The Gloucester football team may not take the field for another two plus weeks, but it’s never too early to talk football. The Fishermen’s football schedule was recently unveiled and the season is certainly not short on intriguing matchups.
Gloucester’s schedule is split in half with the first half of the season being played against non-league opponents in Lynn English, Andover, Weymouth, Masconomet, Peabody and Lynn English. The second half of the schedule will be played against NEC/CAL Division 2 opponents in Marblehead, Beverly, Salem, Swampscott and Danvers. The Fishermen will be looking to improve on a 2-9 record in 2011.
Here’s a look at some of the can’t miss games during the 2012 season.
Most Intriguing non-league matchup: Vs. Masconomet, October 6: The Chieftains visit Manchester Essex High School for a 2:00 p.m. Saturday tilt. Those who have seen Gloucester and Masconomet play over the last six seasons know that it always comes down to the final minutes regardless of the team’s records.
Case in point the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In 2010 Gloucester had one of the best teams in school history while Masconomet won just two games all season, but that didn’t stop the Chieftains from giving Gloucester a game.
Just last season, while the Chieftains were contending for the NEC/CAL Division 1 crown and Gloucester was stuck in the middle of a long losing streak, Gloucester nearly beat Masconomet outplaying them from start to finish but dropping the contest thanks to four lost fumbles, the last coming inside the 10 yard line with the Fishermen looking like they were going in for the winning touchdown.
If history repeats itself this one will come down to the final quarter. This matchup has turned into somewhat of a rivalry and each team always brings its best effort.
Most Intriguing league matchup: At Marblehead, October 19. The Fishermen will know just where they stand in the NEC/CAL Division 2 race early when they travel to the defending conference champs for a Friday night showdown.
Last season the Fishermen gave the Magicians all they could handle and even appeared to take the lead in the third quarter. The go ahead touchdown, however, was called back by a penalty and Marblehead went on to win the game by two scores.
If Gloucester can get past the always tough Magicians in the conference opener it will give them confidence heading into the remaining conference schedule, which is also a difficult ride.
The Fishermen are looking to beat Danvers and Salem again while Swampscott is looking to reload after graduating most of its key contributors from 2011. Beverly and Marblehead are the preseason front runners for the NEC crown as the Panthers return the league’s most dangerous skill position player in running back Brendan Flaherty.
Most Difficult Stretch: Gloucester has a brutal two week stretch coming up early in the season when it travels to Andover and Weymouth on September 14 and September 21 respectively.
Andover and Weymouth each play in higher divisions and both had their way with Gloucester in 2011.
While this stretch will surely be difficult, it’s nice to see Gloucester embrace out of conference challenges as playing teams of this caliber in back to back weeks will only make the team better in the long run.
Most Important Game: It may be the first game of the season but at this point Gloucester has to treat its opening night matchup with defending NEC/CAL Division 1 champion Lynn English on September 7 as its Super Bowl.
The Fishermen saw just how detrimental losing its opener can be as the Bulldogs wiped the floor with Gloucester beating them 41-0 in last years opener, that loss had a bit of a snowball effect and set the tone for the rest of the season.
The opening day loss to Lynn English in 2011 should be fresh in Gloucester’s minds. The Fishermen don’t want to be embarrassed on opening day again and a win over a quality opponent could go a long way.
2012 Gloucester High School Football Schedule Friday, September 7, vs. Lynn English* (7:00 p.m.) Friday, September 14, at Andover (7:00 p.m.) Friday, September 21, at Weymouth (7:00 p.m.) Friday, September 28, at Peabody (7:00 p.m.) Saturday, October 6, vs. Masconomet* (2:00 p.m.) Saturday, October 13, vs. Lynn Classical^ (7:00 p.m.) Friday, October 19, at Marblehead (7:00 p.m.) Saturday, October 27, vs. Beverly* (7:00 p.m.) Friday, November 2, at Salem (7:00 p.m.) Saturday, November 10, vs. Swampscott* (7:00 p.m.) Thursday, November 22, at Danvers (10:00 a.m.) *- at Hyland Field (Manchester Essex High School) ^- at Bishop Fenwick High School