NORTHAMPTON — Hoosac Valley running back Shaun Kastner Jr. showed the Easthampton football team what kind of night it was going to be on his second carry.
After gaining 9 yards on his first attempt, the senior back burst up the left sideline for 43 yards to the Eagles 15-yard line. Three plays later, he was in the end zone on a similar toss play with 7 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first quarter.
Kastner ran the ball 16 times for 126 yards and a score, as the Hurricanes handed Easthampton its first loss of the season 30-0 on Friday night at Smith Vocational. The Eagles are playing home games in Northampton because a new middle school is being built on their traditional home field at White Brook Middle School.
“It gave us momentum for the whole game. It literally started everything for our offense,” Kastner said. “It was a whole booster.”
For the special teams, too, apparently. Hoosac Valley (3-1) recovered an onside kick then embarked on an 11-play, 47-yard drive that quarterback Carson Meczywor capped with a 3-yard touchdown run. It was the first of three scores for the senior signal caller and gave the Hurricanes a 14-0 lead with 1:15 left in the first.
“We let them get comfortable, and when they start running that double wing, it’s just grinding it out,” Easthampton coach Matt Bean said.
The Hurricanes defense forced a turnover on downs then started grinding again. Five runs put Hoosac Valley in a third-and-10 situation, and Meczywor completed his only throw of the night: a 38-yard seam pass to Caleb Harrington.
Meczywor bowled in for another touchdown four plays later to go up 22-0 with 2:24 to halftime. It was the same play he scored all three touchdowns on: just snap the ball and run forward behind the line.
“Keep it simple, keep refining, and have some wrinkles that come off of what works,” Hoosac Valley coach Mike Bostwick said. “That’s a big part of our game plan.”
Hoosac Valley received the second half kickoff and drove into the red zone, but Easthampton intercepted a Meczywor pass at the Eagles’ 9-yard line. The Eagles mounted their strongest offensive challenge of the night on the ensuing drive. After two short gains, Easthampton running back Giancarlo Osiecki took off up the middle on a draw play for 48 yards. A personal foul moved the Eagles even closer. A fumbled snap on third and six all but neutralized the threat, which finished with an incomplete pass on fourth down.
The Hurricanes strung together a 15-play, 75-yard drive that Meczywor finished with a 2-yard sneak with 7:20 left that started a running clock after the two-point run (also by Meczywor).
“I like ball control, but on the flip side of that, if we want to get better as a team, we need to be able to score quick sometimes,” Bostwick said.
Easthampton drove into the red zone on its final drive, but freshman Griffin Mucci ended the threat and preserved the shutout with a walk-off interception with a minute left that ended the game. With a running clock, the Hurricanes didn’t need to run another offensive play and went to the sidelines to celebrate their third straight victory.
“That was the goal coming into the game. We wanted the shutout against this team,” Kastner said. “(They were) undefeated, it would be a good way to show teams that we’re not anything to mess with.”