WENHAM — Not even a consistent downpour for the duration of the game could keep the steam off the Amesbury football team’s helmets.
After last week’s home loss to Lynnfield in what essentially was the battle for the Cape Ann League title, the Redhawks had some pent-up anger to let loose.
And what that looked like was a dominant, 42-6, drubbing of Hamilton-Wenham on a damp Saturday afternoon. Which, really, if you’re looking for a play-by-play of how the game went, could be summed up in two statements.
1. At halftime, Amesbury led 271-7 in total yards.
2. Hamilton-Wenham picked up its opening first down of the game with a running clock midway through the third quarter.
“The energy was different today,” said Amesbury coach Colin McQueen. “I thought we did a great job of doing what we do today, staying positive with each other and playing for each other and doing things the right way.”
Amesbury (5-1) forced five straight 3-and-outs to open the game.
After the initial stop — in which Ben Wood made a great pass breakup on first down when the Generals (0-7) tried to open the game with a double-pass trick play — the Redhawks methodically drove just 41 yards on 12 plays. Star senior running back Michael Sanchez punched in the 6-yard touchdown, DJ DiCarlo took care of the conversion, and the Redhawks were off and flying.
“They were able to do pretty much anything,” said Hamilton-Wenham coach Tim Freiermuth on Amesbury. “They’re really good up front, definitely the most physical team in the CAL. I thought we had a good week of practice, we battled, we worked hard. But at the end of the day, they just made plays”
And Amesbury also had a new trick up its sleeve.
With the injury suffered by Sanchez’s twin brother, Max, a few weeks ago — who the team is hopeful can return soon — the Redhawks converted big defensive tackle Christian McGarry to running back for more depth. The senior received his first 10 carries of the season on Saturday, and turned them into 56 yards with a 10-yard touchdown to make it 16-0 early in the second quarter.
Of course, McGarry also played a key role defensively in holding the Generals to just 7 first-half yards.
“He’s been doing what he’s been doing defensively for two years now, but he’s sort of turned it on here the past couple of weeks,” said McQueen. “He’s found a switch, which is exciting to see. Obviously, a kid making a position change at this point of the season is a difficult thing to do. But he’s done it gracefully, and he’s just a hard-nose football player. You see it with the ball in his hands, he’s just tough.”
Sanchez then capped Amesbury’s third drive of the game when he burst up the middle for a 64-yard TD, and sophomore quarterback Justin Dube found Robbie Dalton in the back of the endzone for a 7-yard scoring strike on the last play of the first half. That made it 28-0 at the break after two failed conversions, but the Redhawks made up for it when DiCarlo broke off a 45-yard TD on the second play of the third quarter.
And after one last 3-and-out, followed by a Ben Richard 49-yard TD to make it 42-0, a running clock was initiated and the Amesbury JVs took care of the rest of the game.
Sanchez finished with 155 yards on 14 carries with his two scores, and DiCarlo added 74 yards on six totes. As a team, Amesbury rushed for 340 yards, while Dube was a perfect 3-for-3 completing passes on a two-minute-drill drive to end the first half.
Hamilton-Wenham would find the endzone on the first play of the fourth quarter on a Chris Collins 5-yard run. The Generals put together two solid drives offensively to end the game, and, despite how everything went, Caden Schrock had some big punts through the rain that shifted field position.
“The biggest thing with where we’re at is to try and get better,” said Freiermuth. “We’ve got a really young, inexperienced team. So we’ll watch the film and we’ll learn from this. And at this point it’s not about wins and losses, it’s about staying together and building a culture.”
Amesbury 42, Hamilton-Wenham 6
Amesbury (5-1): 8 20 14 0 — 42
Hamilton-Wenham (0-7): 0 0 0 6 — 6
A — Michael Sanchez 6 run (DJ DiCarlo run), 4:27
A — Christian McGarry 10 run (DiCarlo run), 8:48
A — Michael Sanchez 64 run (run failed), 6:25
A — Robbie Dalton 7 pass from Justin Dube (run failed)
A — DiCarlo 45 run (DiCarlo run), 11:37
A — Ben Richard 49 run (run failed), 7:30
HW — Chris Collins 5 run (run failed), 11:56
RUSHING: AMESBURY (38-340): Michael Sanchez 14-155, DJ DiCarlo 6-74, Christian McGarry 10-56, Ben Richard 2-52, Jamie Gray 1-2, Sebastian Ayotte 1-1, Nico Cox 1-1, Justin Dube 3-(-1); HAMILTON-WENHAM (21-52): Chris Collins 8-23, Caden Schrock 3-15, Henry Stinson 8-10, Cooper Soolman 1-5, Caden McCollom 1-(-1)
PASSING: A — J. Dube 3-3-1, 49; HW — H. Stinson 5-14-0, 49, C. McCollom 1-1-0, 5, C. Collins 0-1-0, 0
RECEIVING: A — Robbie Dalton 2-40, DiCarlo 1-9; HW — McCollom 2-26, Soolman 2-18, Jack Cooke 1-10, Alex Menegoni 1-5