Easthampton football dominates Intercounty League debut
ORANGE — The Easthampton football team looked right at home in its Intercounty league debut Friday night.
The Eagles, who moved up from the Tri-County this season, scored the game’s first four touchdown and cruised to a 52-12 victory at Mahar Regional.
Junior running back Lou Burrell rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries as Easthampton (2-0, 1-0) won its first league game as an Intercounty member.
“We are lucky enough to be moving up and have a good team,” Easthampton coach Joe Kocot said. “If we moved up and didn’t have a good team, against this league, we’d get shelled.
“I was hoping (the league opener) would go this way, but as a coach you never know.”
Alec Perrone put the Eagles on top early with scoring runs of 8 and 36 in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead. Perrone finished with 92 yards rushing on eight carries. Burrell took over from there, scoring on touchdown runs of 45, 39 and 49.
“We pound the ground,” said Kocot, whose team beat St. Joseph’s 53-6 in its opener on Sept. 14. “We didn’t really know if we would have those long runs. We knew we could get the 5, 6, 7-yard runs on power and iso plays. But when you have guys like Lou and Perrone, Perrone is hard to tackle and Lou is hard to find.”
Burrell made up for some lost time, as he missed last week’s opener against St. Joseph’s due to a family wedding in Texas. The game had originally been scheduled for Sept. 7, but was moved back a week because of a conflict.
“As a coach, I’m feeling like it’s good they didn’t see Lou,” Kocot said. “I’m telling Lou, ‘I love you, man, but we didn’t really need you and you’ll get yours,’” against Mahar.
On Friday, fullbacks John Lachowicz and Nouredine Diedhiou added short-yardage touchdowns for the Eagles as the offensive line opened holes for the ground game all evening.
Kocot, whose team is hoping to qualify for the first-ever statewide football tournament in Division 5, felt the win was as big for postseason potential as anything ICL related.
“Not only do you want to make a statement, and I haven’t really talked to them about the playoff system, but now that it is just eight games for qualifying, all the (power ranking) points you can accumulate are huge,” he said. “Hopefully, (Mahar) can go out and get a handful of points over the year because it’s 10 points for us winning tonight and then two more points for every win they get. Last week, it was only eight points because St. Joe’s is a division below us.”
Mahar (0-2, 0-1) trailed 30-0 at halftime, but got on the board in the opening drive of the third quarter. The Senators drove 69 yards on 12 plays, including a successful fake punt on fourth-and-9 from the Easthampton 49, capped by a 19-yard touchdown pass from Logan Barrett to Drew Patria.
Barrett connected for a second touchdown in the fourth quarter when he rolled to the right and found Angel Biegen in the back of the end zone from 11 yards out. The senior quarterback completed 15 of 25 passes for 162 yards.
The Easthampton defense forced four turnovers, including three fumbles, and did a good job of keeping Mahar’s short passing game from breaking free and limited the rushing attack to 20 yards.
“It is 11 guys to the ball,” Kocot said. “That’s how we play football, especially when they start dinking around with the screens. You have to have all the lanes filled. Yes, they got yards, but they didn’t break one.”
Jim Pignatiello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Easthampton 52, Mahar 12
Easthampton 14 16 14 8—52
Mahar 0 0 6 6—12
E-Alec Perrone 8 run (Lou Burrell run), 7:36
E-Perrone 36 run (run failed), 0:04.3
E-John Lachowicz 4 run (Burrell pass from Nate LaPlante), 4:38
E-Burrell 45 run (Burrell run), 2:25
M-Drew Patria 19 pass from Logan Barrett (run failed), 5:15
E-Nouredine Diedhiou 1 run (Hunter Leveille run), 1:50
E-Burrell 39 run (run failed), 0:34.4
M-Angel Biegen 11 pass from Barrett (pass failed), 3:37
E-Burrell 49 run (Perrone run), 2;45
Passing: Mahar-Barrett 15-25-162-1; Paul 1-1-10-0
Rushing: Easthampton-Burrell 12-223; Perrone 8-92; Leveille 7-57; LaPlante 3-36; Lachowicz 2-15; Brodeur 2-3; Diedhiou 1-1; Mahar-Adams 6-14; Newton 2-13; Leary 1-5; Richardson 3-(-4); Barrett 7-(-4)
Receiving: Mahar-Patria 5-64; Newtown 2-42; Leary 4-28; Adams 3-21; Biegen 2-17