By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
“Any time you play Longmeadow/East Longmeadow, throw the records out the window; it’s going to be a battle”. - Longmeadow HC Tanner Williams
This year’s battle* was played in April, on a cold, rainy day.
The turf in East Longmeadow was soggy from a day’s worth of rain and snow.
Moderate wind gusts came through all night.
At points in the game, there were sheets of rain pelting players, coaches and fans.
The weather was ugly but my first Longmeadow vs. East Longmeadow rivalry game was beautiful 🖼.
I got to the field a tad late but I didn’t miss any action.
The Lancers jumped out early on the Spartans. This season, East Longmeadow has been the home field for both teams. The Lancers made the Spartans feel like the road team on Friday.
Longmeadow scored an early run TD by Senior QB Colin Hoffman. On 4th & 15, Longmeadow HC Williams decided to go for it. The Lancers ran a QB sweep to the right. Hoffman got two good blocks from Nick Carterud and Pat Bajek. EL Senior Nico Mongeon had an angle and the opportunity to tackle Hoffman. Mongeon attempted the tackle and caught a cold, left shoulder from Hoffman. Mongeon bounced back from Hoffman and Hoffman continued to the end zone. He dove from the 5-yard line, extended the 🏈 across the goal-line and scored.
East Longmeadow was down 7-0 early. They are a young team this season. They have had trouble coming back from a deficit.
They didn’t let that recent track record haunt them, however. The EL offense came out and scored on their next possession. The Robidoux Brothers hooked up for EL’s first TD of the game. Conner threw a strike 🎯 to Landon, after Landon ran a nice slant. Longmeadow’s first defender couldn’t make the tackle and Landon took it to the 🏡. They missed the EP, so they were down 7-6.
The second Longmeadow run TD came from Junior RB Sam Mard. On the scoring play, Longmeadow was in the Lancers familiar wing T formation. Mard was the RB lined up on the left side. Before the snap, Mard came in motion. Hoffman got the snap and turned to hand it to Mard, going right. He was untouched for a majority of the run. I didn’t see him actually cross the goal-line because of where I was at on the Longmeadow sideline 😢. The Lancers extended their lead 14-6.
In the 2nd quarter, Hoffman scored to run TDs 💨. Both were on QB Sweeps. The first TD in the 2nd was about 70 yards. The 2nd TD in the 2nd was at the goal-line.
Longmeadow set the edge all night. East Longmeadow couldn’t get out to the edge and stop Hoffman or the Lancers RB.
Luke Szyluk and Wyatt Tallaksen were strong in the running game for Longmeadow also.
East Longmeadow couldn’t put a drive together in the first. Their running game is improving but still needs more work.
Longmeadow was ahead 26-6 at halftime.
The Lancers offense was stagnant in the third. EL tried to take advantage. Freshman QB Shane Becker came in the game. He made some nice plays running the ball. He threw the Spartans second TD pass of the night. In the red-zone, he threw a pass to Danny Manning. Manning caught the ball and secured it for the TD. The Spartans pulled closer 26-13.
That was the last score for EL.
In the 4th, the Lancers started to pass the ball more effectively. The success in the run game led to openings in the passing game. Hoffman hit RB Dylan Marino in the right corner of the end-zone for his first pass TD of the game.
Mard sealed the game for the Lancers with another run TD. On the play, once Mard got the handoff from Hoffman, he cut downhill, cut left and sprinted to the end-zone as the rain continued to fall in East Longmeadow.
Those two TDs put Longmeadow ahead 40-13. East Longmeadow competed but they didn’t have enough firepower on offense to keep up with the Lancers.
Longmeadow was too strong in the running game. The Lancers out-dueled the Spartans in the rain 40-13.
(Colin Hoffman takes a knee to end the game)
“Battle of The Longmeadows: 2021”
Longmeadow - 1
East Longmeadow - 0
Scoring for Longmeadow:
Colin Hoffman - 3 run TDs; 1 pass TD
Sam Mard - 2 run TDs
Dylan Marino - 1 rec TD
Scoring for East Longmeadow:
Shane Becker - 1 pass TD
Conner Robidoux - 1 pass TD
Landon Robidoux - 1 rec TD
Danny Manning - 1 rec TD
After the game, Longmeadow celebrated their Selectmen’s Cup victory. In the midst of their celebration, I spoke with Longmeadow RB Sam Mard and HC Tanner Williams. After the celebration subsided and Longmeadow headed home on their yellow chariots, I spoke with EL HC Mike Morrisino.
⚫️Longmeadow RB Sam Mard⚪️
You’ve had some strong performances these past few weeks. When did you start playing football?
“I started playing in 5th grade when I was 10”.
Did you always want to be a running back?
“I wanted to be wide receiver; then I realized our team doesn’t pass that much so I’m a RB now and I love playing RB”.
What are you going to do this offseason to prepare for next season?
“Keep lifting, working on my foot work. Make sure that we stay a team, team spirit and just keep playin’ hard together”.
How does it feel having a season this year?
“I was beyond happy when they told us we had a season. I spent all winter getting ready; I was lifting, I was working hard. When I heard we had a season, I knew all the hard work would pay off. We have had a pretty good season and our team is playing really well”.
⚫️Longmeadow HC Tanner Williams⚪️
It’s the “Battle of The Longmeadows”. What’s the name of that trophy?
“I believe its the ‘Selectmen’s Cup’. Usually we play for it on Thanksgiving but considering there was [no game] on Thanksgiving, the kids decided to bring it. I said, ‘Fine’. If we lost, they would have it...There will be two names [on the trophy] this year, weirdest thing ever”.
How was practice this week?
“It was good. Beside the cold and rain yesterday, which was gnarly, we had good practices. Getting a little better each week. We are executing better. Trusting ourselves and our teammates. We’re understanding our assignments better. I think that’s going to carry over well for next week. It’s a tough game next week, see if we can run with [Central] and execute. I’m excited we are continuing to improve. We just gotta get better everyday. I think we did that this week. They’re a good team they play hard. Any time you play Longmeadow/East Longmeadow, throw the records out the window; it’s going to be a battle”.
How does it feel being in this rivalry?
“Even when I played in HS, this was a big rivalry game for everybody. Some years they get us; some years we get them. Some years its close, some it’s not. This game was closer than the score indicates. They came out fired up...its always a battle...”
[Drake “Trophies” starts playing on a speaker]
Are you gonna bust out some dance moves Coach?
🔴EL HC Mike Morrisino⚪️
What was it like being in your 1st Longmeadow/East Longmeadow game as a Head Coach?
“For me this is 15 years coming, 4 as a player and 11 as a coach. It felt the same as a player or Assistant Coach. Nothing changed for me today except I can call timeouts and make final decisions, that was it”.
Longmeadow is primarily a running team. Why couldn’t your team stop the run tonight?
“They did a good job tonight opening holes. We got them in good down and distances...Hoffman does a great job running the ball on QB sweeps. They do a good job of executing that wing-T offense. Hats off to them, they played great tonight”.
The first time I talked to you said you were going to play 2 QBs. The games I’ve seen, you have played 2 QBs. What have you gotten from Robidoux and Becker this season?
“I think they are both growing still. There is a lot of improvement from Amherst in Week 1 but we are still making some of the same mistakes. Getting them both reps is so crucial to see who is going to be the guy going into next season...
we are worried about Westfield. Try and get another W”.
*The first part, hopefully there is a “regular” season this upcoming fall and there will be a LvEL Part 2 🤞🏾