Ware rolls past Smith Vocational, 57-8

For the Gazette
Published: 10/28/2017 12:29:02 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The Smith Vocational football team was blown out by Ware, 57-8, Friday, but the strides the program made this season has given the Vikings something to cheer about.

Smith Voke’s football program is in its fifth year, and at 3-5, set the program record for wins in a season. Senior captain Jake Erali has been the quarterback of the Vikings for the past four years and has grown alongside the team.

Erali seemingly does everything on the field whether it be taking the snaps under center, playing safety, outside linebacker, or defensive end, and even punting for special teams.

“I love being a part of this team,” Erali said. “We may not be the best football team in Massachusetts, but we’re a hell of a good team.”

Ware started the scoring with a touchdown in the first 1 minute, 20 seconds of play off a 47-yard run by Hunter Millier. Millier finished with four touchdowns, including a 55-yard run in the second half and a 56-yard reception thrown by Ryan Johnson.

With under a minute remaining in the first quarter, Erali and Jack O’Connell (45 yards rushing) connected for a 60-yard gain that set up the Vikings in scoring position. Troy Benedict scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Erali. A 2-point conversion gave the Vikings an 8-7 lead.

Erali finished the game with 112 yards passing, 63 yards rushing and one touchdown.

Down by 49 in the fourth quarter, Erali donned a headset on the sideline and was replaced by Nick Marcinowski.

“He’s like a coach on the field,” Vikings coach Ryan Burnett said of Erali. “In terms of football toughness and life toughness. We’ve talked a lot this year, and we’ve grown our relationship. I’ve really gotten to know Jake as a person.”

As the starter for the last four seasons, there aren’t many school records that Erali doesn’t hold, but his goal this season is to have 1,000 yards both rushing and passing. Smith Voke (3-4 Tri-County) has two games left,

“We played a hell of a good team tonight, and I don’t care what our record is or what the scoreboard says, it’s how hard you play, and this team has always had heart,” Erali said. “That’s one thing about us; we don’t stop grinding. I don’t care if it’s 57-8 or 60-0 the heart on this team is amazing.”

Johnson passed for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson also kicked the extra points for the Indians (8-0, 6-0 Tri-County). On one such play, the kick was blocked but recovered by Johnson, who quickly rolled out to the right and rifled a pass to Devin Slattery for the 2-point conversion. Slattery had one touchdown reception.

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