H.S. Football: Easthampton blanks Mahar, 42-0, in opener

Staff Writer
Published: 9/9/2021 9:52:46 PM

ORANGE — It was the Luke Kraus show for Easthampton on Thursday night. 

Kraus did a little bit of everything for the Eagles in their season opener against Mahar, running for a pair of scores, catching a touchdown pass and taking an interception back to the house as Easthampton beat the Senators, 42-0, in an independent football season opener at the Woodward Complex. 

“We had two scrimmages and didn’t play well in either so I was happy we put things together,” Eagles coach Matt Bean said. “It was good to see we pulled it together and executed on offense.”

Kraus actually took the opening kickoff back for a score, but it was called back for a penalty. It didn't matter, as Easthampton drove down and Giancarlo Osiecki punched it in from the Mahar 2 to give the Eagles an early 6-0 lead. 

Easthampton forced a punt and three plays later Kraus took a jet sweep, cut back to the opposite side of the field and used his speed to get to the end zone for a 56-yard score. Sean Healy connected with Connor Mott for the two-point conversion as Easthampton zipped out to a 14-0 lead with 5:16 to play in the first quarter. 

The Eagles found the end zone twice in the second quarter. The first came on the second play of the frame, with Easthampton facing a third and 10 from the Mahar 20. 

Healy took a quarterback keeper, made a few Senators miss and dashed in for the score to make it 20-0. A fumbled snap on the ensuing Mahar possesssion set the Eagles up in the red zone, with Kraus taking another jet sweep in for a score to balloon the lead to 26-0 going into the half. 

With an inexperienced group, it was a naturally challenging start for Mahar, which managed just 11 yards of offense in the first half. 

“It was nice to get back out after that halfway season,” Senators assistant coach Kyle Newton said. “We only have two returning starters. We’re a young team. Our team is comprised of mostly middle schoolers. It’s tough but they’re getting better each day.” 

Kraus made his impact on the defensive side on the first play of the second half. Mahar quarterback Kaleb Lemcke dropped back to pass but Kraus jumped the route, taking it 35 yards back for a pick-six. Osiecki converted the two-point try to make it 34-0. 

The final Easthampton score came on its next possession. Healy tossed a swing pass to Kraus who did the rest, taking it 13 yards in for the score. Healy took the two-point conversion in himself to put the Eagles up 42-0 with 6:37 to play in the third quarter. 

It was a great start to the season for a young Eagles squad. 

“With this group, they’re very young,” Bean said. “The offensive line is young, the defensive backs are young. This was an encouraging start but we have a long way to go.”

For Mahar, Newton said he saw his team continue to fight and show improvement as the game went on. 

“The second half, you could tell we were getting better,” Newton said. “That was a positive.”


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