By Nick Curcuru Sports Editor
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — SALEM-- Gloucester head football coach Tony Zerilli gathered his team at midfield after Friday’s 28-19 win over Salem and said, “That was Fishermen football.”
The second year coach was spot on in his description of his teams play Friday night, as the team’s smash mouth style of football was vintage .
After a sluggish second half that saw Gloucester (2-7) go into the break trailing 19-7, the team kicked into high gear in the second half dominating on both sides of the ball. The Fishermen put up 21 straight points in the final 22 minutes of play, created two turnovers, dominated the line of scrimmaged and showcased a power running game that wore down the Salem (4-5) defense.
“This week was all about Fishermen pride,” Zerilli said. “We have three games left (entering tonight) and we want to win all three of them. We want to go into each game showing we will dig down deep and bring out that pride, and we did. We hit the holes harder, we kept everything in front of us on defense and we made plays.”
Salem coach Scott Connolly was quick to credit the Fishermen for their physical play.
“They wore us out in the second half with their power running game,” Connolly said. “We had a good first half, we executed and we were efficient. But in the second half they took it to us and wore us down.”
Trailing 19-7 at the start of the third quarter Gloucester needed a score on its first drive of the half and it did just that. Fullback Jordan Pallazola capped off a nine play 61 yard drive with a two yard plunge to cut the Witches lead to 19-14 with six minutes to go in the quarter.
On the Witches ensuing drive Gloucester built on its momentum as senior Austin Titus recovered a Witches fumble that set Gloucester up in Salem territory.
Four plays later Mark Horgan raced 33 yards on a reverse to give the Fishermen their first lead of the day at 21-19.
“It’s a game of momentum,” Connolly said. “Gloucester got the momentum in the second half and ran with it.”
The Gloucester defense came up big again on Salem’s next drive forcing a three-and-out and followed up the defensive stand with another scoring drive. This time it was a nine play, 55 yard drive culminating vwith a three yard run from Pallazola to make it 28-19.
Zerilli praised the play of his junior fullback.
“Jordan ran tough tonight,” Zerilli said. “When you have a 240 pound running back who’s really learning how to lower his shoulder and get those tough yards it’s a luxury. He ran over a few kids tonight.”
Salem put together a strong drive on its ensuing possession driving the ball deep into Gloucester territory but Freshman Alex Enes came up with a big interception in the end zone to thwart the drive and essentially seal the win for Gloucester.
“We had a senior making a big play (Titus) and a freshman making a big play (Enes) on defense,” Zerilli said. “I was proud of the game Enes played tonight.”
Salem came out of the gates on fire scoring on its first two possessions on touchdown passes from quarterback Christian Dunston to Ben Sattiewhite and Ben Kapnis. Horgan scored to cut the lead to 13-7 but Salem came right back as Dunston hit Sattiewhite for another score with no time remaining in the half.
“I thought we did alright in the first half we just had a couple of breakdowns,” Zerilli said. “Their first drive was a great drive, they made some big plays, but on the next two we had breakdowns in coverage. But we took a positive attitude into the locker room and we believed that we could come back and win.”