BELCHERTOWN >> Taconic could not have asked for a better start, both for the game and the season.
Taconic, the No. 2 team in the Western Mass. football media poll, humbled Belchertown, 72-6 Friday night in an independent game.
The Braves are off to a 2-0 start after also beating Sandwich last week. So dominant was the defense that the Orioles failed to enter Braves territory until midway through the final quarter.
"It's been a great start,'' coach Jim Ziter said. "These guys are still scratching the surface and they are a great group of kids.''
The Braves used the big play from several players to score points in bunches. Taconic put up 38 first-quarter points en route to a rout.
"Our running backs are good and they've been working their tails off all season,'' Ziter said. "Our offensive and defensive linemen did a great job.''
Taconic delivered the knockout punch early, scoring at will as it build up a 46-0 halftime advantage.
"We got a chance to look at our young guys in the second half and the senior are really bringing them along,'' Ziter said.
Taconic will play St. Mary's of Lynn next week.
"That will be a big challenge,'' Ziter said.
Taconic was relentless from the start. Anthony Whiteley's 30-yard opening kickoff return set the tone for the game.
It took Whiteley only one play from scrimmage to open the scoring. His 40 run to paydirt came 25 seconds into the game to provide the Braves with a 6-0 edge.
Brandon Peaslee got into the act less than three minutes later. He scored on a 3-yard plunge and after Whiteley ran in the conversion, Taconic led 14-0.
Quarterback Jake McNeice showed some quick feet and deft moves when he raced 31 yards for a touchdown. Cedric Rose scored on the conversion run for a 22-0 Taconic lead.
"Our running game is so good because we have a variety of running backs,'' McNeice said. "I don't care about stats — if our line is blocking like it did tonight, we will get a lot of yards.''
Taconic showed it also has a passing game. Devon Walker hauled in a 9-yard pass from McNeice and Zach Gage's conversion run raised the lead to 30-0
The Braves weren't done in the quarter, though. Gage broke loose for a 48-yard touchdown run as time expired.
Gage scored Taconic's only second quarter touchdown on a 42-yard run and McNeice ran in the conversion for a 46-0 halftime lead.
Hunter Johnston had a fumble recovery in end zone 55 seconds into the third quarter as the Braves went ahead, 52-0.
Then came another big play. Lucien Almedia scored on a 72-yard run, before Haywood Eurqhart had scoring runs of 7 and 44 yards.
Belchertown averted the shutout with 48.1 seconds remaining when Bradley Lovett scored on a 17-yard run.
T — Anthony Whiteley 40 run (run failed), 0:25
T — Brandon Peaslee 3 run (Whiteley run), 3:04
T — Jake McNeice 31 run (Cedric Rose run), 7:36
T — Devon Walker 9 pass from McNeice (Zach Gage run), 9:09
T — Gage 48 run (Jack Cooney pass from McNeice), 0:00
T — Gage 42 run (McNeice run), 9:31
T — Hunter Johnston fumble recovery in end zone (run failed), 0:55
T — Almedia 72 run (run failed), N/A
T — Haywood Eurqhart 7 run (Jalen Hill run), 1:49
T — Eurqhart 44 run (run failed), 2:33
B — Bradley Lovett 17 run (pass failed), N/A
Rushing — Taconic: Jake McNeice 2-26, Brandon Peaslee 2-21, Anthony Whiteley 1-40, Cedric Rose 1-2, Luicien Almedia 1-72. Belchertown: Jackson Leduc 11-32,, Cam Cass 7-20, Brad Lovett 9-2, John Flink 1-2, Clayton Daskam 1-0
Passing — Taconic: McNeice 2-2-19. Belchertown: Leduc 4-11-42 Flink 2-5-26
Receiving — Taconic: Jake Galiher 1-10, Devon Walker 1-9. Belchertown: am Supple 2-26, Daskam 1-22, Cass 2-20