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Recap for the game: Chicopee vs Taconic on Sep 29

Taconic Defense Key in Winning Ugly Game with Chicopee

By Stephen Dravis Sports
01:20AM / Saturday, September 30, 2023

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- After a game that saw 230 penalty yards, 10 turnovers, several ejections and one bench-clearing fight, the Taconic football team Friday came out on the right side in the only numbers that mattered: a 13-6 win over Chicopee.
Just don't look for Thunder coach Jermaine Sistrunk to be turning cartwheels about it.
"I wasn't happy," Sistrunk said after his team improved to 2-0 with the win at Berkshire Community College. "That's not how we play. That's not what we should be doing. No, I wasn't happy. I'm happy with my defense. I was not happy with our play."
After the Pacers scored on a fumble recovery at the goal line midway through the first quarter, the Taconic defense was impenetrable.
Chicopee managed just five first downs on offense.
The visitors' best chance to score on offense came after a Taconic fumble gave Chicopee the ball at the plus-20 midway through the second quarter.
The Pacers got a first and goal, in part thanks to an offsides call against Taconic. But a Theo Adams stop on third-and-goal at the 2 led to a field goal try. A bad snap denied Chicopee's kicker a chance to put the foot on the ball and break a 6-6 tie, and the Pacers never again threatened.
Taconic had tied the game with a touchdown the fourth time it touched the ball.
A Chicopee fumble forced by a Bryce Barnett hit gave the Thunder the ball on the Pacers' 29 late in the first quarter.
A 10-yard run by QB Damon Pause and a 10-yard completion by Pause got the ball to the 10. Cesar Santos' 5-yard run set up first-and-goal at the 7, and after a Chicopee penalty got the ball to the 3, Adams went into the end zone to make it 6-6.
That is where it stood until early in the fourth quarter when -- what else? -- a Chicopee fumble gave Taconic a possession starting on the Pacers' 2-yard line.
Pause did the honors from there, carrying the ball into the end zone to make it 12-6.
But a shove to the Taconic keeper in the end zone touched off an ugly exchange of words nad pushing that eventually brought players from both sidelines onto the field and took the officiating crew several minutes to sort out.
When the teams finally got back to playing football, Brennan Peyre kicked the extra point to give Taconic a 13-6 lead with 11 minutes left on the clock.
Chicopee, which was left short-handed following the melee, went backwards on its next two possessions and managed just one yard on its final possession before fumbling the ball away to Taconic with 4:19 left.
The Thunder bled most of the clock but ended up giving Chicopee a try for a desperation pass with 4 seconds from its side of the 50.
Pause ended up with 68 yards rushing and a touchdown to lead Taconic's offense, but the defense was the difference in the teams' Suburban North Division opener.
"That's Justice [Clark] and Xavier [Nichols]," Sistrunk said. "I've got two animals on this line, and it creates for the rest of the defense. I can't say enough about those two gentlemen."
Taconic heads to South Hadley on Friday.
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