Sr. Bulldogs clinch playoff berth

 

By Joel Charron

The General Amherst Sr. Boys’ football team are in the playoffs but it wasn’t easy getting there.

The Bulldogs escaped Centennial Park Friday afternoon with a 31-28 win over the St. Joseph’s Lasers in what Amherst head coach John Rudak called a physical, gritty game.

“Beating Massey then coming out an debating a very athletic St. Joe’s team gives us a lot of momentum moving forward,” said Rudak. “I have to give it to those guys (St. Joseph’s) they really came out and played hard against us today.”

Amherst found themselves down on the first play of the game when Massey aired it out for a 75-yard touchdown strike.

That seemed to waken the Bulldogs offense as Amherst scored twice in the first quarter off a Spencer Petrozzi three-yard run and a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Gignac to Matt Rosati. After St. Joseph’s conceded a safety the Bulldogs lead 16-17 after the opening frame.

Petrozzi added to the Amherst lead, punching the ball into the end zone from one-yard out as Amherst led 23-7.

Momentum began to sway to the Lasers after St. Joseph’s returned the ensuing kickoff 75-yard to the house, then added a 47-yard touchdown pass to trail 23-21 at halftime.

 

Amherst’s Hayden Martin blows past a St. Joseph’s defender on his way to a large gain.

A single Amherst points gave the Bulldogs a 24-21 lead after a missed 35-yard field goal in the third quarter before Petrozzi rumbled in for his third touchdown of the game from one-yard out for a 31-21 lead.

St. Joseph’s would score s touchdown on the final play of the game.

“This feels unreal,” said Petrozzi. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year. In Week Four we thought that was it but we pulled it out when we needed it most.”

Petrozzi said being down after St. Joseph’s first offensive play didn’t faze the Bulldogs but rather fired the team up as they fired off 23 straight points.

“I just kept on telling the boys to keep their head up and keep playing because we are going to win this game,” said Petrozzi.

The Bulldogs have some momentum heading into the playoffs, having won their last two games, however Rudak said his squad still has a lot of work to do if the want to get past the first round.

“We can’t drop the ball on the ground and we can’t throw interceptions,” said Rudak. “It will be a very short playoff run we if keep turning the ball over.”

Rudak said the Bulldogs should expect the playoff games to be a lot like their St. Joseph’s matchup.

“This is the way it’s going to be from here on out,” said Rudak. “It’s going to be smash mouth football. It will be a battle every step of the way.”

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