Amherst football shows strides in Thanksgiving loss to Minnechaug

  • Amherst lost to Minnechaug in the team's Thanksgiving football game Thursday in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Published: 11/24/2016 5:29:45 PM

AMHERST — Trailing by five touchdowns after halftime, Amherst wasn’t about to kick the football deep to Minnechaug to start the third quarter.

Helton Cabral da Silva lofted the kickoff over the Falcons first line of kickoff coverage into the open space behind them. Juan Ross-Perkins knifed through the Minnechaug line to recover the kick.

“We knew that they had the wide-open middle,” Ross-Perkins said.

That recovery sparked a series of second-half bright spots in the Hurricanes’ 49-16 loss to Minnechaug on Thursday. It tied the teams’ all-time series at eight wins each.

After getting the ball back to start the second half, Amherst (4-7) marched to the 2-yard line. Alexsander Fernandes took it the remaining 2 yards into the end zone to put the Hurricanes on the board with 9 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third quarter. Miles Foerster threw to Will Budington for the conversion, and the Hurricanes trailed 35-8.

“That first offensive drive of the second half, it was a perfect drive,” Amherst coach Chris Ehorn said.

Then Cabral da Silva struck again. He placed the pooch kick in nearly the same spot, and Amherst recovered.

That drive ended with an interception, one of four Amherst turnovers in the game (three interceptions, one fumble).

Minnechaug (4-7) turned Amherst’s first-half turnovers and its own possessions into 35 points before halftime.

“We had a few blown coverages. They just beat us with the big play,” Budington said.

Minnechaug senior quarterback Cole Modestow was the one producing them. He threw for 144 yards and four touchdowns while running for two scores. Defensively, Modestow picked off two passes.

“It’s the greatest feeling ever,” Modestow said. “Favorite day to end it on, best game you could have.”

Budington led Amherst with 53 yards on the ground and the Hurricanes’ other touchdown. He covered 59 yards with 8:03 left on a sweep to the right.

“We try to find ways to get me in open space, and I had a lot of open space down the sideline,” Budington said. “I knew no one was going to touch me.”

Foerster threw a pass to Josh Vecchio for the conversion to end the day’s scoring.

Amherst finished the season with four wins, its most since 2012. The Hurricanes graduate 11 seniors.

“They’ve been fantastic. For a senior to buy into a new coach, after they’ve been with a coach they all love for the first three years of their high school experience, it goes to show you what they wanted to get out of the season, what kind of guys they are,” Ehorn said. “Four wins isn’t a lot, but it’s more than what they were used to, and we’re happy we were able to get them.”

The departing seniors leaving the Hurricanes in good shape. Amherst will return most of its offensive line and Foerster next season, a solid foundation.

“The team is so much more of a team. We’re much more disciplined,” Budington said. “Internally it really feels like coach Ehorn has this program headed in the best direction possible, and I’m really happy that we could be the first year of that.”

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