East Longmeadow fast start dooms Amherst Regional in 28-14 loss
AMHERST — The Amherst Regional football team couldn’t overcome East Longmeadow’s fast start Friday night.
The Hurricanes couldn’t slow the potent offense of the Spartans, who came away with a 28-14 win.
East Longmeadow set an immediate tone with a strong rushing attack and scored the first 28 points of the game, including 21 points in the first half. Amherst’s defense was left reeling until the game slowly started to change midway through the third quarter.
Sitting on a 28-point lead, an errant toss from Spartans quarterback Devon Kennedy resulted in a Hurricane fumble recovery. Amherst quarterback Jack Faulstick capitalized on the change of momentum, hitting receiver Taj-Amir Torres in stride down the sidelines over two defenders for a 72-yard touchdown.
“I felt like the first half, we were feeling them out and we waited a little too long to turn it on,” Amherst coach David Thompson said. “We showed the second half we could come out and play.”
Amherst’s defense struggled with East Longmeadow’s two-headed rushing attack. Led by sophomore Mike Maggipinto, who ran for 107 yards on 11 carries and two scores, the Spartans kept the ball mainly on the ground using a variety of formations. East Longmeadow also featured John Bortolussi, who ran for 59 yards and gained 29 more in the air while scoring the opening touchdown of the game.
“I started out with a different (defensive) look and (East Longmeadow) took advantage of it,” Thompson said. “I switched back (in the second half) to something we used to run and it worked.”
The Hurricanes were glad to have Torres back. After missing the season-opening loss to Westfield with an injury, Torres made a difference Friday, catching seven passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 19 yards rushing.
Torres’ second touchdown came on a 19-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
“He’s an electrifying player and we’ve been waiting for him to get his chances on the field,” Thompson said. “He’s been a little nicked up and we’ve been hesitant about how much we give him, but it was at that point where we had to just let him go.”
Torres was also frustrated the Hurricanes couldn’t put together a more consistent effort.
“We have to play like we did in the second half all game,” he said. “We have to go hard all game, we can’t be lackadaisical in the first half and then come out in the second half, then it’s too late.”
East Longmeadow 28, Amherst 14
East Longmeadow 7 14 7 0—28
Amherst 0 0 0 14—14
E-John Bortolussi 29-yard pass from Devon Kennedy (Bortolussi kick)
E-Michael Maggipinto 10 run (Bortolussi kick)
E-Maggipinto 18 run (Bortulussi kick)
E-Ryan Taft 10 from Kennedy (Bortolussi kick)
A-Taj-Amir Torres 72 from Jack Faulstick (conversion good)
B-Torres 19 from Faulstick (conversion failed)
Passing: Amherst-Faulstick 9-15-177-2; East Longmeadow-Kennedy 8-12-100-2
Rushing: Amherst- Brandon Rivera 17-106-0; East Longmeadow-Maggipinto 11-107-2
Receiving: Amherst- Torres 7-143-2TD; East Longmeadow-Taft 4-23-1