By Nick Curcuru
---- — GLOUCESTER-- In last week’s season opening 15-14 win over Lynn Classical, the Gloucester football team survived a grind of a game to come away with the victory.
Friday’s game against Salem at New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium was different as Gloucester flexed its muscles firing on all cylinders and dominating the Witches for the vast majority of the game en route to a 43-15 drubbing.
The running attack was on full display Friday night as the Fishermen backfield feasted on the Salem defense rushing for more than 300 yards on the game, which is a more than 100 yard improvement from the week before. Starting running back John Curcuru went down with a first quarter injury but seniors Jordan Pallazola and Jon Good each picked up the slack as both eclipsed the century mark while Pallazola chipped in four touchdowns and a pair of two point conversions.
“We got nicked up right away with John Curcuru going down with a bruised hip, but we had a couple guys in there in Jordan Pallazola and Jon Good that just tore it up,” Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli said. “And the line was dominant opening up huge holes. It was a great team effort all around from the blocking to the running.”
The Fishermen running attack was on display from the get go as Curcuru made it 6-0 Fishermen just four plays in with a 49 yard dash.
Salem, however, would take the momentum right back as Shakir White picked up an errant snap on the ensuing extra point and raced 90 yards to cut the Gloucester lead to 6-2.
The Witches would then mount an impressive 13 play, 75 yard drive culminating in a Genrri Rosario six yard run to make it 8-6 Salem.
That was where Salem’s momentum would end, however, as Gloucester controlled the remainder of the game scoring the next 37 points in the contest.
On the ensuing drive after the Salem score the Fishermen cut through the Witches defense with relative ease and Pallazola scored his first touchdown of the game, a five yard plunge. Good would add the two point conversion to give Gloucester a 14-6 lead.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Gloucester offense went right back to work putting together another drive that also culminated with a Pallazola five yard run. His two point conversion made it 22-8.
The bruising fullback would add one more score before the half, a one yard run, and another two point conversion giving the Fishermen a commanding 30-8 lead at the half.
“(Salem) gave us fits on the first drive,” Zerilli said. “We had trouble stopping their running game. If you don’t make the right reads and over pursue they will put up points real quick. Once the defense figured out how to stop them we started getting into a groove and started running the ball well ourselves and wore them down. Which is what we try to do each game.”
The Fishermen, who did not punt in the game, put the Witches away early in the second half when a blocked punt from Jacob Emerson set up Gloucester at the Witches 36 yard line. Good would take it the distance on the very next play and the Fishermen were up 36-8.
Pallazola would add another one yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it 43-8 and the Witches got the final score of the contest on a 10 yard run from White to make it 43-15.
It truly was a dominant effort on both sides of the ball for the Fishermen. Pallazola and Good didn’t just get it done running the football, they both had big games on the defensive end as well making tackles all over the field. Captains Drew Shairs and David Dimaio had big games on defense while the Fishermen offensive line of Shairs, Filippo Zappa, Jason Lattof, Jack Goss and Robert Gwinn had their way with the Witches front seven.
Terrance Lane also played well on defense with an interception as did Joe Petrilli.
The win gives the Fishermen a 2-0 record on the seasons, and 22 points towards the Division 3 Northeast Standings.
Gloucester now turns its attention to Masconomet, as will take on the Chieftains on the road next Friday (7:00 p.m.).