The week started out great for the Northampton Yellow Jackets. In a makeup game against a farmer team from the central part of the state (Windsor High School), the Jackets continued with a bread and butter running attack that has served them well against young, small and inexperienced teams. On Tuesday, the relentless ground and pound attack rolled up a 32-6 win over a depleted Windsor squad.
What a difference a day or two makes.
Traveling to West Point to take on the Pointers on Friday was a wakeup call for Northampton, and exposed the offense as somewhat one dimensional. The Pointers crushed the Jackets 51 to 8.
To be fair, despite the score, the game was a clean, hard-hitting affair, with few penalties and no serious injuries. The difference was really in the cleanness of West Point’s execution versus Northampton’s continual missteps–fumbles, missed tackles, blown coverages. West Point also dominated the line of scrimmage. The defense continually blew up Northampton’s line, and offensively, the line ran over the Jackets, and easily made it to the second level where they laid out the linebackers. This line dominance afforded several long runs for touchdowns.
Finally coming up against a ranked defense exposed Northampton’s offense as dull and uninspired, and easy to figure out and defend. When you’re down 51-0 and your most creative play is an off-tackle run for three yards, it’s time for an intervention.
Northampton’s passing game is non-existent. When senior quarterback Tripp Westcoat went out with a hamstring issue, he was replaced by freshman Liam Flynn. Flynn is a super talented, highly skilled player with high football intelligence, and a big ceiling (All-State potential). He may be the QB of the future, but the reality is he is not the QB of the present. There is a big difference between a senior and freshman–throwing Liam Flynn into the fire this early does not seem fair. And let’s face it, the seniors want to win it all right now, they have no future. With Westcoat back in the lineup, it’s time to consider a QB change to try and open up the offense with something called a forward pass. Either that or give Liam an offensive scheme that will let him succeed (easy slants, rollouts to receivers flooding the flat).
Northampton’s next contest is the Homecoming game next Friday against Middlesex at 7:00.