Easthampton football rallies in 4th quarter against Mahar

Staff writer
Published: 9/14/2018 11:35:27 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Cramps couldn’t slow down Easthampton receiver Quentin Baker-Cisero in the second half.

Neither could Mahar’s corners.

The senior caught two touchdowns from Nick Pellegrini in the fourth quarter, as the Eagles football team rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Mahar, 28-20, at White Brook Middle School on Friday.

Both scores resulted from slant patterns.

The first sparked Easthampton. Eight seconds into the fourth quarter, Baker-Cisero cut inside from the left and caught the ball at the 35-yard line. He broke a tackle and outran the rest of the Senators’ defense for a 45-yard score that cut the deficit to one score 8 seconds into the fourth.

“It’s probably my favorite (pattern) when they’re in that 6-yards off defense,” Baker-Cisero said. “His first step was back even when it was a run, so I knew that he wasn’t going to be able to catch up.”

The second was from 15 yards out. Easthampton needed to recover its own fumble and convert a second-and-40 to even get the ball in the red zone, but Baker-Cisero and Pellegrini tied the game at 20 with 2:51 left.

“I’ve been fighting this cramp stuff since halftime, but I knew my team needed me,” he said. “I had to suck it up and put my team on my back.”

Easthampton went for 2 after tying the game. After a false start moved the Eagles (1-1, 1-0 Intercounty North) back, Pellegrini shook off a blitzer, stepped up in the pocket and delivered a conversion pass to Damien Diluzio for the Eagles’ first lead.

Pellegrini threw for 170 yards in the game. He bounced back from two first-half interceptions and was 8-for-11 for 134 yards and the two scores after halftime.

“He’s got a lot of confidence in himself and at halftime we talked to him about not forcing throws,” Easthampton coach Matt Bean said.

Easthampton rallied with Pellegrini in the second half. The Eagles scored 22 unanswered points and kept Mahar off the board for the last 14:45.

“It says a lot about us as a team,” Easthampton senior Ben Landry said. “This win says as a team we can overcome any obstacle.”

The Eagles dug themselves a hole early. Easthampton turned the ball over four times in the first half — twice on downs and Pellegrini’s two interceptions. The Eagles also muffed a punt that gave Mahar (0-2, 0-1) the ball at Easthampton’s 27-yard line.

“The games that we’ve been losing, that’s what’s been happening to us, not taking care of the ball,” Bean said.

That muffed punt led to Athol’s first touchdown. Jon Gariepy faded to the left on a toss play then pulled up for a 20-yard scoring pass to Charlie Barnes with 3:12 left in the first quarter.

Mahar forced a turnover on downs 10 minutes later, then fullback Joey Brozell rumbled 40 yards down to the five. He punched the ball in on the next play for a 13-point lead.

“You’ll have some teams that get hit like that and will give up, these kids didn’t,” Bean said of his team. “I’m proud of them.”

Brozell also blocked a punt in the second half that led to the Senators’ final touchdown. He returned the block to Easthampton’s 6, then Gariepy ran the ball into the end zone two plays later for a 20-6 lead with 3:45 left in the third quarter.

Easthampton started rolling once the fourth began. The Eagles scored 22 points in the fourth, and held Mahar to minus-7 yards of offense. They forced a punt, a turnover on downs and an interception.

Once the Eagles took the lead, they turned to Jacob Neumann to ice the game. He ran for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:21 remaining after Mahar turned the ball over on downs. He finished with 94 yards on 16 carries.

“He made some big runs when it counted,” Bean said.

Easthampton missed the extra point that would have put the game away, and Gariepy returned the kickoff to Easthampton’s 46.

Landry sealed the game by picking off Adyan Sevigny on the next play with a little over a minute left.

“The quarterback was under pressure, he just kind of threw it up,” Landry said. “I high-pointed the ball and came over the top.”

The Eagles will travel to Franklin Tech on Friday at 7.

Easthampton 28, Mahar 20













First quarter

M—Charlie Barnes 20-yard pass from Jon Gariepy (Gariepy kick), 3:12.

Second quarter

M—Joey Brozell 5 run (Kick failed), 7:12.

E—Ben Landry 20 run (Pass failed), 5:43.

Third quarter

M—Gariepy 3 run (Gariepy kick), 3:45.

Fourth quarter

E—Quentin Baker-Cisero 45 pass from Nick Pellegrini (Pellegrini run), 10:52.

E—Baker-Cisero 15 pass from Pellegrini (Damien Diluzio pass from Pellegrini), 2:51.

E—Jacob Neumann 25 run (Kick failed), 1:21.


RUSHING—Easthampton–Neumann 16-94, Landry 5-46, Diluzio 1-6, Pellegrini 4-6, Baker-Cisero 1-1, Fred Murray 4-(-4). Mahar-Brozell 10-64, Gariepy 20-51, Miguel Arce 2-(-1), Aydan Sevigny 2-(-3), Brian Johnson 4-(-9)

PASSING—Easthampton–Pellegrini 11-19-170-2. Mahar–Gariepy 2-2-47-0, Sevigny 1-3-8-1, Johnson 1-6-16-0

RECEIVING—Easthampton–Baker-Cisero 5-104, Landry 1-47, Murray 4-25. Mahar-Barnes 4-61

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