Article Immediately following his team’s defeat on Thursday night, Swampscott Big Blue head coach Steve Dembowski was optimistic. Although his team surrendered eight touchdowns to the strong St. Mary’s running attack, Dembowski was still happy with his team’s effort.
“I can’t fault the effort of the players, they’re giving it their all. I thought that showed tonight, they made big strides. We just have to put it all together,” said Dembowski.
The Big Blue squandered opportunities on offense in the first half. After Brendan McDonald scored on a rushing touchdown on Swampscott’s first drive, the Big Blue didn’t score again until the third quarter, when Ryan Cresta returned the opening kickoff in the second half for a touchdown.
By that point, St. Mary’s had already scored 24 points, and a few plays after Cresta’s return, another St. Mary’s touchdown gave St. Mary’s a 32-14 lead early in the third quarter. At that point, the difference became too large for Swampscott to overcome.
“We got some stops in the first half, and we didn’t capitalize on them. And when we finally got rolling, it was just score for score,” said Dembowski.
Dembowski believes that there’s only one thing to do: improve.
“We have to continue to just improve. We made tremendous strides tonight defensively,” said Dembowski. “We have to get three guys at least on those perimeter runs. A couple times, our safety didn’t get there, and a couple times, our inside backer didn’t get there. [The Spartans] grind you.
“We knew when we scheduled them that they would provide an outstanding challenge for us. They’re a very good and a very physical football team.”
One aspect of Swampscott’s game certainly needs to improve: its health. The Big Blue was missing key players on offense and defense. “We have to get healthy. There were kids out of the game on both sides tonight with injuries, and that kind of hurt us a little bit too,” said Dembowski.
Swampscott is still without one key player on the offensive side: new senior running back Desmond Wilhelmsen. Wilhelmsen is currently out due to an MIAA ruling, as the organization suspects Wilhelmsen of moving from Lynn to Swampscott just to play football. Dembowski disagrees with the decision.
“His circumstance is unfortunate. He lives in Swampscott, he’s lived here for a year and a half, and the MIAA thinks he moved here just to play football, when he should have been here a year and a half ago,” said Dembowski.
However, Dembowski doesn’t blame the lack of Wilhelmsen in the backfield for the team’s current struggles. “We’re still fighting for him, but he’s not the only guy that’s out there, and the guys that are out there are playing their butts off.”
“Our effort and our intensity have been fantastic. The big plays late in the game killed us. We had our chances on offense to put us on the board in the first half, and we didn’t do it,” said Dembowski.
The season is certainly not over for Swampscott as they head into league play next Friday against Winthrop.