Northampton football takes down Westfield, 28-22
WESTFIELD — No matter the style of victory, with a win Friday over Westfield, the Northampton football team knew it could clinch its first winning season in six years.
But that wasn’t enough drama for the Blue Devils. Northampton upped its degree of difficulty by allowing a fourth-quarter Bombers comeback that looked as though it would send the game into overtime.
Instead, the Blue Devil defense bore down, forcing a turnover and sealing a 28-22 victory — and a winning season — for Northampton (6-4, 3-4 AA Conference).
“Defensively, the kids executed the game plan to perfection. The only problem was, as the game went on, their style of offensive-line play really started to wear us down,” Northampton coach Pat Sledzieski said. “It was a great game, if you could take away the last five or six minutes.”
With Northampton holding a 21-0 lead going into the fourth quarter, Westfield’s rugged running game started to gain some momentum. After several short runs by Ben Geschwind, Quinn Barbeito finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 21-7 with 8:22 left.
Northampton responded three minutes later with a 1-yard scoring run by quarterback RJ Ramsden to make it 28-7.
That was when the Bombers really got hot. On the second play of the subsequent drive, John Toomey took it 68 yards to make it 28-14. Then, a successful onsides kick allowed Barbeito to score on a 48-yard run of his own. A Geschwind rush for the conversion made it 28-22 with 4:50 left.
With time on the clock to cushion its lead, Northampton faltered with a fumble on Westfield’s 29 that was recovered by the Bombers (2-8, 2-5). Westfield drove and reached the Northampton 21, but faced fourth-and-2 with 1:04 left when Sledzieski called a timeout.
“(I told them) to try and dig down and find a little extra, because we were tired. I think this team’s a little bigger than us, a little more physical up front,” he said. “We needed one big play and we got it.”
The line stopped Geschwind, forcing a fumble that the Blue Devils recovered, sealing the victory.
“We woke up, we played hard, and we made some great plays there to get us back in the game and make a game of it. I’m proud of our guys for doing that. It’s what they’ve done all year. But we dug ourselves too big of a hole tonight,” Westfield coach Bill Moore said. “Hamp showed up ready to play. Both offense and defense, they’re just a physical team. Hamp’s been tough and they’re always going to be tough. Give them a lot of credit.”
The feeling is mutual.
“They’re a very good team. I don’t care what their record is; that’s about the best offensive line that we’ve faced all year,” Sledzieski said. “I was really thinking on the sideline is what we were going to do offensively when we fell behind because our defense just wasn’t playing. But they rose to the occasion on that fourth-and-1 and that was a great effort.”
The Blue Devils were led by the three-headed rushing attack of Ramsden (103 yards, three touchdowns), Danny Mam (103 yards, one touchdown) and John Grimaldi (70 yards). Geschwind (101 yards), John Toomey (73 yards, one touchdown) and Barbeito (64 yards, two touchdowns) led the Bombers.
Northampton 28, Westfield 22
Northampton 6 8 7 7—28
Westfield 0 0 0 22—22
N-RJ Ramsden 7-yard run (kick failed), 0:59
N-Ramsden 37 run (John Grimaldi pass from Ramsden), 2:08
N-Danny Mam 3 run (Mam kick), 4:36
W-Quinn Barbeito 1 run (Cody Neidig kick), 8:22
N-Ramsden 1 run (Shawn Wackerbarth kick), 5:27
W-John Toomey 68 run (Neidig kick), 5:02
W-Barbeito 48 run (Ben Geschwind run), 4:50
Passing: Northampton: Ramsden 1-2-39-0; Westfield: Jake Toomey 5-9-52-0, Barbeito 0-1-0-0
Rushing: Northampton: Ramsden 14-103, Mam 13-103, Grimaldi 12-70, Santiago 1-3, Shaw 1-(-10); Westfield: Geschwind 19-101, John Toomey 6-73, Barbeito 10-64, Jake Toomey 5-46, Kuzon 1-8, Lavalley 1-6, Rivers 1-(-2)
Receiving: Northampton: Wackerbarth 1-39; Westfield: Barbeito 3-33, Fitzgerald 1-14, Geschwind 1-5