Division 5 football: West Springfield runs past Amherst, 49-0, to reach WMass final

  • Amherst Regional's Daniel Block, front, is stopped by West Springfield's Jay Mitchell, left, during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game Nov. 3, 2017 in West Springfield. West Springfield's Dailen Hicks looks on, at back. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst Regional's Kaleb Ferro, left, tries to stop West Springfield's Vaunel Hill Nov. 3, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game in West Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst Regional's Isaiah Rodriguez, right, is brought down by West Springfield's Dailen Hicks, front, and Anthony Mineo Nov. 3, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game in West Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst Regional's Steven Steele, right, tries to move past West Springfield's Vaunel Hill Nov. 3, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game in West Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst Regional coach Tom Crossman encourages players as they come off the field Nov. 3, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game in West Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst Regional's Steven Steele, right, runs the ball under pressure from West Springfield's Shawn Lafleche, Ridvan Azizov and Trevon Woodall Nov. 3, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game in West Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst Regional's Steven Steele, right, tries to move past West Springfield's Vaunel Hill Nov. 3, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game in West Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst Regional's CJ Woodfine-Holmes, center, runs the ball under pressure from West Springfield Nov. 3, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game in West Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst Regional's CJ Woodfine-Holmes, center, runs the ball under pressure from West Springfield's Benjamin Green, left, and Anthony Rankin-Tangredi Nov. 3, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 5 football semifinal game in West Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

@Hargraves24
Published: 11/3/2017 11:24:16 PM

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Playing without senior running back Alex Fernandes, the Amherst Regional football team lost to West Springfield, 49-0, in the Western Massachusetts Division 5 semifinals, Friday at Clark Field.

It fourth-seeded Amherst’s first playoff appearance since 1999. Fernandes missed the game after spraining his knee against Lee.

“We ran him last night in our walk through,” Amherst coach Chris Ehorn Jr. said. “He couldn’t do it. We had to shut him down.”

Even after the loss to the top-seeded Terriers, the change in the Hurricanes’ football team was apparent late in the fourth quarter.

West Springfield (8-1) had a first-and-goal from the 5-yard line.

Vaunell Hill, one of the best running backs in western Massachusetts, got the ball four straight times. The Hurricanes’ defense accepted the opportunity down 49 points and got the stops against Hill.

“The guys were out there still having fun,” Ehorn said. “Our guys didn’t quit. The defense tightened up.”

Middle linebacker Juan Ross-Perkins had a part of each stop against Hill.

The new culture surrounding the team is one that was welcomed by sophomore quarterback JB Mills.

“It was a heck of a season,” Mills said. “The senior leadership was incredible. We exceeded expectations.”

The Hurricanes (6-3) won six of seven games to finish the regular season and get into the playoffs.

“I knew personally that we had the ability to do this,” Mills said. “We came out every week and played well. Ever since I met Coach Ehorn I knew he was the right guy for the job.”

The Hurricanes embraced a team-first mentality this season.

“Nobody was worried about themselves,” Mills said. “It was about doing your job. It’s great to be a part of this.”

Hill ran for 168 yards on 23 carries with touchdowns of 3 yards and 23 yards.

The Hurricanes had a hard time moving the ball against West Springfield’s defense.

Steven Steele had three catches for 28 yards, and Dan Block carried 12 times for 38 yards.

Isaiah Rodriguez had an interception for the Hurricanes’ defense.

West Springfield’s opening drive was almost exclusively Hill, who carried seven straight times at one point for 49 yards.

Two turnovers for the Hurricanes led to points for West Springfield.

Jay Mitchell returned a fumble 47-yards for a touchdown as and added a 41-yard interception return for a score.

West Springfield quarterback Tylor Rochefort made things happen with his legs with two rushing scores of 8 and 35 yards.

Rochefort also connected with Anthony Tangredi for a 42-yard score.

West Springfield 49, Amherst 0

Amherst

0

0

0

0

—0

West Springfield

13

15

21

0

—49

First quarter

WS—Vaunell Hill 3 rush (Josh Alstede kick) 6:22

WS—Jay Mitchell 47 fumble return (kick missed) 10.2

Second quarter

WS—Tylor Rochefort 8 rush (Hill rush) 2:49

WS—Rochefort 35 rush (Alstede kick) :42

Third quarter

WS—Rochefort 42 pass to Anthony Tangredi (Alstede kick) 7:00

WS—Jay Mitchell 41 interception return (Alstede kick) 3:10

WS—Hill 23 rush (Alstede kick) 3:03

Fourth quarter

No scoring

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Amherst: Josh Vecchio 1-0; Steven Steele 5-9; Isaiah Rodriguez 7-13; Dan Block 12-38; Mills 2-6; West Springfield: Hill 23-168; Ridvan Azizov 1-34; Rochefort 5-53.

PASSING—Amherst: JB Mills 4-7-38; Steele 0-1-0; Rochefort 7-11-129-2-1

RECEIVING—Amherst: Steele 3-28; Isaiah Moyston 1-10; West Springfield: Cam Paier 2-40; Tangredi 4-89, Hill 1-0




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