DANVERS — The Classical football team was unable to build upon the momentum gained in last week’s high-scoring win over Brockton as they hit the road on Friday night, dropping a 44-22 decision to Danvers in a Northeastern Conference contest at Dr. Deering Stadium.
Senior Daniel Gisonno led Classical touchdown drives in each of the last three quarters, but the hosts proved to be too much — scoring twice in both the first and second quarters.
“I thought we fought through some adversity early, but we just got too far behind early and then again late,” said Classical head coach Brian Vaughan. “We tried to make a run late, looking to punch it in after (recovering a fumble to begin) the second half. Things just didn’t go our way.”
The Falcons enjoyed a bye week after their season-opening win over Masco but showed no signs of rust, scoring a pair of first-quarter touchdowns. Chase Eary finished Danvers’ nine-play opening drive with consecutive five-yard runs before Jack Strangie added a two-point conversion.
Classical was stopped in four plays on its first series. The Falcons then doubled their lead with another run-heavy drive, but quarterback Ezra Lombardi completed it with a 44-yard pass to Strangie. Max Leete kicked his first of four extra points to make the score 15-0.
“Coach (Ryan) Nolan does an outstanding job,” Vaughan said of Danvers. “You know what they’re going to do, but we just didn’t stop it tonight.”
The Rams cut their deficit to one score on a second offensive sequence that ran into the second quarter. Gisonno completed four passes before he and junior back Kalvin So took over on the ground late. A six-yard keeper and Kyle Durant’s PAT made the score 15-7.
Richard Canova closed the first half with back-to-back scoring runs for Danvers, including a 50-yarder that Strangie followed up with a two-point conversion. A 12-yard run came in the waning seconds, giving the hosts a 30-7 advantage.
“We’re a team that wants to play physical, get downhill, and stop the run, and we’ve got the kids who can do that,” said Nolan. “We were ready to go and knew what we wanted to establish. Ezra stepped up and made some big, big throws for us and that allowed us to run the ball.”
Neither team capitalized on fumble recoveries to begin the second half, but the Rams scored first on Jeffrey Hill’s 36-yard reception. Danvers responded on Strangie’s 11-yard catch in the final minute of the third quarter before Eary ran home from 18 yards out to begin the fourth.
So finished the scoring with a 32-yard run to cap a six-play Classical drive. Maurice Sequeira added a two-point conversion from Gisonno with less than five minutes left.
“I thought Dan (Gisonno) made some plays, but we didn’t make enough as a team around him,” Vaughan said. “We have to improve in all aspects. I think we’ll be alright.”
Next Friday, Classical visits Revere while Danvers hosts Winthrop.