By Greg Phipps
Holding a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter of last Friday’s matchup at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Revere Patriots held off a spirited rally by the Peabody Tanners to notch a key 27-25 victory.
It was Revere’s second win in a row following two losses to open the season. On the other side, Peabody dropped to 1-3, having suffered its third consecutive defeat after a season-opening triumph.
On Friday, after Peabody QB Matt Jandrisevits hit Colby Therrien on a 57-yard pass play to set up a three-yard Angel Paulino touchdown run, Peabody climbed to within 27-19 with less than 10 minutes left in the contest. A failed two-point conversion left the Tanners eight points behind.
Revere was then able to stave off Peabody after the Tanners drove to the Patriots’ 22, where four straight pass plays went incomplete and it appeared the visitors had dodged a bullet. That is until Revere QB Jonathan Murphy fumbled and Abe Kaba recovered for the Tanners at Revere’s 35. There was 1:18 remaining and Peabody quickly marched it into the end zone, as Paulino closed it out with his third scoring run of the game to make it 27-25 with 18 seconds to go. Once again, Peabody failed on the subsequent two-point play.
The Tanners still had a shot after recovering an onside kick and actually setting up for a lengthy field goal in the waning seconds. But they never got the kickoff, and the Patriots escaped with the two-point win.
“This is the hardest game I’ve had to coach in 30 years,” proclaimed Revere head coach Louis Cicatelli afterward. “We had to play with five backups tonight, and we were already down three starters coming into the game. We hung in there. This a tough bunch, a scrappy team, and I’m proud of our kids, especially our younger players who stepped up. There’s no quit in them.”
Revere’s Murphy threw for 59 yards on two long completions and scored three times on short bursts from inside the two. He ran for 21 yards. The biggest contributors on the ground were Darius McNeil (99 yards on 20 carries) and Lucas Barbosa (56 yards on 12 carries). The Patriots put 13 points on the board before Peabody even had a possession.
After a facemask call aided their scoring drive to open the game, the Patriots caught a second break when Peabody’s Luis Guridys fumbled away the ensuing kickoff on his 14 and Revere took advantage to increase the lead to two scores. A Therrien one-yard TD run off a long Peabody drive made it 13-6. The Patriots answered with another TD to go into the half ahead 20-6.
The Tanners scored to make it 20-13 before a 70-yard kickoff return gave Revere the ball inside the Peabody five. From there, the Patriots scored to go back up by 14. Revere kicker Rayan Riazi connected on three PAT attempts, while Peabody kicker Austin Leggett was successful on one of two tries.
For Peabody, Jandrisevits finished with 136 yards passing and 142 rushing (278 combined), while backup QB Alex DeNisco had 27 through the air. Paulino rambled for 78 yards to go with his three touchdowns.
“We had our opportunities to win this game; we just couldn’t make plays when we needed to,” said Peabody head coach Mark Bettencourt. “We made just enough mistakes to lose, and that’s very frustrating. Things just aren’t falling our way right now. We had a great week of practice. The kids are working hard, and we never gave up. I didn’t see any of our kids hanging their heads tonight. We kept fighting right to the end.”
On the Revere side, Cicatelli praised his defensive coach for his strategy in disrupting the Peabody attack enough to come out with the win. “He did a great job. We blitzed more and more in short yardage situations, and it slowed them down,” the coach said.
The Patriots travel to take on Medford this Friday night. Meanwhile, the Tanners will look to stop the bleeding and put themselves back in the postseason picture when they travel to play Masconomet on Friday at 7 p.m. “We’ve been 1-3 and made the playoffs, and we’ve been 1-3 and not made the playoffs. We have to win as many games as we can and hope things work out for us,” said Bettencourt.
(Advocate photos by Al Terminiello)