GLOUCESTER-- After a 225 yard performance against Marblehead the previous week, Gloucester head football coach Tony Zerilli knew that a couple of other backs needed to step up Friday against Lynn English, as the Bulldogs were most likely going to be focusing on Pallazola and the fullback trap.
While the Fishermen’s leading rusher was still his productive self running for 136 yards and a pair of scores despite the Bulldogs defense stacking the box against him, it was the supporting cast that really set the offense off in Friday’s 34-28 win.
Wing back Conor Harris led the charge with a breakout performance where he chipped in 109 yards of total offense. Harris broke a pair of reverses in the win, one for a 40 yard touchdown. But his biggest play of the day came in the passing game in the form of a 35 yard fourth quarter touchdown reception which turned out to be the winning score.
Quarterback Ian Kennedy also had one of his best games of the season. The senior signal caller was only called upon to throw five times, but he made those throws count. His aforementioned 35 yard touchdown pass to Harris was a perfect strike, and it also came on fourth and long. Kennedy also completed a nice pass to senior tight end Connor Adkins in the first half.
The offensive was not the only place where the Fishermen showed off their depth. Junior defensive back Mike Decaro left the game with an injury in the first half forcing Zerilli to go to his bench, and his bench did not let him down.
Alex Militello and John Curcuru picked up the slack as both had the unenviable task of covering the Bulldogs’ vaunted group of receivers. Militello was great in coverage while Curcuru forced a fumble in the final minute to preserve the win.
It’s beginning to sound like a broken record at this point in the season, but once again the Fishermen turned the tide and won the game with an outstanding second half performance.
In the first half, Lynn English quarterback Jordan Lark got yards at will on the Gloucester defense throwing for over 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns over the first 22 minutes of play.
But over the final two quarters the Fishermen defense did not make things easy on him. Sure Lark still hit on a few passes, as good players do, but after allowing 230 yards of offense in the first half, the Fishermen defense only allowed 144 in the second half.
While the Gloucester offense was good all game, it was nearly perfect in the second half scoring on its first three drives to take control of the football game. An untimely fumble in the final minutes was the only offensive blemish of the night, but of course the defense was there to pick the offense up, forcing a fumble of their own on the very next play.
Starting with a Pallazola seven yard touchdown before the first half ended, Gloucester put up 27 unanswered points and turned a 21-7 Bulldogs lead into a 34-21 Fishermen lead.
Gloucester’s run defense was once again dominant on Friday as the Bulldogs could not find any room to operate for the entire 44 minutes of play.
The defensive line, consisting of senior captains Drew Shairs and David Dimaio along with Nick Sanfilippo and Jacob Emerson were constantly in the Lynn English backfield. Linebackers Pallazola, Jon Good, John Salvi-Souza and Joe Petrilli also had stellar evenings holding the Lynn English rushing attack to just 44 yards on the game.
The Fishermen defensive front seven continues to be one of the most productive groups in the Northeastern Conference.