South Hadley defense shuts down Chicopee in WMass Division 7 championship, 41-0

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  • Tyrell Braithwaite, right, of South Hadley, runs for a gain before being tackled by David Charles, of Chicopee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kyle Johnson, right, of South Hadley, carries the ball against Tre'yon Tillman, of Chicopee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hunter Carey, of South Hadley, runs for a gain before being tackled by Steven Matta, of Chicopee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hunter Carey, top, of South Hadley, leaps a group of players to run for a gain against Chicopee during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • South Hadley coach Scott Taylor, right, greets Brock Fitzell after he intercepted a Chicopee pass during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • South Hadley quarterback Shawn Mitchell, top, takes the snap befor handing off to Hunter Carey, right, during their win against Chicopee in the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. Teammates Noah Will, front left, and Tyler Mayer block. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hunter Carey, front, of South Hadley, runs for a touchdown against Chicopee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday at Chicopee Comp. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Brock Fitzell, center, of South Hadley, is greeted by teammates Ishmael Flores, left, and Colin Mailhott after intercepting a Chicopee pass during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kyle Johnson, right, of South Hadley, carries the ball against Tre'yon Tillman, of Chicopee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jack Haber, second from right, of South Hadley, carries the ball against Chicopee during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. Teammates Ryan Levrault, left, and Reuel Colon block. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Evan Pequette, front, of South Hadley, runs for a gain against Chicopee during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Evan Pequette, of South Hadley, catches a pass before running for a touchdown against Chicopee during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Reuel Colon, of South Hadley, celebrates his team’s win against Chicopee, Saturday at Chicopee Comp. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • South Hadley players Ryan Levrault, from left, Hunter Carey, Max Garvin and Ethan Murphy (hidden behind Garvin) accept the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship trophy after defeating Chicopee, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Members of the South Hadley soccer team display their Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship trophy while watching the South Hadley football team play Chicopee in the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Brock Fitzell, of South Hadley, intercepts a Chicopee pass during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday at Chicopee Comp. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Evan Pequette, of South Hadley, scores a touchdown against Chicopee during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The South Hadley team gathers for photos after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship by defeating Chicopee, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Brock Fitzell, left, of South Hadley, intercepts a pass intended for Jerome Jacobs, of Chicopee, during the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • South Hadley players Ryan Levrault, left, and Max Garvin celebrate with the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship trophy after defeating Chicopee, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • South Hadley players Ryan Levrault, left, and Max Garvin celebrate with the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship trophy after defeating Chicopee, Saturday at Chicopee Comp. The Tigers won 41-0. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The South Hadley team gathers for photos after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship by defeating Chicopee, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The South Hadley team celebrates with their Western Massachusetts Division 7 championship trophy after defeating Chicopee, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2019 10:11:24 PM

CHICOPEE — Some football games come down to which team is the most advantageous.

In the Division 7 Western Massachusetts football championship between South Hadley and Chicopee on Saturday, the Pacers didn’t take advantage of their opportunities.

The Tigers did.

Top-seeded South Hadley forced No. 2 Chicopee to commit four turnovers on its way to a 41-0 victory at Chicopee Comp.

South Hadley running back Hunter Carey rushed for 141 yards and scored four touchdowns to pace the Tigers.

The Tigers advance to the state semifinals where they will play Central Massachusetts champ Leicester, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Shrewsbury High School.

“It’s always said that the game is won during the week. Not on game day,” Carey said. “The guys did a great job. Our second team offense and defense did a great job showing us what (Chicopee) were going to do (in practice). We got the job done.”

South Hadley drove with its run game on its first series. Carey opened the game with an 11-yard run that was followed by a 14-yard rush from Kyle Johnson. The Tigers were able to get deep into Pacers’ territory, but Carey fumbled and Chicopee recovered at its own 10-yard line.

“You can’t shoot yourself in the foot in championship games, especially against a good team like Chicopee,” South Hadley coach Scott Taylor said.

Both teams put together consecutive drives throughout the remainder of the first quarter that stalled and resulted in punts.

South Hadley continued to run the ball effectively and got on the board with a 12-yard sweep from Carey down the right sideline with 6:27 to go in the second quarter.

