Taconic Shuts Out Ludlow, Evens Record at 2-2

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Just because the Taconic football team won 34-0 against Ludlow on Thursday night, do not think the Thunder did not face any adversity in the game.
It did – in the form of penalty flags that have proven costly for this Taconic squad in the past.
The difference in Week 4: The Thunder knew how to put the mistakes behind it.
Early in the second quarter of a one-score game, Taconic drew a holding call on third-and-18 at its 36 to set up third-and-a-mile to keep the drive alive.
Senior QB Matthew McIntosh found classmate Steve Patch for a 35-yard pickup to maintain possession in what eventually would be a 67-yard drive to put Taconic up, 12-0.
A drive on the opening possession of the third quarter hit a speed bump with another holding call, this time in the red zone to give Taconic third-and-21 at the Ludlow 26. Again, McIntosh connected with Patch, this time deep down the right side and into the end zone to make it 26-0.
“We’ve been talking about our mistakes for a while, and not putting our heads down after we make them,” Taconic coach Jermaine Sistrunk said. “Pick it back up, move on to the next play. And that allows the guys to stay engaged.
“I’m absolutely proud of the way they handled their mistakes tonight, absolutely.”
He also had to be proud of a Taconic defense that pitched the first shutout of his tenure as head coach. The previous low point total allowed for the Thunder was 14 points, something it allowed three times in the last two years – most recently in a Week 2 win over Hoosac Valley.
“We have two exceptional defensive linemen in Xavier Nicholls and Justice Clark,” Sistrunk said. “We tend to move them around from tackle to end and end to tackle. This week, we put them back to their natural positions where they can create all types of noise and chaos.
“We’ve been preaching all week: Get to them before they get to you. So we were attacking their line, and those guys absolutely did what we’ve been working on all week. Proud of my ‘D’ line for sure.”
Ludlow did not get a first down until its first possession of the third quarter, when Taconic already had a 26-0 lead.
The Lions’ other four first downs came on a 62-yard drive against Taconic’s second defensive unit that consumed most of a fourth quarter played entirely under running time.
Taconic’s offense, meanwhile, came out like a house afire when Damon Pause burst through the line and went up the sideline from midfield for a 48-yard score on Taconic’s second play from scrimmage.
He went on to run for 95 yards and two touchdowns on the night. Nicholls ran for 59 yards, including an 11-yard score to cap the scoring late in the third quarter.
In addition, McIntosh ran for a score and threw for a score, finishing with 104 yards through the air.
“Offensively, we put in a couple of new formations and just ran the ball on ‘em, and it worked,” McIntosh said. “We’ve been working hard all week, ever since Wahconah [in Week 3]. That was tough, but we’re coming back.”
Sistrunk is happy to have McIntosh under center to direct a resurgent Taconic offense, which was shut out in Week 1 but has averaged 27 points per game since.
“[McIntosh] does a lot of good things,” Sistrunk said. “His feet are actually one of his assets, and I’m trying to teach him to go ahead and use that to his benefit. If he can move around, as you see, other guys will get open.
“Our run game really opened up tonight with a new formation. That opened up the pass.”
Taconic (2-2, 1-0 Suburban North) looks to maintain its momentum next Friday when it goes to Putnam Voc.
Video: Taconic QB Matthew McIntosh talks about a game-changing TD run by Damon Pause on the Thunder’s first possession on Thursday.
Video: Taconic’s Xavier Nicholls goes 11 yards for the score in Thursday’s win over Ludlow.
Video: Taconic’s Matthew McIntosh Thursday scrambles and finds Damon Pause for a 14-yard pickup and a fourth-down conversion.
Video: Taconic’s Matthew McIntosh hits Steve Patch for a 26-yard touchdown in Thursday’s win over Ludlow.
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