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Recap for the game: Taconic vs Drury on Sep 09

Taconic Gets 26 Second Half Points in Opening Day Win

By Stephen Dravis Sports
03:07PM / Saturday, September 09, 2023

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Even before kickoff, Taconic junior Theo Adams had a feeling about the 2023 season.
“Welcome to the ‘Revenge Tour,’ “ he told a spectator heading up to the field at Drury High School on Saturday morning.
It took a while to get going, but the tour rolled through the Blue Devils for a convincing 34-0 win that gave the Thunder its first season-opening win since 2018.
Adams ran for 80 yards and a touchdown and ran back the second half kickoff 46 yards to set up Taconic’s second touchdown.
Quarterback Damon Pause ran for 45 yards and three TDs and combined with Christian Aldrich to throw for 104. And Taconic’s defense posted its first shutout since winning back-to-back 34-0 games in the middle of last season.
Although the 2022 campaign included a trip to the Division 8 State Tournament, Adams believes Taconic has something to prove this fall.
“I say that because we had a rough last two or three seasons,” he said after the win. “Now, this year, it’s feeling like this one is it. We’re starting off well, 34-0. It’s on to the next game.”
Taconic will have to wait a while for that next game. It has two off weeks before the home opener against Suburban North foe Chicopee on Sept. 29.
Coach Jermaine Sistrunk said given the schedule, it was important for his team to get off to a strong start.
“We talked to the guys about how we're going to be off for a couple of weeks, and we don’t want to sit here and stew over a loss,” Sistrunk said. “That would have been the worst thing.”
The Thunder got off to a strong start, cashing in on its first possession of the game for a touchdown.
After stopping Drury on fourth down at midfield, Taconic needed just five plays to get into the end zone from the plus-44.
On third and 13 from the Drury 32, Aldrich found Ceasar Santos in the middle of the field. Santos leapt over the defender to make the grab, turned and ran into the end zone to make it 6-0. Aldrich ran in the 2-point conversion to give Taconic an eight-point advantage less than five minutes into the game.
It was the last score the Drury defense allowed in the first half. Drury’s offense, meanwhile, came up short on two trips into the red zone.
First, QB Jameson Bayliss directed a drive from his own 35 to the Taconic 2.
But on third and goal from the 2, the Blue Devils were flagged for a holding penalty. On the next play, Taconic’s Bryce Barnett intercepted a pass on the sideline on the last play of the first quarter.
Late in the second, Drury got a Zane Kaley interception to gain possession on the Taconic 24. A big 9-yard run by Hunter Marceau on fourth-and-1 gave Drury a first-and-goal at the 6. But Taconic’s defense came up big: a run for no gain, a fumble recovered by the Blue Devils at the line of scrimmage and a couple of incomplete passes ended the threat and sent the Thunder into the break up, 8-0.
“I thought in the first half, we competed really well,” Drury coach Al Marceau said. “I actually thought we won the first half. … We just had a penalty on that touchdown, and we had a couple of drops. But, you know, that happens.
“I thought we were going to come out in the second half ready to go, and then one guy gets hurt … and when you don’t have depth … [Taconic] is running two, three, four defensive linemen in, and I’m looking over there, and they’re all bigger than me.”
Drury struggled to keep its starters on the field on a hot day when a player seemed to be cramping up on one side of the ball or the other every other down.
Taconic, meanwhile, got a big boost to start the second half when Adams returned the kick to the Drury 44.
Another big completion to Santos – this one for 37 yards from Pause – got the ball to the 4, and Pause punched it in to put Taconic up, 14-0, with 9:28 left in the third quarter.
Sistrunk said he went into the game planning to use both his QBs.
“Christian went in when Damon was injured [in the preseason],” Sistrunk said. “He deserved that. He earned that start. We told him a couple of days ago, ‘Christian, you’re going to start the game. We’re going to rock with you at least a quarter, if not more.’ And then Damon would get in there one way or another.
“As you could see, [Pause] was a little rusty. Some errant passes. So we had to calm him down and talk to him. But that was the whole plan, to get Damon in there. I actually was going to put him in a little earlier, but I liked what Christian was doing, so we kind of stayed with him for a little bit.”
Taconic went on to score on every possession of the second half while holding Drury without a first down until Parker Smith’s 15-yard pickup in the closing minutes while the game was being played with a running clock.
Pause scored his second rushing touchdown, this time from the 4, late in the third quarter to make it 20-0. He ran it in a third time from the 1 early in the fourth. Adams busted a 44-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to get the game to running time.
Drury (0-1) will look for win No. 1 on Friday night at Renfrew Park in Adams against old rival Hoosac Valley.
Taconic will look to carry the energy from Saturday’s win through three long weeks of practice.
“We will be ready for our next game, no matter what,” Sistrunk said. “Six games, we’ve got to win. We’ve got to win them all. That’s our plan.”
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