season-opening 34-32 win on the road Friday against Somerville was a see-saw battle, a tug-of-war.
The teams traded opening-drive scores. Both converted big fourth downs. Both quarterbacks had long runs.
Both teams committed costly personal fouls, made key interceptions and struggled against exhaustion and cramps in the heat and humidity.
Swampscott scored five touchdowns on five runs. Three of them were by QB Brian Santry who scampered into the end zone on 60-yard, 36-yard and 1-yard runs.
Aaron Cronin and Mark Rittiboon had the other touchdown runs.
The teams traded big interceptions inside the final five minutes, with Swampscott safety Brendan McDonald making the final pick on a tipped ball in the middle of the field.
Swampscott got two first downs and ran out the clock for the win.
Big Blue Coach Steve Dembowski told his exhausted players after the game that the win was a step in the right direction.
The upcoming week of practice after the first game is key to a team's progression, he told the players.
They need to build on their conditioning and sharpen their focus.
The adjustments are a lot of easier after a win, he said.
A key adjustment the defense made on Friday night on the Dilboy Stadium turf was containing Somerville quarterback Phoenix Huertas inside the pocket in the second half, the coach said.
The conditions were atrocious — hot and humid, he said.
Before the game started the teams spent 90 minutes in sweltering locker-rooms during a game delay due to lightning.
By the end of the game players on both sides of the ball were limping off the field with cramps and the coaches were scrambling to assign all the replacements.
It was a game of attrition but offense and big plays ruled the night.
Brian Santry and his receivers made some long gains including a key fourth down catch early on by Robert Serino that led to a Swampscott score.
After Swampscott went up 34-24 with 9:12 to go in the 4th quarter, it looked like Blue was in control.
It had looked like that earlier, too, when Swampscott took a 27-16 lead with 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. But Somerville came back to score a touchdown and 2-point conversion to make the score 27-24.
A similar scenario unfolded at the end of the 4th quarter.
Somerville came back with a score and a 2-point conversion at the 5:50 mark to pull within two points, 34-32.
Then, with just under 5 minutes to play, it felt like a lightning strike when Somerville intercepted a screen pass to take the ball over on the Big Blue's 41 yard line.
It was a deflating moment. Swampscott had been moving the ball and then, with the pick, it looked like all their work might be for naught.
It was now the defense's job to step up.
Somerville was marching the ball down the field and pushed well inside the 20 yard line when they were charged with a costly penalty that pushed them back to about where they had started.
The Blue defense forced the turnover with the big interception by McDonald.
Big Blue now gets ready for its home opener against Winthrop next Saturday.
Game Stats From Coach Dembowski:
Brian Santry, 10-17, 134, 2 int’s
Robert Serino 4 for 61
Aaron Cronin, 2 for 32
Ben Faulkner 1 for 22
Corey Carmody 2 for 20
Josh Rothwell 1 for -1
Santry, 16 for 142 3 td’s
Cronin, 12 for 55, 1 td
Newsome, 2 for 17
Rittiboon, 3 for 5 TD
Faulkner, Rothwell, and Brendan McDonald interceptions
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