Belchertown stuffs Frontier Regional in 8-7 season-opening win

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  • Belchertown senior tackle Curtis Walther, top, gets a handle on Frontier senior running back Ito McMillan en route to bringing him down in the third quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over the visiting Red Hawks on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Frontier sophomore running back Josh Semaski (19) reaches for a pass that fell incomplete under pressure from Belchertown junior defensive back Tyler Laramee in the third quarter of the Red Hawks' 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Orioles on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior Cal Daskam, left, runs behind blocking from junior guard Nolan Cowles, second from right, in the fourth quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over visiting Frontier on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Red Hawk freshman AJ Mihalak (76) and junior Alec Kirkendall, right, defend on the play. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior Matt Czupryna (82) has his legs lifted out from under him by Frontier senior linebacker Donovan Hoffman, left, in the fourth quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over the visiting Red Hawks on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Also on the play are, from left, Belchertown senior Hunter Klingensmith (20) and Frontier juniors Ethan Russell and Ethan Machon. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior quarterback Cameron Otto (11) hands off to junior running back Sam Winston (2) in the fourth quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over visiting Fronteir on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Frontier sophomore running back Josh Semaski, center, bounces out of the grasp of Belchertown senior Matt Czupryna, on the ground at left, and into the arms of Belchertown senior safety Hunter Klingensmith, right, near the goal line in the third quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over the visiting Red Hawks on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Frontier junior lineman Jackie Phong is at top left. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Frontier senior running back Ito McMillan, right, reacts after the first of two back-to-back false start penalties was called on the Red Hawks in the third quarter of their 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Belchertown on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. At left is backup quarterback Sam Schreiber. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Frontier sophomore running back Josh Semaski, left, bounces into the grasp of Belchertown senior safety Hunter Klingensmith near the goal line in the third quarter of the Red Hawks' 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Orioles on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Frontier sophomore quarterback Sam Schreiber (30) looks to pass to sophomore Josh Semaski, left, in the fourth quarter of the Red Hawks' 8-7 Intercounty League loss to host Belchertown on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Frontier senior running back Ito McMillan, center, carries a handoff from sophomore quarterback Sam Schreiber, left, before succumbing to a tackle by Belchertown senior Curtis Walther, top, in the third quarter of the Red Hawks' 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Orioles on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Frontier senior running back Ito McMillan holds his helmet after the first of two back-to-back false start penalties was called on the Red Hawks in the third quarter of their 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Belchertown on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. At left is backup quarterback Sam Schreiber. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 9/6/2019 9:50:07 PM

BELCHERTOWN — Look out for No. 1.

Senior running back Cal Daskam, who wears number 1 on his Belchertown football jersey, carried the load and delivered in key moments of the Orioles’ season-opening 8-7 victory over Frontier Regional on Friday. He ran for 107 yards and scored Belchertown’s only touchdown.

The Orioles took over early in the second quarter after Curtis Walther recovered a Garrett DeForest fumble. Belchertown marched 87 yards, aided by a Frontier facemask penalty, and Daskam finished the drive with a 37-yard score. He raced up the right side after Belchertown created confusion in the backfield with a double handoff. It even confused Belchertown quarterback Cam Otto.

“My quarterback kind of messed up, he bootlegged out and blocked the corner for me,” Daskam said. “I made a cut inside, and I was gone.”

Despite having a capable kicker in Hunter Klingensmith, Belchertown coach Ed Wyzik decided to go for two points and the lead.

“I knew they were a tough team. Going in early I wanted to see how it would work,” he said. “It was one of those plays where you could either get the two or everyone can question you later on.”

Belchertown knew all along where the ball would go. Daskam carried over right tackle and put Belchertown ahead 8-7 with 5 minutes, 41 seconds to halftime.

“I actually thought it was a little risky at first, but it paid off,” Daskam said.

It was all Belchertown’s defense needed. Though Frontier ran for 219 yards, the Orioles kept them out of the end zone. The Red Hawks scored their only touchdown of the game midway through the first quarter on special teams.

