By Jeff Hamrick
---- — PELHAM — Chris Medeiros not only can recall the woeful winless campaigns of his first two years, the senior also had bad memories of last year’s homecoming, a 45-point loss. He and his Python teammates, however, are much more joyful this time around.
With Medeiros scoring three long-range touchdowns, Pelham continued its season of redemption last night as the Pythons remained undefeated in a 35-6 homecoming blowout of Fall Mountain.
Two years into Ryan Clark’s coaching tenure, the Pythons have gone from losing all 18 games in 2010-11 to a perfect 6-0 and the top spot in the Division 3 South standings with two games remaining.
Pelham made it look easy last night as Medeiros needed only eight carries to gain 244 yards against the Wildcats (2-5). Despite being stopped for a 1-yard loss on one attempt and 7 yards on two others, the senior averaged a whopping 30.5 yards per rush.
“I’ve seen some bad (times), said Medeiros, who romped 79 yards on Pelham’s first play from scrimmage. “We’ve been through a lot. It feels good just to be on top. I tell my guys never forget.
“Never forgetting is what gives this team so much drive and so much energy. We’ve been on the other side of the scoreboard. Our homecoming last year, we got blown out 45-0.”
Medeiros and his offensive line, which features four seniors, made sure this year’s dance would be a happy one.
After a Dylan Ragonese 10-yard scoring run on Pelham’s second possession, Medeiros capped the ensuing two drives with jaunts of 29 and 66 yards for a 28-0 halftime advantage. None of the first four scoring drives lasted more than five plays and two needed only one. The ground attack was so effective, the Pythons ran the ball on each of their 34 plays from scrimmage.
“It’s always good to get off to a good start,” Medeiros said. “But it’s still hard for me to look at the good things. I look at the bad things more. They point out more to me.”
Fall Mountain failed to capitalize on early drives that began in Pelham territory following kickoff returns. The Python defense did its share of the work, allowing seven points or fewer for the fifth time this year.
“We had to come out real strong because they got that good field position,” said junior Zach Masiello, who registered four of Pelham’s five sacks. “We knew we had to come up with a big stop and we did.”
Last night was the third time this season Pelham, which has outscored opponents 189-33, built leads of 35 points, resulting in a continuous running clock. The Pythons could secure their first postseason berth since 2009 with a win at Campbell (5-1) on Saturday.
“We have our work cut out for us because we need one more win,” said Clark, a 2002 Pelham grad who guided the Pythons to a 3-6 record in his first season last year. “This group of kids having two winless seasons their freshman and sophomore years, they know how hard it is, so they take nothing for granted.”
Pelham 35, Fall Mountain 6
Fall Mountain (2-5): 0 0 0 6 — 6
Pelham (6-0): 14 14 7 0 — 35
P — Chris Medeiros 79 run (kick failed) 7:22
P — Dylan Ragonese 10 run (Joe Slattery run) 3:12
P — Medeiros 29 run (Harley Kearney kick) 11:23
P — Medeiros 66 run (Kearney kick) 8:44
P — Chris Benjamin 20 run (Kearney kick) 2:31
FM — Matt Wood 17 run (pass failed) 7:27
RUSHING: FM (44-135) — Eli McGuire 12-64, Clay Gendron 15-45, Wood 12-10, Dylan Bastian 1-8, Zach Demond 4-8; P (34-434) — Medeiros 8-244, Benjamin 5-62, Jack Harrington 4-32, Bryce Brown 4-31, Ragonese 5-28, Nick Johnson 4-26, Joe Halpin 2-13, Matt Koch 1-0, Joe Slattery 1-(-2)
PASSING: FM — Wood 4-8-43, 1 interception; P — Slattery 0-0
RECEIVING: FM — Gendron 2-17, Brandon Heath 1-14, McGuire 1-12