Taconic defense outscores Commerce itself in lopsided 46-0 contest
This week, the Braves' defensive unit took things a step further in beating Commerce itself, all the while helping the offense get rolling as well.
Taconic earned two safeties and held the Red Raiders to net-negative yardage in a 46-0 smothering in the rain at Springfield Central.
"Last week defense was wicked good, just couldn't pull through on offense," said junior Dylan Burke. "This week it all worked."
Taconic's offense stumbled out of the gate, fumbling away the opening possession on the Commerce six-yard line.
No matter, as defensive lineman Tyler Killbury used his length and outright power to force a safety just over one minute into the game.
"We had a team meeting three weeks ago, our O-line meeting and they've improved immensely," said Ziter. "Our guys really, really dug in. I'm most proud of how those lines are gelling.
"Both sides, they're just getting better."
The Red Raiders' punt off the safety gave Taconic field position at the hosts' own 40-yard line. Five plays later, quarterback Junie Burgess plunged into the end zone from four-yards out on a keeper through the left side. That really opened the floodgates, and the Braves piled on 24 points before the first quarter-change.
Commerce couldn't get out of its own way, and the Braves wouldn't let it. Despite playing on a short week — going Saturday afternoon and Thursday night — Taconic had timed out Commerce's snap count perfectly, and made a home away from home in the Commerce's backfield.
Nick Sayers was chief among the residents, racking up six tackles for a loss.
"We're pretty high right now. We did great tonight, our defensive line established the line and we got back in their backfield every single play," said Sayers. "Linebackers were there to help us too."
Dylan Burke had a sack, a safety and another tackle behind the line, while Matt Smith and Marquise Saunders added sacks. Sean Soper came up big on a fourth-and-one in the third quarter, taking down Commerce QB Jadas Snipes for a two-yard loss.
Taconic took over on downs at the Red Raiders 32.
Jalen Hill broke free down the right sideline on the Braves' first play, bringing Taconic to the six-yard line. Saunders took care of the rest, scoring off the left tackle for a six-yard dive and the game's final points.
Six different Braves had touchdown runs, as Taconic spread out its 26 carries. In total, nine ball-carries toted the pigskin for nearly 200 yards before the junior varsity squad took over.
"We have seven running backs, and every one of us can run the ball and score," said Burke, who has found more work as a lead blocker this season. "I just like blocking out front."
Haywood Eurquhart scored on a six-yard run behind Smith, before Burke ducked in untouched on a misdirection to finish out the first quarter boat race.
After a series of stalled drives, Taconic forced another turnover on downs late in the second quarter. On another two-play drive, Tyrell Beverly got to the left edge behind Burke and took off for a 29-yard score.
Burke's safety followed, and then Jayden Cross polished off yet another short drive on the free possession for a 40-0 lead.
Taconic jumps back to .500 at 3-3. The Braves are home next week against currently 3-2 South Hadley, again on Thursday night.
Taconic 24 16 6 0 — 46
Commerce 0 0 0 0 — 0
T — Tyler Killbury safety, 10:44.
T — Junie Burgess 4 run (Jalen Hill run), 8:08.
T — Haywood Eurquhart 6 run (Burgess to Eurquhart pass), 5:34
T — Dylan Burke 1 run (pass failed), 1:44.
T — Tyrell Beverly 29 run (run failed), 3:21.
T — Burke safety, 1:14.
T — Jayden Cross 17 run (Hill run), 0:52.
T — Marquise Saunders 6 run (run failed), 6:05.
Rushes-yards 26-222 19-(-17)
Passing yards 15 4
Comp-att-int 1-2-0 1-4-1
First Downs 5 1
Penalties-yards 4-25 6-28
Fumbles-lost 1-1 5-0
Rushing — T: Haywood Eurquhart 3-26, Dylan Burke 4-9, Junie Burgess 2-19, Jalen Hill 2-37, Nick Hall 2-15, Cole Lander 3-13, Jayden Cross 1-17, Tyrell Beverly 1-29, Marquise Saunders 1-6, Cedric Hudson 1-10, Ian Hadsell 1-22, Dazyear Moore 1-5, Perrin Pettel 1-5, Stevensen Saldana 1-4, Deondre Goines 1-3, Sean Hannigan 1-2.; C: Ken Ortiz 2-(-12), Anas Nichols 7-5, Anibal Padilla 4-2, Jadas Snipes 5-(-19), Dom Lisovits 1-(-3).
Passing — T: Hadsell 1-2-0 15; C: Snipes 1-4-1 7
Receiving — T: Hannigan 1-15; C: Padilla 1-4.
Mike Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.