DANVERS — Friday night’s game between the Swampscott and Danvers football teams was one the Big Blue would like to have back.
Despite heavy downpours, Swampscott didn’t have much trouble moving the chains with its pass-heavy attack. But finishing drives was a struggle in a 7-6 loss to the Falcons at Blocksidge Field.
“We thought we had great playcalling,” Swampscott coach Bobby Serino said. “The wind was very tricky for aerial attacks. Sometimes the kids thought they had it in their hands and all of the sudden it blew right into their chests. The bottom line is the kids came back out. I asked them to fight like they did in the English game and they did.”
Graham Inzana (14-for-26, 150 yards) connected with Zack Palmer on a 55-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter for Swampscott’s lone score.
Chase Eary’s 15-yard touchdown catch from Ezra Lombardi gave Danvers a 7-0 edge. Senior running back Richard Canova carried Danvers with 106 rushing yards on 25 carries.
“We tackled high all night,” Serino said. “You can’t tackle high on a wet day, as coach (Peter) Bush said. But we had some really good stops. I think we did a pretty good job holding that team to seven points.”
Swampscott drove its way into Danvers’ side of the field on its first three possessions, yet couldn’t find the end zone. The wet weather didn’t stop the Big Blue from throwing the ball but a couple dropped passes, one in the end zone, stalled the offense.
“We ran into a perfect storm,” Serino said. “The weather hurt us more than it hurt them.”
Danvers turned the ball over twice through the first 24 minutes- once on Andrew Augustin’s interception at Danvers’ 27 and Angelo Ciciotti recovered a fumble at his own 37 toward the close of the half.
The lone score at halftime was Eary’s 15-yard touchdown catch with 9:17 remaining in the second quarter. Lombardi tacked on the extra point to give Danvers its 7-0 lead at recess.
Swampscott punched back at the start of the second half. With the ball near midfield, Inzana made a perfect read in finding a wide-open Palmer for a 55-yard touchdown pass to put the Big Blue on the board just 50 seconds into the third quarter.
“They had us on man (coverage) and we liked when they were in man,” Serino said. “We had people that could beat them but with the gusts we had it was a tough game for us. We were there with a chance to win, we just didn’t come through.”
With kicker Tom Frisoli out sick, Swampscott was forced to go for a 2-point conversion. An incomplete pass on the attempt allowed Danvers to cling to a 7-6 lead.
Needing one last shot at the end zone, Swampscott’s defense forced a punt with six minutes remaining. Behind a string of Dylan January (80 rushing yards) runs, the Big Blue marched inside Danvers’ 20.
Their last hope stalled when Canova stripped Inzana with 57.8 seconds to go. Swampscott recovered the ball but lost 20 yards on the play and a pass attempt on 4th-and-long from Danvers’ 35 was to no avail.
Danvers (5-0) held on for its third consecutive 1-point win.
Swampscott (3-2) hosts Peabody next Friday (7).