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Lynn English football on the offensive

Lynn English players swarm over Beverly’s Dom Abate (center) during their game Friday. Beverly trailed early, but came back to win, 36-35. Lynn English players swarm over Beverly’s Dom Abate (center) during their game Friday. Beverly trailed early, but came back to win, 36-35. (Lisa Poole for The Boston Globe)
By Cat Calsolaro
Globe Correspondent / September 29, 2011

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Jermaine Kelly won over his teammates at Lynn English pretty quickly. In his first start under center, the senior quarterback put on a clinic, passing for 279 yards and six touchdowns in a 41-0 win over defending Division 1 Super Bowl champion Gloucester.

The following week, senior P.J. Dorsey hit the ground running, teaming up with Kelly for a 327-yard, three-touchdown rushing performance in a 21-6 win at Wakefield.

On Friday night, junior Josh Batista took it right to visiting Beverly, returning the opening kickoff 89 yards for a score and following up with a 59-yard touchdown reception from Kelly in a wild 36-35 loss, in which Beverly rattled off 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Through the first three games, the high-powered Bulldogs are averaging 32 points per game.

“We allow our athletes to get in space and to do their thing,’’ said English coach Peter Holey. “A central component to our offense is the quarterback running the football.’’

And the agile 6-3 Kelly, a transfer from Swampscott High, is certainly a player in constant motion. Holey concedes that English “got lucky’’ when Kelly moved to Lynn.

“It allows us to have more athletes on the field,’’ said Holey, who shifted sophomore Chris Lessard to the slot with the arrival of Kelly.

The Bulldogs received another power boost with the return of the Brown-Simpson brothers, Jevon and Malcolm, who are back at English as seniors after attending Pope John in Everett for two years.

Like Kelly, the brothers grew up in Lynn, playing Pop Warner ball for the East Lynn Bulldogs and are excited to be back where their passion for the game began.

“I was looking forward to it,’’ said Malcolm Brown-Simpson, a receiver who has four touchdown catches this season. “Coming here brought back memories. I had a feeling that we would have a good season.’’

Jevon Brown-Simpson has been a contributor on both sides of the ball. At 5-10, 220 pounds, he is a hard hitter and also a great option at fullback.

“He’s my other half on the field,’’ said Malcolm.

“When we were young, we all used to play seven versus seven outside of school,’’ said Batista, who thinks his team’s success so far might have a thing or two to do with chemistry.

Although the Bulldogs rang up 35 points in the wretched weather on Friday night, they allowed Beverly to take control in the fourth quarter.

With 30 seconds on the clock, Beverly quarterback Dave Rollins pushed through the Lynn English defense for the go-ahead score.

“The loss just means we have to buckle down,’’ said Kelly. “We have to click from here on out.’’

“No mistakes,’’ said Dorsey, a senior captain. “We have to play 100 percent every time. We’ve got to practice hard and make sure we finish strong.’’

The Bulldogs travel to Swampscott on Saturday afternoon.

“It shouldn’t be hard for us to bounce back,’’ said Holey . “They are our natural rival but it’s a friendly one. We like their coaching staff and the kids are looking forward to it.’’

“They’ve been playing against these kids since they were young,’’ said offensive coordinator Steve Hill. “It’s always a big rivalry for us but more so this year, because our quarterback played there.’’

Lynn English is on the road again this year, so Kelly will get to play in a familiar stadium and against his former teammates. “They’re all my good friends,’’ he said. “But I feel like I have to win. It’s important for our season.’’

“You have to go in with confidence or else you’re going to lose,’’ said Kelly.

“Keeping the intensity high the whole game is key,’’ said Jevon Brown-Simpson.

The Bulldogs are attacking the season one game at a time, but that doesn’t mean a trip to Gillette [Stadium] isn’t in the back of their minds.

“We’ve just got to finish games,’’ said Holey. “Start fast and finish hard. That’s what we try to tell them.’’

Redmen rebound to take 1st win In yet another upset, Tewksbury (1-2) earned its first win, toppling Andover (2-1) on Saturday, 38-28. With the Redmen trailing, 16-14, at halftime, senior back Chris Bettano and senior quarterback Kevin Saunders used their strength on the ground to put up 24 second-half points.

Bettano finished with 233 yards and three touchdowns and Saunders added two of his own. “We had to go out and fight, and our kids did a good job executing what we’re trying to do on offense,’’ said Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward, whose squad hosts Central Catholic Saturday.

Amesbury wins thriller against N. Reading Amesbury improved to 2-1, handing North Reading (1-2) its second loss of the season, a 21-19 decision in overtime on Delante Castle’s 2-point conversion. Carl Lipani forced overtime with a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter, but North Reading missed the extra point.

Charles McCarthy hauled in a 14-yard pass from Jackson Kellogg to put North Reading ahead first in the extra session, but the Rockets missed the conversion.

Jesse Lannon scored the tying touchdown on a 5-yard run before Castle clinched the victory.