H.S. Football: Pittsfield rolls past Amherst, 52-8

  • Amherst’s Jameson Dion runs behind his line during the Hurricanes’ loss to Pittsfield on Friday night. FOR THE GAZETTE/MIKE WALSH

For the Gazette
Published: 9/18/2021 12:05:20 AM

PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield quarterback Patrick Rindfuss fumbled away Friday night's opening possession in the red zone. After that, the senior pitched a perfect game.

Rindfuss threw for two touchdowns, ran for two more, and the Generals scored every time the offense took the field after that opening drive in a 52-8 victory over Amherst on Friday night.

The hosts led 46-0 after opening the third quarter with an onside kick and Georgios Zamakis’ touchdown run. With a running clock, that was the offense's only possession of the second half.

Amherst got on the board with a scoring carry by quarterback Jameson Dion late in the third, but the Generals quickly responded to the tune of a long kick-return touchdown by Louis Rhodes to provide the 52-8 final.

“We have got to be the aggressor. We have got to be the one who is going to seek out and make that play for our team,” Amherst coach Mike Dublin said. “I don’t think we did that (Friday) and the scoreboard did reflect it.”

The Hurricanes had a few chances to make Pittsfield sweat, and the first came on the game’s opening drive. Rindfuss carried for 22 yards on three keepers, but fumbled a handoff on the fourth play of the game. Junior Ramsey recovered for the Hurricanes on their own 14-yard line.

Amherst possessed the ball for nearly the next four minutes, picking up two first downs, but Dublin’s team shot itself in the foot too often Friday night. A holding penalty and false start came in succession and suddenly the Hurricanes faced first-and-28. Dion, a sophomore, went to the air twice for incompletions, before senior running back Tafari Proctor broke off a 20-yard carry. But, on fourth-and-eight from the Amherst 47-yard line, Dublin called out the punt unit.

Rindfuss ran three more keepers for 19 yards on Pittsfield’s ensuing possession, before dropping a pass into Rhodes' bread basket on the goal line for a 35-yard touchdown and 6-0 lead.

Zamackis had a tackle in the backfield and the home defense kept the lid on Amherst for a four-and-out turnover on downs at midfield. The Hurricanes couldn't get out of their own way, as back-to-back encroachment penalties turned a third-and-10 into a free first down. Rindfuss made them pay with a 15-yard touchdown run.

It was a two-way gem by the veteran signal caller, and he got his turnover back on Amherst's very next play, intercepting a Dion pass and bringing it back to the Hurricanes' 18. Rhodes went in from 13 yards out on a devastating cutback and it was 22-0 after the first play of the second quarter.

“Biggest thing, we stressed it at halftime, was tackling,” Dublin said. “We’re there for plays, but we have to be able to go and be the individuals who make those plays. We’re working through that transition now, and there’s no time to waste.”

Amherst had one more chance to make this a game before things got away from the visiting sideline.

Dion and Proctor shared carries in moving from their own 45 down to the Pittsfield 13. Dion was shook up after getting walloped by Tyler Gaudette on an incomplete pass and cornerback Toby Gaulden-Wheeler on a rush to the edge. But the sophomore refocused in time for a 12-yard carry into the red zone. 

“I give our guys credit for what they are. I know what type of team I have,” Dublin said. “These guys are absolute fighters who are not going to stop or lie down for anybody.”

Amherst's next call went to junior Jensen Taylor, who carried inside the 10, before the ball was punched out from behind. 

Pittsfield's Jimmy DiFilippo recovered in the end zone for a touchback, and following a fruitless seven-minute drive, the Generals offense was back off to the races.

Rindfuss rushed twice for 33 yards and then crested a deep ball onto the stretched hands of Davon Solomon. Solomon's post route went down as a 49-yard touchdown catch that broke Amherst, putting the Hurricanes in a 30-0 hole before halftime.

A Brayden Bunnell sack forced a three-and-out, and Rindfuss tacked on a five-yard touchdown run as time expired in the second quarter.

His final numbers: 5 of 9 for 134 yards and two touchdowns through the air; 16 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Rhodes caught four balls for 85 yards, rushed twice for 26 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. 

For Amherst, Dion carried 16 times for 101 yards, and Proctor 16 times for 66 yards. Taylor added 15 yards on four carries, Neil Conniffe had 13 yards on three carries and Richard Guerron took one carry 12 yards. The Hurricanes did not complete a pass on five attempts with one interception. 

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