Steve Cummings era begins with a 34-6 setback against Beverly

SENIOR QB Ned Buckley (#10) drops back to pass as Matt Mercurio (#53) and Zack Kane (#33) prepare to block for him. Buckley threw for 172 yards and a touchdown against Beverly on Friday night in the season opener at Landrigan Field. (Donna Larsson Photo)

SENIOR QB Ned Buckley (#10) drops back to pass as Matt Mercurio (#53) and Zack Kane (#33) prepare to block for him. Buckley threw for 172 yards and a touchdown against Beverly on Friday night in the season opener at Landrigan Field. (Donna Larsson Photo)

Published in the September 14, 2015 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The Steve Cummings era didn’t begin like the new Warrior head coach or Wakefield Memorial High football team envisioned.

SENIOR WR Tighe Beck (#5) had five reception for 110 yards and a touchdown on Friday night at Landrigan Field. (Donna Larsson Photo)

SENIOR WR Tighe Beck (#5) had five reception for 110 yards and a touchdown on Friday night at Landrigan Field. (Donna Larsson Photo)

The Warriors were far from perfect and Beverly made the most of Wakefield’s miscues handing the Warriors a 34-6 non-league loss in the season opener on Friday night at Landrigan Field.

Wakefield surrendered several big runs on defense, turned the ball over three times, and committed a couple of untimely penalties which the Panthers pounced on and turned into points.

Beverly outgained Wakefield in total yards, 366-208, with most of them coming on the ground with 321 rushing yards. Wakefield, meanwhile, gained most of its yards through the air with 191. But that probably was a result of the Warriors playing from behind as much as them wanting to incorporate the passing game for a balanced attack.

Senior QB Ned Buckley completed 12 out of 21 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown. He also threw one interception which was returned 75 yards for a Beverly touchdown.

Buckley’s primary target was senior WR Tighe Beck. Beck had five receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown.

Beck, a defensive back, also led Wakefield’s defensive effort with seven tackles, while senior LB Zack Kane had six stops. Evan Gourville, a senior lineman, had four tackles. Logan Dunn, a senior lineman, had a fumble recovery as well.

“We needed to play a flawless game against Beverly and we far from flawless,” said Cummings. “They capitalized on our mistakes and we didn’t capitalize on theirs. We had a few turnovers, one of which they returned for a score. We also had a couple of untimely penalties. Against a good football team it wasn’t good enough. We have to get better. We had a great effort, I’m happy with that.”

Senior running back Matt Madden and Sam Abate both gained over 100 yards on the ground for the Panthers. Madden rushed for 122 yards on 10 carries with one TD, while Abate rushed for 113 yards on 10 carries with one TD. Abate also caught Beverly’s only pass of the night, a 45 yarder which set up one of the Panthers touchdowns.

Wakefield received the ball first and moved the ball into Beverly territory as it started at its own 23. Buckley gained eight yards on first down, and after a two yard loss by PJ Iannuzzi, Paul McGunigle (21 yards on eight carries) gained eight yards and a first down. McGunigle gained three yards and then Beck caught a 14 yards pass and first down as the Warriors brought the ball down to the Beverly 46.

A Kevin Russo run was negated by matching penalties. McGunigle then lost two yards before Wakefield gained five yards on an offsides call against Beverly. Kane gained a yard on second down and Buckley fired an incompletion on third down as the drive stalled and Wakefield punted the ball away.

Beverly begin its first drive at its own five yard line and needed six plays to get into the end zone.

Abate had runs of 11, four, seven, and five yards for two first downs as the Panthers moved the ball out to their own 32. After a six yard run by Madden, the senior broke through the left side of the line and took the ball 62 yards to the end zone.

Madden added the PAT to give Beverly a 7-0 lead with 4:31 left in the first quarter.

Wakefield picked one first down on its next drive as it overcame a false start and delay of game penalties, converting a third down and 16 from its own 27 with Buckley completing a 35 yard strike to Beck down the left sideline. But the drive stalled as Buckley was sacked twice by Christian Miller and Hugh Calice. That resulted in the Warriors punting the ball away to begin the second quarter.

Beverly started at its own 26 and picked up one first down on an eight yard run by Madden. But on the next play, Abate fumbled the ball after an eight yard gain as Dunn recovered the loose football at the Beverly 45.

