PEABODY — The Peabody football team snatched defeat from what was shaping up to be a come-from-behind victory over Northeastern Conference rival Danvers Friday night at Coley Lee Field.
With a little more than two minutes to go, the Tanners lined up for a go-ahead 22-yard field goal, but the kick sailed wide, sealing a 14-13 win for the Falcons.
“We just couldn’t make that big play and we did just enough to lose,” said Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt. “We just made some mistakes and we had trouble handling the ball. We made some great halftime adjustments on both sides of the ball and we had plenty of opportunities to win this game.You can’t blame it on the kicker as we should have scored a lot more than 13 points.”
On its second possession, Peabody drove all the way to the Falcons’ 11-yard line only to stall. Joe Swanton missed a 29-yard field goal attempt, and that was all the Falcons needed to drive 80 yards in 12 plays, the final a 7-yard dash into the end zone by Chase Eary. Maximillian Leete added the point and it was 7-0, Danvers, with 9:18 to play in the half.
Peabody fumbled the ball away on the first play of its next drive. Danvers needed only three plays to make it a 14-0 game on a 28-yard run by JP Kelter.
Danvers threatened late in the half, driving all the way to the Peabody six. But a Brandon Caniff interception (4 catches, 48 yards)in the end zone closed out the half, keeping it a two-score game at 14-0.
Peabody made a game of it in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns in a 1:27 span to make it 14-13 with 8:34 left in the third quarter.
Facing a third-and-8 from its own 35, with an empty backfield, quarterback Alex DeNisco (11-of-13, 146 yards, TD) hit Colby Therrien (2 catches, 70 yards) on the numbers, who took it 65 yards into the end zone to make it 14-6. The PAT was blocked.
“Alex is getting better and is more steady getting his reads,” said Bettencourt. “He showed much better poise.”
A bad snap on a punt attempt on the Falcons’ next possession led to a turnover on downs with Peabody taking over at the Danvers 8. Therrien took it the rest of the way to make it 14-13 after Swanton nailed the PAT.
“We were excited on the big first score by Colby, so excited that one of our guys forgets about the PAT so we only had 10 guys on the field,” sais Bettencourt. “That’s not on the kicker, that’s on us.”
Despite the loss, Bettencourt gave a shout out to the defense.
“In the first half we gave them so very short fields but when we didn’t I thought our defense was outstanding,” he said.
Peabody’s 1969 Class A state championship team was honored at halftime.
The Tanners’ (2-2) next game is at Marblehead Friday (7).
“We don’t have much time to hang our heads,” Bettencourt said. “The bottom line is we prepared for this game. We had a great week of practice.The big things we executed, but it was the little things that got us.”