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Northampton sacks Amherst in 75th Battle of the Bridge

  • Hamp’s Tom Jacques, right, is tackled by JJ Block, of Amherst, Friday. STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst's JJ Block, left, runs the ball under pressure from Northampton's Sam Walker Sept. 7, 2018 during the annual Battle of the Bridge football game at Northampton High School. Sarah Crosby—STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Braeden Tudryn runs the ball to score a touchdown against Amherst Sept. 7, 2018 during the annual Battle of the Bridge football game at Northampton High School. Sarah Crosby—STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst’s JJ Block, top, is tackled by Northampton’s Zev Hiranandani, Friday at Northampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • The Northampton High School band plays the National Anthem Sept. 7, 2018 at the start of the annual Battle of the Bridge football game at Northampton. Sarah Crosby—STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst's JJ Block, right, brings down Northampton's Braeden Tudryn as he catches the ball Sept. 7, 2018 during the annual Battle of the Bridge football game at Northampton High School. Sarah Crosby—STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton’s Devontay Edmonds, left, tries to score a touchdown under pressure from Amherst Regional’s Isaiah Moyston and Steven Steele during the annual Battle of the Bridge football game at Northampton High School, Friday. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos and video. STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst’s Joshua Vecchio, center, runs the ball against Northampton, Friday at Northampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY



Staff reports
Saturday, September 08, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Jackson Heath didn’t expect to see Devontay Edmonds to his left.

Northampton had a fake punt called on fourth-and-4 against Amherst Regional in the second quarter.

That itself was a surprise, as Heath was already in the huddle preparing to punt when Northampton coach Joe Kocot waved him back to the sideline and audibled to a fake punt pass to Brett Holden.

Instead of Holden’s No. 30, Edmonds’ 22 was lined up in the gunner position on the left.

“He happened to be in there, which kind of mixed me up so I was a little confused coming into it,” said Heath.

He took the snap and delivered a dart to Edmonds across the field for 17 yards.

“Great pass,” Kocot said. “The key is as a coach, don’t make it like it’s a big deal.”

Edmonds broke a tackle and ran to the Amherst 12-yard line, where Amherst’s Dan O’Block punched the ball out. Northampton’s Eddie Sarafin scooped it up and ran to the end zone thinking he scored a touchdown, but on fourth down only the person that fumbled the ball can advance it. So the Blue Devils continued their drive from the 12 and found the end zone four plays later on a 1-yard run by Holden, who was supposed to get the ball all along.

“I thought it was pretty crazy,” Edmonds said. “That could have been a game changer if they got it back.”

Instead, Northampton rode the wave to a 28-14 win in the 75th Battle of the Bridge and Kocot’s debut coaching his alma mater.

“I’m proud, it feels good,” Kocot said.

The Blue Devils ran for 207 yards and featured three backs with more than 30.

“What happens with a symmetrical offense, when you make a good play they think you’re going power all the time,” Kocot said. “Sometimes yes, sometimes no, so as a defensive coordinator you’re flipping a coin after a while.”

Braeden Tudryn, a Hopkins Academy sophomore, led the Blue Devils (1-0) with 107 yards on 15 carries. He scored the first touchdown of the Kocot era on a quick pitch to the left 1 minute, 27 seconds into the game, covering 46 yards to the end zone.

“They only had one corner that I beat, and our tackle Caleb Graves made a nice block,” Tudryn said. “I saw land and ran.”

Hamp went up 8-0 after Holden buried the 2-point run. The Blue Devils led 14-0 after Holden’s touchdown run following the fake punt, but Amherst snapped to life near the end of the first half.

Hurricanes quarterback JB Mills completed a 28-yard pass to Isaiah Moyston with 1:25 to halftime. Two plays later he chucked a 44-yard rainbow to Moyston for a touchdown. Amherst went to halftime down 14-6 after a failed 2-point play.

“By the way Amherst sounded I thought they won the game at halftime,” Kocot said. “I said ‘what are they cheering for?’”

Amherst (0-1) got the ball coming out of halftime but went five plays and turned the ball over on downs.

The Blue Devils methodically took the ball down the field in eight plays and Edmonds (14 carries, 56 yards) ran in for a 3-yard score with 4:45 left in the third quarter.

“We’re not gonna get 20 yards every play, it’s a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 offense,” Kocot said.

They got 20 yards on their final scoring play. After seven runs to start the drive, Northampton ran a three-step drop fade pass, and Tom Jacques floated the ball to the right corner. Jake Brittain, who also had an interception in the game, beat the corner to a jump ball at the goal line for a 28-6 lead.

“It’s always nice to get to throw it a bit, and Jake made a great play,” Jacques said.

Mills threw for 59 of his game-high 259 yards on Amherst’s final possession, which culminated in an 8-yard score to Steven Steele.

“He made a lot of good decisions, we’ve got to protect him,” Amherst coach Chris Ehorn Jr. said. “Because I would love to see what he could do if we protect him.”

Northampton sacked Mills five times and forced a fumble.

The Hurricanes also struggled with penalties in the game. They faced a fourth-and-40 in the second quarter.

“That’s no way to win a game,” Ehorn said. “There were a lot of self-inflicted mistakes that really shifted the momentum, but at the same time, Northampton brought it.”

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

Northampton 28, Amherst 14

Amherst

0

6

0

8

—14

Northampton

8

6

6

8

—28

First quarter

N— Braeden Tudryn 46 run (Devontay Edmonds run, 10:33;

Second quarter

N — Brett Holden 1 run (Pass failed), 5:53;

A — Isaiah Moyston 44 pass from JB Mills (Run failed), :40;

Third quarter

N — Edmonds 3 run (Run failed), 4:54;

Fourth quarter

N — Jake Brittain 20 pass from Tom Jacques (Tudryn run), 10:18;

A —Steven Steele 8 pas from Mills (CJ Woodfine-Holmes pass from Mills), 1:52;

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Northampton–Tudryn 15-107, Edmonds 14-56, Anthony DeJesus 4-32, Jacques 3-7, Holden 2-1. Amherst-Josh Vecchio 13-39, Dan Block 6-36, Woodfine-Holmes 1-10, Mills 7-(-27)

PASSING—Northampton–Jackson Heath 1-1-56-0, Jacques 2-6-22-0. Amherst– Mills 16-21-259-1

RECEIVING—Northampton–Edmonds 1-56, Brittain 1-20, Tudryn 1-2. Amherst–Moyston 3-76, Steele 5-70, Block 3-52, Woodfine-Homles 2-45, Vecchio 2-11, Ethan Howard 1-5,