LEE -- Chad Shade could hear the footsteps.
"Yeah, I could hear somebody and I saw [them] out of the corner of my eye," said the sophomore quarterback from Pittsfield High School. "So I had to step up to get the pass off. And [wide receiver] Devon Tucker ran a great route."
Shade’s acrobatic 69-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass to another sophomore, Tucker, broke open a close game and gave Pittsfield an exciting 22-14 win over Lee on Friday night. It was the Generals’ first win of the year.
"We knew the route was coming," said Lee coach Keith Thomson of the final score. "We got some pressure on their QB, but give him credit. He made a great throw. Pittsfield is a heck of a team. They lost last week, but they played well and they obviously built on that."
Shade completed only two of five passes, but both were for touchdowns, one of 37 yards and one of 69. Both were to the speedy Tucker, who scored all three PHS touchdowns on highlight-film-type plays.
Lee quarterback Deaglan Giarolo was no slouch, either. He hit four of 13 passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns, both to rangy split end Nick Sitzer.
"I was pretty proud of our kids," said Thomson. "They battled from behind most of the night to tie the game in the fourth quarter."
Tucker’s first score for the Generals came in the first quarter. On second and three from the PHS 45, he took the handoff from Shade and exploded around
Lee, however, was also moving the ball well, albeit in smaller increments. Taking the ball from their own 18, the Wildcats forged a 10-play drive that culminated in Giarolo drilling the ball to Sitzer from 31 yards out. The conversion failed, and PHS had an 8-6 lead that held up until halftime.
Pittsfield opened the second half with their own drive, and their offensive line began clearing people out, particularly up the middle.
"Our offensive line was outstanding tonight," said Pittsfield coach Brian Jezewski. "Actually, both our defensive and offensive lines did a great job."
On a second-and -11 from the Lee 37, Shade hit Tucker in the flat and Tucker took over from there, jetting into the end zone to push the score to 14-8.
The Generals seemed to be in control, but Shade fumbled on his own 12-yard line in the fourth quarter, and the Wildcats recovered. It took Giarolo three plays to find Sitzer again. The score was tied with 6:51 left in the game.
On the next series, facing third-and-11 from the Pittsfield 21, Shade rolled out, attracting a lot of Wildcat attention. Sitzer and Preston Webb were almost literally breathing down his neck. On the run, Shade eluded several Wildcats and hit Tucker at about midfield. And again, the sophomore wide receiver just outran everyone.
With less than five minutes left, Lee had one more shot. But Dominic Traversa, who had a terrific two-way game, broke up a pass to Sitzer that ended the threat.