Longmeadow sacks Northampton, 32-6
NORTHAMPTON — Pat Sledzieski told his Northampton football players even before Friday night’s game against Longmeadow he was giving them the weekend off.
Following the team’s 32-6 loss at David Wright Field, the team will most likely need to win its final two games of the season to have a chance at qualifying for the Division 1 playoffs.
“I know the physical toll games like this take,” he said. “I want them to rest for two days. When they come in on Monday, we aren’t even going to talk about the prior nine games. We have two games left. Two games where we know that if we play the way we played against Longmeadow, play the way we have the last few weeks, we can win. We just have to clean up some things.”
Northampton (5-4, 2-4 AA) plays at Westfield (2-7, 2-4) on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. before rounding out its regular season at Amherst Regional (4-3) on Thanksgiving Day.
On Friday, Longmeadow (7-2, 4-1) broke a 6-6 tie when Frankie Elder connected with Mike Wood on a 5-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left in the first half. The Lancers carried the momentum into the second half and cruised to victory.
“It would have been really critical to hold them out of the end zone and be tied 6-6 going into halftime,” Sledzieski said. “Even after they scored, we felt like we were in the game at halftime with the score 12-6 and an opportunity to win. They were just too physical. They took over.”
Elder also ran for 91 yards and two scores on 11 carries.
He got Longmeadow on the board with a 3-yard run with 8:08 remaining in the second quarter.
Northampton responded when RJ Ramsden found Shawn Wackerbarth for a 43-yard score with 2:44 remaining before the half.
“We couldn’t really manhandle them inside, but we thought we could move the ball with misdirection,” Sledzieski said. “Basically, we were trying to keep the ball as long as we could to try to keep that offense off the field. In the first half, I think offensively we did exactly what we wanted to do.”
The Lancers then marched 67 yards on eight plays over the next 2:25 to put themselves at the Hamp 5 with five ticks left in the half.
Sensing the importance of the moment, but teams used timeouts before the snap. Elder took the pitch from quarterback Connor Ostrander to the right and floated the touchdown pass to a wide-open Wood for the score.
Elder, Ostrander and Devante Clarke added second-half touchdowns for Longmeadow.
“I thought we did a great job in the first half taking away their pure off tackle and their counters,” Sledzieski said. “But they have an outstanding system with an outstanding coaching staff so after a few series they got to see what we were doing and they attacked us where we were weak. You can’t hide everything.”
John Grimaldi led Northampton with 72 yards rushing on 16 carries, while Danny Mam ran for 51 yards on 13 rushes.
“Early on, we had some shots and didn’t take advantage of them,” Sledzieski said. “I thought it was a good game. Our kids played up to their abilities. We just have to keep trying to get better.”
Longmeadow 32, Northampton 6
at David Wright Field
Longmeadow 0 12 6 14—32
Northampton 0 6 0 0—6
L-Frankie Elder 3 run (kick failed), 8:08
N-Shawn Wackerbarth 43 pass from RJ Ramsden (kick failed), 2:44
L-Mike Wood 5 pass from Elder (run failed), 0:02
L-Elder 10 run (run failed), 8:46
L-Connor Ostrander 1 run (Eric Barsalou kick), 11:58
L-Devante Clarke 1 run (Barsalou kick), 7:34
Passing: Longmeadow-Ostrander 2-3-37-0, Elder 1-1-5-0; Northampton-Ramsden 1-2-43-0
Rushing: Longmeadow-Elder 11-91, Chipouras 8-42, Sell 4-34, Clarke 3-28, Lee 2-22, Sierra 4-16, Falcone 1-15, Ostrander 5-(-15); Northampton-Grimaldi 16-72, Mam 13-51, Santiago 5-28, Ramsden 7-18
Receiving: Longmeadow-Sell 1-28, Sierra 1-9, Woods 1-5; Northampton-Wackerbarth 1-43