BEVERLY — Experienced and deeply talented at the skill positions, No. 20 Beverly announced its presence as a Division 2A title contender with a resounding Week 1 victory.
Led by senior back Brendan Flaherty’s four touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving, one passing) and 183 all-purpose yards, the Panthers mauled Concord-Carlisle, 34-7, Saturday at Hurd Stadium.
The hosts needed only three plays to reach the end zone as Flaherty hauled in a screen pass, cut across the field, and raced 66 yards for the opening score.
C-C responded with a 14-play, 62-yard drive that took 7:10 off the clock, ending with a 2-yard score by senior Evan Boynton to knot the score at 7.
Beverly answered with a 10-play, 69-yard march, highlighted by a Statue of Liberty rush by senior back Kenny Pierce for 17 yards on a key third-and-11.
The drive was capped by a 20-yard touchdown toss from senior quarterback Dave Rollins to senior Ryan Shipp for a 13-7 lead. The Panthers used a double-reverse pass by Flaherty to Pierce for a 57-yard score and 19-7 halftime lead.
“We’re fortunate that we have seniors who have experience and we can do different things with them,” said Panthers coach Dan Bauer.
After a three-and-out by C-C to begin the third quarter, Flaherty (12 carries, 118 yards) pushed Beverly to a 27-7 advantage with a 7-yard rush and 2-point conversion.
On the Panthers’ final possession of the stanza, Flaherty put an exclamation point on his afternoon by busting through four tackles and speeding to the end zone on a 35-yard touchdown for the final score.
“[Flaherty] has been up with us since he was a freshman, so we expect big things out of him, as well as the rest of our guys,” Bauer said. “This was a testament to the time we put in during the preseason.”
Boynton (16 carries, 51 yards) led C-C on the ground while senior quarterback Will Blumenberg (6-of-10 passing, 138 yards, 1 INT) produced through the air.
The Patriots, who are the defending Division 3 Super Bowl champions, had their 13-game winning streak snapped.
Patrick McHugh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.