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Division 7 football: South Hadley exacts revenge on Frontier in semifinals

  • Hunter Carey, center, of South Hadley, celebrates his second touchdown against Frontier Regional with Jacey Rondeau, left, and Dario Pelletier, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Matt Hildreth, left, of Frontier Regional, punts to South Hadley, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Matt Hildreth, front left, of Frontier Regional, carries the ball before being tackled by Ryan Levrault, front right, of South Hadley, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Garrett DeForest, right, of Frontier Regional, runs for a touchdown against South Hadley, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hunter Carey, right, of South Hadley, runs in a two-point conversion against Frontier Regional after scoring his team's first touchdown, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tyrell Braithwaite, right, of South Hadley, catches a pass before being tackled by Matt Hildreth, of Frontier Regional, Friday at South Hadley . STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Matt Hildreth, top, of Frontier Regional, passes as he is tackled by Ryan Levrault, of South Hadley, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. The pass was intercepted by James Couture, who ran for a touchdown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hunter Carey, right, of South Hadley, runs toward his second touchdown against Frontier Regional, Friday at South Hadley High School. Aiden Sullivan, left, helps by grabbing the jersey of Ethan Machon. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos and video. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ben Watkins, right, of South Hadley, catches a pass before being tackled by Jacob Bryant, of Frontier Regional, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS



Staff writer
Friday, November 02, 2018

SOUTH HADLEY — Even Hunter Carey thought he was down.

A Frontier Regional tackler cut the South Hadley running back’s legs from under him on the left sideline Friday. Carey landed on the Red Hawk and planted a hand in the turf. The whistle never sounded, and he kept running for a 39-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.

“When I fell on top of him I just kept going, never stopped my legs,” Carey said.

The No. 3 Red Hawks struggled to stop Carey on that run and the second-seeded Tigers all night. South Hadley won the Western Massachusetts Division 7 semifinal, 44-13. The Tigers will face top-seeded and defending champion Wahconah in the championship game Friday at a site to be determined. The Warriors defeated No. 4 Taconic 48-0.

It’s the Tigers’ first playoff win and sectional final appearance since 2012, when South Hadley last won a Super Bowl. South Hadley coach Scott Taylor was the defensive coordinator on that team.

“I’m excited for the kids that they get to experience that. We did have that run, and it kind of became commonplace that we would play in one often,” Taylor said. “To finally get one, I’m excited for them to experience it.”

The victory avenged a 28-21 semifinal loss last year in South Deerfield.

“We wanted the home game, we didn’t want to have to play on a grass field. We let everything else fall into place,” Taylor said. “It was kind of a bonus, honestly, to get Frontier again.”

A 22-point second quarter gave the Tigers (7-2) breathing room. Garrett DeForest put the Red Hawks on the board with a 21-yard run that cut Frontier’s deficit to 14-6 with 9:09 to halftime.

“Sometimes it just opens right up for you like a tractor trailer coming through the hole, and the hoggies just put them in deep. It opened right up,” DeForest said. “It was good to put points on the board. It’s always important to try and stay in it.”

South Hadley built its 14-0 lead on a 19-yard catch by Carey from Hunter Borowski in the game’s first 6 minutes and Carey’s 39-yard run. The Tigers added to it four minutes after DeForest’s touchdown. Carey ripped off a 34-yard run that put the Tigers on Frontier’s 9. Three plays later, Tyrell Braithwaite took a sweep to the right a yard into the end zone.

Matt Hildreth threw an interception two plays later that James Couture ran back 49 yards for a touchdown and a 28-6 lead with 5:10 to halftime.

“I saw the slants coming through, our line did a great job keeping him in the pocket, closed in on him,” Couture said. “He had to get rid of the ball, and I capitalized on that.”

South Hadley made sure the Red Hawks didn’t get the ball back for the rest of the half. Taylor called an onside kick that the Tigers recovered with 5:10 to halftime.

“I thought our defense was playing great, so it was worth the risk,” he said.

The Tigers went on a 12-play drive bolstered by a 26-yard halfback pass from Kyle Johnson to Carey down to the Frontier 4. Borowski capped the drive with a 1-yard score.

“Our line really helped out. They blocked for us, and we made our plays,” Borowski said.

Borowski threw his second touchdown pass with 9:09 left, a 12-yard arc to Aiden Sullivan to finish a 30-0 run. He went 3-for-4 for 33 yards and two toucdowns, and ran for 39 yards and a score. Carey finished with 128-yards rushing, 45 receiving and two touchdowns.

“It means everything to get our coach our first playoff win,” Couture said. “We’re gonna get out there next week, gotta work hard this week.”

Frontier didn’t go quietly. DeForest went in motion early in the fourth quarter, running in front of Hildreth. The Red Hawks’ quarterback flipped him a shovel pass that DeForest took 39 yards for another touchdown with 9:09 left.

“What we were saying at halftime is ‘Swing.’ That’s all we wanted to do,” DeForest said. “Whatever it took, you’ve just got to go out there and keep grinding.”

Frontier will await a non-playoff game next week and close the season with its annual pre-Thanksgiving showdown against Mohawk on Nov. 21.

“Everything’s a learning experience,” DeForest said. “The more we learn, even from this, we can keep going.”

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

South Hadley 44, Frontier Regional 13

Frontier Regional

0

6

0

7

—13

South Hadley

14

22

8

0

—44

First quarter

SH—Hunter Carey 19 pass from Hunter Borowski (Carey run), 4:51

SH—Carey 39 run (Run failed), 3:09

Second quarter

F—Garrett DeForest 21 run (Kick failed), 10:27

SH—Tyrell Braithwaite 1 run (Run failed), 6:19

SH—James Couture 49 interception return (Carey run), 5:10

SH—Borowski 1 run (Carey run), 0.0

Third quarter

SH—Aiden Sullivan 12 pass from Borowski (Braithwaite run), 1:08

Fourth quarter

F—DeForest 39 pass from Matt Hildreth (Hildreth kick), 9:09

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—South Hadley–Carey 14-128, Borowski 10-39, James Couture 4-23, Kyle Johnson 3-20, Dylan Cottingham 3-16, Braithwaite 8-12. Frontier Regional-Hildreth 4-27, DeForest 4-27, Alec Kirkendall 6-15, Josh Semaski 2-11

PASSING—South Hadley–Borowski 3-4-33-0, Johnson 1-1-26-0. Frontier Regional–Hildreth 4-9-98-2.

RECEIVING—South Hadley–Carey 2-45, Aiden Sullivan 1-22, Watkins 1-(-8). Frontier Regional-DeForest 3-81, Corbin Blight 1-17