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Nipmuc Runs Past Quabbin

Nipmuc Head Coach Phil Shiloski found himself in an unenviable predicament last weekend with his team facing Quabbin Regional at home. He needed to establish the run, but was without his starting running back.
Sophomore tailback James Schwenderman went down with a knee injury the week before against Northbridge, so Nipmuc (2-3) turned the ball over to juniors Joe Mespelli and Dillon Braile. The pair combined to fill the void in the backfield and help open up the Warrior offense in a 42-0 win.
"They were unbelievable running the ball and we were able to establish the run right off the bat," said Shiloski. "We found a couple good running backs and that really opened up the pass and really helped our entire offense."
Junior quarterback Mike Smith threw completed nine passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone. "Our offense is there," said Shiloski. "When we run the ball well it's an entirely different offense."
It was certainly a different result for Nipmuc after falling 30-6 against Northbridge on the road. Schwenderman suffered the knee injury in the first half but the Warriors were still in the game, trailing 13-6 as the two teams hit the locker rooms. The second half saw three more Nipmic starters leave the game with injuries and the Rams offense run wild to open up the final margin. "It really was just a disaster," said Shiloski.
One of the lone bright spots from the Northbridge game was receiver Chris Reiffarth. The senior returned to the line-up to catch a 70 yard touchdown pass from Smith for the lone Nipmuc score. He added three more catches against Quabbin, two of them for touchdowns, while racking up close to 70 yards through the air.
Defensively, Shiloski praised the play of two of his linebackers, Mespelli and Nick Tancrede. "We had a great scheme and they executed. The linebackers really did a great job and made plays."
Despite coming in off a shutout, Nipmuc will switch up its defensive scheme this weekend with a road trip to Shepherd Hill on deck. The Warriors used a four-four base against Quabbin, but will put a fifth man on the defensive line against the run happy Rams. "They run a double wing and just pound, pound, pound," said Shiloski. "They don't typically throw the ball more than three or four times a game so we need to get back to smash mouth defense and get after them."
The Warriors have not beaten Shepherd Hill in their last five meetings, and the Rams' offense is putting up 28 points per game despite being almost exclusively ground-based. Shiloski could only chuckle when describing his opponent's unusual, but effective game plan. He said,"I'd never seen anything like it...until I came to Central Mass."
He'll do his best to stop it on Friday night.




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