South Hadley can’t keep up with Agawam in 42-28 loss
SOUTH HADLEY — After taking a quick two touchdown lead over South Hadley Friday night, Agawam’s thoughts of an easy victory quickly turned into a shootout.
Agawam running back Gio Russo and South Hadley back TJ Fitzell went back and fourth, but it was Russo’s Brownies that pulled out a 42-28 victory.
Russo had three touchdowns, including an 85-yard kickoff return. Fitzell scored four touchdowns, including a 85-yard kickoff return.
“I knew there was a lot of game left after being down so quickly,” South Hadley head coach Eric Scammons said. “I kept telling the boys that, and I cannot be more proud of the way our boys fought back against such a great team like Agawam.”
The teams combined for 34 points in the first quarter. Russo rushed for two quick touchdowns in the opening five minutes.
With 3:26 left, Fitzell scored on a 19-yard run to cut the deficit in half, 14-7. Russo answered with an 85-yard kickoff return, only to be topped by Fitzell’s 85 yard return.
Agawam quarterback Mike Vecchiarelli had a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter to give his team a 28-14 lead. But with just 15 seconds left before halftime, Fitzell punched in a 6-yard touchdown run that cut the Agawam lead to 28-21.
“It’s no secret that TJ is our most productive player,” Scammons said. “Every defense that faces us, knows that they have to stop TJ Fitzell, and he still manages to be productive on the ground, through the air and defensively as well.”
The scoring continued in the third quarter. Agawam quarterback Mike Vecchiarelli connected with receiver Tom Cabibbo for a 35-yard touchdown pass as the Brownies (6-0, 4-0 Suburban) took a 35-21 lead.
Fitzell had a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Pat Sears in the third to make it 35-28. Comee added a 20-yard scoring run to put the game away in the fourth.
South Hadley (2-4, 2-2 Suburban) gained 374 yards to Agawam’s 266, but four Tigers turnovers made the difference.
Fitzell finished with 228 total yards, including 114 on the ground on 14 carries.
“This game hurts, it definitely hurts,” Fitzell said. “Every game means so much to us. Have to tell my team to keep their heads up, and that I am proud of them because the season isn’t over.”
Agawam 42, South Hadley 28
at South Hadley
Agawam 20 8 7 7 --42
South Hadley 14 7 7 0 --28
A-Gio Russo 2-yard run (Jason Carleton kick) 10:18
A-Russo 3 run (Carleton kick) 7:18
SH-TJ Fitzell 19 run (Andy Gingras kick) 3:26
A-Russo 85 kick return (kick blocked) 3:11
SH-Fitzell 85 kick return (Gingras kick) 2:52
A-Mike Vecchiarelli 1 run (Steve Comee run) 4:09
SH-Fitzell 3 run (Gingras kick) 0:15
A-Tom Cabbibo 34 pass from Vecchiarelli (Carleton kick) 8:07
SH-Fitzell 5 pass from Sears (Gingras kick) 4:39
A-Comee 20 run (Carleton kick) 1:33
Passing: Agawam-Vecchiarelli 4-8-100-1; South Hadley-Sears 15-27-201-1
Rushing: Agawam-Russo 9-30-2; Comee 16-111-1 South Hadley-Fitzell 14-114-2
Receiving: Agawam-Carleton 3-65; Cabibbo 1-34-1 South Hadley-Fitzell 5-24-1; Kellerher 4-29