After a false start penalty and a five yard reception by McGunigle, Buckley lost a yard and the ball as Beverly’s Nick Gonzalez recovered for the Panthers at their own 46.

The two teams then traded punts before Beverly began its second scoring possession at its own 31 and needed nine plays to get into the end zone.

Madden had a run of four yards, Abate had five, and Madden had three for a first down. Senior QB Kevin Morency threw an incomplete pass before Madden gained seven yards with a spot holding penalty pushing the ball back to the Beverly 40. The Panthers then went to their bag of tricks as junior RB Kyle Chouinard took the ball and completed a 45 yard halfback option pass to Abate, who eluded several tackles before being taken down by Ben Yandell at the Wakefield 15.

Madden gained four yards and Miller then ran ahead for three yards. On third down and three from the Warrior eight, Miller broke through for the TD with 3:29 left in the second quarter.

Madden made the PAT to give the Panthers a 14-0 lead.

The Warriors moved the ball deep into Beverly territory on its next possession. Beginning at its own 25, Buckley gained four yards and one yard. The senior QB then found Beck with a 35 yard completion to bring the ball down to the Panther 37. Buckley gained two yards on first down. On second down, Calice intercepted Buckley’s pass at the 25 and returned it 75 yards for Beverly’s third touchdown of the night.

The PAT attempt was no good as Beverly held a 20-0 advantage with 1:38 left in the first half.

The Warriors picked up two first downs on its final possession of the first half. Senior Nick Elcewicz caught an 11 yard pass and Buckley gained 12 yards to move the chains. But the drive stalled at the Beverly 45 after two incompletions and a sack by senior DB Peter Mulumba.

Beverly received the ball first in the third quarter and needed five plays to score its fourth touchdown of the night.

Starting at its own 33, Madden gained 11 yards on first down. There was a fumble on the play, but the Panthers recovered their own miscue. Chouinard then ran for eight yards and one yard. Madden gained six yards to the Warrior 41.

Abate took the handoff and broke through on the left side as he took the ball 41 yards to the end zone. Jordan Rawding then rushed in the two-point conversion attempt to give Beverly a 28-0 lead with 9:29 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors responded on their next series to break up the shutout. Wakefield, starting its own 40 after a 30 yard kickoff return by Beck, sustained a 13 play drive.

McGunigle had runs of four yards and zero yards. Beck then caught a 13 yard pass for a first down at the Beverly 43. McGunigle gained two yards, Buckley rushed for six yards, and McGunigle gained three yards for a first down. After another three yard run by McGunigle and two incompletions by Buckley, Wakefield found itself in a fourth down and seven situation from the Panther 29. Buckley found senior WR Mike Moran with a 15 yard pass down the middle to move the chains.

Buckey had an incompletion and a yard gain before finding Beck with a 13 yard pass in the right corner of the end zone on a third down and nine play to get the Warriors on the scoreboard. The pass on the two-point conversion attempt was no good as Wakefield trailed 28-6 with 4:58 left in the third quarter.

Beverly didn’t pick up a first down on its next drive and Wakefield took over at its own 46. Buckley completed pass of 11 yards and 10 yards to McGunigle to bring the ball down to the Beverly 33. On the next play, Buckley gained four yards but lost the football as Christian Echevarria recovered at the Beverly 29.

From there, the Panthers needed 10 plays to score their final TD of the contest.

Abate had runs of three yards, 29 yards, and six yards as the third quarter ended and the fourth quarter began. Mulumba gained five yards before Chouinard ripped off runs of four and eight yards. After a false start penalty, Mulumba rushed for seven yards and nine yards to set up a first down and goal from the Warrior five. Mulumba gained three yards before taking the ball in from two yards out.

The snap on the PAT attempt was bobbled and Morency’s pass for two points was no good as Beverly led 34-6 with 7:31 remaining in the game.

“Beverly didn’t do anything that we didn’t expect,” said Cummings. “We took some bad angles on the ball and they executed better than we did. We were out of alignment on some plays. Abington runs the same type of offense and we are going to need to do a better job. I believe when we watch the film, we will get better from this. We’ll learn from this game.”

Both teams put in backups in the latter minutes of the contest to run out the clock as the final tally was 34-6 in favor of the Panthers.