Tag Archives: Matt Hersch

Newtown chills Masuk 14-7 on two Dan Mason TDs

Dan Mason (7) breaks loose late in the first half

Dan Mason scored twice for Newtown

(Monroe CT) It was a passing down, but Newtown opted instead for a run up the middle.

The result was a momentum-changing 49-yard touchdown shocker by Dan Mason and Newtown went on to defeat undefeated Masuk, 14-7.

“Cold” doesn’t come close to describing the weather conditions on the Wednesday pre-Thanksgiving event at Benedict Field.  Add an occasional gale-force wind to the low temperatures and you could imagine the discomfort.

Jack Duignan (50) flies after Joseph Pagett (2)

Two years ago, Ben Mason the linebacker became Ben ball-carrier having a five-touchdown evening leading the 2015 Nighthawks to a 40-8 rout over Masuk.  Ben’s brother Dan didn’t get five TDs on this evening but he got two and that was enough to earn Newtown a sixth straight win over the Panthers (9-1).

The Nighthawks (7-3) showed in the first half that they were not going to be another team rolled over by Masuk’s high-scoring offense.

The Panthers, on occasion, did look like the teams that had 401 points in nine games, but Newtown limited lengthy drives by pressuring QB Matt Hersch and containing Jack Roberge.

“I’m quite sure that their quarterback hasn’t been sacked that many times in a game this year,” said NHS coach Bob Pattison afterwards.

Nicholas Lorusso (25) gets behind Connor Marlin (13)

Masuk scored their only touchdown in the first quarter.  Nicholas Lorusso ran a nice fade route into the right corner of the end zone and Matt Hersch delivered a perfect nine-yard pass (behind Connor Martin) for the early lead at 3:02.

It was the 12th touchdown catch for Nicholas and the 31st touchdown pass for Matt.

At the time, I thought that this would be the beginning of a parade of points for the undefeated Panthers.

But it wasn’t.  Why?  Newtown got the stunning equalizer before the half and had the ground game to control the clock in the second half.  Add a defense that held a team that had not been behind all season, and had scored at least twenty-points in every game, to one touchdown speaks for itself.

Most important play?  The Dan Mason touchdown at the end of the second quarter. With less than a minute left in the half and forty-nine yards to go it looked like a good time to go to the air.  Newtown opted for a running play instead.

“It was a passing down, but we thought we’d see what we could get with a quick hitter up the middle,” explained Coach Pattison.  What they got was pure gold as Dan Mason followed a key block on the Masuk linebacker and then split the safeties into open territory.

Dan Mason after the NHS upset

“The grass just opened up,” said Dan later.  “I knew that I wasn’t going to let anyone take me down.”

Masuk coach Joe Lato recalled that play: “Our techniques were wrong on the touchdown.  We fixed it at halftime, but we couldn’t take the points off the scoreboard.”

The team from Monroe had a promising second-half start when Robert Martinsky brought an interception back to the Newtown 17.  Enter the high-powered Masuk offense?  Not on this evening.

The Nighthawk defense held and then the wind sent Nolan McCarter’s 28-yard kick wide left.

While the Nighthawks’ turnover wasn’t costly, the Panthers weren’t as fortunate after Jack Roberge fumbled and Joe Pagett recovered at the Masuk 33 with 3:24 left in the 3rd quarter.

Patiently Newtown moved the ball, running the clock, and converting 4th downs along the way.  Dan Mason finished the job behind terrific blocking, rushing two yards into the end zone as the third quarter ended.

Ryan Kost (12) kicks Newtown’s second EP

The extra point confirmed that this was Newtown’s day!  Joseph Lewis kicked wide right and was injured on the play. But there was a penalty on Masuk.  No Joseph Lewis to kick?  No problem.  Quarterback Ryan Kost stepped in (He was Newtown’s kicker last year) and the extra point was added.

An earlier confirmation of it not being Masuk’s day was on Robert Martinsky’s interception.  Looked like a pretty clear path to the end zone for Robert but the gathering Masuk blockers turned into obstacles and one of them forced Robert out at the Newtown seventeen.

Why does this happen?  For such an important game, why would the roster handout be messed up for Newtown?

