By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
It was high noon on Saturday April 10th. I was back in East Longmeadow to watch the Hurricanes from Amherst play a tough road game against the Lancers from Longmeadow. Saturday was Senior Day for Longmeadow.
Today was another historical day for FP SPORTS/FPM. My son, Kevin McCaskill III, was on the field with me today to help keep stats. I specifically wanted to track Lancers QB Colin Hoffman’s numbers this game. My son did a great job until the ear strap on his mask broke in the 4th qt 😢😂🤷🏽♂️.
The Lancers jumped out early on the Hurricanes.
Lancers RB Wyatt Tallaksen = 💨.
He is fast and elusive. He also has the strength to finish runs. It was only a few minutes in to the game and Tallaksen had broken off a long run that included some broken tackles for a TD. Longmeadow was up 7-0.
Amherst got off to a slow start and Longmeadow got the ball back. Tallaksen scored another TD, this time from the red-zone. The drive was started by good runnning from Hoffman, Anthony Casabianca, Luke Szyluk and Sam Mard. The offensive line was busy moving the Amherst defensive line most of the night.
After the second Tallaksen TD, the Lancers went “for 2” but didn’t convert. They were ahead 13-0 very early in the game.
The offense for Amherst began to make some plays but they still couldn’t string plays together to get to the red-zone.
Longmeadow got the ball back and cashed in again on a 30 yard QB Sweep by Hoffman. The 2-point attempt was no good; the Lancers led 19-0.
Neither team scored before half so the Lancers were still defending a shutout.
The third quarter got sloppy for both teams. Tallaksen and Szyluk both had lost fumbles on Saturday. Amherst QB Nathaniel Mills threw 2 INTs. One was intercepted by Dylan Marino; the other was picked off by Liam Hunt. Amherst got opportunities to get back in the game but they squandered them away.
The highlight of the game was an eye-popping 😳 run by RB Sam Mard. He got the ball and broke 3-4 tackles. One of the tackles almost stopped Mard but he keep churning his legs and somehow got out of the tackle and kept running 💪. He turned a nice first down gain into a 25 yard highlight 🎞.
Anthony Casabianca scored another TD for the Lancers. Longmeadow was lined up in a wishbone formation. Casabianca was on the right side of Hoffman. Before the snap, Casabianca started in motion, the snap came, Hoffman turned quickly and handed the ball to Casabianca, going left. Casabianca got downhill and scored easily. Hoffman completed the 2-point attempt successfully. The Lancers were up 27-0.
Amherst was determined not to get shutout. Their final drive of the game was their best drive. They worked the ball down the field with runs and passes by Mills. In the red-zone, Mills threw a nice pass to Isa Mahal Castro McCauley. The Hurricanes went for 2 and they were successful on a pass from Mills to Jameson Dion. In the first game of the year against East Longmeadow, Dion started at QB. He is now playing WR.
The final score may have improved for the Hurricanes - 27-8 and no shutout - but the Lancers were in control of the game from Tallaksen’s 1st TD.
The Lancers won easily on Senior Day 27-8.
Scoring for Longmeadow Lancers:
Wyatt Tallaksen - 2 run TDs
Colin Hoffman - 1 run TD
Anthony Casabianca - 1 run TD
Scoring for Amherst Hurricanes:
Nathaniel Mills - 1 pass TD
Isa Mahal Castro-McCauley - 1 rec TD
After the game, I spoke with Longmeadow HC Tanner Williams, Longmeadow Senior QB Colin Hoffman and Amherst HC Chris Ehorn Jr.
⚫️Longmeadow HC Tanner Williams⚪️
How did you feel coming into this high noon 🕛 game against Amherst?
“We knew they were a big, tough, physical team so we had to match their intensity. We are not as big as they are...but we gave to be physical up front. We were prepared and we were ready; we just didn’t hold on to the ball as well as we could have”.
Were the two fumbles today a result of Amherst tackling or your team not securing the ball properly?
“It’s definitely a lil’ bit of both. We have been pretty secure with the ball but sometimes when you don’t have any turnovers going through a couple games...you get complacent. We are definitely gonna work on that this week”.
What have the Seniors meant to your football program?
“These guys work their butts off. They have been so excited that we actually have a season. They been at practice every day working hard. Even guys that never played football before; we had guys that played soccer and showed up to football because it’s the first time their parents let them play. They have worked really hard and done a really nice job”.
⚫️Longmeadow Senior QB Colin Hoffman⚪️
How did you feel coming into the game today?
“You know, came off a loss last week so we had to get prepared. We didn’t have a great 1st two days of practice but we came back hard for the rest. An extra day, playing on Saturday, really helped. We had good preparation and a good game-plan. [Amherst] is a good team out there. I’m glad we got the W”.
How did you guys get so strong in the running game?
“We got a lot of guys who are fast and strong. We been in the weight room [or guys] lifting on their own. We got a lot of fast guys. Shout out to the O-Line; we can’t run the ball without them. They did a great job”.
It’s early but how does this moment feel since it’s your last home game?
“It hasn’t hit me yet but it probably will later; it’s pretty sad. I’m really thankful we have two games left. We got two really good teams, so we have to prepare. I’m just thankful we got two more.
⚪️Amherst HC Chris Ehorn Jr.🔴
How did your team feel coming into this game?
“We felt like we had a good week of practice. We felt we were pretty prepared for their offense. Unfortunately, that first quarter, it didn’t work out the way we wanted it to”.
Why was the Longmeadow running game so effective today?
“They did a great job getting to the edge. We had a hard time in the 1st quarter protecting the edge so they got outside quickly. We were able to make some adjustments that helped out. They were quick to the edge. Pulling guards - they been doing it a long time here in Longmeadow”.
What have you gotten from Nathaniel Mills this season and what are you expecting the next couple of games?
“Mills is a tough runner. We like to run him up the middle. He is a big boy. He keeps his feet moving running it. He has a great grasp of the offense so he gets guys in the right spot. And what we’d like to see out him? We want to continue passing more. We want to develop our passing game and use this opportunity to get ready for the Fall”.
Can you talk about Castro-McCauley and Sadiq? What do you expect from them on offense and defense?
“They’re big time player makers. The goal is to get the ball in their hands. Zayd [Sadiq] can do great things with the ball, he is a fantastic player. Unfortunately, he has been hampered with a knee injury all season. He had to leave the game early. And Isa [Mahal Castro-McCauley], actually he has been on the basketball team. This is his first year on the football team. We like his athleticism. He had a great catch for a TD today. We’re hoping to build off that”.
Do you think he will play football next season?
“Absolutely, yeah. Right now, it seems he is enjoying it a lot. We are lovin’ him on the team and yeah, we believe Isa will be back with us...”.
Fall 2 🍁🎋🍂