H.S. Football: Quick-hitting Northampton rolls past West Springfield, 30-6

  • Northampton sophomore running back Mykal Norris (30), shown here earlier this season against Westfield, keyed a quick-hitting Blue Devils offense that rolled past West Springfield, 30-6, on Friday night. STAFF FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 10/1/2021 11:28:02 PM

NORTHAMPTON – Seems like last week's scoring barrage by Northampton carried right over into the first 17 seconds of Friday night's game.

Blue Devils sophomore Mykal Norris broke a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, and ’Hamp was off and running from there, on its way to a solid 30-6 victory over West Springfield at David Wright Field.

It was the Suburban League South opener for both schools. The Blue Devils, off their 38-32 win at Holyoke last week, improved to 3-1 overall, while West Side fell back to 2-2.

Norris' work wasn't nearly done. He went five yards better late in the third quarter on an 80-yard burst for his second score, and finished the night with 172 yards on 11 carries.

“It was a great feeling,” said Norris. “I had great blocks in the middle and I took advantage of that, cut on the outside and just outran everybody. I was hyped today, thinking about what I was going to do on the field. I couldn't wait to come out here and play.”

Ben Sledzieski added touchdown passes of 26 yards to Trevor Maslowski and 39 yards to Connor Tobin. Defensively, Trey Rios came up with a pair of first-quarter interceptions, giving the Blue Devils six picks in all over their past two games.

“We thought that play was going to work against their defense,” said Northampton coach Joe Kocot of Norris' lightning strike. “The same play busted for Mykal later in the game. I'll take two of those big ones – this is old-fashioned stuff, and I like it.”

Norris broke off right tackle, bounced outside and had clear sailing down the right sideline for the lead score with 11:43 left in the first. Sledzieski found Marty Maslowski with the two-point conversion pass for an immediate 8-0 lead for the hosts.

The Terriers punted on their opening possession and then Rios picked off West Side freshman quarterback Nate Stone on back-to-back possessions. In between, the Terriers' Anthony Curran intercepted Sledzieski and returned 29 yards to the ’Hamp 20 for the visitors' best first-half scoring bid, turned aside when Rios recorded his second pick and ran it back 21 yards to his own 28.

Northampton added on with 6:32 to play in the half, when Trevor Maslowski got free down the right seam to grab Sledzieski's pass for a 26-yard score. Sledzieski then ran in the two-pointer himself to make it 16-0.

With that two-score lead at the break, the Blue Devils enjoyed a 135-37 advantage in total offense through two quarters.

Stone, forced to throw on practically every down, finished the night 12-of-32 passing for 182 yards with the two interceptions. West Side turned the ball over on downs on its first two second-half series, the second time at the ’Hamp 20. That enabled Norris to break his 80-yarder on the very next play, coming with 1:33 to go in the third. Sledzieski flipped to Tobin in the back of the end zone for a 24-0 Blue Devils lead.

West Springfield finally answered with a 67-yard drive featuring completions of 28 and 25 yards to Noah Cunningham, the second converting a fourth-and-20. Stone ran it in himself from 8 yards out with 8:43 to go to put the Terriers on the board, trailing 24-6.

After West Side failed on fourth down on its next series, ’Hamp took over at midfield. Three plays later, Tobin got free behind defenders and Sledzieski found him between the hash marks for a 39-yard score.

Sledzieski ended 7-of-12 through the air for 104 yards. Trevor Maslowski (three catches, 54 yards) and Tobin (two for 46) were his favorite targets.

The Terriers managed only 47 rushing yards in 31 tries. Joey Tangredi led the way with 56 yards on the ground. He also had five receptions for 77 yards and Cunningham finished with four for 71.

Northampton, playing in Division 4, can now count victories over Division 2 Holyoke and Division 3 West Springfield to boost its upcoming MIAA ratings.

“The league matters, but the other three (non-league games) we played matter too,” said Kocot. “It'll all shake itself out.”

The Blue Devils host Amherst in a Suburban South game Friday at 7 p.m. at David Wright Field.


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