Salem Blue Devils Football '22

Fri, Oct 07, 2022 06:00 PM @ Salem
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Wachusett 20 21 0 0 41
Salem 0 0 7 6 13

Wachusett Regional, Salem

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SALEM – After Friday rush-hour traffic turned the 58-mile drive from Holden into a two-hour bus trek, Tucker McDonald and his offensive mates were only allowed to play the opening 24 minutes against Salem.

That, however, proved more than enough time for the Wachusett Regional starters to overpower the host Blue Devils as McDonald threw five touchdown passes in a 41-point first-half assault.

Salem, which was without several starters, did outscore the visitors’ second teamers after intermission but still dropped its fifth straight in a 41-13 defeat.

“We previously haven’t come off a bus (trip) very well,” said McDonald, a University of Connecticut commit, who threw for 250 yards despite his short evening. “We struggled in our scrimmage against North Andover. That’s something we preached. It was a long bus ride with a lot of traffic, but everybody was focused and locked in.”

Among the Salem starters out with injuries or sickness were senior running backs David Jacques, who leads the team in rushing, and Justice Casado, the team’s leading receiver.

“We’re young and inexperienced,” Salem coach Steve Abraham said. “We had seven or eight sophomores starting tonight. That’s a lot. This isn’t an excuse, because (Wachusett) is the better team but we had a rash of illness this week. We played a skeleton crew today, and it showed.”

The inexperience was exploited in the first half as Wachusett (4-1) riddled the Blue Devils for 386 total yards. McDonald did the bulk of the damage, finding five different receivers in the barrage. Five of his 13 completions went for at least 21 yards and four covered at least 38.

“We knew they were going to be throwing the ball,” Abraham said. “Their quarterback is great. We played good defense, but we didn’t get proper technique (on one Wachusett scoring pass) and we had (five) turnovers. You can’t do that against any team, and that’s a problem.”

The Mountaineers could have had more, but sophomore middle linebacker Aaron Masson, making his first start on defense, intercepted McDonald in the end zone  early in the second quarter.

“(The first half) was very frustrating,” said Masson, who also hauled in a second-half Wachusett fumble. “We tried to play our roles, but we made a couple mistakes here and there. We didn’t do the little things right in the first half.”

The Blue Devils (1-4) did man up in the second half, holding the Mountaineers to minus-18 yards rushing.

And the offense got on track with Nolan Lumley and Felix Gonzalez capping drives with 1-yard scoring plunges.

“Let’s go to the positives,” Abraham said. “Our sophomore (running back) Kevin Todisco (game-high 95 yards) was battling, and he was playing against their starters. Felix was running his butt off … We had guys who hadn’t played their positions before. So, there’s many positives.”

Abraham expects to be much closer to full strength in Friday’s upcoming Homecoming affair against Concord. Both Jacques and Casado should be in the lineup.

“We just have to keep chugging,” Masson said. “We can’t give up on ourselves. We still have something to play for. Our team has a lot of heart, and we really do try every day in practice. We have to play for ourselves.”

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

Wachusett — Matthew Raeke 49 pass from Tucker McDonald (Ben Dominick kick) 9:23

Wachusett — Grayson Baker 38 pass from McDonald (Dominick kick) 4:22

Wachusett — Chris Snopkowski 22 run (pass failed) 0:02.7

Second Quarter

Wachusett — Raeke 3 pass from McDonald (Dominick kick) 10:56

Wachusett — Arturo Johnson 38 pass from McDonald (Dominick kick) 8:48

Wachusett — Raeke 38 pass from McDonald (Dominick kick) 0:51.5

Third Quarter

Salem — Nolan Lumley 1 run (Ryan Todt kick) 1:33

Fourth Quarter

Salem — Felix Gonzalez 1 run (kick blocked) 9:31



RUSHING: Wachusett (25-118) — Aiden McGeary 5-63, Snopkowski 4-47, Cole Carelli 2-26, Brian Pupecki 3-7, McDonald 2-0, Dillon Harper 2-(-2), Pierce Rettig 3-(-6), Logan Dennett 4-(-7); 

Salem (35-199) — Kevin Todisco 18-95, Gonzalez 10-59, Talen Walton 3-44, Gavin Simone 3-8, Lumley 1-(-7)

PASSING: Wachusett — McDonald 13-22-1, 250 yards; Salem — Lumley 3-15-1, 7

RECEIVING: Wachusett — Raeke 5-121, Johnson 4-55, Baker 2-46, Dominick 1-21, Joe Cappabianca 1-7; Salem — Gonzalez 3-7

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