H.S. Football: Easthampton rolls past Monument Mountain, pitches second straight shutout

For the Gazette
Published: 9/18/2021 11:21:24 PM

NORTHAMPTON – Through the first two weeks of the new football season, Matt Bean may think his Easthampton team is a bit ahead of schedule. Mind you, he's not complaining.

The Eagles pitched their second straight shutout Saturday night, including a defensive touchdown for the second time in as many games, and made a 26-0 halftime lead hold up in a 32-0 breeze past Monument Mountain at Smith Vocational's Tudryn Field.

Shea Healy ran for a touchdown and threw for three more for the Eagles, two going to Luke Kraus, who also scooped and scored on a 55-yard return following a bad lateral by Monument.

“It's a nice surprise,” said Bean of the Eagles' 2-0 start and 74-0 total point margin thus far. “After our last game (Sept. 9 against Mahar), where we played well, we scrimmaged a couple of times and we really didn't look good at all. Coming into this, we weren't sure what we'd get. But the kids have really worked hard and put it together.”

Healy completed 7-of-11 passes for 98 yards, all coming in the first half, with Keith Cudworth (three catches, 41 yards) and Kraus (two for 36) his favorite targets. BB Jean-Jacques led the Eagles' balanced rushing attack with a game-high 75 yards, with Kraus adding 44 and Giancarlo Osiecki 27.

“I thought this is where we could be,” said Healy. “We definitely have the talent, we have the offense, and our defense really locks down.”

Easthampton jumped out to a 6-0 lead just 3 1/2 minutes into the action following an opening 56-yard drive. On fourth-and-goal from the Monument 1, Healy dove in for the score.

Monument (0-2) then punted and Cudworth's 14-yard return set up the Eagles in fine shape at the Spartans' 37. Four plays later, Healy found Cudworth slanting across the middle for a 10-yard TD connection and a 12-0 lead for the hosts at the 4:49 mark.

Nick Henderson then provided Monument's biggest play of the evening with a 58-yard kickoff return to the Easthampton 26. Quarterback Hunter DeGrenier moved the Spartans down to the 1 before a loss of three yards, an incomplete pass and a 10-yard sack by Cudworth. Forced into a field-goal try on fourth down, Grant Chase's 31-yard attempt came up short.

That got Easthampton started on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that culminated when Healy arched a 26-yard scoring rainbow to Kraus on a post-corner route, good for an 18-0 advantage with 6:48 left in the half.

After another Monument punt, Easthampton took over at its own 39 and used the chunk play to get downfield, with runs of 17 and 13 yards by Jean-Jacques, a 16-yard gainer by Kraus and a fourth-and-4 conversion when Healy hit Connor Mott for 12 yards. With 37 seconds left, Kraus took a swing pass 10 yards for the score, and Angel Moody plowed in for the two-point conversion to make it 26-0 at halftime.

First-half offense favored the Eagles to the tune of 250 total yards to only 14 for the Spartans.

The game's last score came midway through the third quarter after Monument had driven to the Eagles' 29. DeGrenier attempted a backward pass that was swatted further backward by an Easthampton defender. With no whistle blown and the ball still live, Kraus alertly grabbed the loose football and took it back 55 yards for the touchdown that made it 32-0.

DeGrenier finished 7-of-16 passing for 57 yards. Shaun Frank rushed for a team-high 34 yards and Reece Mullen added 27, but losses and sacks limited Monument to only 40 total rushing yards on 28 tries.

Easthampton next faces its 2021 home-field hosts, Smith Vocational, Friday at 7 p.m. at Tudryn Field.




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