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Recap for the game: Putnam Voc vs Taconic on Oct 14

Pause Passes Thunder Past Putnam

By Stephen Dravis Sports
09:56PM / Saturday, October 14, 2023

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Taconic football team Saturday scored five times through the air in a 36-8 rout of Putnam Vocational at Berkshire Community College.
Senior quarterback Damon Pause threw four of those TDs. His classmate, Bryce Barnett, ran back a 75-yard pick six as the Thunder celebrated Senior Day in style.
The win gave Taconic a 3-1 record this fall and kept it alive in the Suburban North Division, where, at 2-1, it is tied with Pittsfield and Putnam Voc for second place behind league-leading South Hadley (5-1, 3-0) with two weeks left in the regular season.
Taconic got going Saturday evening when another senior, Xavier Nichols, recovered a Putnam Voc fumble on the fourth play of the game.
Getting the ball at the plus-27, Taconic needed just three plays – all Pause passes – to get into the end zone on a 15-yard completion to Josiah Josephs. Caleb Roucoulet ran in the two-pointer, and Taconic had an 8-0 lead with just 2 minutes, 14 seconds off the clock.
Putnam Vocational answered with its best “drive” of the night, going from its 20 to the end zone in 12 plays – including a punt that Taconic fumbled back to the Beavers at the 50.
The visitors also took advantage of 20 yards in Taconic penalty on the drive, which ended with the score tied, 8-8, with 3:54 left in the first quarter.
Taconic broke that tie on the third play of the second quarter when Pause connected with Josephs again, this time for 70 yards, to make it 14-8.
Taconic went on to score twice more in the quarter.
On its next possession, the Thunder went 56 yards on a drive that featured two scrambles by Pause to extend plays and find open receivers. The first time, he hit Anthony Fiorini for 19 yards and a first down on third-and-14. The second time, he found Evan Roccabruna for a 30-yard scoring strike that made it 20-8.
“We talked about this all week and before we got here,” Taconic coach Jermaine Sistrunk said. “Damon’s an athlete like nobody’s business. And, ‘You’ve got to use your legs,’ I told him. Drop back, the line’s gonna give you time, and use your eyes. We’ve got receivers, let’s use them.
“And he did. He did a fabulous job today.”
Putnam Voc’s next possession ended in an interception, and, after the teams traded fumbles, Taconic got the ball, first-and-10, at the 16. Pause rolled to his left and found Barnett in the corner of the end zone. Barnett high-pointed the ball and hauled it in for a touchdown and a 28-8 half-time lead.
Pause ended up with 173 yards passing and the four TDs in the first half.
Taconic’s defense put an exclamation point on the win midway through the third when Barnett picked off a pass at the Thunder’s 25 and raced down the left sideline for his second TD of the game and a 34-8 lead. Pause ran in the conversion to provide the final margin of victory.
Putnam Voc threatened to cut into the margin in the fourth quarter when it got the ball at its 34 after a Christian Colon interception and went to the Taconic 26. But on fourth-and-10, Nicholls broke through for a sack that gave Taconic the ball at its 38 with 4:51 on the clock.
After leaning on its passing game most of the night, Taconic ran the ball five straight times to drive all the way to the Putnam 2 before running out of clock.
One common thread in Taconic’s three wins this season: It has allowed a total of 14 points in those three games, including a shutout in Week 1.
“We see it all season,” Sistrunk said. “We live and die by our defense. The offense was kind of clicking today. The kicking game pretty much did its job today. So we were clicking in all three phases of the game finally.”
And they did in front of their home fans on a special night for the Class of ‘24.
“First of all, we didn’t want lose our last home game of the regular season, Senior Night,” Sistrunk said. “Some of these guys have been on the team four years, looking forward to this. It was a little surreal for some of these guys to be able to see that we could do this when we play Taconic football.
“That’s what you saw tonight, Taconic football, for sure.”
The Thunder goes on the road on Saturday afternoon to play Ludlow before squaring off against Pittsfield in the city rivalry game – a home game for the Generals – on Oct. 27.
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