GLOUCESTER, Mass. -- Running back Gilbert Brown, a sturdy offensive line and a speedy defense led the way for Gloucester High School as they beat down on Swampscott High, 41-14, Friday night.
Brown, Gloucester’s co-captain, started the new season with a bang, taking his first carry 51 yards for the Fishermen’s first score of the game. He carried the offense for most of the first half and finished the game with 160 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns.
“The offensive line was superb today,” said Brown about his night. “The blocking was unreal, the holes were wide open for me and the other backs. It was like you were running by yourself in the open field.”
With only one offensive lineman returning from Gloucester’s Super Bowl team last year, the offensive line wasn’t an experienced group coming into the game. However, by game’s end, they’d showed all the signs of a smart veteran group.
Senior tackle Andrew Mizzoni stood out on a number of counters and reverses where he pulled across the Wing-T set to pick up Swampscott defenders.
Gloucester’s defense suffocated Swampscott’s rotation of quarterbacks. Neither Swampscott’s Michael Walsh nor Jermaine Kelly could earn much against the Fishermen’s defensive line.
Mizzoni plays opposite co-captain Chris Unis at defensive end -- creating a frightening combination for opposing offenses. Unis had two sacks to go along with multiple tackles in the backfield for Gloucester.
“Unis is just scary coming off the line,” said Brown. “At 6-2 and 225, you just don’t want to hit him. It’s good because he has Andrew Mizzoni on the other side to get the pass rush down so it works well.”
Gloucester controlled the ball on offense throughout the night, leaving Swampscott looking for answers.
“We have a learning curve at quarterback, we have a learning curve on defense with a new system and some new players,” Swampscott head coach Steve Dembowski said. “We can’t duplicate the speed and the way they execute their offense.”
Evidently the quarterback battle has not been settled for the Big Blue. Dembowski rotated Walsh and Kelly every series allowing neither to gather up consistency behind center.
Swampscott scored first with a field goal in the first quarter, but then was held quiet on offense until the fourth quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Swampscott senior Oliver Narcisse returned a 75-yard kick for a touchdown, giving the Big Blue a momentary buzz on the sidelines.
However, the Fishermen then put together a four-minute, 75-yard drive to stretch the lead to 28-10.
“We knew coming in that this was probably the best team on our schedule … I think they proved tonight that they are a legitimate top 5 team in the state,” Dembowski said. “I’d like to see them play anybody, and I’d buy a ticket to go to the game.”
The Fishermen showed how tough its defense can be at home, and Unis called it a “statement game.”
“Let’s keep on rolling, that is the way they feel, that is the way I feel, and I give them credit,” Gloucester head coach Paul Ingram said. “They don’t miss a beat, and they love playing football and I think you can see that.”