Coach Bill Fishleigh was shaken Friday after watching his varsity boys take a 37-0 Senior Night drubbing by the Westlake Demons.
“They started out fast and got right on us,” he said, reflecting on how the JaQuan Hardy-led opponents dominated the Comets.
Hardy had three touchdowns on the way to 220 rushing yards — coming just a couple shy of doubling up the entire Amherst running total.
Westlake was only 1-7 going into the contest, which coaches had expected to be a close affair.
But the Demons had no trouble racking up 21 points in the first half. They also repelled a Comets drive at the five yard line in the opening quarter.
Penalties kept Amherst at bay on back-to-back possessions before the half, ruining third down conversion attempts.
Hardy blew up the scoreboard in the third quarter with a long journey down the sideline to the endzone, even as Fishleigh demanded (and was denied) a targeting penalty. He was found wide open again late in the third for a 37-yard touchdown to cement the win.
On a fourth down attempt in the final minute, Comets quarterback Nick DeJesus went high to the endzone and made contact; but the ball was wrangled away. The Demons took a knee to sink Amherst to 0-9 on the season.
Searching for positives in the jaws of defeat, Fishleigh pointed to junior receiver Alex Platz. Although he only had two receptions Friday for 14 yards, Platz has been a consistent force on the field through the year.
“I think he’s been a bright spot for us,” the coach said. “He never gives up, no matter how tough it is out there.”
Reno Kruman (17 yards) and Mark Harris (30 yards) led the Comets receivers on the night as DeJesus went 12 for 20 to net 94 yards. Cooper Cotterill carried the ball 15 times for 67 yards while DeJesus scrambled 10 times for 28.
Fishleigh also rotated in players that haven’t seen a lot of action this year and tried a handful of juniors in new positions with an eye on 2016.
Only one game remains for the Comets, who will travel this Friday to Lakewood. The Rangers are also 0-9.
“I think the thing we’re trying to preach with one game left is team pride,” Fishleigh said. “We’re showing up for game 10 and we’re playing our butts off.”
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Coach Bill Fishleigh consoles the Comets after taking a 37-0 drubbing Friday at the hands of the Westlake Demons.