GREAT BARRINGTON -- Monument coach Bill LaGrant made his return to the Berkshire County football sidelines after a 27-year absence with two goals in mind: He wanted to change both the attitude and culture of the Monument program, a program that has suffered through a decade of losing.
"Attitude is the most important thing. Kids are coming out and working hard. Coming from an 11-78 past over the last 11 years, it’s tough to get the kids to believe they can win," LaGrant said.
A 44-0 victory over Taconic on Senior Day might be the statement game the Spartans need.
Strong performances by seniors Peter Oggiani and Ryle O’Brien allowed the Spartans to defend their home turf and remove their seniors midway through the third quarter.
Oggiani led the team with 162 yards rushing and four touchdowns, including a 54-yard romp in the second quarter through several Braves defenders. His final touchdown came with four minutes left in the third quarter, giving the Spartans a 32-0 lead. O’Brien had 68 yards rushing and a touchdown, making plays with his feet when pressure got to him in the pocket.
The duo said they understand the importance of getting a win on Senior Day.
"We’ve kind of struggled in the past and we haven’t really been able to protect our home field that well," Oggiani said. "But this year, this is our second win at home with everybody watching, with all my family and friends here. It means a lot to come out and put on a show for them."
O’Brien added that it was nice to leave a good final impression for the home fans and the younger players on the team.
"We’ve got a lot of young guys that stepped up today. They made some mistakes but we’re proud of them," O’Brien said.
Taconic relied on several young players throughout the game. The Braves were missing starters Dylan Moody and Drew Scace on an offense that had a hard time moving the ball, totaling 97 yards rushing on 29 carries.
Taconic coach Jim Ziter could not be reached for comment after the game.
Sophomore Javon Reynolds did a solid job filling in for Moody. Reynolds finished with 39 yards rushing on nine carries. Freshman Anthony Whiteley broke several long runs late in the game, totaling 57 yards on five carries.
LaGrant said he gives credit to his seniors for setting the tone for the season.
"A game like today will build for next year a lot," LaGrant said. "The guys are coming in and working hard. We see little bits of progress during the week and that translates into something like today."
Monument 44, Taconic 0
Taconic 0 0 0 0--0
Monument 8 18 6 12--44
MM -- Oggiani 2 run (Perry pass from O’Brien), 6:44.
MM -- Oggiani 54 run (run failed), 7:28.
MM -- O’Brien 20 run (pass failed), 5:19.
MM -- Oggiani 26 run (pass failed), 3:07.
MM -- Oggiani 1 run (pass failed), 4:22.
MM -- Powell 5 run (run failed), 10:22.
MM -- Stringham 3 run (run failed), 1:19.
First Downs 13 4
Rushes-yards 33-399 28-100
Passing-yards 19 0
Comp-att-int 1-1-0 0-3-1
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-3
Penalties-yards 11-130 1-5
RUSHING -- Monument: Oggiani 8-162, Malik Wilbon 7-62, O’Brien 6-68, Terrence Powell 4-29, Cameron Dargie 2-38, Scott Stringham 2-16, Austin Pectal 2-6, Mike Buffoni 1-15, Shamall Schoonaker 1-3. Taconic: Reynolds 9-39, Nick Pomeroy 8-1, Whiteley 5-57, Jeno Teti 2-1, Davon Gollman 1-(minus 1), Jake Galliher 1-(minus 3), Team 1-0.
PASSING -- Monument: Pectal 1-1-19. Taconic: Teti 0-1, Zach Gage 0-1, Galliher 0-1.
RECEIVING -- Monument: Tom Randolph 1-19.
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