Amherst Regional defense shuts down East Longmeadow in 12-9 win

  • Amherst Regional football coach Chris Ehorn Jr. speaks to his team after the Hurricanes’ 12-9 win at East Longmeadow on Friday. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 9/20/2019 11:41:39 PM

EAST LONGMEADOW — Dan Block’s jump cut left the East Longmeadow defender grasping at air in the hole. The Amherst Regional running back cut to the right and accelerated. He beat three defenders to the corner and the end zone as the third quarter buzzer sounded.

“I saw them over-pursuing,” Block said. “They weren’t as fast as me.”

Block’s 66-yard touchdown put the Hurricanes up three and handed Amherst’s defense a lead to protect for the entire fourth quarter. Amherst kept it safe and held on for a 12-9 win Friday.

The Hurricanes (2-0) held East Longmeadow (1-1) to 24 total yards in the fourth quarter and only let the Spartans have the ball twice.

“It was insane. The whole game we were destroying them,” Amherst senior Shane Robles said.

East Longmeadow missed a 54-yard field goal on its first possession of the quarter. Amherst held the ball for the next 5 minutes, 46 seconds. Pierre Tillus carried the ball six times for 26 yards during the drive. He finished with 65 yards on 14 carries spelling Block (143 yards). Amherst played without one of its top backs in Josh Vecchio, who missed the game because of injury.

“Last week, we had some injuries and we handed (Tillus) the ball,” Amherst Regional coach Chris Ehorn Jr. said. “We’re lucky we have another running back.”

Amherst faced a fourth-and-4 from East Longmeadow’s 29-yard line with 1:25 left. Block ran down the right sideline for a touchdown, but a holding call brought the play back. It was Block’s second score negated by penalty. Quarterback J.B. Mills completed a pass to Tom Dion for 10 yards on the next play, but Amherst turned the ball over.

The Hurricanes dropped an interception on East Longmeadow quarterback Aidan Bean’s first pass attempt, then Robles sealed the game with an interception on the right sideline. He ranged from the boundary back toward the hash marks and out jumped the East Longmeadow receiver for the ball.

“I dropped like two balls before that, so I was like ‘I’m not dropping this one here,’” Robles said.

The win avenged – in some measure – a Division 5 semifinal loss from last season.

“What’s big about this game and this win is we wanted to move up a league and play tougher opponents to play at their speed during the season,” Ehorn said. “We’re playing at a level we’ve never played before the first two weeks.”

Amherst’s defense controlled the game from the opening drive, an East Longmeadow three-and-out. The Hurricanes gave up 124 total yards and made two sacks.

“Jack (Nagy) destroyed their nose in every way, they didn’t stand a chance,” Block said.

Amherst needed to lean on its defense because its offense struggled to throw the ball. The Hurricanes scored their first touchdown aided by two penalties: roughing the passer and a defensive pass interference. Block plunged in from 7 yards out to put the Hurricanes ahead 6-0 with 3:25 to go in the first.

Mills finished 6 of 16 for 90 yards with an interception.

“Bad game offensively. We couldn’t move the ball the way we wanted to,” Ehorn said. “We had so many penalties at the worst times.”

East Longmeadow used two big plays – a 38-yard run by Jon Oliver and a 24-yard pass from Bean to Nico Mongeon that brought the ball to the 1-yard line. Bean snuck in and the extra point put the Spartans up 7-6 with 16.3 seconds to halftime.

“We felt we controlled the game up to that point and the two big plays were mistakes by us,” Ehorn said.

The second half began disastrously for Amherst. The Hurricanes started with the ball after deferring the opening kickoff. They gained a first down on three runs, then Mills lost 15 yards on a sack. Two incompletions necessitated a punt from Amherst’s end zone. A high snap cost the Hurricanes a safety and put East Longmeadow up 9-6 with 8:51 in the third quarter.

“We thought it was 0-0, we erased our minds,” Robles said. “We were just ready to get it.”

Amherst Regional 12,
East Longmeadow 9

Amherst Regional

6

0

6

0

—12

East Longmeadow

0

7

2

0

—9

First quarter

A—Dan Block 7 run (Run failed), 3:25.

Second quarter

EL—Aidan Bean 1 run (Chris Kolodziey kick), 16.3.

Third quarter

EL—Safety, 8:51.

A—Block 68 run (Run failed), 0.0.

Fourth quarter

No scoring.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—East Longmeadow–John Oliver 11-87, Adam McCarthy 1-2, Alex Joyce 2-0, Casey Maloney 1-(-2), Nico Mongeon 2-(-4), Bean 6-(-24). Amherst Regional-Block 15-143, Pierre Tillus 14-65, JJ Bock 1-(-6), J.B. Mills 3-(-13).

PASSING—East Longmeadow–Bean 5-15-65-1. Amherst Regional–Mills 6-16-90-1.

RECEIVING—East Longmeadow–Alex Joyce 1-14, Oliver 1-12, Quigley 1-6. Amherst Regional-CJ Woodfine-Holmes 3-28, Shane Robles 2-52, Tom Dion 1-10.




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