PITTSFIELD, Mass - Emmanuel Nda made his home in the end zone on Friday night, scoring five rushing touchdowns to lead the Pittsfield Generals to a 46-6 win over the Putnam Beavers at Berkshire Community College.
Nda scored on runs of 37, 3, 55, 55 and 45 yards, and he finished with 273 rushing yards on 22 carries. The junior has now rushed for 1,278 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
“All I want to do is get big runs for my team, to bring it back to the huddle and keep making big plays and going on from there,” Nda said. “I love my teammates and they are hyping me up, and I love my coaches as well. It’s fun winning games.”
The Generals improved to 2-5, and snapped a three-game losing streak.
“This season did not go as well as we wanted it to, but we’re actually coming together as a team as the season comes to a close. I think we even still have a shot for the playoffs,” Nda said.
To have any chance at all for the playoffs, Pittsfield had to win on Friday. The Generals grabbed the lead early on and never looked back. Nda broke for a 37-yard score on his third carry of the day, and Sincere Moorer carried in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead with 10:08 left in the opening quarter.
The Generals then came up with a big turnover to keep Putnam from answering on its opening drive. The Beavers (0-7) marched downfield on 15 plays to bring a fourth-and-goal from the 11-yard line, before Pittsfield sophomore Louis Rhodes picked off a pass at the goal line to send things back the other way.
“It was my job deep-third not to let anybody get behind me, and when he threw the ball up I just knew it was my ball,” Rhodes said. “It felt nice to make the play for my team and get us going. I was just there to make the play.”
Rhodes read the pass the entire way, stepping up to jump the route and haul in the ball. He then watched as his team went 75 yards on 15 plays and capitalized with a 3-yard score from Nda.
“Every day we show up to practice and we fight. Nobody believes in us and that right there, that is a team effort,” Rhodes said of that signature drive. “It’s all on our team. We work hard and we never give up. It was so exciting and I was so happy. I’m just glad that my team came through and that I came through for them.”
Rhodes also led the defense with seven tackles.
That expanded lead proved even more crucial when the Beavers answered right back to get on the board and cut the deficit in half. Dakota Scranton fired a nice spiral downfield to Nyzarie Smith for a 32-yard touchdown pass that made it 14-6 with 7:49 left in the first half.
The Generals responded right away to extend the lead and keep control. With the running game now opening up passing lanes, they mixed it up to move downfield, and quarterback Patrick Rindfuss connected with Sincere Moorer for a 36-yard scoring pass.
Another big defensive play created one final scoring chance for Pittsfield just before the half. Drew Thorton recovered a fumble, and then Rindfuss hit Rhodes for a 21-yard score pn a fade pass to the front pylon with 26.7 seconds remaining before halftime.
Holding a commanding 26-6 lead coming out of the break, the Generals pulled away thanks to three scores in less then a minute of play early in the third quarter. The defense forced a punt after Putnam went three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half, and two plays later Nda burst up the sideline for a 55-yard TD run. On the ensuing kickoff Brandon Cook made a tackle in the end zone for a safety that also got the ball back, and Nda again went 55 yards to the end zone on the first play from scrimmage.
“We are known to come flat in the second half, but we knew that this is a big game that we needed. We had to come out fast, strong and physical and win the second half,” Nda said.
The defense came up with another three-and-out and forced a punt, and Nda then capped his big night by bursting up the middle for a 45-yard touchdown run.
With a running clock in the fourth, the Generals forced two turnovers on downs to close things out strong defensively. Connor Hayford had five tackles and Anthony Pettibone recorded four tackles to lead the defense.
Rindfuss completed 8-of-10 passes for 136 yards and two scores, and also added 53 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Moorer had five receptions for 84 yards and Sam Taylor added two receptions for 31 yards.