Brian Shippee leads South Hadley football over Putnam
SPRINGFIELD — At the beginning of the season, this matchup looked like a possible Division 2 Super Bowl preview.
Instead, South Hadley rolled over Putnam Vocational 29-8 in a blowout that essentially eliminated the Beavers from playoff contention. Meanwhile, the Tigers further solidified their case for being atop the Division 2 MIAA power ratings.
Brian Shippee scored three touchdowns in the first half to give the Tigers (8-1, 5-0 Suburban) a commanding lead as they rolled to the victory. Anthony Bullough intercepted two passes for South Hadley, including a third-quarter pick in the end zone to thwart Putnam’s attempt to get back into the game.
“Putnam’s a really good team. They run the ball hard and they are a good passing team, but our coaches really prepared us for this game,” Shippee said. “All of the players on our team worked really hard to get here and we’re hopefully looking forward to going to the Super Bowl this year.”
Shippee added that while the Tigers would take the time to enjoy the win, it wouldn’t take long for them to refocus on their ultimate goal.
“This is the biggest game of our year right now,” he said. “But we’re really looking forward to getting to the playoffs and getting that No. 1 seed right now.”
The Tigers set the tone early, forcing a three-and-out on the first Putnam (5-4, 2-3) series, then took advantage of great field position when the snap on the punt attempt went over the punter’s head. The punter got the kick off from his own end zone, but it didn’t go far, giving South Hadley the ball on the Putnam 16-yard line.
Two plays later, Shippee took a counter to the left side from 13 yards out for the first score of the game.
Shippee scored again at the end of the first quarter on a 1-yard run, capping an 11-play, 64-yard drive and Liam Murphy booted a 32-yard field goal to take a 16-0 lead with 5:28 remaining in the first half.
Putnam got itself right back into it briefly on the ensuing kickoff as Milton Crawford received the kick at the 11-yard line and took it to the 30, where he looked to be hemmed up. But despite seemingly all 11 Tigers getting a hand on him, he kept his legs moving and broke free, taking it the rest of the way to cut the deficit to 16-8.
But the Tigers jumped back out to a big lead with a clock-eating drive that culminated in a touchdown when Sean Rondeau hit Shippee with a screen pass. Shippee took the pass 28 yards downfield, crossing the field from the right side, down the left sideline, juking his way past Putnam’s Jaleel Brown on the 5-yard line to get to the end zone.
Rondeau got in on the scoring with 1:44 left in the third quarter, breaking a designed quarterback keeper up the middle for a 64-yard touchdown.
South Hadley 29, Putnam 8
at Springfield Central
South Hadley 13 10 6 0—29
Putnam 0 8 0 0—8
S - Bryan Shippee 13-yard run (Liam Murphy kick), 9:46
S - Shippee 1 run (kick failed), 0:30
S - Murphy 32 field goal, 5:28
P - Milton Crawford 89 kick return (Joshua Ortiz run), 5:09
S – Sean Rondeau 64 run (kick failed), 1:44
Passing: South Hadley: Rondeau 3-5-78-0; Putnam: Bynum 12-26-106-2
Rushing: South Hadley: Shippee 9-46, Rondeau 8-80, Villenueve 8-47, Fitzell 6-61, Bullough 1-3; Putnam: Crawford 15-68,Brown 4-3, Ortiz 2-7, Bynum 1-5
Receiving: South Hadley: Shippee 2-46, Villenueve 1-32; Putnam: Harris 4-28, Spears 2-18, White 2-14, Brown 1-24, Crawford 1-15, Ortiz 1-7, Gonzalez 1-0