Erickson League Opening Week

Taft 42-20 ‘Bury

On Saturday afternoon Taft hosted Salisbury for their home opener. When the rankings came out for the Erickson league many were taken by surprise when Taft was ranked number one.

November 5, 2016: Varsity Football v Berkshire School (Photo by Robert Falcetti/Taft)

However, Taft proved they were deserving of the number one spot when they quickly jumped out to a 27 to 7 halftime lead. The Taft quarterback, Nolan Grooms, ‘19 did a great job of running the offense. Grooms threw for 284 yards with 3 TD’s and rushed for 128 yards with 2 TD’s. Perhaps the most exciting play of the day came when Grooms connected with Ayinde Johnson ‘20 for a 96 yard touchdown reception. Grooms hit Johnson with a 25 yard pass and Johnson out-ran the Salisbury defense for the touchdown.  For Taft it was not just the offense that contributed but most importantly the defense was able to do its job of shutting down the Knights. One of the concerns for the Rhinos was whether or not they could limit a strong Salisbury rushing attack. With the help of Jordan Agudosi ‘18, Zane Segalas ‘18 and Ryan Hockenbury ‘19 the Rhinos were able to secure the win with a final score of 42-20. Next up for Taft is the night game against Williston Northampton school, kickoff is scheduled for 7PM.

Ryan Smith- ’18

Avon Old Farms 42 – 13 Trinity Pawling

Last September the Pride of Trinity Pawling began their Erikson League Championship campaign with a nail biting 21-14 win over Avon. One year later the tables were flipped completely.

Both teams came into Saturday’s game highly regarded by all. The first few drives suggested the matchup would be as close as last years. Then, on the first play of AOF ‘s second offensive series, highly-touted quarterback Taisun Phommachanh connected with postgraduate tight end Casey Rogers for a 70 yard touchdown. Phommachanh and the Winged Beaver offense weren’t done yet, on the following series Nico Ragini hauled in a 90-yard touchdown catch putting Avon up 14-0.

The quarterback rotation of Re’Mahn Davis and Brandon Lombardo had trouble getting the Pride’s offense into a rhythm early in the half. On the other side of the ball, the Winged Beavers continued to fire on all cylinders, on the following series Phommachanh hit St. Louis native wide receiver Harry Welford for a 76-yard touchdown. These successes continued into the second half, AOF’s Taisun Phommachanh combined for 457 yards in the air and on the ground. Avon will continue their Erikson League campaign on the road at Kent this saturday, as TP will look to bounce back against the Pelicans of Loomis Chaffee.

Bart Gardella ’18

Brunswick 28-7 Hotchkiss

Brunswick traveled to Hotchkiss on Saturday, and Nick Henkel really stole the show. The Bruins senior quarterback passed for 260 yards, totaling two touchdowns in the air, with an additional one on the ground to lead his team to a 28-7 victory. The reigning League Offensive Player of the Year and two-time All-New England selection lived up to the hype surrounding his senior season, as he started it off with a bang. A mere week after committing to Yale, Henkel showed in the season opener why the Bulldogs are so excited to have him and why even Power 5 teams were so high on him. However, he was not the only Bruin to make an impact; the defense shined according to Brunswick head coach Jarrett Shine as he said that the “defense looked really good” and that “our guys put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and the cornerbacks covered really well.” Additionally, senior running back Jack Ocken joined another fellow future Bulldog in the backfield, as the Yale lacrosse commit led the team in rushing yards in his first varsity football game. Hotchkiss looks to claim their first victory of the year after an 0-2 start with a trip up to Deerfield on September 30. Meanwhile, Brunswick is chomping at the bit for next week’s showdown versus Cheshire Academy, a rematch of the 45-20 beatdown that Cheshire put on the Bruins last year in the Wayne Sanborn Bowl.

Sam Holleran ’20

Williston 28-14 Kent

The Williston Wildcats opened their season with a 28-14 win over Kent School. Braeden Heald caught eleven passes in the game, with two for touchdowns. Mason Balch ran for 46 yards and a touchdown. Henri Bourque also made a 59 yard reception.  Williston’s defense really sealed the game by dominating all game. Noah Clark tackled 5 people for a loss or sack, broke up a pass and had 11 tackles on the day. Xavier Thibault had 2 sacks and 3 tackles for losses, just causing headaches for the offense. Braeden Heald also had a big day on defense as he had an interception, as did Brandyn Jones. The Wildcats will try to keep their momentum going with an away game at Taft.

Jain Millan ’21


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