By Max Piekos and Michael Hood-Burgess
CHICOPEE- Chicopee High School football went head-to-head against Commerce Friday night in their first regular season home game at Szot Park. Led by Senior Running Back #5 John Vega, the Pacers offense shined throughout their impressive victory.
“We’re looking to improve on our intensity and our focus ahead of this game. We want to compete and still have fun,” Raiders Head Coach Curtis Johnson said in a pregame interview.
After a sloppy first quarter littered with flags and an early Chicopee fumble, the Pacers came out just before the end of the first quarter with a 40 yard rushing touchdown from John Vega to open the floodgates for the Pacers. Vega would go on to gain another huge run for 70 yards, inflating the score 12-0 before the first half would come to a close.
The Pacers’ dominant rushing attack bled into the second half of the game, barreling down the field with a big run from Senior, #13 Jerome Jacobs. John Vega again asserted himself as the star of the game after punching it in to finish a strong drive, completing a 2-point conversion and boosting the Pacer lead to 20-0.
Before taking his exit from the game, Vega would pull through for a fourth and final touchdown. The extra point was converted by Pacers star kicker Senior #8 Bret Fonseca improving the Pacers’ lead to 27-0.
As the game came to a close, the scoring did not. Commerce would dial in two touchdowns late in the game, led by #11 Desmond Ortiz not letting Red Raiders go down without a fight. However, Commerce’s offensive surge was too little too late as the Pacers broke out for another big 60 yard rush from Freshman #23 Kevin Blanton, bringing the game to a 33-14 close.
“We have a really close team this year, guys are really starting to feel like a family, brothers, and that definitely affects how we play on the field.”- Pacers receiver Brendan Tadeo credits the team’s chemistry off the field to a lot of the Pacers success this season.
The Pacers look to further improve upon their season record against The No.18 Ludlow Lions next week at Ludlow High School, as Commerce seeks to turn their season around with a win against Lee this Friday October 11, 2019.