Wahconah Bounces Back, Bounces 'Hamp
DALTON, Mass. -- Early in Saturday evening's football game at Wahconah High School, a rainbow appeared in the sky to the east.
It lasted just a hair longer than Northampton's chances of going home with a win.
Wahconah came out like a team possessed, scored on its first seven possessions and earned a 49-7 win over the Blue Devils in the Route 9 Rumble.
Northampton picked the wrong week to take on its rival, which was coming off a 35-8 loss at East Longmeadow that spoiled Wahconah's hopes for a perfect season.
Coach Gary Campbell's team came back eight days later refocused and relentless.
"They did respond," Campbell said. "I am so proud of that with these kids. It isn't about the adversity that you see in life because we're all going to see it, it's about how you respond. We responded all week. I knew they would. And we came out and played a good football game tonight.
Wahconah (5-1) took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards, the last 4 producing the first of four Connor Noyes touchdowns.
Noyes ran for 164 yards -- all by the midway point of the second quarter -- and Tim Clayton threw for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Wahconah led 35-0 when Northampton (3-3) earned its first first down of the game midway through the second quarter.
Wahconah just missed out on its third shutout of the season when the Blue Devils used 28 yards in penalties to set up a 5-yard Jacob Brittain touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"They aren't a bad football team," Campbell said of Northampton. "They played Longmeadow 28-14. They just beat West Springfield. So that's not a bad football team. I just think we played really well tonight."
Wahconah's second "drive" came after a 19-yard Matt Mathers punt return to get the ball to the 27. Clayton hit Tom Burris on first down for the TD.
An Austin Roughley interception produced another short field, and Wahconah's offense needed three plays to get in the end zone on a 21-yard Noyes run.
Noyes scored from the 16 the next time his team touched the ball, and his 36-yard scoring run plus Tanner Hill's point-after kick made it 35-0.
Clayton capped the first half with a 67-yard completion to Jake Gai to send Wahconah to the locker room with a 42-0 edge. On its first possession of the second half, Wahconah went up 49-0 on a Nate Zink 6-yard run.
One week after being held to its lowest point total since the 2014 state championship game at Gillette Stadium, Wahconah got the statement win it needed.
"It was humbling, to start with," Campbell said of last week's practices. "And then it was retrospective, to say, 'How the heck did that happen?' And then it was workmanlike. It was physical, it was work. It was grinding.
"It wasn't crazy stuff. It was blocking and tackling. And that's what you saw tonight. ... We got our doors blown off last week, and we did not look like Wahconah Regional High School football. That was unfortunate. The fact of the matter was, this week in practice and tonight, we did.
"And I'm proud of the boys for that."