Easthampton rolls past Dean Tech; coach Joe Kocot to return
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EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton football coach Joe Kocot didn’t want a basic game.
And he didn’t get one, as the Eagles completely cooked Dean Tech 52-16 Thursday at Williston Northampton School’s Sawyer Field.
“We didn’t want to do too much as far as repertoire on offense and defense,” Kocot said. “We wanted to go basic, which we did. ... As a coach, you go, ‘this is what we’re gonna do, stick to the game plan,’ and that’s what we did.”
Easthampton (7-4, 7-1 Tri-County League) now leads the Turkey Day series 4-0 and has outscored Dean Tech (0-10, 0-8) 189-22.
This was supposed to be Kocot’s final Thanksgiving Day game as coach. In the preseason he said this was his final football season after 13 with Easthampton and 30 in his career. But after the MIAA passed a statewide playoff system, Kocot reconsidered.
“This year was going to be my last season, but then they voted in the state championship, which I didn’t think they’d vote in,” Kocot said. “So I’ll at least take a shot at that because we’ve got a lot of these guys coming back.”
The Eagles are the No. 4 seed in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament. They will play No. 1 Pathfinder (11-0) on Tuesday at a place and time yet to be determined.
Senior Shane Andrews dominated the game for the Eagles with 205 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He also had a one-handed interception just before halftime.
“Shane always does great. He’s a hard worker, he doesn’t want to go down when he has the ball,” Kocot said. “He’ll keep on going.”
His counterpart was Hawks junior Joseph Mateo, who ran for 44 yards and a touchdown.
“It didn’t go our way. I tried my best on offense,” he said. “I needed to help my team and take them to the distance.”
Dominique Oquendo, a senior, also scored a touchdown to couple his 25 yards rushing and six yards receiving.
Easthampton rushers Alec Leavitt, Lucious Burrell, Frankie and Jake Weir, Kevin Lincoln and Sam Brouder combined for 197 yards rushing and three touchdowns to aid Andrews.
“The line blocks great,” Kocot said. “They may stop us one or two plays, but we’re gonna pop one here or there.”
Neither team did much through the air.
Quarterback Nate Laplante was 2 for 2, including a 38-yard touchdown lob to freshman Hunter Leveille, for the Eagles. Hawks senior quarterback Pablo Gonzalez was 9 of 17 for 87 yards. He also tossed two interceptions.
The Eagles went right to work from the start, blocking a Hawks punt on the opening drive and turning the following possession into a Burrell 9-yard touchdown run. On the following kickoff, Easthampton’s kick went low and bounced off a Hawks special teams player and back into the hands of the Eagles.
Laplante handed it off to Andrews, who ran 51 yards for the TD. Andrews added the 2-point conversion run with 5 minutes, 23 minutes remaining in the first quarter to put Easthampton up 14-0.
The Hawks responded well on their next possession with a 10-play drive that ended with a Mateo rushing touchdown.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Andrews returned it 85 yards for a touchdown to put the Eagles up 22-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The Hawks tried to respond on the next drive, but after three false starts (two against Dean Tech) Gonzalez was intercepted by Leveille.
Andrews and Frankie Weir then went to work. Weir took the handoff and rushed for 40 yards, then Andrews capped the two-play drive with a 38-yard TD run with 5:27 left in the second. Andrews caught the 2-point conversion pass for a 30-8 lead.
On Easthampton’s next possession, Laplante found Leveille for a 38-yard TD pass with one minute left in the half. Leavitt added the conversion run for a 38-8 lead.
When the Hawks attempted to respond, Andrews picked off Gonzalez with one hand just before halftime.
Despite a 30-point lead, Easthampton didn’t slow in the second half. The Eagles split the carries between four different rushers en route to a Frankie Weir 2-yard TD run, putting them up 46-8 with seven minutes remaining in the third.
The Eagles recovered a fumble on the next Dean Tech play and Leavitt followed with a 37-yard score for Easthampton’s final touchdown with 6:26 left in the third quarter.
Easthampton 52, Dean Tech 16
at Williston Northampton
Dean 8 0 0 8—16
Easthampton 22 16 14 0—52
E–Lucious Burnell 9-yard run (run failed)
E–Shane Andrews 51 run (Andrews run)
D–Joseph Mateo 2 run (Joseph Sanabria catch)
E–Andrews 85 kick return (conversion good)
E–Andrews 38 run (Andrews from Nate LaPlante)
E–Hunter Leveille 38 from Laplante (Alex Leavitt run)
E–Frankie Weir 2 run (Leavitt run)
E–Leavitt 37 run (run failed)
D–Dominique Oquendo 3 run (Jamel Figueroa run)
Passing: Easthampton: Laplante 2-2-37-0; Dean Tech: Gonzalez 9-17-87-2
Rushing: Easthampton: Andrews 8-205, Leavitt 5-79, Laplante 1-3, Burrell 2-11, Frankie Weir 3-48, Jake Weir 1-2, Kevin Lincoln 1-(-10), Sam Brouder 3-29; Dean Tech: Oquendo 8-25, Amaya 4-10, Mateo 10-55.
Receiving: Easthampton: Leveille 1-38, Andrews 1-2; Dean Tech: Oquendo 1-6, Sanabria 4-37