Notebook: Amherst Regional stays aggressive in state championship

  • Amherst Regional coach Chris Ehorn Jr. signals his team during the state Division 5 Super Bowl against Swampscott, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 at Gillette Stadium. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional coach Chris Ehorn Jr. talks to his team during the state Division 5 Super Bowl against Swampscott, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 at Gillette Stadium. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Published: 12/7/2019 11:05:31 PM

FOXBOROUGH — Rolling the dice comes easy for Amherst Regional football coach Chris Ehorn Jr. The Hurricanes’ fourth-year coach built his program around high-risk, high-reward decisions.

Amherst goes for a two-point conversion after every touchdown. The Hurricanes rarely punt, and Ehorn hates when they do. Every kickoff is an onside kickoff.

None of that changed in Saturday’s Division 5 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. The Hurricanes lost 21-0 against Swampscott but stuck to their rollicking ways.

Amherst kicked off to start the game, and sophomore Zayd Sadiq positioned the ball for an onside kick. He dribbled it out in front of himself 10 yards and dove, nearly recovering it.

“That is who we are. That is what we have been doing for four years,” Ehorn said. “We weren’t going to be any different when it comes to high-risk high-reward plays.”

The Hurricanes attempted a fake punt in the last three minutes of the first half, and running back Josh Vecchio was stopped a yard short of the first down.

They also ran a reverse pass with wide receiver CJ Woodfine-Holmes – the team’s backup quarterback – on their final drive of the first half. Swampscott defended it well in the backfield to force a short throw and an incompletion.

“That is how we play. That is what has gotten us here,” Ehorn said. “There are other things I could have done to get us prepared for them.”

CENTRAL GOES BACK TO BACK — Florence native Valdamar “T” Brower led Central to its second straight Division 3 Super Bowl title. The Golden Eagles defeated Duxbury 38-13.

“They were focused,” said Brower, who was an All-American at UMass. “We had a lot of distractions throughout the season. We had some adversity. We just kept getting better and had each other’s back. The players put in time during the offseason and we became a family.”

Freshman quarterback Will Watson III threw for 187 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score.

“He’s carried himself like a senior since maybe seventh grade,” Brower said. “I kinda like his swag. Kinda hate his swag. Kinda enjoy his swag. I love his confidence.”

Central (10-2) intercepted Duxbury quarterback Will Prouty three times and forced a fumble.

After a scoreless first quarter, Watson threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Key, a 43-yard scoring toss to Andre Ellison and a 58-yard touchdown to Ellison to take an 18-0 lead.

Marcus Crawford added 101 yards on the ground and a 55-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

TIME RUNS SHORT AT GILLETTE — Most regular season high school football games in Massachusetts have 12-minute quarters for 48 minutes of game time.

For the state championships at Gillette Stadium, quarters were 10 minutes long for a total of 40 minutes.

With the shortened quarters during Saturday’s game, the Hurricanes’ offense struggled to get into a rhythm.

“It went by fast,” Amherst quarterback J.B. Mills said. “I feel like we didn’t have that many drives. I could feel the difference.”

The Hurricanes ran 52 total plays against Swmapscott for a total of 53 yards.

SCORING ABBERATIONS — Saturday’s game against Swampscott involved a lot of firsts for the Hurricanes, but not in a good way.

The game saw Amherst (11-1) get shut out for the first time all season. Coming into the state championship, the Hurricanes were averaging 36 points through 11 games.

Swampscott’s 21 points were the second most the Amherst defense has given up all season. Pittsfield scored 22 points in a 53-22 Hurricanes victory on Oct. 18.

The game also saw Amherst give up its first points of the state tournament. The Hurricanes shut out Northbridge in the state semifinals, 28-0.

SWAMPSCOTT STARS — Big Blue quarterback Graham Inzana threw for 102 yards and a touchdown on 8-for-19 passing, and rushed for a score with 4 minutes, 2 seconds to go until halftime. His 22-yard touchdown pass went to Andrew Augustin in the first quarter. Augustin caught five passes for 50 yards.

Running back Dylan January rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. His biggest play came on the game’s first snap when he ran between the tackles and broke for a 45-yard gain. He scored with 9:08 to go in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard run.

Zack Palmer had three catches for 52 yards, including a 38-yard touch pass to open the fourth quarter.

SUPER BOWL RESULTSDivision 1: St. John’s Prep 21, Catholic Memorial 14

Division 2: Mansfield 42, Lincoln-Sudbury 0

Division 3: Springfield Central 38, Duxbury 13

Division 4: Melrose 28, Plymouth South 13

Division 6: Ashland 28, Bishop Fenwick 22

Division 7: Abington 21, Leicester 7

Division 8: St. Bernard’s 30, West Bridgewater 8

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