BEVERLY, Mass. -– Beverly running back Brendan Flaherty wasted little time making his presence felt in the 2012 season as the senior captain took a Dave Rollins dump pass 67 yards for a touchdown on Beverly’s third offensive play from scrimmage.
Beverly relied heavily on Flaherty and fellow senior running back Kenny Pierce as they defeated reigning Division 3A Super Bowl champion Concord-Carlisle 34-7 on Saturday afternoon.
Flaherty, who has been playing meaningful varsity football since his freshman year, ran like he was shot out of a cannon on Saturday as he totaled 272 all-purpose yards to go along with four touchdowns. Flaherty amassed 101 of those yards in limited third quarter duty with 62 of those yards coming on three plays in Beverly’s final scoring drive.
“He is a great player,” Concord-Carlisle coach Mike Robichaud said of Flaherty. “He was probably the best player on the field when we played them last year too.”
Concord-Carlisle kept the game close in the first half as they answered Flaherty’s opening touchdown reception with a 14-play, 7:10 drive that ended in an Evan Boynton 2-yard scoring plunge to tie the game at 7-7 at the time.
Beverly answered back, however, as Rollins moved Beverly down the field and found senior wide receiver Ryan Shipp for a 16-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone. Rollins did a nice job of avoiding the rush, spun his body around, rolled to his left and executed the strike.
Flaherty would also factor in to the play of the game as he took a reverse pitch from his slot back position, stopped to gather his feet and found Pierce running behind the C-C defense for a 57-yard touchdown strike. The reverse pass caught the C-C secondary by surprise and gave Beverly a 19-7 lead that they would take to the halftime break.
The Beverly defense buckled down to begin the second half as they forced a key fumble and made a big fourth down stop to hand the ball back to Flaherty and the offense. Flaherty would make use of those possessions as he would score on runs of six and 35 in the third quarter to put the game away.
“I am proud of the way out kids played this week,” said Beverly coach Dan Bauer after the game. “Concord-Carlisle is a great opponent and they always play hard so we are happy that things turned out the way they did. It was not easy, that’s for sure.”
Wing-T: Both Beverly and Concord-Carlisle run the Wing-T offense. One key to a successful Wing-T offense is the ability of the offensive linemen to move and trap the opposing defensive front. Both teams possess athletic offensive lineman that move well and both coaches stressed the importance of improving and executing their systems.
“That Wing-T is very, very fast,” Bauer said of defending C-C’s offense. “It’s tough. They get off tackle and can cut inside. We missed a few of our reads and they had some third downs. It was a good job from them to convert some of those third downs on the first drive.”
Changing of the guard: At the start of every high school football season teams face the challenge of replacing talented groups of senior leaders. C-C’s task may be a little more challenging this season as last year’s senior class was one of the most decorated classes in C-C history. Players like running back George Craan (Boston College), defensive end Henry Bumpus (Brown) and offensive linemen Andrew vanderWilden (Brown) do not come along ever year in a program.
Despite the losses and the youthful roster make-up Robichaud and his staff are excited to work with their team to improve each day.
“The kids and coaches have high expectations and we want to win every game,” Robichaud said. “We want to set that bar high and we are capable of getting there. We may not have the kind of depth of last year’s team but there were definitely signs out there today, especially offensively, that we can move the football out there against a very good team.”
This was C-C’s first loss since it was defeated by Duxbury in the 2010 Division 2A Super Bowl game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. C-C ran the table in 2011 on their way to a perfect Super Bowl winning season.
BEVERLY 34, CONCORD-CARLISLE 7
BEV (1-0) 7 12 15 0 --- 34
C-C (0-1) 7 0 0 0 --- 7
B- Brendan Flaherty 67 pass from Dave Rollins (Harry Brown kick)
C - Evan Boynton 2 run (Boynton kick)
B- Ryan Shipp 16 pass from Rollins (kick blocked)
B - Kenny Pierce 57 pass from Flaherty (pass failed)
B – Flaherty 6-yard run (Flaherty run)
B – Flaherty 35 run (Brown kick)