WMass football: West Springfield too much for Northampton in 40-7 semifinal loss

  • Coach Joe Kocot speaks to the Northampton High School football team after a 40-7 defeat to West Springfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 semifinals on Friday at West Springfield High School. STAFF PHOTO/GAGE NUTTER

Staff Writer
Published: 11/8/2019 11:13:28 PM
Modified: 11/8/2019 11:13:15 PM

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Tom Jacques took the snap from under center and rolled to his right.

Northampton had just steamrolled its way down to West Springfield’s 10-yard line and needed a score to chip away at the Terriers’ 27-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

Jacques threw across his body toward teammate Sam Walker. The pass was short and intercepted by West Springfield’s Benjamin Green and returned to the Terriers’ 40-yard line.

That drive, to Northampton coach Joe Kocot, was a “microcosm” of the game.

“Our ones couldn’t go against their ones,” Kocot said. “Toughness-wise we did, absolutely. Mindset-wise we did, but as far as talent and making plays, they came out on top. I wish them luck.”

Third-seeded Northampton fell to No. 2 West Springfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 semifinals, 40-7, on Friday at West Springfield High School. Jake Brittain caught the Blue Devils’ lone touchdown from Jacques in the second quarter.

The Terriers subbed in some backups on defense to start the fourth quarter. Northampton picked up big yards with back-to-back 20-yard receptions from Walker and running back Braeden Tudryn to get deep into West Springfield territory. When the Blue Devils lined up on the 10-yard line, the Terriers had put in more of their first-team defense. Green made the interception on the next play.

“They have better athletes in most positions than we do, and that is nothing against our guys. Our guys tried hard,” Kocot said. “I told them that in the huddle after the game. We have a handfull of athletes, but they have two or three handfuls of athletes. It shows on film and it shows in the games.”

The Terriers’ Calvin Curtis opened the scoring on the team’s first drive with a 4-yard run up the middle. Northampton went three-and-out on the ensuing drive and punted the ball to West Springfield. The Terriers capped off a five-play 45-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Ryan Russell to make it 14-0 with 3:27 to go in the opening quarter.

The Blue Devils have studied a lot of film on West Springfield. The two teams met in the regular season on Oct. 18 in a game that ended with a 51-23 Terriers victory.

Northampton was ready for a lot of what West Springfield showed on film. The only problem was that the Terriers added in new plays out of their main formations in preparation for the game.

“It’s chess,” Kocot said. “We came up with a couple of plays where we usually throw out of shotgun and run out of full house, but you can’t maintain that for the whole game.”

On the first play of the second quarter, West Springfield’s Mekhi Smith intercepted a pass from Jacques deep in the red zone and returned it to the Terriers’ 16-yard line. West Springfield went on a six-play, 84-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard run by Curtis.

Northampton responded with 6:04 to go in the half when Jacques rolled to his left and found Brittain in the back-left corner of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown to close the gap to 20-7.

On the second play of the following drive, Russell threw a deep ball to Green, who caught it and ran it in for a 52-yd touchdown.

The closest Northampton got to scoring in the second half was when it had the ball down on West Springfield’s 10-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but the interception from Green kept the Blue Devils off the board.

West Springfield scored two more touchdowns, one in the third quarter and one in the fourth, to cushion its lead.

“It’s disappointing because we made the playoffs, but it’s a reality check,” Kocot said. “It shows what we have to do as a team to get to the next level.”

Northampton will now compete in a non-playoff games before taking on Easthampton on Thanksgiving.

Although the loss will sting for a while, Kocot doesn’t think his team will lack any motivation moving through the next few weeks.

“This is high school sports. This is supposed to be fun. Keep it fun,” Kocot said. “Let’s have some fun the next few weeks. You weren’t fired from your corporate job. ... This is fun, so let’s have some fun.”

West Springfield 40, Northampton 7

West Springfield

14

12

8

6–

40

Northampton

0

7

0

0–

7

First quarter

WS — Calvin Curtis 4 run (Ryan Russell pass), 6:39

WS — Ryan Russell 1 run (run failed), 3:27

Second quarter

WS — Curtis 1 run (pass failed), 9:03

NH —Jake Brittain 13 pass from Tom Jacques (Delisle kick), 6:04

WS — Benjamin Green 52 pass from Ryan Russell (pass failed), 5:15

Third quarter

WS — Green 11 pass from Ryan Russell (Ryan Russell pass), 2:32

Fourth quarter

WS — Evan Villalongo 4 run (run failed), 2:11

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

PASSING: Northampton — Jacques 11-17-140-2. West Springfield — Ryan Russell 16-19-262-1.

RECEIVING: Northampton: Braeden Tudryn 4-76, Brittain 3-56, Brett Holden 2-6, Sam Walker 2-20. West Springfield — Michael Russell 4-79, Green 7-102, Aidan Landers 4-55, Christopher McMahon 1-25

RUSHING: Northampton — Holden 7-28, Tudryn 6-19, Jacques, 2-(-3), Brittain 1-5. West Springfield — Michael Russell 1-5, Curtis 14-77, Ryan Russell 8-22, Villalongo 6-33, Hunter Cady 1-2.




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