Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Undefeated Northampton football stops Wahconah

An aggressive Blue Devil pass rush forced six turnovers in the 17-12 victory. Northampton picked off Warrior quarterback Lane Grogan five times and forced a fumble.

With less than two minutes to play, Wahconah had a chance to win but the Warriors stalled at their 45-yard line and turned the ball over on downs.

The win at the Frank Tudryn Athletic Complex keeps the Blue Devils undefeated at 4-0.

“Against a team like this it’s great,” said Northampton coach Pat Sledzieski. “They’re the top-rated team in the Berkshires. They were undefeated for a reason. We hadn’t beaten them in a long time.

“We decided to bring as much pressure as possible,” he added. “We blitzed as much as possible to help our secondary.”

Defensive back RJ Ramsden had two of the interceptions and added a sack for the Blue Devils.

“They had a real tough defense so it was hard to score points today.” Ramsden said. “The defense had to step it up. We got pressure on the quarterback and flew to the ball. It worked and we got a bunch of turnovers and that was the deciding factor.

Linebacker John Grimaldi also had a pick to go along with a forced fumble and seven tackles. Sam Santiago and Shawn Wackerbarth had the other interceptions for Northampton, and Brandon Garcia added a sack.

“We just couldn’t do it,” Wahconah coach Gary Campbell Jr. said of the turnovers. “It might have been the ugliest game I’ve ever been a part of. All the turnovers and mistakes really doomed us. We were never able to recover from it.”

Northampton had over 200 yards rushing, as Nathan Bones led all runners with 15 carries and 112 yards.

“We took advantage of some new things we put in this week,” said Sledzieski. “We were able to punch a couple in. Then we had a couple drives where we self-destructed. But we made enough plays against a good team.

“We still need to improve week to week,” he added. “We’re facing a different challenge next week” against Minnechaug.

The Blue Devils had touchdown runs from Ramsden (five yards) in the first quarter and Andre Barnes (one yard) in the third. A 23-yard interception return by Grimaldi set up Barnes’ score.

Ramsden completed three passes for 57 yards, including a 40-yarder to Wackerbarth in the second quarter.

Grogan finished 11 of 23 for 205 yards. Darrow Brown led the Warrior receivers with four catches for 76 yards. Cole Morrison caught three passes for 48 yards.

Jordan Fiske led Wahconah’s defense with eight tackles including two for losses. Marco Anastasio added a sack and five tackles.

Eli Pease got the Warriors on the board at the 9:51 mark of the second quarter with a nine-yard run. A pass by Grogan failed on the two-point conversion try.

Wackerbarth kicked a 27-yard field goal before the end of the half to give Northampton a 10-6 lead.

Wahconah got within 17-12 with 9 minutes, 45 seconds to play in the fourth quarter on a keeper by Grogan. A 30-yard completion to Joe Dimassimo set up the Warriors at the 1-yard line.

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