, it’s fourth in a row, moves its record to 1-7 on the season, 0-2 in NEC/CAL Division 2 play while Beverly moves to 8-0, 2-0 in conference.
“We knew what was coming, we filled in our lanes all week at practice but you can’t simulate their speed on the practice field,” Zerilli said. “We got to our spots and they beat us there. They’re a great team and they’ve been proving that all year.”
Gloucester did its best to slow down the Panthers attack putting nose tackle Drew Shairs on the strong side in an attempt to shut down the Panthers power running game. While the 300 pound nose tackle was stellar in blocking up the middle, Beverly had little trouble finding the edge and picking up yards on the quick side.
Pierce led the way for Beverly with 78 yards on the ground while four other Beverly running backs had at least 30 yards on the ground.
“Everybody talks about Flaherty with this team and rightfully so,” Zerilli said. “But they’re loaded back there with Pierce, Abate, White; everybody is good. I thought our defense was where we wanted it to be but they’re tough kids to bring down.