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Smith Voke snaps 12-game losing streak with 40-16 win over Drury



For the Gazette
Friday, September 08, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — It was a night of new beginnings for the Smith Vocational football program and first-year head coach Ryan Burnett.

The Vikings delivered with a dominant 40-16 victory over Drury Friday.

The win snapped a 12-game losing streak that dated back to 2015.

“Words can’t describe what my emotions are,” Burnett said. “Amazing, to say the least. It’s exactly what this program needed.”

Smith senior quarterback Jacob Erali scored six touchdowns to lead his team in their opening game. Burnett lauded the toughness Erali and the other seniors showed as they persevered through a series of losing seasons, and described their “heart, character, and discipline.”

The discipline was apparent on both sides of the ball. Smith did not have a turnover on offense and held Drury to one score on defense.

After Smith forced Drury to punt on its opening possession, Erali put his team on the scoreboard with a 10-yard touchdown run. Erali dove through a tackle and stretched to clip the orange pylon for the score. Smith’s lead lasted only 10 seconds, as Frankie Cooper caught the ensuing kickoff and ran 60 yards untouched into the end zone.

Drury’s junior quarterback Obilio Rodriguez found Tim Koloc in the corner of the end zone for the 2-point conversion, and the Blue Devils led 8-6 at the end of the first.

In the second quarter, Erali took over. On Smith’s first possession, he marched the Vikings offense down the field and finished the drive himself. Facing first-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Erali bounced off a defender and punched his way into the end zone.

Drury fumbled the first play of its next possession, Smith recovered, and Erali was on the move again. He connected twice on passes over 20 yards to his fellow captain Parker Affhauser, then delivered a crisp spiral to Nick Marcinowski, who came across the middle and into the end zone for the touchdown. Smith led 20-8 at halftime.

Erali picked up where he left off to start the third quarter, and less than a minute in the Vikings were on the board again. This time it was Troy Benedict on the receiving end. Erali passed the ball sideways at his own 45-yard line, and Benedict did the rest as he sprinted 55 yards past the Drury defense for the touchdown. Drury went four-and-out against Smith on the next possession and Erali started on the 41-yard line. Three passes and three rushes later, he found Benedict with a 13-yard touchdown pass as Smith led 34-8.

In the fourth quarter, Erali showed that he can do it on the ground as well. At the 8:50 mark, he sidestepped two Drury linebackers en route to a 21-yard touchdown, his sixth of the night. Drury pulled one back with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Rodriguez to Tim Brazeau, but as the clock ran out it was Smith running out onto the field to celebrate a 40-8 victory.

“That was amazing,” Erali said. “We were ranked as the worst team in Massachusetts, and we just came out and beat Drury 40-16.”

Smith Vocational 40, Drury 16

Drury

8

0

0

8

—16

Smith Voke

6

14

14

6

—40

First quarter

S—Erali 10-yard run (kick blocked), 7:11.

D—Cooper 60 kickoff return (Koloc from Rodriguez), 7:01.

Second quarter

S—Erali 1 yard run (conversion failed), 9:55.

S—Marcinowski 4 from Erali (Marcinowski run), 4:40.

Third quarter

S—Benedict 55 from Erali (Erali run), 10:10.

S—Benedict 13 from Erali (kick failed), 3:50.

Fourth quarter

S—Erali 21 run (kick failed), 8:50.

D—Brazeau 11 from Rodriguez (Barnes from Rodriguez), 4:34.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Smith- Erali 18-124, Blakesley 7-23. Drury- Rodriguez 6-37, Cooper 5-21, Woodson 5-18.

PASSING—Smith- Erali 14-23-205-0. Drury- Rodriguez 7-14-68-0.

RECEIVING—Smith- Blakesley 5-50, Benedict 4-71, Marcinowski 3-21. Drury- Cooper 2-12, Woodson 1-17, Brazeau 1-11, Koloc 1-5.