jimmy difilippo signals touchdown

Pittsfield's Jimmy DiFilippo signals touchdown after quarterback Patrick Rindfuss found the end zone.

PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield High quarterback Patrick Rindfuss saw Friday night’s opening possession into the red zone fumble into the hands of Amherst. After that, the senior pitched a perfect game.

Rindfuss threw for two touchdowns, ran for two more and the Generals scored every time the offense took the field after that opening drive in a 52-8 drubbing of Amherst on Friday night.

Pittsfield (1-1) rebounded in a big way — both from a Week 1 loss at Wahconah, and a turnover to start the home opener at Berkshire Community College’s Gene Dellea Field. The hosts led 46-0 after opening the third quarter with an onside kick and Georgios Zamakis touchdown run. With a running clock, that was the offense’s only possession of the second half.

Amherst got on the board with a scoring carry by quarterback Jameson Dion late in the third, but the Generals quickly responded to the tune of an 85-yard kick-return touchdown by Louis Rhodes to give the 52-8 final.

“We just stuck to the script. Hard-fought game last week, but we just came out and played our game,” said Rhodes. “Just stayed relaxed, don’t try to do to much, but fight the whole game. Our guys really came out to play, and last week gave us that stepping stool. I’m really proud of this team.”

Pittsfield couldn’t move the ball on the ground in Dalton a week ago, but coach Brian Jezewski altered the game plan for Amherst and opted to receive the opening kickoff to set the tone.

That tone was Rindfuss, Rindfuss, Rindfuss, behind a motivated offensive line. The senior QB carried for 22 yards on three keepers, but fumbled a handoff on the fourth play of the game. Junior Ramsey recovered for the Hurricanes on their own 14-yard line.

“I thought we were OK. We went in last week with a game plan to throw the ball. We went in this week to run the ball. I think we had the opportunity to do both. We have the athletes to do both,” said Jezewski. “It’s a 48-minute game, and not every play is going to be perfect. It’s how you deal with adversity, and our kids picked it up defensively, got the ball back and I think we scored right away.”

The PHS defense did indeed withstand a four-minute drive by Amherst, forcing a punt and taking back possession on the climbing 41. Rindfuss ran three more keepers for 19 yards, before dropping a pass into Rhodes’ bread basket on the goal line for a 35-yard touchdown and 6-0 lead.

Zamakis had a tackle in the backfield and the defense kept the lid on Amherst for a four-and-out turnover on downs at midfield. The Hurricanes couldn’t get out of their own way, as back-to-back encroachment penalties turned a third-and-10 into a free first down. Rindfuss made them pay with a 15-yard touchdown run. Rhodes moved left-to-right in motion and drew all visiting eyes as Rindfuss went the other way pretty much untouched into the end zone.

“I’m a little sore, but felt really well running the ball today. I didn’t have a lot of success running last week at Wahconah, but just to be able to come out here, line did a great job opening holes. I just tried to run hard and get first downs,” said Rindfuss. “[Fumbling] never feels good, but I’m happy with the way we responded. Right down the field the next three drives and scored.”

It was a two-way gem by the veteran signal caller, and he got his turnover back on Amherst’s very next play, intercepting a Dion pass and bringing it back to the Hurricanes’ 18. Rhodes went in from 13 yards out on a devastating cutback and it was 22-0 PHS after the first play of the second quarter.

“I just saw the seam. Follow my blocks, run off their hip, run hard and fight all the way to the end zone,” said Rhodes. “I’d say we saw a little more openings than last week, but we were hitting them harder too.”

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Amherst had one more chance to make this a game before things got away from coach Mike Dublin’s squad.

Dion and senior running back Tafari Proctor shared carries in moving from their own 45 down to the PHS 13. Dion needed a couple plays off after getting walloped by Tyler Gaudette on an incomplete pass and cornerback Toby Gaulden-Wheeler on a rush to the edge. But the sophomore re-entered in time for a 12-yard carry into the red zone.

Amherst’s next call went to junior Jensen Taylor, who carried inside the 10, before the ball was punched out from behind.

Pittsfield’s Jimmy DiFilippo recovered in the end zone for a touchback, and following that seven-minute drive to nowhere, the Generals offense was back off to the races.

“We have got to be the aggressor. We have got to be the one who is going to seek out and make that play for our team,” said Dublin after the game. “I don’t think we did that tonight and the scoreboard did reflect it.”

Rindfuss rushed twice for 33 yards and then crested a deep ball onto the stretched hands of Davon Solomon. Solomon’s post route went down as a 49-yard touchdown catch that broke Amherst, putting the Hurricanes in a 30-0 hole before halftime.

A Brayden Bunnell sack forced a three-and-out, and Rindfuss tacked on a five-yard touchdown run as time expired in the second quarter.

His final numbers: 5 of 9 for 134 yards and two touchdowns through the air; 16 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He also accounted for four two-point conversions, three rushing and a pass.

Rhodes caught four balls for 85 yards, rushed twice for 26 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. For Amherst, Dion carried 16 times for 101 yards, and Proctor 16 times for 66 yards. The Hurricanes did not complete a pass on five attempts.

As a team in the season opener, PHS rushing 25 times for 46 yards. For a unit with as much pride as the Generals offensive line, that was unacceptable. A refocused effort led to 223 yards on that same number of carries.

“I’m really proud of the effort. We control our effort. For 48 minutes tonight we played with a ton of effort,” said Jezewski. “We don’t have a lot of numbers, but we have each other, and that’s all I care about. I love these guys, it’s a great group of kids.”

———
Amherst 0 0 8 0 — 8
Pittsfield 14 24 8 6 — 52
First Quarter
P — Louis Rhodes 35 pass from Patrick Rindfuss (incomplete pass), 4:42.
P — Rindfuss 15 run (Rindfuss run), 0:33.
Second Quarter
P — Rhodes 13 run (Rindfuss run), 11:51.
P — Davon Solomon 49 pass from Rindfuss (Rindfuss run), 5:59.
P — Rindfuss 5 run (Aidan Kennedy-Mutz pass from Rindfuss), 0:00.
Third Quarter
P — Georgios Zamakis 9 run (Damario Powell run), 9:05.
A — Jameson Dion 6 run (Dion run), 1:30.
Fourth Quarter
P — Rhodes 85 kick return (run failed), 11:30.
———
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing — A: Dion 16-101, Proctor 16-66, Taylor 4-15, Cunniffe 3-13, Guerron 1-12; P: Rindfuss 16-152, Zamakis 3-32, Rhodes 2-26, Powell 2-8, Mestre 1-1.
Passing — A: Dion 0-5-0 00; P: Rindfuss 5-9-2 134
Receiving A: none; P: Rhodes 4-85, Solomon 1-49.

Mike Walsh can be reached at mwalsh@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6240. On Twitter:

@WalshWrites89.

Sports Editor

Mike Walsh is sports editor at The Berkshire Eagle. He's been with The Eagle since 2017. Walsh also authors the NENPA-winning Powder Report column. He's an avid snowboarder, runner, homebrewer, and he used to play a pretty mean sousaphone.