BELMONT – Deerfield Academy’s operating backs name themselves “Thunder and Lightning,” and so they crashed by Belmont Hill’s protection all afternoon.
Zell Lassiter rushed for 3 touchdowns and 115 yards, and Malachi Costello led with 155 speeding yards because the Big Green topped the Sextants, 27-14, within the NEPSAC Danny Smith Bowl at Belmont Hill. Deerfield Academy (7-3) has now gained its final three NEPSAC bowl video games, taking house trophies in 2019 and 2021.
“These New England bowl games are great for New England football, great for prep league football,” mentioned Deerfield Academy coach Brian Barbato. “Any time you get that opportunity, it’s great, and we embraced the opportunity. If you win six (games), you should get to play an extra game.”
Lassiter capped DA’s first drive of the sport with a 2-yard landing run halfway by the primary quarter, and Cole Greer added a 7-yard scoring strike to Triston Ward to make it 14-0 with 4:42 left within the second. That’d be greater than sufficient for the Big Green protection, whose fixed strain and measurement on the line of scrimmage restricted Belmont Hill’s offense to 29 complete yards at halftime.
Deerfield Academy’s protection made eight tackles within the backfield, together with 5 sacks, and recovered a fumble of their purple zone to finish a promising Belmont Hill drive within the third quarter.
“This is the best defensive game we’ve had,” Lassiter mentioned. “They did everything they were supposed to do.”
Lassiter broke off two massive landing runs within the second half: a 49-yard dash down the proper sideline within the third quarter, and a 23-yard burst up the center within the fourth. That final rating got here proper after Belmont Hill (7-2) had lastly gotten on the board on a 22-yard go from Réis Little to Luke Travaglini to get inside 20-7 with 5:05 left within the fourth.
Little completed with eight completions for 139 yards, and struck once more on a 15-yard go to Luis Kuehlberger, who out-jumped two defenders to haul within the landing and get inside 27-14. But simply 31.4 seconds remained at that time, Tommy Schwartz recovered the onside kick, and one final kneel down sealed the victory.
“We did what we did: played groundhog football,” Lassiter mentioned. “We marched and marched and marched, and it led us to victory.”