AGAWAM – A year after losing 31 seniors to graduation, the Lancers of Longmeadow High, veterans of 16 straight Super Bowl appearances, took a step backward Friday night with a season opening loss to host Agawam.
Despite being demoted to Suburban League competition this fall, the Brownies were unintimidated by the presence of the perennial powerhouse from across the river.
Agawam quarterback Mike Vecchiarelli dissected the Lancers defense through four quarters and scored twice himself in a 35-12 win, the Brownies’ first victory over Longmeadow in nine years.
Vecchiarelli’s aerial assault was balanced by the Brownies ground attack, as backs Steve Comee and Gio Russo punished the Lancers for 285 yards on the night, moving the chains for 24 first downs and scoring one touchdown apiece.
The Lancers were able to land one punch in the first half after 21 unanswered Agawam points, as junior Lancer QB Conner Ostrander was able to hit junior tight end David Sell with a 29-yard touchdown strike to end the half.
However, the Brownies smelled blood in the second half, and right when it seemed the Lancers were about to turn up the heat, a Max Chipouras fumble at the Agawam one-yard line would set up quite possibly the most deflating sequence of the game for Longmeadow, as the home team proceeded to march the pigskin 80 yards upfield, setting up the first of Vecchiarelli’s touchdowns, putting Agawam up 27-5 and effectively ending the evening for the visitors.
Longmeadow ended the game with a Conrad McCarthy rush into the endzone to get another six points on the board, but by this time Agawam was already primed for celebration, dumping a cooler of ice water on the head of Coach Rick Jewell as the clock ran down to zeros.
Following the contest, second-year Lancer Coach Nick St. George spoke to The Longmeadow News about his team’s rocky start.
“Not the way we wanted to start the season,” St. George said. “(We) made a lot of mistakes tonight. We fumbled on the goal line, got a punt blocked. (You) can’t win a football game like this.”
In addition to McCarthy and Ostrander, St. George would also praise the efforts of the team’s offensive linemen, specifically Jack Blanton and Campbell Marchant, and wouldn’t list his team’s relative inexperience as blame for the loss.
“You gotta play with whose left,” he said in reference to the team’s loss of 31 seniors. “But our effort was outstanding. We played hard. We’re a young football team, we’re gonna get better every single game.”
The Lancers are back in action this Thursday at home versus the Northampton Blue Devils, with both teams seeking their first wins of the 2013 campaign.