Amherst Regional puts West Springfield on lockdown, wins WMass Div. 5 football championship

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  • Dan Block, center, of Amherst Regional, carries the ball against West Springfield as teammates CJ Woodfine-Holmes, left, and JJ Block prepare to block during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dan Block, left, of Amherst Regional, runs for a gain before being tackled by Josiah Griffin, of West Springfield, approaches during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dan Block, left, of Amherst Regional, runs for a gain as Ben Green, of West Springfield, approaches during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dan Block, front, of Amherst Regional, runs for a gain against West Springfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • CJ Woodfine-Holmes, right, of Amherst Regional, catches a pass while defended by Chris McMahon, of West Springfield, during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional coach Chris Ehorn, Jr., center, talks to his team during their 50-8 win against West Springfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional quarterback J.B. Mills, right, runs past West Springfield defender Jonathan Rosado to score a touchdown in the first quarter, Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional quarterback JB Mills, right, runs for a touchdown against West Springfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • CJ Woodfine-Holmes, right, of Amherst Regional, gets past a pair of West Springfield defenders during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • CJ Woodfine-Holmes, right, of Amherst Regional, runs for a first down before being tackled by Michael Russell, of West Springfield, during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Zayd Sadiq, left, of Amherst Regional, catches a pass against Antonio Rivas, of West Springfield, during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional quarterback JB Mills, left, can't avoid a tackle by Tyler Parent, behind him, of West Springfield, during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ethan Howard, right, of Amherst Regional, catches in the end zone in front of Chris McMahon, of West Springfield, but didn't score due to a penalty during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Shane Robles, left, of Amherst Regional, catches a touchdown against Mekhi Smith, of West Springfield, during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday at Holyoke High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional players Shane Robles, left, and Jack Nagy celebrate Robles' touchdown against West Springfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional fans cheer for their team during their win against West Springfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Antonio Govan Jr., left, of Amherst Regional, intercepts a pass before running for a touchdown against West Springfield, Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional coach Chris Ehorn, Jr., left, accepts the trophy after his team's 50-8 win against West Springfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dan Block, front, of Amherst Regional, runs for a touchdown against West Springfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Michael Russell, right, of West Springfield, catches while defended by CJ Woodfine-Holmes, of Amherst Regional, during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. The catch set up West Springfield's only touchdown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Connor Bowen, center, of Amherst Regional, runs for a first down against West Springfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional players CJ Woodfine-Holmes, left, and Shane Robles celebrate their win against West Springfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Amherst Regional team celebrates after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Amherst Regional team is greeted by their fans after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional coach Chris Ehorn, Jr., front, walks the trophy to his team after defeating West Springfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Amherst Regional team gathers for photos after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Amherst Regional team takes turns kissing the trophy after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Landon Worgess, holding trophy, celebrates with teammates after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Landon Worgess, holding trophy, celebrates with teammates after Amherst Regional beat West Springfield, 50-8, in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship, Saturday at Holyoke High School. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos and video. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2019 4:20:06 PM

HOLYOKE — Tony Govan corralled the football in his good hand. The other was wrapped in a cast.

The Amherst Regional linebacker just intercepted West Springfield quarterback Ryan Russell for the second time in Saturday’s Western Massachusetts Division 5 championship game and headed for the goal line. Nothing but open turf impeded him, and Govan cruised into the end zone.

“I didn’t think I was going to catch any balls today. What can I say?” Govan said. “They were thrown right to me. If I dropped them, I would be upset, so I had to catch them, had to score.”

The top-seeded Hurricanes picked off Russell five times, as their defense led to a dominant 50-8 win over No. 2 West Springfield. Amherst allowed 176 total yards and just 40 rushing yards.

“Our defense had an excellent week of practice. They knew what to expect. They played lights out,” Amherst coach Chris Ehorn Jr. said. “They wanted to prove to everyone we’re the best team in Division 5 and it worked out that way.”

It’s the Hurricanes’ first significant football championship since 1999, when Amherst beat Southbridge in the Central-Western Division 2 Super Bowl.

