SWAMPSCOTT – The conditions could not have been more perfect for the Danvers football team Friday night.
The rain and wind swirled around Blocksidge Field and offense was at a minimum, making it perfect for the Falcons to control the tempo and pound the ball between the tackles.
Senior Richard Canova ended the night with 106 yards on 26 carries but his biggest contributions came on the defensive side — accumulating two sacks that allowed Danvers to squeak out a 7-6 Northeastern Conference victory over No. 17 Swampscott.
“We talked about it before that if it is raining and the wind is blowing it is an advantage to us,” said Danvers coach Ryan Nolan. “Though, just whatever happens, when these kids have their backs against the wall, they are at their best.”
Danvers (5-0) had its back right up against the wall with six minutes left in the game, and clinging to a 7-6 lead. Swampscott (3-2) received the ball at its own 33-yard line after a Falcons punt and was quickly able to move into Danvers’ territory on the back of senior Dylan January. January’s 5-yard rush on the eighth play of the drive put the Big Blue at the Danvers’ 14-yard line with less than two minutes to play.
As the wind began to howl on the next play, Canova came free on a blitz from his safety position on the left and caused a strip sack on Swampscott senior quarterback Graham Inzana.
The Big Blue was able to recover but the result was a 25-yard loss and the offense was faced with a fourth and 31 with less than a minute left.
Inzana’s pass on fourth down was broken up and the Falcons were able to hang on.
“I was up on the line and I just really wanted to make a play,” said Canova. “I ran through the block, luckily I got to make a play.”
Danvers’ senior quarterback Ezra Lombardi connected with senior Chase Eary for a 15-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to open the scoring.
Swampscott took the opening drive of the second half for a touchdown as senior Zack Palmer reeled in a 55-yard pass from Inzana. The Big Blue elected to go for 2 and Inzana’s pass fell incomplete.
Karl Capen can be reached at email@example.com.