Frontier received the ball to open the game once Belchertown deferred after winning the opening coin toss. The Red Hawks punted after an eight-play drive then forced a Belchertown punt deep in the Orioles’ zone. Klingensmith didn’t get all of the kick, and DeForest settled under it on the left sideline. He burst down the line before following a block and cutting back inside to the end zone with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter.

“That gave us a lot of momentum to start off,” Frontier senior Donovan Hoffman said.

The Red Hawks couldn’t maintain it. Frontier committed 12 penalties, including eight false starts and two facemask personal fouls. It also fumbled the ball on Belchertown’s side of the field to set up the Orioles’ only touchdown.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with some fundamental mistakes in the center-quarterback exchange,” Frontier coach Don Gordon said. “It just stopped any potential drive that we had.”

Frontier also played most of the game without one of its best players and captains. DeForest exited the field late in the first quarter after a shoulder injury on defense. His shoulder pops out from time to time, Gordon said.

DeForest is Frontier’s quarterback this season after running for more than 1,300 yards as a running back last year. He also is one of their key run stoppers.

The Red Hawks didn’t give up without one of their leaders, though. Frontier’s defense rose to the occasion in his absence. The Red Hawks sacked Otto, and Alex Kirkendall recovered a fumble with 1:15 to halftime. A false start and two runs sent the game to halftime.

“We responded well to the adversity,” Hoffman said.

DeForest put his shoulder pads, uniform and helmet on at halftime hoping to re-enter the game. Frontier’s trainer didn’t allow it, Gordon said.

“He was ready to go,” Gordon said.

Frontier’s offense struggled to find traction without its signal-caller. Backup quarterback Sam Schreiber went 1-for-4 for 6 yards, and the Red Hawks struggled with getting the snap to him. Only 63 of Frontier’s 219 yards rushing came in the second half. Ito McMillan led the team with 76 yards on the ground, and Josh Semanski added 73.

The Red Hawks’ best chance to take the lead came at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters. They forced another fumble that Josh Semanski recovered with 3:22 remaining in the third on Belchertown’s 30. Frontier covered 23 yards in three plays, then a false start pushed them to first-and-goal from the 12. Semaski carried the ball to the 1-yard line, and lineman Ethan Russell was hurt on the play.

Frontier lost and gained back 3 yards on the next two plays to send the game to the fourth quarter. McMillan was stopped for a loss on fourth-and-goal, and Belchertown took over after offsetting penalties. Kicking a field goal wasn’t an option because DeForest is the long snapper.

“I would have kicked if I had a snapper,” Gordon said. “I asked the team and they said go for it.”

On Belchertown’s next drive, Frontier’s Ethan Machan was injured playing defense. He stayed on the turf face down until an ambulance arrived and he was taken away on a stretcher with a neck brace. Gordon said the injury wasn’t serious and Machan was fine.

Sam Winston (33 yards) and Otto (21 yards) provided other options in the Belchertown backfield so Frontier couldn’t completely key on Daskam.

Belchertown hasn’t made the postseason since 2012 despite near misses the last two years. A win against a returning sectional semifinalist that’s reached the playoffs in the past five years is a good first step on that path.

“It’s huge. We haven’t had playoffs in so long, to start off beating a great team is a great start,” Daskam said.

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

Belchertown 8, Frontier Regional 7

Frontier Regional

7

0

0

0

—7

Belchertown

0

8

0

0

—8

First quarter

F— Garrett DeForest 44 punt return (Dylan Appanell kick), 4:38.

Second quarter

B— Cal Daskam 37 run (Daskam run), 5:41.

Third quarter

No scoring.

Fourth quarter

No scoring.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Belchertown – Daskam 13-107, Sam Winston 8-33, Cam Otto 7-21, Owen Sedlacek 4-9, Matt Czupryna 1-4. Frontier Regional – Ito McMillan 11-76, Josh Semaski 17-73, Alex Kirkendall 8-21, DeForest 1-4, Sam Schreibier 1-(-1)

PASSING—Belchertown – Otto 0-4-0-0. Frontier Regional – Schreibier 1-4-6-0

RECEIVING—Belchertown – none. Frontier Regional – Semaski 1-6.




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