By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
9/19/21 * 5:41 AM
(SOUTH HADLEY) - The East Longmeadow Spartans travelled north to take on the Tigers of South Hadley HS. South Hadley HS has been closed due to mold growth in the school, which seems to be a problem in this area lately.
Luckily, the South Hadley sports teams have still been able to compete.
The game was scheduled for 7:00 PM but was rescheduled for a 7:30 PM start. Before the game began, SH players held a patriotic ceremony to honor all soldiers - past, present and future. The players all had American flags 🇺🇸 and walked from outside of the gate, on to the field, to their bench area. The ceremony was solemn and respectful. It was a nice display to be a part of.
The game kicked off after the ceremony and the National Anthem. The Tigers and Spartans were locked in a defensive battle the whole game. Both teams were scoreless in the first quarter. Penalties plagued both teams all game. SH had trouble throughout the game with the center-to-QB snap. Some snaps were too high or off target to the right. The other snaps were mishandled by SH QB Jack Haber.
The bright spot in the first quarter for EL was Johnny Ferrentino. He made three consecutive tackles on defense to force SH to punt on one of SH offensive possessions.
Ferrentino did everything for EL on Friday night: tackled anyone moving around him on defense, caught passes on offense, returned punts and kickoffs, punted the ball and kicked field goals 🤯.
The game was still scoreless midway through the 2nd quarter. SH was faced with a 4th down. They needed a spark and got it by running a fake punt play and gaining the yards needed for a first down.
A few plays after the fake punt, Haber got the snap cleanly and ran a QB Sweep to the right. He got around the edge and scored for the Tigers. He also ran in the 2-point conversion. SH led 8-0.
EL couldn’t move the ball consistently up until their final drive of the 1st half. EL Sophomore QB Shane Becker led the Spartans down the field, in to the red-zone. He completed passes and ran the effectively. There was 31 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. EL had the ball at the SH 10-yard line. Becker threw a 🎯 to EL RB Preston Longo for a TD. Ferrentino kicked the EP. EL was down 8-7 going into halftime.
In the second half, both defenses were still playing well. However, SH did give up one more TD drive. Becker led EL down the field again. He scored on a QB Power run play. Ferrentino kicked the EP. EL was ahead for the first time 14-8.
Becker was injured in the 4th quarter. He tried to play through it but couldn’t. Conner Robidoux came in to take Becker’s place. Robidoux started in the Fall 2 season.
Robidoux and the EL offense protected the lead. The EL defense stopped SH on their last possession. Robidoux kneeled, in shotgun formation, and the Spartans persevered for a tough victory 14-8.
Shane Becker - 1 pass TD; 1 run TD
Preston Longo - 1 rec TD
Jack Haber - 1 run TD; 1 two-pt conversion