I was impressed with Masuk’s turf field.  Great surface.  I was at the Yale Bowl for the Harvard/Yale game Saturday on regular grass.  Very slippery and uneven.

“Some of the motivation in the game was from our seniors,” said Nighthawks first-year coach Bobby Pattison. “The papers predicted a big season for Masuk and not much of one for them.  This was a game that we weren’t supposed to win but the seniors made it happen.”

Dan Mason two touchdowns gave him six for the 2017 season.  I don’t doubt that he’ll have a few more next season.

Matt Hersch at the end of a 4th quarter trick play

Coach Joe Lato went the trick play route late in the game as QB Matt Hersch handed off to Ryan Shaw and then went downfield for a pass.  The wind got into Ryan’s pass, however, and Matt’s catch was way out-of-bounds.

Good luck to Masuk in the playoffs.  Tonight’s loss should toughen them up for the do-or-die games ahead.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably BUT you have to click on them to make it happen.)

Masuk team arrives

Jack Roberge sweeps

Jack Roberge (34) follows Nicholas Lorusso (25)

Ryan Shaw catches a pass along the Newtown sidelines at Matt Dubois defends

Trying to stop Dan Mason

Tyler Michalka brings down Dan Mason

Ryan Williams (62) goes for the block

Dan Mason stiff arms Tyler Michalka (4) on his TD run

Dan Mason steps into the end zone with his first half touchdown

Robert Martinsky runs back an interception chased by Jack Miller

Robert Martinsky

Shea Talbot (32) breaks up a pass intended for Ryan Shaw

Newtown blockers for Dan Mason (7)

Dan Mason (7) powers into the end zone

Joseph Pagett set to tackle Nicholas Lorusso

Jacob Riley and Rolt McIntyre

Kyle Good and Shea Talbot

Matt Dubois and Alex Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Newtown needs 4th quarter rally to get 35-28 win over Masuk

Some of the on-field action during the Masuk/Newtown Turkey Bowl

Some of the on-field action during the Masuk/Newtown Turkey Bowl

Mark Hall (1) celebrates his interception that ended the last Masuk chance.

Mark Hall (1) celebrates his interception that ended the last Masuk chance.

(Newtown CT) I’ll admit that I left the Newtown/Masuk, Thanksgiving Eve football game last year at halftime.

Trust me, I wasn’t alone in 2015 heading home from Masuk as the Panthers trailed 34-0 after twenty-four minutes.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving Eve of 2016.  Same matchup, but what a difference!

However, Masuk looked like the 2015 version in the first quarter (down 14-0) but rallied back thereafter to make an exciting game of it before losing 35-28 on a chilly Wednesday night at Blue and Gold Stadium.

Newtown extra point blocked but NOT by diving Jack Roberge

Newtown extra point blocked but NOT by diving Jack Roberge

Newtown (10-0) needed two scores in the final five minutes to pull this one out.  The final touchdown was essential for the Nighthawks after an extra-point block by Collin Briganti kept the visitors ahead, 28-27.

Masuk (7-3) would have been okay with that one-point lead if they could have moved the ball but they couldn’t. A run that went out of bounds and an incomplete pass stopped the clock twice and saved Newtown’s timeouts.  The Hawks took over at the Masuk 38 with 3:14 left trailing by a point.

The home team settled for the Ben Mason power game and were 4th-and-2 with 1:30 left.  Whether it was a hard count by QB Justin Dunn or something else, the Masuk defense jumped offside and Newtown had more downs to work with from the Masuk 9.

Michael Garner (24) in the end zone with his second TD reception of the final quarter

Michael Garner (24) in the end zone with his second TD reception of the final quarter

I thought that the Ben Mason power game inside would resume……so, it appeared, did Masuk.  The defense got caught inside and junior Michael Garner floated free to the outside.  Quarterback Justin Dunn, with terrific blocking all game, rolled right and spotted the wide-open receiver with 1:24 to go and connected for the game winner.

“We were in range to kick a field goal,” said NHS coach Steve George afterwards.  “I figured that we had time for one last shot at the end zone.  Thankfully it didn’t come down to a field goal try.”

It wasn’t that Masuk hadn’t seen the play before.  The Hawks had used the same play, same personnel to get the same result three minutes earlier in the final quarter.

