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Kieran Presley rushes for 359 yards, Amherst runs past Chicopee

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Kieran Presley, center, of Amherst rushed for 359 yards Friday as Amherst beat Chicopee 42-20 in Chicopee.

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Kieran Presley, center, of Amherst rushed for 359 yards Friday as Amherst beat Chicopee 42-20 in Chicopee. Purchase photo reprints »

CHICOPEE — For the Amherst Regional football team, the playoffs have already begun and so far, the Hurricanes have proven up to the challenge.

Following up an impressive win over Putnam last week, Amherst rode running back Kieran Presley’s eye-popping 359 yards on the ground to an impressive 42-20 win over Chicopee to plant itself squarely in the postseason conversation.

“I really want to take some credit, but I have to give it to my linemen,” Presley said. “They’ve been working hard all week and coach has been stressing that they have to open up the holes for me and that’s exactly what they did.”

Presley broke an astounding eight rushes of more than 20 yards with two touchdowns and took a screen pass 56 yards for a score, giving him over 400 yards of total offense.

Presley only seemed to get stronger as the game went on as his final four carries went for 16, 68, 29 and 28 yards, respectively. His 68- and 28-yard jaunts set up touchdown runs by Brandon Rivera to put the game out of reach.

“Our coaches all week have us doing conditioning after practice,” he said. “They keep telling us it’s going to pay off and it definitely showed today that it did.”

After giving up an early touchdown, Amherst took the lead on an 18-yard touchdown run by Presley with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter and a 5-yard run to the end zone four minutes into the second quarter. The go-ahead touchdown was set up by two big plays by other Hurricanes – a 44-yard rush by Rivera and a 20-yard reception by Isaiah Davis-Toledo.

Presley then extended the lead when he caught a screen pass from quarterback Justin Carey and took it 56 yards for a touchdown, thanks to some terrific blocks downfield.

Chicopee’s Michael Slaughter, who had a solid game in his own right with more than 200 total yards, closed the gap to 19-14 at the half with a 4-yard run.

Defensively, the Hurricanes came to life in the second half. After giving up a touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter to fall behind 20-19, Amherst clamped down and came up with big stops when they were needed most.

“We told them (at halftime) the only thing they were killing us on was the counter and the flood,” Amherst coach David Thompson said. “If we stop those two plays, we shut them down. They started kicking up the reads, they started making plays and they started wrapping up.”

Still trailing late in the third quarter with the Pacers driving to the Amherst 23-yard line, the Hurricanes stood strong and didn’t allow another yard. The offense then drove 74 yards and scored after four straight runs by Presley.

Chicopee drove to the Amherst 12-yard line on the next possession, but the Hurricanes came up big on a fourth-and-9 play, stopping receiver Chris Roy a yard short. Again the offense responded and scored to give itself a cushion.

Chicopee put forth a last-ditch effort and got down to the Hurricanes’ 25-yard line, but a pair of sacks thwarted the effort. Amherst took the opportunity and turned it into points as two strong runs by Presley set up Rivera’s 2-yard run to cap the scoring.

Amherst plays at West Springfield on Nov. 9 as it continues to push its way toward a playoff spot.

“We’re going to enjoy this tonight, but we know we have more work to do,” Presley said.

Football

Amherst 42, Chicopee 20

at Chicopee

Amherst 6 13 0 23—42

Chicopee 7 7 8 0—20

First quarter

C – Michael Slaughter 15-yard pass from Jovan Jackson (Sebastian Palacio kick), 5:19

A – Kieran Presley 18 run (kick failed), 3:36

Second quarter

A – Presley 5 run (Nikolai Wright kick), 8:03

A – Presley 56 pass from Justin Carey (kick failed), 2:46

C – Slaughter 4 run (Palacio kick), 0:49

Third quarter

C – Slaughter 11 run (kick failed), 8:55

Fourth quarter

A – Presley 9 run (Isaiah Davis-Toledo pass from Carey), 11:10

A – Brandon Rivera 8 run (Presley run), 5:39

A – Rivera 2 run (Wright kick), 3:36

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing: Amherst: Carey 5-10-122-1; Chicopee: Jackson 8-11-125-1

Rushing: Amherst: Presley 21-359, Rivera 4-57, Carey 1-8, Allen 1-2; Chicopee: M. Slaughter 25-132, C. Slaughter 10-40, Roy 8-64, Jackson 7-12, Meuse 1-6

Receiving: Amherst: Torres 2-37, Presley 1-56, Davis-Toledo 1-20, Cunningham 1-9; Chicopee: M. Slaugher 5-78, C. Slaughter 1-32, Roy 1-8, Gutierrez 1-7

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