Easthampton stout in 16-8 loss to Taconic

For the Gazette
Saturday, September 09, 2017

EASTHAMPTON — With the game tied with 33 seconds left, Taconic’s Niko Gian ran 11 yards into the end zone to give the Braves a 16-8 victory over Easthampton at White Brook Middle School on Friday night.

Taconic improves to 1-0 while the Eagles fall to 0-1 to start the season.

The game was a rematch of the 2016 Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinals, which the Eagles lost 56-6. Head coach Matt Bean liked the way his team battled on Friday evening.

“I was proud of their effort until the very end,” Bean said. Taconic’s “a very good team.”

Easthampton was able to even the score at the 5 minute, 21 second mark in the fourth quarter when Nick Pellegrini connected with Damon Deluzio in the right corner of the end zone for an 18-yard score.

Pellegrini found Sopie Pek for the 2-point conversion.

The Eagles’ biggest play of the contest gave them the momentum they needed. Deluzio saw a break in Taconic’s coverage that resulted in his big play.

“I saw that the corner was jumping the pass to the left that we kept running,” Deluzio saod. “Our quarterback (Pellegrini), he knew what to do, he looked one way, and threw it the other way.”

Leading the way offensively for Easthampton was David Helems, who rushed for 32 yards, including a 22-yard burst in the fourth quarter that helped set up the touchdown. Pellegrini completed 5 of 11 passes for 45 yards, one score, and three interceptions.

The Braves were led by the duo of Gian (11 rushes, 49 yards) and Cedric Rose (13 rushes, 59 yards). Rose also rushed for a touchdown.

Despite the disappointing loss in the closing seconds, Bean recognized the positives that his team can use moving forward into the rest of the season.

“I like our resiliency, we’re making progress and we’re on the right track,” Bean said. “Once we get into league play we’ll be good.”