There was still time (1:24) left for Masuk to answer.  However, a Matt Hersch pass to Ryan Shaw bounced off the junior and into the hands of defender Mark Hull.  Game. Set. Match.

What helped Masuk make a game of it was a Hunter Cobb injury in the second quarter.  After Masuk had rallied to tie the score in the second quarter, Hunter went down with a leg injury after a pass reception and never returned to action.

Hunter Cobb (30) sets single-season Newtown mark with 30th TD

Hunter Cobb (30) sets single-season Newtown mark with 30th TD

Prior to his departure, Hunter had registered both Newtown scores including a special second one that set the single-season Newtown record for touchdowns (30).

Without Hunter, the Newtown offense became more predictable (inside power) but the home-run pass plays in the second half worked as a result.  Masuk lost defensive numbers in the secondary in their concern for Newtown’s inside game.  The Nighthawk’s quarterback Justin Dunn had excellent protection and his receivers had time to get open.

The Masuk passing attack was surprisingly effective after the first quarter.  QB Matt Hersch was on target and he had receivers (Nick Dellapiano, Ryan Shaw, and Michael Zuk) with speed to get deep as well as catching ability.

Matt Hersch (3) registered three TD passes

Matt Hersch (3) registered three TD passes

Matt tossed three TD passes in this game to put him at thirty for the season.

Masuk punter Peter Fox’s attempt to run for a first down backfired in the first quarter.

Ben Mason had five touchdowns versus Masuk in 2015.

QB Justin Dunn scrambled for several first downs.

A Hunter Cobb pick-six in the first half was brought back because of a penalty.

Masuk's Jack Roberge finds the end zone

Masuk’s Jack Roberge finds the end zone

Panther Jack Roberge found big yards up the middle on two shuffle passes.

Masuk had the chance to take a 3-point lead on the last play of the first half but Nolan McCarter’s field goal attempt went wide left.

This game had a chilly start but once the back-and-forth action kicked in I hardly noticed it.

“Masuk is a well-coached passing team,” said Coach George.  “We expected to play better defense than we did.”

The NHS dance team and cheerleaders were excellent as usual performing at halftime.

Newtown seniors were honored before the game.

Newtown has only lost once in South-West Conference games in five seasons.

Ben Mason powers home a 2-point conversion

Ben Mason powers home a 2-point conversion

Newtown’s Ben Mason is signed on with Michigan while lineman Seth Willis will attend Brigham Young.

Scoring Details:

Newtown      14   0    7   14    =     35

Masuk          0     14   14   0     =     28

N – 69-yard run Hunter Cobb (Ryan Kost kick)

N – 1-yard run Hunter Cobb (Kost kick)

M – 49-yard pass Ryan Shaw from Matt Hersch (Nolan McCarter kick)

M – 9-yard pass Michael Zuk from Hersch (McCarter kick)

M – 18-yard run Jack Roberge (McCarter kick)

N – 5-yard pass Mark Hall from Justin Dunn (Kost kick)

M – 38-yard pass Nick Dellapiano from Hersch (McCarter kick)

N – 31-yard pass Michael Garner from Dunn (kick blocked)

N – 9-yard pass Michael Garner from Dunn (Ben Mason rush)

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Cormac Roe (14) drops punter Peter Fox

Cormac Roe (14) drops punter Peter Fox

Ball loose on Ryan Shaw (2)

Ball loose on Ryan Shaw (2)

Hunter Cobb follows some good blocking

Hunter Cobb follows some good blocking

Leaping catch by Nick Dellapiano (7)

Leaping catch by Nick Dellapiano (7)

Ben Mason (41) attracts five Panthers

Ben Mason (41) attracts five Panthers

Loose ball after Mark Hall fumble

Loose ball after Mark Hall fumble

Jack Roberge (34) breaks loose

Jack Roberge (34) breaks loose

QB Justin Dunn gets good blocking from Derek Ivey and Jack Riley

QB Justin Dunn gets good blocking from Derek Ivey and Jack Riley

Nick Dellapiano and Michael Zuk celebrate a touchdown

Nick Dellapiano and Michael Zuk celebrate a touchdown

Nick Dellapiano runs under a long Matt Hersch pass

Nick Dellapiano runs under a long Matt Hersch pass

 

 

 

 

 

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