LEE >> It took visiting Ware less than three minutes to end Lee's three-game shutout streak. It took Ware 44 minutes to end the Wildcats' three-game winning streak.
The visitors got three running touchdowns from quarterback Ryan Johnson and two more in the fourth quarter by Hunter Millier to beat the Wildcats 34-12 Friday night at John J. Consolati Field.
Johnson scored on runs on three, 65 and two. He finished the night with 153 yards on 11 carries.
The Wildcats, who gave up 320 yards in total offense to Ware and were shut out in the second half, now face Mount Greylock on the road next Friday night.
"We're going to feel bad about it for the first 24 hours," said the Wildcats' Patrick Finnegan. "We've got to put it behind us, come to practice, work hard and come together as a group."
It was a step backwards for the Wildcats, who fall to 3-3 in a bid for a Western Massachusetts football Division IV-A playoff berth. Ware is also in IV-A.
"They still got a lot at stake," Lee coach Keith Thomson said. "It certainly puts our back against the wall. Everything from here is a must-win. If we want a chance to get anywhere, we probably need a little help."
The Wildcats had three turnovers, two of which led to touchdowns for Ware (4-1). The first one came on the game's third play when Lukas Loehr coughed up the ball after a 10-yard gain. Loehr suffered a right arm injury on the play, and did not return to the game. But six plays after the fumble, Johnson scored on a three-yard run. Jake Crevier's kick made it 7-0.
While Ware never trailed, the Wildcats stayed in contact throughout the first half.
Lee scored on a 16-yard Homer Winston to Ryan Ruef pass play in the first quarter and Ruef scored on a five-yard run in the second quarter, capping off a 16-play 81 yard drive. The Wildcats trailed 14-12 at halftime.
The second half belonged to Ware from the kickoff. The visitors in green and white went 12 plays in 63 yards and Johnson had a 2-yard touchdown run. The key play of the drive was a 20-yard pass play from Johnson to Jayson Jamilowski.
The second half was a rough one for the Wildcats. Until the game's final drive, when the score was 34-12, Lee had run nine plays to 30 for Ware.
"What we wanted to do was control the clock, eat the clock and get some points on the board," Ware coach Bill Gallagher said. "If they don't have the ball, they can't score.
"Our defense did a great job keeping them contained and our offense did a great job by controlling the football."
It was 27-12 Ware with 7:37 left in the fourth quarter when the Wildcats got the ball back. Ruef, who had 86 yards rushing on nine carries, took off on a 59-yard run on the first play and Winston followed with a 10-yard run, putting the ball on the Ware 11. On the next play, the snap sailed over Winston's head and Ware's Crevier recovered on his team's 25. Eight plays later, Millier scored a back-breaking touchdown.
The Wildcats still have two games left, at Williamstown Friday and at home against McCann Tech. The Lee coach said that he didn't anticipate this loss would linger for a long time, and his team will be ready for Oct. 21.
"I don't think you need a lot of motivation for Greylock," Thomson said.
W—Ryan Johnson 3 run (Jake Crevier kick), 8:12.
L—Ryan Ruef 16 pass from Homer Winston (Run failed), 3:54.
W—Johnson 65 run (Crevier kick), 1:30.
L—Ruef 5 run (Pass failed), 3:26.
W—Johnson 2 run (Kick blocked), 4:33.
W—Hunter Millier 2 run (Crevier kick), 7:37.
W—Millier 6 run (Crevier kick), 1:40.
RUSHING—Lee: Lukas Loehr 2-13, Mike Hurley 5-24, Nick Castillo 4-19, Ryan Ruef 9-86, Homer Winston 7-14. Ware: Hunter Millier 12-32, Ryan Johnson 11-153, Fernando Montalban 9-60, Devin Slattery 1-13.
PASSING—Lee: Winston 8-15-1 110. Ware: Johnson 7-12-0 85.
RECEIVING—Lee: Hurley 3-27, Ben Harding 2-38, R. Ruef 1-19, Castillo 1-14, Dom Bartini 1-12.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.