On the first play of the following Chicopee drive, Pacers quarterback Steven Matta dropped back to pass and threw a high ball down the middle of the field. The Tigers’ Tyrell Braithwaite leaped up, made the interception and returned the ball to Chicopee’s 26-yard line.

Three plays later, Carey took a direct shotgun snap up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown to put the Tigers ahead, 14-0, with 4:50 to go in the half.

Chicopee elected to throw on first down again on the following drive, but a pass from Matta was intercepted for a second time. This time from freshman Brock Fitzell.

“Once we got the ball rolling we couldn’t be stopped,” Carey said. “We have great guys on the line, in our backfield and on defense. Those turnovers were crucial to get the momentum swinging.”

During the following drive, South Hadley faced fourth down on Chicopee’s 11-yard line with 33 seconds to go in the half. The Tigers elected to go for it. South Hadley quarterback Ethan Murphy received a shotgun snap and pitched the ball to Shawn Mitchell, who was lined up as a running back. Mitchell ran to his left and, for a moment, tucked the ball as if he was going to run, but then threw to a wide open Carey in the left side of the end zone for a touchdown.

“We have run that play a lot and Chicopee has seen it,” Taylor said. “We felt it was time to give it a shot. The score was 14-0 at that point. We knew (Chicopee) were getting the ball coming out (of halftime). We wanted to try and put the dagger in and not give them momentum. … We wanted to take a shot. Shawn threw a great ball and Hunter was wide open.”

South Hadley continued to roll from there.

The Tigers’ defense forced the Pacers to go three-and-out on their first drive of the second half. On the first play after a Chicopee punt, Carey broke free down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown to put South Hadley ahead, 28-0.

The Pacers had their biggest offensive play of the game when Matta connected with Tre’yon Tillman for a 29-yard reception, but Chicopee fumbled on the following play and South Hadley recovered at its own 40 to halt the drive. The Tigers’ Kyle Johnson scored on a 7-yard run with 3:50 to go in the quarter later in the drive.

One of South Hadley’s only mistakes in the second half was when Murphy rolled to his right on second down and threw an interception to Chicopee’s John Vega. On the following play, the Pacers’ Scott Williams threw an interception to Fitzell to give the Tigers the ball back.

Brock is the third Fitzell brother to play football at South Hadley. His brothers TJ (class of 2014) and Griffin (class of 2016) were standouts for the program.

“It’s mind-boggling to me,” Brock Fitzell said on his two-interception performance. “In youth football I was a lineman for being overweight, then I get thrown into high school and try and to do everything my brothers have taught me. … I worked my way to it.”

With 7:32 to go in the game, Mitchell threw a 48-yard touchdown to Evan Piquette for the game’s final touchdown.

The shutout is South Hadley’s first of the season.

“They can be special,” Taylor’s said on the team’s defense. “We had a lot of personnel changes coming in. It goes back to our scouting and getting what we know to the kids, because it’s not about what we know. It’s about what we can get to them and they can hold on to. The kids did a great job this week. They executed. You can’t get any better than 41-0.”

South Hadley 41, Chicopee 0

South Hadley

0

20

14

7

41

Chicopee

0

0

0

0

0

Second quarter

SH — Hunter Carey 12 run (Baptiste kick), 6:27

SH — Carey 14 run (Baptiste kick), 4:50

SH — Carey 11 pass from Shawn Mitchell (kick failed), 0:33

Third quarter

SH — Carey 43 run (Baptiste kick), 9:36

SH — Kyle Johnson 7 run (Baptiste kick), 3:50

Fourth quarter

SH — Evan Piquette 48 pass from Mitchell (Baptiste kick), 7:32

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

PASSING: South Hadley — Ethan Murphy 1-2-6-1, Shawn Mitchell 4-4-66-0. Chicopee — Steven Mattta 1-3-22-2.

RECEIVING: South Hadley — Johnson 1-4, Collin Mailhott 1-6, Carey 1-11, Piquette 1-48. Chicopee — Tre’yon Tillman 1-22.

RUSHING: South Hadley — Carey 18-141, Johnson 7-40, Tyrell Braithwaite 3-16, Mailhott 5-54, Jack Haber 1-4. Chicopee — John Vega 21-63m Matta 1-3, Jerome Jacobs 2-22




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