MANCHESTER-- The Gloucester football team found out exactly what it needs to work on in its opening night clash with Lynn English at Hyland Field Friday night.
The Fishermen (0-1) moved the ball up and down the field, sometimes at will and were by no means outplayed by the Bulldogs. But mental errors, big plays, and red zone offense haunted them in the teams 28-7 loss to the Bulldogs at Hyland Field.
Gloucester controlled the clock but scored just once on four trips to the red zone. They also allowed five plays of more than 40 yards and had two costly penalties, one false start on a first and goal from the one and a personal foul when Gloucester was receiving a punt that gave the ball back to Lynn English.
Gloucester second year head coach Tony Zerilli refused to comment on the defeat.
Lynn English started the game off with a bang as quarterback Chris Lessard raced 45 yards on the games first play down to the Fishermen 23 yard line. The Gloucester defense, however, held strong and forced a turnover on downs.
After forcing the Fishermen into a 3-and-out on their first drive the Bulldogs got back to work and put together a seven play 70 yard drive that culminated with Josh Batista scoring his first of three touchdowns on the game, the first on a three yard run on third and goal.
Batista’s score was set up by a 56 yard completion from Lessard to Sr. captain Cam Haggerty down to the Fishermen six yard line.
The Gloucester offense got the ball back and methodically moved the ball down field thanks to the running of senior captain Zach Smith, who had eclipsed the 100 yard mark in the first half. Senior captain Mark Horgan also had a big 30 yard run on the drive.
Gloucester moved from its own 29 yard line all the way down to the Lynn English 1 yard line while taking seven minutes off the clock but could not come away with a point as the Bulldogs defense hung tough and forced a turnover on downs.
Junior linebacker Jon Good put the Fishermen in prime scoring area on the Bulldog’s next drive swooping in and picking off a flare pass by literally wrestling it out of the English receivers hands to set up his offense the the Bulldogs 15.
This time Gloucester found the end zone as Smith scored from seven yards out on a fourth down and two play.
Gloucester’s momentum, however, was short lived. A Fishermen personal foul on a 15 yard run moved Lynn English over midfield and the next play Lessard hit a wide open Lucas Harris, who got lost in the Gloucester secondary after Lessard pump faked to Batista in the flat, for a 43 yard score and a 14-7.
It took Lynn English just 15 seconds to drive 72 yards.
On Gloucester’s ensuing drive the offense once again drove itself down the field going from its own 26 to the Lynn English seven. But once again the offense stalled and gave the ball back to Lynn English on downs.
Gloucester looked to tie the game late in the third quarter when it forced the Bulldogs to punt from deep in their own territory. Gloucester fielded the punt at the Lynn English 48 but a personal foul chop block penalty gave the ball back to Lynn English.
The Bulldogs took advantage of a new set of downs as Batista raced 76 yards on the very next play to make it 21-7. The score gave Lynn English all the momentum and devastated Gloucester’s chances of winning the ball game.
Batista would add one more score late in the fourth quarter on a 46 yard Batista run.