Amherst squeaks by Brennan 11-7

By Joel Charron

A win is a win, even if it’s ugly.

The General Amherst Sr. Bulldogs football teams grinded out an 11-7 homecoming win against a tough Brennan Cardinals team Friday afternoon.

While the Bulldogs held a pep rally prior to Friday’s tilt, the Bulldogs continued the celebration on their first drive of the game.

Amherst used the one-two punch combination of Corey Bezaire and Spencer Petrozzi to run down the throat of the Cardinals.  While knocking on Brennan’s doorstep quarterback Mike Mallender found a wide-open Mitch Girard who walked in for an 11-yard touchdown pass for an early 7-0 lead.

Amherst running back Corey Bezaire (25) uses a stiff arm to fight for extra yards during the first quarter.

The Bulldog defense kept the Cardinals off balance, forcing Brennan on a number of three and outs.

Matt Duby pushed the Bulldogs further ahead in the second frame when he connected on a 21-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.

Amherst had a chance to push the lead even further a series later, however Duby missed a 19-yard field goal, however the Bulldogs were able to salvage a single point when Brennan couldn’t get the ball out of the end zone.

The Bulldogs, who have held opponents scoreless in six consecutive quarters, saw the Cardinals put up their first points of the game on a six-yard run in the third quarter.

Brennan’s defensive adjustments kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard and brought their potent running game to a screeching halt.

In the fourth quarter and Brennan eyeing the end zone, Bulldogs Mike McNorgan came with an interception late in the game, however Amherst was unable to translate their opportunity into points.

The Bulldogs defensive once again came up huge stopping a surging Cardinals offense on Amherst’s 15-yard line to end the game.

Amherst head coach John Rudak admits the win wasn’t pretty but will take it any way they can.

“We definitely had a little momentum to start the game,” said Rudak.

The Bulldogs coach said he believes his players thought this game was going to be as easy as the 39-0 win over Essex. He stated that Brennan was just as predicted and offered the Bulldogs quite the challenge.

“It was a good, hard, tough game. Brennan made some excellent adjustments at halftime,” said Rudak. “They started moving the ball well in the second half.”

Rudak credited his defense, stating his defensive squad “stepped up” when they needed to.

“Our defense really saved the game,” he said.

Rudak noted that games like this give his squad an edge when chasing a championship.

McNorgan said this game brought the Bulldogs back down to earth.

“I think we were looking a little ahead of ourselves,” he said. “We just have to take it one game at a time.”

McNorgan thought the week off hurt the Bulldogs, although they practiced hard, it’s difficult to simulate game situations. He also praised the defense for “putting it all together when the game was on the line.

“It all came down to who wanted it,” said McNorgan.

The Bulldogs take their 2-0 record to Leamington to take on a big Cardinal Carter squad on Thursday, Oct. 6. Kick off is 3:30 p.m.

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