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Ryan French leads Belchertown football past Pathfinder on Thanksgiving



For the Gazette
Thursday, November 23, 2017

THORNDIKE — After missing all of his junior season with a knee injury, Ryan French wanted very much to make an impact for Belchertown’s football team during his season year.

French dominated on both sides of the ball and led Belchertown to a 39-0 Thanksgiving triumph over Pathfinder at St. Joe’s Park.

French and Jarred Beroneau are the only seniors on the Orioles (3-8).

“I knew I needed to set an example,” French said. “We’re a young team and everyone worked together.”

French earned MVP honors for the Orioles, who made progress under first-year coach Ed Wyzik. They won their final two games.

“They had to learn a whole new system,” said Wyzik, who received a Gatorade bath after the game. “We had a lot of kids step up.”

When running back Brad Lovett went down early with a knee injury in the first quarter, it could have spelled trouble for the Orioles. Several Orioles stepped up to fill the void.

Nine Orioles combined for 311 rushing yards. Cal Daskam scored three touchdowns, two on pass receptions and another on a run.

French only carried the ball three times, but he led all rushers with 113 yards.

He broke long runs of 50 and 56 yards. His 50-yard touchdown run during the waning seconds of the first half provided Belchertown with a 27-0 lead.

Belchertown took a 9-8 lead in the all-time series. The Orioles have outscored the Pioneers (0-10) 69-0 over the past two seasons.

The Orioles set the tone for the game when they recovered a fumble on the Pioneers’ first play from scrimmage. That set up a 19-yard run by Daskam to give the Orioles a 7-0 lead 1 minute, 17 seconds into the contest.

Daskam came up big again later in the quarter when he caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from John Flink, as the Orioles went ahead 13-0.

Flink scored on a 5-yard burst up the middle 1:01 into the second quarter for a 20-0 lead.

With just over 10 seconds remaining in the half, it appeared Belchertown would run out the clock and be content to take a 20-point lead.

But French had other ideas.

He broke loose for a 50-yard run with three seconds remaining in the half to give Belchertown a 27-0 advantage.

Joel Wyzik, a lineman back at running back for the first time since early in the season, scored on a 2-yard run 48 seconds into the final quarter. Daskam caught a 5-yard pass from Owen Sedlacek with 4:24 left to make it 39-0.

Pathfinder threatened to spoil the shutout midway through the fourth quarter when it marched to the Oriole 2-yard-line following Wyzik’s touchdown. But French sacked quarterback A.J. Oliveria on third down. and an incomplete pass ended the drive.

“This is extra special and it meant a lot to me,’’ French said. “We did our job and made things happen’’

Ed Wyzik appreciated what French meant to the team.

“He gave us leadership,’’ Wyzik said.

Belchertown 39, Pathfinder 0

Belchertown

13

14

0

12

—39

Pathfinder

0

0

0

0

First quarter

B—Cal Daskins 19 run (Hunter Klingersmith kick) 9:43

B—Daskins 27 pass from John Flink (kick failed) 4:18

Second quarter

B—Flink 5 run (Klingersmith kick) 9:59

B—Ryan French 50 run (Klingersmith kick) 0:03

Third quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter

B—Joel Wyzik 2 run (pass failed) 10:12

B—Daskam 5 pass from Owen Sedlacek (Klingersmith kick) 4:24

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Belchertown: Flink 3-8, Lovett 2-28; Daskam 4-48; Douillard 2-25; Wyzik 3-41; French 3-113; Denehy 3-12; Pathfinder: Anderson 19-57; Farrar 8-37; Bullock 2-11.

PASSING—Belchertown: Flink 4-12-106; Sedlacek 1-1-5; Pathfinder: Oliveria 2-5-29;

RECEIVING—Belchertown: Daskam 2-53; Klingersmith 1-22; French 1-23; Lovett 1-13; Pathfinder: Farrar 1-6; Anderson 1-8