GLOUCESTER– Classical’s offense has no shortage of weapons.
Quarterback Daniel Gisonno has emerged as a top-notch dual threat under center and running back Kalvin So’s progressing as a skilled ball carrier.
Saturday at Newell Stadium, Classical’s receivers made their statement in a 58-6 win over Gloucester- the Rams’ third victory in as many weeks.
Jeffrey Hill (six receptions, 145 yards) reeled in three touchdown passes, Brandon Summers (seven receptions, 117 yards) caught two more, all from Gisonno, and Classical’s passing game cashed in on every opening.
“We’re a little bit different from the way we’ve been in the past,” Rams coach Brian Vaughan said. “In the past, Nashaun (Butler) was a stud and he’s at Framingham State now. That was really our aerial attack. This year we have guys that step up in different weeks, based on the matchups. We have a group of four guys (Hill, Summers, Maurice Sequeira and Andy De Leon) that we trust out there.”
Gisonno completed 16-of-21 pass attempts for 272 yards and added a 16-yard touchdown run to his memorable performance. Jacob Reyes and Edgar Ramirez both scored their first varsity touchdowns, via rush, in the second half. Kicker Kyle Durant went 4-for-5 on PAT kicks.
Defensively, the Rams clamped down after falling into a 6-0 hole on the opening possession.
“We had some miscommunication problems on that first drive and we were able to fix it,” Vaughan said. “I think that helped a little bit. We have a long way to go. I think we still have room to get better on defense.”
Harrison Marshall returned the opening kickoff to Gloucester’s 38. Quarterback Sam Ciolino put the Fishermen in Classical territory with a 37-yard strike to Marshall. Gloucester took its first lead of the season on Ciolino’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Ben Renales.
“We thought we could take a chance,” Gloucester coach Dan O’Connor, a former assistant at KIPP, said. “We took a chance. We had the play. When their energy’s high and their morale’s up, they can make plays.”
Then the Rams went to work and it was all Classical from there.
Hill caught touchdown throws of 22 and 60 yards (Durant kick, Kalvin So rush) in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Summers broke free for touchdown receptions of 71 and 15 yards (Sequeira conversions) to give Classical a 31-6 lead at halftime.
“Classical has athletes across the board,” O’Connor said. “They have a quarterback that can throw and you can’t take everything away. That’s tough to do. It’s a team that enjoys playing the game of football. They have fun. When they’re flying around, they’re tough for anybody to stop.”
It took the Rams just 19 seconds to find the end zone in the third quarter. On its first play from scrimmage in the second half, Gisonno connected with Hill for a 45-yard score (Durant kick). Gisonno completed his afternoon with a 16-yard touchdown carry midway through the period (kick missed).
Reyes bumped Classical’s lead to 51-6 at the close of the third quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run (Durant kick). Ramirez’s 10-yard scamper in the fourth quarter (Durant kick) sealed the 58-6 win.
“We always talk about how it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Vaughan said. “Our goal is to get better every day. That’s still our goal. We want to be better every day. If we can do that, we’ll be in a position to be successful on game days.”
Classical (4-2) hosts Saugus (1-5) Saturday night (7). A win goes a long way in boosting the Rams’ chances of qualifying for the Division 3 North state tournament.
“Saugus is a solid, scrappy football team,” Vaughan said. “They have physical kids. I’m pretty sure they’ll be ready to rock and roll, as they always are. I’m expecting a hard-fought football game.”
Gloucester (0-6) hosts Swampscott (4-2) Friday night (7).