With rain pouring down and winds whipping off of Gloucester Harbor onto Newell Stadium, the Gloucester and Beverly football teams were really limited in what they could do offensively.
As a result, it came down to a battle in the trenches and which team was more physical as neither team had a single yard through the air. That team ended up being the visiting Panthers.
Behind 165 yards and three touchdowns on the ground from Duncan Moreland and 96 yards rushing and a score from Joe Loreti, the Panthers left Newell Stadium with a 28-0 win to improve to 3-2 on the season. Gloucester, on the other hand, falls to 0-5.
“We definitely had to rein in some of the things we could do with the weather,” Beverly head coach Andrew Morency said. “It was a physical game and it came down to our defense and run game and they were able to get it done. That combination of Duncan and Loreti was really nice tonight.”
While the Beverly offense chewed up big yards on the ground, its defense ruled the day as it held Gloucester, which has now been shut out in four straight games, to just 74 yards of offense, 26 in the first half. Gloucester’s lone sustained drive came in the third and fourth quarter when it went 46 yards in 16 plays and 10:38 seconds only to turn it over on downs at the 20.
“We were more physical today,” Gloucester head coach Dan O’Connor said. “Beverly is a big and tough team and they showed it. We’re hit by the injury bug and have a lot of young kids in there and I thought they played tough.”
After forcing a three-and-out on Gloucester’s opening drive, it took the Panthers only three plays to find the end zone as Moreland raced 18 yards to give them a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Moreland found some more room on the ground with a 60-yard touchdown, which came two plays after he converted a big fourth down conversion in his own territory. The score gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead, which the team would take into halftime.
“We saw the last few weeks that Gloucester has been tough on teams early on,” Morency said. “We really made it a point to get out to a good start.”
Beverly essentially put the game away with its opening drive of the third quarter, which ended with a 57-yard touchdown run from Loretti.
He broke multiple tackles just past the line of scrimmage and outran the Gloucester defense for the score.
Moreland added his third touchdown of the night late in the third to make it 28-0.
“We hung in there but their size was a lot for us,” O’Connor said. “On the bright side, a lot of young kids got some experience tonight against a good team and we have some things we are hoping to build on next week.”
The Fishermen are back at Newell Stadium next Friday at 7 p.m. against Lynn Classical in a Northeastern Conference crossover battle. Beverly is back in action next Saturday at 1 p.m. against undefeated Danvers at Hurd Stadium.