Amherst Regional football stuns Putnam in overtime
AMHERST — Moments after his team’s thrilling 28-20 overtime win over Putnam on senior night, overcome with emotion, Amherst Regional senior quarterback Justin Carey fell to one knee on the Community Field grass.
With his helmet off and tucked to the side of his knee, he patted the grass, looked up to the sky and then ran off with his teammates to be part of Friday’s celebration.
“There’s really no way to describe it right now, I’m just so proud of my teammates ... there’s a million emotions going through my head,” Carey said.
Carey was one of a number of seniors to turn in stellar performances. He completed 11-of-19 passes, threw for 116 yards, two touchdowns and did not turn the ball over.
“All I told them is ‘if we leave it all out there on the field, we’ll win’ and they left it all out here,” Amherst coach David Thompson said.
Both of Carey’s touchdowns were caught by senior tight end Isaiah Davis-Toledo, who finished with five catches and 62 yards.
Senior running back Kieran Presley had a monster second half as his 39-yard scamper late in the third quarter gave his team a lead, and then his 10-yard touchdown run in overtime proved to be the game winner.
And the defense, led by senior linebacker Charlie Clark, came up with key goal line stands late in the game to seal the win.
“I’m so happy for my seniors, because it was their night,” Thompson said. “They all deserve this across the board.”
Presley’s 39-yard touchdown run gave Amherst (3-3, 2-2 Suburban) a 20-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Halfway into the fourth, Putnam started building an impressive drive. With shifty, speedy and elusive running backs Jaleel Brown (29 rushes, 123 yards, one touchdown) and Milton Crawford (17 rushes, 108 yards) leading the way, the Beavers (5-3, 2-2) moved the ball methodically down the field.
But with 53 seconds left and down six points, they faced a fourth-and-12 from Amherst’s 15.
They reached into their bag of tricks and pulled off a perfectly executed double-reverse flea flicker that resulted in the game-tying touchdown. Quarterback Kayjuan Bynum started the play by handing off to Crawford. Crawford took a few steps then tossed the ball backwards to a wide receiver, who immediately tossed the ball back to Bynum. The QB regrouped for a few seconds then found Crawford, who had never stopped running, wide open in the end zone.
The Beavers tried a 2-point conversion for the win, but the Hurricane defensive line stuffed a run attempt, sending the game into overtime.
“I felt like we had them pretty much schemed up,” Thompson said. “We started shifting the line over, and they couldn’t get there.”
Amherst won the coin toss in overtime and elected to receive the ball.
The Hurricanes took the ball at Putnam’s 10-yard line and scored on their first play as Presley dashed down the left sideline and dove into the end zone. He added the 2-point conversion for a 28-20 lead.
The Beavers had four chances for a touchdown, then a 2-point conversion to tie the game. They reached the 2-yard line on fourth down and attempted the double-reverse again. This time, Amherst snuffed the play out as Bynum’s attempted pass fell to the ground.
“We got into a dog fight (against South Hadley) and we didn’t finish like we wanted to,” Thompson said. “All I told them this week was ‘we’re going to get into another dog fight and you’ve got to fight back’ and we fought back.”
Amherst 28, Putnam 20
Putnam 0 8 6 6 0—20
Amherst 7 0 13 0 8—28
A-Isaiah Davis-Toledo 10-yard pass from Justin Carey (Davis-Toledo kick), 6:38
P-Kayjuan Bynum 2 run (Bynum run), 2:33
A-Davis-Toledo 17 from Carey (Davis-Toledo kick), 7:02
P-Jaleel Brown 3 run (Run failed), 2:27
A-Kieran Presley 39 run (Kick failed), :30
P-Milton Crawford 15 from Bynum (Run failed), :45
A-Presley 10 run (Presley run)
Passing: Amherst-Carey 11-19-123-2; Putnam-Bynum 3-8-37-1
Rushing: Amherst-Presley 8-53, Carey 2-24; Putnam-Brown 29-123; Crawford 17-108
Receiving: Amherst-Davis-Toledo 5-62; Faulstick 3-35; Putnam-Spears 2-22