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Easthampton takes control of Intercounty North, beats Greenfield 40-28

  • Damien Diluzio, left, of Easthampton, catches a pass from Nick Pelligrini under pressure from Greenfield’s Owen Phelps, Friday night at White Brook Middle School in Easthampton. Easthampton won 40-28. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Easthampton's David Helems, left, pushes through Greenfield defense RJ Byrd Oct. 6, 2017 during a football game at White Brook Middle School in Easthampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Easthampton's Nick Pellegrini makes a pass against Greenfield Oct. 6, 2017 during a football game at White Brook Middle School in Easthampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Easthampton's Ish Akanour, left, and teammate Justin Malek celebrate after scoring a touchdown against Greenfield Oct. 6, 2017 during a football game at White Brook Middle School in Easthampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Easthampton's Ish Akanour runs the ball under pressure from Greenfield Oct. 6, 2017 during a football game at White Brook Middle School in Easthampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Easthampton's Quintin Baker-Cisero, right, catches the ball to complete a pass and then score a touchdown under pressure from Greenfield's Daniel Vega Oct. 6, 2017 during a football game at White Brook Middle School in Easthampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



@kylegrbwsk
Friday, October 06, 2017

EASTHAMPTON — Ish Akanour went for it all with his first-ever spin move.

The Easthampton junior running back had Greenfield’s safety 1-on-1 in the open field at the 35-yard line after breaking a tackle at the 45. He planted his left foot then pirouetted over his right shoulder, leaving the defender grasping at shadows. Akanour ran the rest of the way to the end zone, scoring the go-ahead touchdown in a 40-28 football win at White Brook Middle School.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever done it, practice or a game,” Akanour said. “I was watching some highlights earlier and I was like, I gotta either hurdle somebody or spin somebody.”

The 55-yard score, his second of three touchdowns of more than 40 yards, put Easthampton (4-1, 4-0 Intercounty North) up 34-28 with 7 minutes, 28 seconds left.

Greenfield (3-2, 3-2) took the ball back and handed it to RJ Byrd. He finished the game with 31 carries for 229 yards and three touchdowns.

“I think we defended everything but him pretty well,” Easthampton coach Matt Bean said. “Even at the end we weren’t stopping him like we should have. We were stopping the other stuff.”

Byrd ripped off carries of 15, 9 and 12 yards on Greenfield’s drive down 34-28. Then the Green Wave went away from him. Easthampton stopped Dylan Duclos for 1 yard on first down then held Byrd to 2 yards on second down. Greenfield faced third-and-7 when Owen Phelps dropped back to pass, but Damien Diluzio sacked him for a 9-yard loss, forcing a long fourth-down play.

“We studied them a lot,” Diluzio said. “From watching the film, I saw the play develop and knew exactly where the ball was going.”

Emerson Folta followed Diluzio with a fourth-down sack to give Easthampton the ball back with 2:27 left.

Two plays later, Akanour (156 yards) took off for a 48-yard touchdown that sealed the game with 2:06 left.

“He’s dynamic,” Bean said.

Akanour scored Easthampton’s first touchdown, running 47 yards halfway through the first quarter. A Greenfield penalty kept that drive alive, otherwise the Eagles would have gone three-and-out down 6-0.

Byrd took his first carry of the game 64 yards for a touchdown to give the Green Wave that lead 17 seconds into the game.

“That’s all we talked about all week,” Bean said. “We knew we were going to defend it, and it was very frustrating.”

He scored a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put Greenfield up 12-8 before Easthampton started ramping up its passing offense.

Nick Pelligrini threw a jump ball to Damien Diluzio on the Eagles’ first play from scrimmage the next drive. Diluzio jumped over two defenders and snared the pass with an outstretched left hand at the 1.

“I wasn’t expecting him to throw that,” Diluzio said. “But he put it up there. I’ve got faith that I can go up.”

Justin Malek plunged in from a yard out with 9:17 to halftime to put Easthampton on top 14-12.

Greenfield responded with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Phelps to Daniel Vega to retake the lead. Pelligrini and Quentin Baker-Cisero had an answer. It was a 50-yard bomb that Baker-Cisero caught at the 20 after creating separation from the defensive back. He stiff-armed a tackle attempt to reach the end zone and put the Eagles up 22-20 with 2:20 to halftime.

“(Pelligrini) has got a good arm,” Bean said. “We’re just trying to get him to make the right throws.”

Pelligrini also showed off his legs. He took an errant snap on the 3-yard line and ran for a touchdown that extended Easthampton’s lead to 28-20 with 8:16 in the third quarter.

Byrd managed one last touchdown at 8:49 in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 28. That set the stage for Akanour’s spin move.

Easthampton’s win put the Eagles in sole possession of first place in the Intercounty North. They play at Ware in an independent game Friday at 7 p.m. and face Frontier on Oct. 20.

“We stress the importance of the league wins,” Bean said.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.

Easthampton 40, Greenfield 28

Greenfield

6

14

0

8

—28

Easthampton

8

14

6

12

—40

First quarter

G—RJ Byrd 64 run (Pass failed) 10:43.

E—Ish Akanour 47 run (David Helems run), 6:32.

Second quarter

G—Byrd 1 run (Pass failed), 10:12.

E—Justin Malek 1 run (Run failed), 9:17.

G—Daniel Vega 46 pass from Owen Phelps (Byrd run), 3:08.

E—Quentin Baker Cisero (Williams Kick), 3:23.

Third quarter

E—Nick Pelligrini 3 run (Pass failed), 8:16.

Fourth quarter

G—Byrd 2 run (Byrd run), 8:49.

E—Akanour 55 run (Run failed), 7:25.

E—Akanour 48 run (Kick failed), 2:06.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Easthampton–Akanour 4-156, Helems 3-59, Sopie Pek 4-50, Malek 9-40, Pelligrini 2-6. Greenfield-Byrd 31-229, Dylan Duclos 3-10, Owen Phelps 6-(-28)

PASSING—Easthampton–Pelligrini 6-10-0-123. Greenfield–Phelps 6-10-0-94, Vega 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING—Easthampton–Baker-Cisero 3-85, Damien Diluzio 1-38, Helems 2-19. Greenfield-Vega 2-47, Dionn Casanova 2-26, Jared Hart 2-6, Duclos 1-5.