H.S. Football: Pathfinder’s Griswold throws four touchdowns to beat Belchertown, 47-22

Staff Writer
Published: 11/24/2022 4:35:28 PM

THORNDIKE — Before the Belchertown football team could settle into its Thanksgiving game against rival Pathfinder Thursday morning, the Pioneers had taken control of the contest. 

Pathfinder quarterback Hunter Griswold connected with Jarett Skowyra for a 50-yard touchdown on the game’s opening play, setting the tone for what would be a near-dominant first quarter for the Pioneers. 

Three plays later Pathfinder recovered a fumble and returned it for a score, taking a 14-0 lead before two minutes had bled off the clock. The Pioneers added two more touchdowns in the opening frame en route to a 47-22 victory over the Orioles at St. Joseph’s Park. 

The win was Pathfinder’s first Turkey Day victory over the Belchertown since 2015. 

“I thought we shot ourselves a lot in the foot in the first half,” Orioles coach Dan McCarthy said. “It was fundamentals. We were failing at tackling, taking bad pursuits. When we start slow it’s hard to come back. I’ll put that on me. We had two weeks to prepare for them and clearly I didn’t have the fellas motivated enough to produce.” 

It was Griswold who gave the Belchertown defense fits. The junior didn’t throw an incompletion on the day, completing 15-of-15 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns.

He added a rushing touchdown as well, with both his arm and legs giving the Orioles trouble. 

“It was a headache all week preparing for him,” McCarthy said. “He has a cannon and he can throw on the run. I thought we did pretty well but as soon as he got out of the pocket and they broke out of their routes, we had a tough time.” 

After Griswold’s opening touchdown pass, the Pioneers capitalized on a Chris Daskam fumble, with Giovanni Perniciaro returning it for a touchdown from 33 yards out to put Pathfinder up 14-0. 

Daskam made up for the fumble on his next carry. The junior got the ball on the first Belchertown play on the ensuing possession, made a defender miss and saw daylight, taking it 80 yards to the house to get the Orioles back in the game by cutting the lead to 14-6. 

Belchertown then recovered an onside kick, but with the ball at the Pathfinder 42 and facing a fourth-and-14, Oriole quarterback Landon Andre was picked off by Austin Lagimoniere, who returned it to the Orioles 30. Two plays later Griswold ran it in from 20 yards out to extend the lead to 20-6 with 6:45 to play in the first quarter. 

Belchertown went three-and-out on its next possession. It didn’t take long for the Pioneers to strike, with Coby Hill spinning out of a pair of tackles on a third-and-four before rushing into the end zone from 39 yards out, giving Pathfinder a 27-6 lead with three minutes to play in the opening quarter. 

A long drive for the Orioles to open the second quarter got them back within a pair of scores. Belchertown went on a 16 play drive that amassed 70 yards, capped off with a Grillo touchdown run from two yards out. Kaden Couture tacked on the two-point try to cut the lead to 27-14 with eight minutes to play in the second quarter, a score that held until the half. 

The Orioles drove down on their first possession of the second half, but facing a fourth-and-9 from the Pioneers 29, Griswold picked off Andre and returned it to the Orioles 37 while also halting any chance of a Belchertown score. 

As was the theme of the day, Pathfinder made Belchertown pay for its turnovers. After a pair of completions, Griswold fired a fade to Skowyra who made an impressive catch in the corner of the end zone, extending the lead to 34-14 with 3:07 to play in the third. 

The Orioles got the ball down to the Pioneers 1 on the ensuing possession but the Pathfinder defense held strong on the goal line, stopping Daskam just short of the line on a fourth down to take back possession on the opening play of the fourth quarter. 

Griswold ran it to the four yard line and two plays later hit Perniciaro on a crossing route. Perniciaro broke two tackles and used his speed to get behind the Belchertown defense, finding the end zone from 96 yards out to put the Pioneers ahead 41-14 with 9:36 to play. 

Three big passes from Andre got the Orioles into the red zone on the next possession. Andre hit Shaun Lohse for gains of 21 and 32 yards before hooking up with Nico St. George for a 12 yard gain to set Belchertown up at the Pathfinder 9. Lohse plowed in from eight yards out on the next play, with Couture adding the two-point try to make it a 41-22 game. 

Following an onside kick recovery, Griswold tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Austin Lagimoniere to close out the scoring with 5:25 to play. 

While it wasn’t the result the Orioles wanted, McCarthy is already looking to use Thursday’s game as motivation for next year’s Thanksgiving contest. 

“It’s a huge tradition,” McCarthy said. “I love it. I want them to know we’ll be back next year ready to go and geared up.” 


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