The North Adams club football team dropped their homecoming game in the midst of a downpour Saturday night to the Fayetteville Rockets, 28-0.
The game looked like it could’ve been over quickly after the opening drive when the Rockets took the opening kickoff and marched efficiently down the field 79 yards in 10 plays, all rushes, which was capped off by a run from sophomore Nate Fisher. The two-point conversion was stuffed by the North Adams defense and the score stood 6-0.
“I think homecoming jitters may have caused some lack of focus on that first drive,” North Adams head coach Justin Schmitz said. “Our linebackers on that drive weren’t reading keys or playing downhill and against that type of offense you’ve got to stuff the run at the line of scrimmage.”
While Fayetteville found their footing early on the muddy field, North Adams couldn’t do the same as they went three-and-out and were forced to punt. Fayetteville sophomore Chase Lockwood took the punt and nobody could catch him as he took it to the house, putting the Rockets up 14-0 still in the first quarter.
The next two plays the teams exchanged turnovers as North Adams fumbled the ball away on their first play only to force a fumble on Fayetteville’s first play moments later.
North Adams couldn’t capitalize off the turnover though as their next drive went four plays for negative four yards as the Devils turned the ball over on downs.
Fayetteville took over on their own 45-yard-line and was looking to score again once they made their way into the redzone but were stuffed on back-to-back plays by sophomore nose tackle Jake Kendall, forcing the Rockets into a difficult fourth down that they couldn’t convert.
“Jake had a huge night for us,” Schmitz said. “He’s built to stuff run plays and he’s not afraid to stick his nose in there and smack guys in the mouth. When you’re looking for big defensive stops you can usually find Jake in that pile holding onto that ball carrier. Those stops definitely gave us a confidence boost. Offensively we started clicking after that and driving down the field.”
After another three-and-out for the North Adams offense the Green Devil defense stood firm, allowing Fayetteville no yards right before halftime after three incomplete passes.
Fayetteville was set to kick off to begin the second half but fooled North Adams with an onside kick that the Rockets recovered, forcing the North Adams defense to get right back out for another possession. The Fayetteville offense went right down the field going 48 yards in 10 plays, all rushes once again, which was capped off by a short run by sophomore Seth Allen. After another failed two-point conversion, the score stood 20-0.
North Adams had their best drive of the night on the ensuing possession, picking up a first down before turning the ball over on a fumble on the seventh play of the drive, giving the ball back to Fayetteville.
The teams exchanged fumbles back and forth once again until the Rockets took over on the North Adams 35-yard-line and found the end zone for a fourth time after a short rush by Allen bringing the score to 28-0.
After another first down by the North Adams offense, the drive stalled out and the clock struck zero before the Devils could find the endzone on the night.
Schmitz said he saw a lot of improvement in his defensive line throughout the game and his line’s pursuit to the ball has been the strongest point for his squad this season.
“[Improvement] just came down to fundamental key reading and play recognition,” Schmitz said. “Once we settled in our d-line started plugging gaps and that allowed our linebackers to fly around and put the ball carrier down. Lee Hesler, Zach Coppock, Dominick Smith, and Dennis Day were a few stand outs that stepped up when it counted that second half. Our defensive line play and pursuit to the football have probably been the two biggest things we’ve improved most this year. There were times when I saw seven hats on the ball carrier – that’s just great pursuit.”
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.