By Greg Phipps
For the second week in a row, mistakes and missed opportunities cost the Peabody football team against a top Northeastern Conference opponent. And for the second straight time, the result was a loss.
A second-half surge by the host Marblehead Magicians last Friday night and miscues by the Tanners all added up to a 28-7 Marblehead triumph. Though, from Peabody’s perspective, this game was far more competitive than the previous week’s 27-point defeat at Danvers.
The Tanners trailed 7-0 at the half and perhaps could have had a lead. They out-gained the Magicians by a 97-52 margin but failed to put any points on the board. A botched punt gave the Magicians the ball on the Peabody 11, and the hosts were able to take it in for the lone TD of the opening 22 minutes.
On the bright side, having now played perhaps their two toughest opponents of the season, the Tanners can use the experience from these games as a springboard to better things moving forward. “Are we happy we’re 1-2? No, we’re not, but Danvers and Marblehead are two of the best teams on our schedule, so we’ll keep working and it will come,” Peabody head coach Mark Bettencourt told the press afterward – “It’s a big picture, a big puzzle, and things are still being put into place.”
The complexion turned completely in Marblehead’s favor in the second half as Peabody was unable to get much going offensively (until late with the game already decided). The Tanners, who ended up with 177 total yards of offense (41 through the air), were forced to punt on their first three possessions.
Meanwhile, the Magicians’ sophisticated attack began to heat up, scoring 21 consecutive points to put it out of reach. Peabody’s starting QB Matt Jandrisevits had to leave the game after being sacked hard in the second half. Backup Alex DeNisco came in and ended up hitting Dylan Peluso on a 43-yard scoring play in the final three minutes.
Other than that scoring play, the only bright spot for Peabody offensively was Angel Paulino’s 85 yards rushing on 15 carries. “We had some success running the ball, but you can’t only run the ball. You have to keep teams honest,” Bettencourt said of his team’s offensive output.
Despite surrendering 28 points, the Tanners’ defense showed improvement from the previous game. Bettencourt cited the efforts of Michael Lock and Chris Glass, as well as Brandon Caniff and Carlos Hernandez. “Defensively we’re getting better. We did a good job in the first half and gave them more short fields in the second. You can’t play defense like that all day, especially against Marblehead.”
This Friday, the Tanners, now 1-2, host a much-improved Revere team (also 1-2) that gave Marblehead a tough time before bowing 18-6 in the second week of the season. The Patriots scored a 19-16 overtime win over Lynn Classical last week.