MANCHESTER-- The Swampscott Big Blue football team could not have asked for a better turn of events to start Saturday night’s CAL/NEC Tier 2 tilt against Gloucester at Hyland Field.
The Fishermen drove all the way down to the Big Blue one yard line on its opening drive but lost a fumble. Swampscott recovered that fumble and raced all the way down to the Gloucester 31 yard line seizing both field position and momentum.
That would end up being the high point of the game for the Big Blue, however, as Gloucester linebacker Mike Falzarano picked off a pass and ran it back 80 yards for a score on the very next play. The Fishermen would run with that momentum on the back of four interceptions on defense and 100 yards rushing out of both senior captain Mark Horgan and junior Jordan Pallazola en route to a comfortable 43-20 win.
The win was the second in a row for Gloucester improving to 3-7 on the year, Swampscott falls to 4-6. It also sent Gloucester seniors Horgan, Santo Parisi, Zach Smith, Devin Hemeon, Anthony Palazzola, Austin Titus, CJ Cracchiolo, and Josh Plummer out with a win in their final home game.
“It’s good to send the seniors off with a win like that in their last home game,” Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli said. “We definitely took that momentum from last week into this week and the seniors helped a lot. We don’t have a lot of them but the kids we do have are gamers and they show up and lead this team every week.”
Turnovers was the story of the game as Gloucester forced four Big Blue giveaways that led to 21 Fishermen points. Early in the third quarter Gloucester opened up a 28-0 lead and it was too much for Swampscott to overcome.
“We just haven’t been playing good football lately,” Swampscott head coach Steve Dembowski said. “We didn’t come out ready to play and Gloucester took advantage of every mistake we made. On (Falzarano’s) pick six we didn’t even have a play called, I don’t know why the ball was snapped.”
Zerilli, on the other hand, was quick to praise his defense that has allowed yardage in the passing game this season, but has improved steadily as the season went on. That improvement has showed as of late as Gloucester has six interceptions in the last two weeks.
“We hadn’t had a pick all year long and we got two last week and four tonight,” Zerilli said. “The defense is starting to improve and the secondary is starting to learn how to recognize and disrupt pass routes.”
After Falzarano’s touchdown return the flood gates opened up. Swampscott drove the ball deep into Gloucester territory on its ensuing drive going 68 yards in 11 plays but a CJ Cracchiolo interception thwarted the scoring opportunity.
Gloucester again made the turnover hurt carving up the Big Blue defense for 72 yards on nine plays culminating with a four yard plunge from Pallazola (12 carries, 101 yards) to make it 13-0 Fishermen.
On Swampscott’s next drive it attempted some trickery with a fake punt on fourth and 23 from midfield but the play resulted in a five yard loss. Seven plays later Pallazola hit the end zone again, this time from six yards out. A Horgan (10 carries, 107 yards) two point run made it 21-0 Gloucester, where it stood at the break.
The Big Blue needed a score to open the second half but instead Falzarano picked up another interception and on Gloucester’s first offensive play of the half Pallazola got his third score of the game on a 29 yard trap to make it 28-0.
“(Swampscott) was really keying in on the strong side sending its linebackers over there,” Zerilli said. “So we hit them with traps and reverses to the quick side.”
Swampscott, however, would not quit as quarterback Brian Santry (246 yards, three touchdown passes) drove the offense down the field and hit wide receiver Cory Carmody for a 14 yard score to cut into the lead.
The defense then came up big forcing Gloucester into a three-and-out and after a snap sailed over the Gloucester punters head set up shop deep in Fishermen territory.
Santry would hit Carmody again for another score to cut the lead to 28-14.
“We showed some pride fighting our way back into the game in the second half,” Dembowski said.
Gloucester, however, made sure that was as close as Swampscott would get as it followed the Big Blue score with a one yard Horgan touchdown run and a 19 yard Horgan pass from Parisi on the next two drives to make it 41-14.
Swampscott got a late touchdown from Alex Powell, but Pallazola picked off the two point try and raced 100 yards to give Gloucester another two points and cap the scoring at 43-20.
“We played Fishermen football tonight,” Parisi said. “I think once we got the ball rolling we knew we could do it. We have had it all year we just had a couple tough breaks. We started clicking as a team. Secondary had some doubts but tonight we got four picks and we were flawless.”
Gloucester 43 Swampscott 21 at Hyland Field, Manchester Swampscott 0 0 14 6 |20 Gloucester 7 14 14 8 |43 G- Mike Falzarano 80 interception return (Santo Parisi kick) G- Jordan Pallazola 4 run (kick failed) G- Pallazola 6 run (Mark Horgan run) G- Pallazola 29 run (Parisi kick) S- Cory Carmody 14 pass from Brian Santry (kick failed) S- Carmody 12 pass from Santry (Santry run) G- Horgan 1 run (Parisi kick) G- Horgan 19 pass from Parisi (kick failed) S- Alex Powell 12 pass from Santry (Pallazola interception return for score) Individual Stats Rushing: S| Brian Santry 7-14, Aaron Cronin 2-6, Mike Faia 5-1, Robert Serino 1-(-5). G| Mark Horgan 10-107, Jordan Pallazola 12-101, John Curcuru 8-34, Anthony Palazzola 1-18, Alex Enes 3-13, Santo Parisi 3-11, Devin Hemeon 1-5, CJ Cracchiolo 1-3. Passing: S| Brian Santry 21-32-246-3-4. G| Santo Parisi 3-4-54-1-0. Receiving: S| Alex Powell 5-65, Aaron Cronin 5-61, Cory Carmody 4-61 Josh Rothwell 4-37, Ben Faulkner 2-13, Robert Serino 1-9. G| Mike Falzarano 1-24, Mark Horgan 1-19, Devin Hemeon 1-11. Lynnfield 47, Manchester Essex 13 at Hyland Field, Manchester Lynnfield 14 20 7 6 |47 Manchester Essex 6 0 7 0 |13 L- Kyle McGah 1 run (Alex Roper kick) L- Matthew Kramich 35 pass from Michael Karavetsos (Roper kick) M- John Beardsley 36 pass from Cory Burnham (kick blocked) L- AJ Gallo 28 pass from Karavetsos (kick failed) L- Tyler Palumbo 2 run (Roper kick) L- McGah 1 run (Roper kick) L- Adam Buchanan 1 run (Roper kick) M- Chris Dumont 33 run (Beardsley kick) L- Daniel Sullivan 18 run (kick failed) INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING: Lynnfield | McGah 15-94, Anthony Costa 4-26, Sullivan 5-28, Karavetsos 7-26, Alexander Pascucci 1-11, Buchanan 3-10, Ryan Devoe 1-6, Chad Martin 1-6, Jonathan Knee 2-5, Alex Rugato 2-2, Daniel Bronshvayg 2-(-2); Manchester Essex | Dumont 4-31, Nate Riehl 3-23, Beardsley 2-10, Craig Carter 1-3, Jack Hennigan 1-3, Burnham 7-2. PASSING: Lynnfield | Karavetsos 7-11-141-2-0, Sullivan 2-3-14-0-0; Manchester Essex | Burnham 3-11-63-1-0. RECEIVING: Lynnfield | Kramich 4-94, Gallo 2-37, McGah 1-14, Pascucci 1-12, Michael Soden 1-2; Manchester Essex | Beardsley 1-36, Henry Gedney 1-15, Brian McAuliff 1-12.