GLOUCESTER-- Early in Gloucester’s 43-15 win over Salem Friday night at Newell Stadium, it appeared that the Fishermen and Witches would engage in a shootout.
It took just four plays for Gloucester to get on the board on its first drive of the night with John Curcuru racing 49 yards to pay dirt. The Witches also had little trouble finding the end zone on their first drive, traveling 75 yards on 13 plays culminating with a Genrri Rosario six yard run. Two drives, two scores, two impressive offensive possessions.
Gloucester, however, made some adjustments against Salem’s read option, where quarterback Austin Connolly and running back Aaron Palmer gashed them on the opening drive of the game.
“We started to make a bit of an adjustment once they got into the red zone on the opening drive,” Zerilli said. “(Connolly) was riding that fake hard, we were over pursuing and he was hitting cutback lanes. But when they got in the red zone, the kids started to get a feel of what they were doing to beat us and how to stop it. We made a little bit of an adjustment with our linebackers but it was mostly the kids understanding what they were doing. You have to give a lot of credit to them for the way they played after that first drive.”
Following that first drive, it was straight up domination from the Gloucester defense in all facets of the game. From there, Gloucester forced a trio of three-and-outs while allowing just 81 more yards with the first team defense in the game before Salem mounted a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.
The Fishermen were always in the right spot, they gave equal respect to both the quarterback and the running back, and they tackled well.
Gloucester also shut down the Witches passing game holding them to -6 yards on two completions, which went for one yard and -7 yards.