Thanksgiving football: Jack Diggins caps Northampton career with 1st TD, win over Easthampton

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  • Jacob Neumann, of Easthampton, works to get by Sam Walker of Northampton during the Thanksgiving day football game Thursday, which Northampton won 20-0. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Marcus O'Meally, of Easthampton, runs during the Thanksgiving day football game against Northampton Thursday, November 28, 2019 which Northampton won 20-0. Northampton players, left, Kavan Powers and Sam Walker. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Liam Burke, of Easthampton, passes during the Thanksgiving day football game against Northampton Thursday, November 28, 2019. Northampton won 20-0. STAFF PHOTO / CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jake Brittain of Northampton runs at Marcus O'Meally of Easthampton, during the Thanksgiving day football game Thursday, November 28, 2019. Northampton won 20-0. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jacob Neumann, of Easthampton runs at Jake Brittain, of Northampton during the Thanksgiving day football game Thursday, November 28, 2019 which Northampton won 20-0. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jack Diggins, right, scores a touchdown during the Thanksgiving day football game against Easthampton Thursday Northampton won 20-0. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Breaden Tudryn of Northampton throws a stiff arm against Jacob Neumann and Daniel Dabek, of Easthampton, during the Thanksgiving day football game Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jack Diggins, scores a touchdown during the Thanksgiving day football game against Easthampton Thursday, November 28, 2019. Northampton won 20-0. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jordan Dermody leads the Easthampton cheer leaders in a practice cheer before the Thanksgiving day football game between Northampton and Easthampton game started Thursday, November 28, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/28/2019 4:05:09 PM

NORTHAMPON — Jack Diggins threw out the celebration script as he crossed the goal line.

Northampton’s senior offensive lineman lined up at fullback then carried the football six yards untouched through the Easthampton defense into the end zone.

“I’ve been playing 10 years and never scored a touchdown. Going in untouched was one of the greatest feelings I have experienced this year,” Diggins said. “I had a lot of celebrations planned, but once it happened I forgot it all. I was just screaming and running around.”

The touchdown - the first score of Thursday’s Thanksgiving showdown - gave the Blue Devils the lead for good, and Northampton powered through for a 20-0 victory.

Diggins finished with three carries for 12 yards. Northampton coach Joe Kocot inserted him at fullback after the Blue Devils struggled to move the ball in a scoreless first half. He’d practiced at the position for the past month.

“This wasn’t a prayer,” Kocot said.

Northampton (7-4) won for the fifth year in a row. The Blue Devils have never lost to the Eagles on Thanksgiving.

“We were happy to keep the streak going, it was a great way to end the season,” Northampton junior Brett Holden said.

Easthampton (5-5) controlled the game to start. The Eagles ran the ball 14 times in a row down to the Northampton 22 and burned 8 minutes, 5 seconds off the clock before turning the ball over on downs.

“A lot of it was the intensity we were playing with,” Easthampton coach Matt Bean said. “Jacob (Neumann always runs hard).”

Neumann carried the ball seven times for 43 yard on that drive and finished with 17 carries for 69 yards. The teams exchanged four punts the both turned the ball over on downs before the first half ended. It was a fast-moving, old school first half that featured 30 runs and just six passes.

Northampton turned to Holden to start the third quarter. He carried the ball five out of the Blue Devils first six plays, gaining 67 yards to set up Diggins.

“When Brett runs like Brett does, that’s perfect Brett,” Kocot said. “He gets hit one or two times, but he has these big powerful legs, he dead lifts over 500 pounds. He doesn’t stop.”

Driving wind forced a missed extra point, and Northampton carried a 6-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Two minutes into the final frame, Braeden Tudry picked off Liam Burke at the Easthampton 40 and reached the end zone untouched for a 13-0 lead.

“You try to get the kids not let it bother them but its difficult,” Bean said. “It took the steam out of us.”

Northampton then forced a three and out, and four plays later Holden cruised up the left sideline for a 14-yard touchdown. He ran for 84 yards.

“They told me hit the hole, but the hole wasn’t there, so I went outside and got it myself,” Holden said.

Tudryn snatched another interception on Easthampton’s next drive, and the Blue Devils ran the clock out. With 14 seniors playing their final game, Kocot leaned on more underclassmen in the game to give them varsity experience.

“It’s a youth movement,” Kocot said. “We’ve also got a good eighth grade group coming in. We just talked about it in the huddle, get back in the weight room.”

Easthampton, meanwhile, will only graduate six players. The Eagles can build around a strong junior class next season.

“We said it before the season started that we’re a heavy junior team. We’ve got a good junior class,” Bean said. “When something like this happens we’ve got to make sure those kids are learning something and taking something positive out of it.”

Northampton 20, Easthampton 0

Easthampton

0

0

0

0

—0

Northampton

0

0

6

14

—20

First quarter

No scoring.

Second quarter

No scoring.

Third quarter

N—Jack Diggins 6 run (Kick failed), 8:08.

Fourth quarter

N—Braeden Tudryn 40 interception return (Jake Delisle kick), 10:03.

N—Brett Holden 14 run (Delisle kick), 6:29.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Northampton–Holden 13-84, Jake Brittain 5-67, Tudryn 10-25, Diggins 3-12, Dominic Badorini 4-6. Easthampton-Jacob Neumann 17-69, Marcus O’Meally 8-19, Bennett Kelly 7-14, Liam Burke 4-(-18).

PASSING—Northampton–Badorini 2-9-1-0. Easthampton–Burke 4-10-27-2

RECEIVING—Northampton–Brittain 1-1, Tudryn 1-0. Easthampton-O’Meally 1-15, Nathan Hogan 2-8, Neumann 1-4.




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