H.S. Football: Easthampton takes care of Frontier in IL South finale, 34-7

For the Recorder
Published: 10/29/2022 11:59:40 PM
Modified: 10/29/2022 11:59:20 PM

NORTHAMPTON – While Easthampton may have missed out on a second straight trip to the state football playoffs, the Eagles did their best to keep Frontier from going to postseason play as well.

Easthampton used plenty of chunk plays to take control, picking up 15 or more yards on 11 different snaps throughout Saturday night's game, and that powered the Eagles to a 34-7 thumping of the Redhawks in Intercounty League South action at Smith Vocational.

In all, the hosts (5-3, 4-1 IL South) piled up 304 rushing yards, and Angel Moody was the biggest reason why. The powerfully built senior went off for 216 yards on 13 tries, with carries of 36, 38, 23 and 56 yards included. The 38- and 56-yarders went for Eagle touchdowns.

"Being Senior Night, I was emotional coming into the game," said Moody. "I felt like I wanted to do something big for Senior Night. Every play felt like that. The line was amazing. This is the best they've played all year, and I loved it."

"We were able to run the ball well tonight, and that's something we've struggled with at different times," said Easthampton coach Matt Bean. "The line blocked really well and Angel was running through huge holes. A couple of years ago, he had major ankle surgery. He's worked his way through it. Earlier in the year, he got dinged up a little bit. But he's totally healthy now and it shows."

Easthampton had a few too many teams to climb over to reach the Top 16 in Division 6. The Eagles were ranked 25th in the division entering the weekend.

Meanwhile, Frontier's playoff chances were only marginally better but still tenuous at best. The Redhawks, also now 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the IL South, checked in at No. 21 in the Division 8 power rankings.

"I could feel it right from the beginning. Even knowing what was at stake and what we needed to do, we didn't show up to play," said Frontier coach Scott Dredge. "It didn't happen for them. It wasn't like we didn't know what was coming. It really comes down to playing. They played well, and we did not."

From the opening kickoff, the Eagles covered 68 yards in only 2:24 of play, helped by Luke Johndrow's 29-yard run, a 16-yarder by Moody and a 12-yard gain by BB Tauscher. That put quarterback Shea Healy in position for a 8-yard TD screen pass to Tommy O'Connor, followed by Moody's two-point conversion, for an instant 8-0 lead.

Frontier's first possession ended with a turnover on downs, but the Redhawks got the ball right back on Ed Mieczkowski's fumble recovery at their own 49. This time Frontier moved to the Eagles' 19 before failing once again on fourth down.

Moody then got Easthampton out of the hole quickly with a 36-yard gain on first down, and three plays later, he went off right tackle for 38 yards and a score. That four-play, 81-yard drive took only 1:17 off the clock and put the Eagles up 14-0 with 10:34 to go in the half.

The Redhawks drove from their own 24 to the Easthampton 11 before they were set back by a 15-yard block-below-the-waist penalty. The visitors then faced third-and-35 at the Eagle 36 before Aiden Dredge lofted a bomb down the right sideline that Ian Burt laid out to grab on a stellar headlong dive into the end zone. Jesse Dubreuil tacked on the extra point to pull Frontier to within 14-7.

Easthampton still had four minutes left in the half and flipped the field behind Healy's 48-yard completion to Topher Reardon that put the ball at the Frontier 13. Two plays later, from the 5, Tauscher took a jet sweep handoff and swept around the left side to re-establish a two-score lead. Moody's two-point run made it 22-7 with 1:33 to go, and the Eagles carried that into halftime.

At the top of the third quarter, Frontier held the ball for almost eight minutes, driving down to the Easthampton 9 before losing the ball on downs. The Eagles went long-field the other way and reached the Frontier 23, but Healy's pass toward the end zone was picked off by Burt at the 3.

The Eagles got it right on their next series, starting at their own 37. Moody picked up 7 yards on first down and then rumbled the next 56 over the left side, taking it in for a 28-7 lead. Tauscher's extra-point kick clanged the top of the right upright.

Next, Edward Przybyla came up with an interception of Aiden Dredge at the Frontier 40. Healy hit Tauscher on a wheel route out of the backfield for a 44-yard catch-and-run TD with one minute left to cap the night's scoring, although Frontier got through to partially block the extra-point try.

Easthampton ended by more than doubling the total offense, with 427 yards to Frontier's 210. Healy completed 4-of-8 passes for 123 yards and two scores. Tauscher ran for 46 yards and Johndrow 38 for the Eagles.

Aiden Dredge threw for 53 yards on 3-of-12 passing and also ran for 30 yards. Sean Kirkendall topped the Redhawks with 62 yards on the ground, Brayden Arsenault had 35, and Burt added 30.

"Last year, we were ranked a little higher, and enough teams got knocked out where we could move up (into the Division 6 playoffs)," said Bean. "It's not going to happen this year. It's a shame, but we dealt with a lot of injuries, more so than we have in the past. I'm just glad that we're playing really well at this time of year."


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