High School Football Preview Capsules
South Hadley at Putnam
Tonight at Central High School, 7
Records: Tigers (7-1, 4-0 Suburban); Beavers (5-3, 2-2)
Last week: South Hadley was off; Putnam lost to West Springfield 35-28
Offense 39.1 Offense 31.3
Defense 12.6 Defense 20.1
Comments: A rare Thursday night contest between two teams usually found around the top of Division 2. South Hadley is there now and has probably wrapped up its postseason spot already. The Beavers, meanwhile, have fallen off with three straight losses, but can quickly right the ship here. Putnam’s KayJuan Bynum has thrown for 1,519 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
Northampton at Westfield
Friday at Bullens Field, 7
Records: Blue Devils (5-4, 2-4 AA); Bombers (2-7, 2-4)
Last week: Northampton lost to Longmeadow 32-6; Westfield lost to Central 19-14
Blue Devils Bombers
Offense 21.4 Offense 20.7
Defense 22.2 Defense 32.8
Comments: The Blue Devils have a thin lead for the fourth and final D-1 postseason spot ahead of Chicopee Comp and Chicopee. To have a chance to hold that spot, Northampton will have to snap its three-game losing streak against a Bombers squad that is much more dangerous than its record might indicate. Westfield played Longmeadow and Central very tough the last two weeks and knocked off Minnechaug the game before that.
Amherst at West Springfield
Records: Hurricanes (4-3, 3-2 Suburban); Terriers (2-6, 2-3)
Last week: Amherst defeated Chicopee 42-20; West Springfield defeated Putnam 35-28
Offense 28.3 Offense 19.0
Defense 20.9 Defense 24.5
Comments: The Hurricanes got themselves back in the D-2 postseason hunt last week, thanks in large part to Kieran Presley’s incredible 359-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Pacers. Amherst jumped to No. 5 in D-2 and has a real chance to move into the top four by winning out. After beginning the season 0-5, the Terriers have beaten Cathedral, fell by nine to Chicopee Comp and downed the Beavers last week.
Easthampton at Turners Falls
Records: Eagles (6-3); Indians (7-2)
Last week: Easthampton lost to Pathfinder 22-14; Turners Falls defeated Mahar 47-13
Offense 23.7 Offense 28.6
Defense 19.8 Defense 6.6
Comments: Easthampton looks to bounce back from last week’s loss in a potential D-4 tourney preview. The Indians are No. 2 in the power rankings, while Easthampton is No. 3. Turners’ defense has been outstanding, and hadn’t allowed more than a touchdown in a game until last week’s blowout win. Ryan Wilder, meanwhile, has rushed for nearly 1,500 yards.
Belchertown at Greenfield
Records: Orioles (8-0, 7-0 Intercounty); Green Wave (8-0, 6-0)
Last week: Belchertown defeated Athol 21-0; Greenfield beat Frontier 28-22
Orioles Green Wave
Offense 24.8 Offense 31.0
Defense 5.4 Defense 12.0
Comments: The biggest game of the year in D-3 had a little of its pep taking from it when Greenfield standout quarterback Zach Bartak was injured against Frontier last week and won’t play here. The Orioles defense, meanwhile, posted another shutout last week, but will face a stiff test, especially without knowing what the Green Wave will do offensively with Bartak sidelined.
Frontier Regional at Athol
Records: Red Hawks (2-5, 1-5 Intercounty); Red Raiders (5-4, 3-3)
Last week: Frontier lost to Greenfield 28-22; Athol lost to Belchertown 21-0
Red Hawks Red Raiders
Offense 10.0 Offense 22.4
Defense 21.0 Defense 16.2
Comments: The Red Raiders sit a distant fifth in the D-3 rankings and will certainly need to win out against Frontier and Mahar to have any chance at qualifying. The Red Raiders ran into the top three teams in the Intercounty the last three weeks, falling to Turners, Greenfield and Belchertown by a combined 92-14. Frontier, meanwhile, played arguably its best game of the season last week and nearly handed Greenfield its first defeat of the year. The Red Hawks would love nothing more than to earn a win here and have a chance to finish .500 with three wins to end the season.