Sports

Swampscott, Gloucester have a little less pressure this time

In olden days (like last year), Saturday’s Gloucester-Swampscott game at Blocksidge Field (2:30) would have been huge.You’d have two undefeated teams playing in a setup where only one team from the Northeastern Conference could advance to the postseason. And you could make much out of the study of contrasts both teams presented.You can still talk about the study of contrasts. And you can still talk about the fact that something always has to give when you’re discussing the impending confrontation between two unbeaten high school football teams.But unless one team or the other ties for its respective league title (Swampscott in the NEC/Small; Gloucester in the NEC/Large) and a tiebreaker involves overall record, Saturday’s game loses just a bit of its urgency.Beyond that, though, everything else applies. Gloucester, clearly the class of the league at this juncture, opened the season with three New England Patriot-esque scores (34-14 over a Winthrop team that keeps improving, 48-15 over Marblehead, and 34-7 over Beverly). Lest anyone dismiss those scores as being large vs. small issue, it should be noted that the Fishermen lost to two of those teams – Beverly and Winthrop – last year.Last week, the team’s win over Division 1 Barnstable was more competitive – 28-20. And the score was tied 14-14 after three quarters.Swampscott’s 4-0 record, on the other hand, has been fraught with a bit more tension. There was the 14-12 opener over Winchester (a good team that thrashed Malden Catholic a week later) thanks to a blocked field goal; and Week 3’s 21-20 Houdini act over Lynn English at Manning Field.And even last week, the Big Blue had to score 14 fourth-quarter points to shake off a pesky Salem team, 21-6.These two coastal teams have had a healthy rivalry. Two years ago, the Fishermen came into Blocksidge Field needing a win to keep pace with Winthrop – which was beginning to take charge in the NEC – and lost, 28-0, during a freak snow/mud storm. A year later, a struggling Swampscott squad went to Gloucester, and took it on the chin, 28-7.Other games Saturday:Tech at MinutemanAt Minuteman (1:30), for the second week in a row, the Tigers (2-0) face a team looking for its first win.Last week, Tech hung a 36-8 loss on North Shore Vocational, dropping the Bulldogs to 0-4. This week, it’s the Mustangs who are 0-4.Meantime, Tech is off to a good start, having opened the season with a 34-14 win over Mystic Valley.Dracut at St. John’sAt Cronin Field (2), the Eagles (2-2) put on a competitive performance last Friday against Brockton (a 19-14 loss) after having been thrashed a week earlier by Everett.This week, it’s 1-3 Dracut from the Merrimack Valley Conference.But before anyone starts jumping up and down, the aggregate deficit in those three games has been five points. On the other hand, Dracut handled Bourne very easily in its season opener, 22-6.Last year, Dracut defeated The Prep, 40-35, which was the beginning of a three-game slide for the Eagles.Peabody at BeverlyAt Hurd Stadium (2:30), this is a “something’s got to give” game. Both teams are 1-3, and both teams had every reason to expect better when the season began.Peabody finally got its first victory of the season last week against Danvers. Beverly, meanwhile, lost its third straight, 7-0, to Revere.

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