Bulldogs dominate in win over Essex

Amherst scorches top ranked Essex 39-0 in season opener

By Joel Charron

If the General Amherst Bulldogs were looking to send a message to the rest of the Wilson Conference, they certainly did so in convincing fashion.

The Bulldogs opened the 2011 high school football season by thrashing the Wilson Conference’s top ranked team the Essex Red Raiders, 39-0 Thursday evening.

The win was the first for new head coach John Rudak.

Adam Robinson (white) keeps the Essex defender at bay by using a stiff arm. The Bulldogs had their way with the Essex defence, scoring touchdowns with five different players.

“I told the guys with our exhibition game we had with Divine Child last week that we are a step ahead of these guys (Essex) if everything else is equal,” said Rudak. “We’re probably a little further ahead than just a step ahead of them.”

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to get going, on Essex’s first play from scrimmage; Cory Gaunt scooped up a fumble and took it to the house. Essex would fumble the ensuing kickoff, putting Amherst deep in Essex territory, resulting in a 18-yard field goal by Matt Duby, giving the Bulldogs a 10-0 before the fans were able to find their seats.

The Amherst suffocating defense didn’t allow much room for the Red Raiders to operate and found themselves on the other end of a sack-fumble, once again giving the Bulldogs great field position.

The Bulldogs were able to sneak away with a single point, after missing a 30-yard

Amherst’s defense allowed no room for Essex to manoeuver, causing a number of turnover.

field goal and lead 11-0 after the first quarter.

The high-touted Amherst offense often resembled a Swiss army knife, as four different Bulldogs recorded touchdowns.

Quarterback Mike Mallender tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jeff Masson, which was followed by a 15-yard

run by Spencer Petrozzi.

With Essex threatening inside the Bulldogs’ five-yard mark, Amherst intercepted a pass in the end zone and headed into halftime with a commanding 25-0 lead.

Amherst continued the pressure in the third quarter adding a one-yard touchdown run by 260-pound fullback Chris Grondin which was followed by a Corey Bezaire one-yard touchdown run.

Max Reiner preserved that shutout late in the forth quarter by swatting away an Essex pass in the Amherst end zone on third and goal.

“It was a well fought game,” said Gaunt. “This is a huge rivalry. I can’t say I expected this but it just shows what veteran leadership can do.”

Gaunt said snagging the fumble on the first play of the game set the tone for the entire game.

“That gave us the advantage and a quick lead right off the bat. It definitely set the tempo for the rest of the team,” he said.

Although Amherst walked away with a concerning win, Rudak mentioned that the Bulldogs gave up too many pre-snap penalties and at times let their emotions get the best of them.

“If we cut down on our penalties and be a little more disciplined, this team is going to definitely a team to be reckoned with.”

Rudak also mentioned that the team’s depth is most likely one of its greatest assets.

“No one player will get five touchdowns. Everyone works hard and we like to spread the ball around,” said Rudak. “We want everyone to know that we have a lot of weapons.”

“This game is definitely going to turn some heads, if not spin some,” he added. “We are here to play football and have some fun.”

The Bulldogs will travel to Windsor Stadium this Friday to take on Catholic Central Comets. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

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