×

Northampton sacks Amherst in 74th ‘Battle of the Bridge’

  • Amherst's Isaiah Rodriguez, left, holds off Northampton's Andy Grygorcewicz while running the ball Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst's James Mills, right, hands off the ball to teammate Alex Fernandes Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game against Northampton at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Andy Grygorcewicz, back, tackles Amherst's Isaiah Rodriguez Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton’s Andy Grygorcewicz, left, tackles Amherst Regional’s Isaiah Rodriguez during a football game, Friday at Amherst Regional High School. Northampton won 20-12. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst's Joshua Vecchio runs the ball against Northampton Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Tom Jacques, center, throws a pass under pressure from Amherst Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Henry Doherty, right, breaks away from Amherst's Joshua Vecchio Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst's Steven Steele, center, breaks away from Northampton to run the ball Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Andy Grygorcewicz, left, tackles Amherst's Isaiah Rodriguez Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst’s Isaiah Rodriguez, left, runs the ball under pressure from Northampton’s Braeden Tudryn, right, during a football game Friday at Amherst Regional High School. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Caleb Graves, left, goes after Amherst's Isaiah Rodriguez as he runs the ball Sept. 8, 2017 during a football game at Amherst Regional High School. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



@Hargraves24
Friday, September 08, 2017

AMHERST — The 74th ‘Battle of the Bridge’ came down to turnovers Friday night.

The Northampton football team, playing its first game under Eddie Jewel, forced three and turned them into scores.

Game over.

The Blue Devils (1-0) celebrated a 20-12 win with a large visiting crowd at Community Field.

Andy Grygorcewicz caught a 12-yard touchdown and returned a fumble 50 yards for another score.

“It was awesome. We had a huge crowd,” Grygorcewicz said. “A lot of energy. Coach was awesome.”

A sweaty Jewel celebrated the win, hoisting the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ trophy to Northampton’s well-traveled crowd. the Blue Devils lead the all-time series 41-30-3.

“It’s wonderful,” Jewel said. “But we are a lot better team than we showed tonight. We have a lot of a lot work to do.”

The Hurricanes’ game plan was working early. Their first drive was a 10-play 63-yard march that ended in an Alex Fernandes 6-yard touchdown.

Later in the second quarter, Hamp’s Caleb Graves ripped the ball from an Amherst ball carrier and returned it to Amherst’s 15-yard line.

Just as Graves snatched the ball, the Blue Devils snatched the momentum from the Hurricanes (0-1).

“Our defense was doing great,” Fernandes said. “It’s just our offense. We have to finish plays. We have to keep the ball.”

The Hurricanes ran for 137 yards as a team.

“In the beginning it was 6-0 and we fumble,” Amherst coach Chris Ehorn Jr. said. “Games are won by defense, and they caused more turnovers. That’s the outcome.”

Fernandes (14 carries, 66 yards) scored again in the third quarter, a 30-yard touchdown where he reversed fields, found an opening and took off.

That score made it 20-12.

On Amherst’s final play from its own 25-yard line, J.B. Mills launched a pass downfield to Steven Steele.

Steele was behind Hamp’s defense but Mills’ pass just glanced off his fingertips.

In Northampton’s spread offense, quarterback Tom Jacques was not shy with his throws, slinging the ball all over the field.

The first time starter went 6-for-21 for 51 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

“It was an experience,” Jacques said. “I am not going to lie I was nervous. My teammates and coaches helped so much. I know this can work.”

In the third quarter, Jacques found Jake Brittain in the back of the end zone.

Brittain went vertical for the catch, and somehow got his feet down to give Northampton a 20-6 lead.

“He (Jacques) is going to develop and be a great player,” Grygorcewicz said.

On the previous possession, another Amherst fumble gave Northampton the ball deep in the Hurricanes territory.

Josh Vecchio had 15 carries for 49 yards for Amherst.

The Blue Devils had under 100 yards of total offense but three turnovers gave them a score and two short fields.

After Amherst’s first drive for a touchdown, Northampton’s defense stiffened against Amherst’s running attack.

Nicolas Sandoval swallowed up any run up the middle for the Blue Devils.

Isaiah Rodriguez had an interception and a pass defensed for Amherst while he primarily covered Grygorcewicz.

Tyron Loper added a sack to end the half for the Hurricanes.

The Blue Devils committed 10 penalties in the game. With a late lead, Northampton continued to throw the ball.

“Whatever is working for us,” Jewel said. “Tom (Jacques) is going to be good guy. We have multiple weapons. Aggressive is our nature.”

Northampton 20, Amherst 12

BY ADAM HARGRAVES

@Hargraves24

First quarter

A—Alex Fernandes 6 yard run (run failed), 4:42

Second quarter

N— Tom Jacques 12 pass to Andy Grygorcewicz, Nat Walton kick (4:05)

N — Grygorcewicz 50 fumble return, kick failed 1:31

Third quarter

N — Jacques 10 pass to Jake Brittain, Walton kick 8:49

A — Fernandes 30 rush, run failed (6:33)

Fourth quarter

No scoring

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

PASSING—Amherst-JB MIlls 0-4-0; Northampton Jacques 6-22-51-2-1

RUSHING—Amherst– Josh Vecchio 15-49; Isaiah Rodriguez 9-22; Fernandes 14-66-2; Mills 2-0; Northampton — Devontay Edmonds 7-10; Henry Doherty 5-24; Jacques 2-2;

RECEIVING—Amherst–None; Northampton — Grygorcewicz 3-26-1; Brittain 1-10-1; Doherty 1-4; Fowler 1-11