Amherst (10-0) will play Northbridge in the state semifinals, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Westfield State. Northbridge beat Oakmont, 35-14, in the Central Mass. championship.

“You can say ‘we can win championships,’ but doing it, having that trophy in your hand, seeing that banner, being No. 1, it’s amazing,” Govan said. “There’s nothing like it.”

The Hurricanes picked off Russell’s first pass of the game. Josh Vecchio leapt to snag the throw out of the air and returned it to the 17. Five plays later, he plowed up the middle for a 2-yard score. That was the first of five straight Amherst touchdowns.

Quarterback J.B. Mills put the Hurricanes up 16-0 with an 8-yard scramble with 5:21 to halftime.

“We came out and stuck it to ’em physically, dominated the first half,” Mills said.

Amherst forced a punt on West Springfield’s next drive, but two negative plays put the Hurricanes in a third-and-25 hole. No problem for Mills. He kept the ball on a read option and burst up the middle. The senior outran a linebacker to the outside, beat two Terriers to the corner and caught a block from Shane Robles. Mills outran the rest of the defense 83 yards for a touchdown with 1:50 to halftime.

“I didn’t think I was going to get by those two kids,” Mills said. “I turned on the jets.”

C.J. Woodfine-Holmes intercepted Russell two plays later, giving Amherst another shot at points. Mills orchestrated another scoring drive, competing 5 of 9 passes and ending with a 20-yard touchdown throw as the halftime buzzer sounded. He finished 10 of 17 passing for 109 yards and ran for another 86.

“They’re a really good offense, we know they could score any time,” Ehorn said. “We wanted to keep putting points on the board in case they had the opportunity to mount a comeback.”

West Springfield (7-3) managed one touchdown in the third quarter after Govan’s second interception. Ryan Russell found his older brother Mike for 44 yards to the 1, then Ryan ran it in to cut the lead to 38-8.

“The guys weren’t down because it was a blown coverage, we were in the wrong spot,” Ehorn said. “After that they were lined up right. It was just a little mental error on our end.”

Amherst salted the game away with its run game. Dan Block added a 37-yard touchdown. Pierre Tillus ran for 79 yards in the second half. He ripped off a 44-yard burst down to the 1 as the clocked ticked under a minute before plunging it in with 20 seconds remaining.

“To win a championship like this feels great,” Mills said. “We’re not done yet. Our goal has been all year to win the state championship. It’s the first step in the process.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

Amherst Regional 50,
West Springfield 8

West Springfield

0

0

8

0

—8

Amherst Regional

8

24

12

6

—44

First quarter

A—Josh Vecchio 6 run (Tom Dion pass from J.B. Mills), 7:33.

Second quarter

A—Mills 8 run (C.J. Woodfine-Holmes pass from Mills), 5:21.

A—Mills 83 run (Woodfine-Holmes pass from Mills), 1:50.

A—Shane Robles 20 pass from Mills (Vecchio run), 0.0.

Third quarter

A—Tony Govan 35 interception return (Run failed), 11:07.

WS—Ryan Russell 1 run (Johnny Rosado pass from Russell), 7:24.

Fourth quarter

A—Pierre Tillus 1 run (No conversion attempted) :20.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Amherst Regional–Mills 5-86, Tillus 12-79, Dan Block 5-75, Vecchio 12-20, Woodfine-Holmes 1-(-10). West Springfield-Ryan Russsell 10-31, Ben Green 1-8, Calvin Curtis 1-1.

PASSING—Amherst Regional–Mills 10-17-109-0. West Springfield–Ryan Russell 11-26-136-5.

RECEIVING—Amherst Regional–Robles 4-56, Woodfine-Holmes 2-32, Zayd Sadiq 1-18, Vecchio 1-5, Ethan Murphy 1-3. West Springfield-Mike Russell 1-44, NUMBER ONE, 4-26, Green 2-31, Johnny Rosado 2-22, Jaiden Santana 1-12, Josiah Griffin 1-2.




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