Selanis, Nelson lead Athol past O’s, 41-0

Recorder Staff
Friday, November 03, 2017

ATHOL — One parent called him the next Adam Vinatieri. Another talked about his nearly 50-yard field goal the other week. 

For the senior Kris Selanis, kicking has turned into an act that looks something like Steph Curry shooting behind the arc, Larry Bird at the stripe or Kyrie Irving on the crossover. 

Two Robbie Nelson touchdowns and two easy Selanis extra points into the game, the Red Raiders were cruising past Belchertown — and on its way to a 41-0 win Friday night. Selanis was having himself a game, evoking “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” from the Orioles’ sideline on his booming kickoffs, continually pinning them within their 20-yard line. 

But in the world of high school football, this Vinatieri of kickers of course plays another position. Selanis, at a listed 5-foot-11, 280 pounds, is also a defensive tackle for the Red Raiders. And on a breezy November night at O’Brien field, he pulled off a first since junior varsity football. 

Up 14-0 in the second quarter, Selanis picked up a loose ball on the 7-yard line and looking as cool as can be, rumbled right into the end zone for the touchdown. 

“When I saw him scoop the ball, I knew it was about seven yards and I was just hoping and praying the big man would get in the end zone,” Athol coach Bill LaRose said. “And he did.” 

What was it like for the lineman? 

“There’s a feeling to it,” Selanis said, which Nelson — with three touchdowns of his own on the night — then explained with a big smile to his fellow senior. 

And oh yeah, after that feeling of scoring a touchdown, Selanis then went ahead and kicked the extra point well through the uprights and onto the track. 

On a night that only penalties could slow down the Red Raiders, they showed on Senior Night, the excellence they had in them all year during a season full of ups and downs.  

Nelson pounded the ball, often times finding a seam, and kept the pace of the play for the Red Raiders, behind his three touchdowns and 50 yards on 10 carries. 

The senior tailback started the game off quickly for Athol. He pounded in a 3-yard touchdown run for the team’s first score. With less than a minute in the first quarter, the reliable back punched in another 3-yard score. 

Even when Nelson wasn’t in the backfield, Athol still had it going for them. Coming in the fourth quarter, senior Ryan White broke off a 20-yard touchdown for the final score of the game. 

Assisting Nelson and the offense was a defense that collected four turnovers from a sloppy Belchertown team that couldn’t get anything going all night. 

“Our defense was just on fire tonight,” LaRose said. “They clearly knew they were winning the battles from up front.” 

It may not have been in a playoff game, which was something the team had hoped for early in the year, but it still felt plenty good.

“We’ve had a rough season with injuries, but it feels great to get this one,” Nelson said.