Saturday October 6, 2012

NORTH ADAMS -- Mount Greylock had gone on the road three times through the first four weeks and won. When the Mounties went on the road to Lee on Friday for its fifth game, it survived.

The Mounties were tied at 14 with the Wildcats at half, but better time possession and a stout defense gave Greylock the edge for a 34-14 win and kept the streak alive.

The victory gives Greylock 31 straight, tying it with Hoosac Valley for the best unbeaten streak in Berkshire County history. The Hurricanes did it with 30 wins and a tie from 1978-1981. It's been all wins for Greylock, dating back to the final two games in the 2009 season.

"That means a lot," said Eric Leitch, who had an interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. "It only means we have to keep on going and keep winning. That's our goal: keep winning. Thirty-one is a lot if you look at it."

This one wasn't as easy as Greylock had made its first four wins look.

The Wildcats surprised the Mounties with some passing out of the gate. Their first play from scrimmage -- and of the game -- was a 25-yard pitch and catch from Deaglan Giarolo to Nick Sitzer. On their second possession Giarolo found a wide open Tom Duffin for a 28-yard touchdown. Then in the second quarter, Giarolo went back to Sitzer for a 48-yard score to tie the game at 14.

"I thought coming into [the game], regular Lee team. They're going to run right at you and then they're going to throw in a few trick plays," running back/defensive back Ethan Ryan said. "Their passing game's really good, better than what we anticipated."

The Mounties ran just five plays in the first quarter. Ethan Ryan took the first one 60 yards for a touchdown, making three cutbacks to free himself. He did his best to duplicate that run on Greylock's first play of the second quarter -- the Mounties' sixth offensive play of the game. He took an inside handoff, went around left end, cut back to the right and was gone for a 45-yard score.

But the Greylock defense was spending a lot of time on the field. Lee held a 3-to-1 advantage in ball possession in the first half. On Greylock's two scoring drives, the Mounties had the ball for just 25 seconds.

"When we're having 11 plays in a half, our defense is on the field for a long time," quarterback/defensive back Hank Barrett said. "I think the biggest thing is just knowing after they've scored two big pass plays with missed coverage that they're capable of that is kind of tough.

"We never knew what was coming and that was the hardest part, definitely, because, like Ethan said, they're very well coached. I think that was definitely our toughest defensive challenge so far."

Lee compiled 185 yards in the first half. Giarolo was 10 of 17 for 135 yards with two touchdown passes. Greylock had 163 yards, all on the ground. Ryan carried the ball eight times for 139 yards and two scores.

The Wildcats had nowhere near the same success in the second half. They totaled just 80 yards and were held scoreless. They picked up just one first down.

The Greylock defense gave some room on the outside, and that led to Leitch's interception return for a score to put Greylock up 28-14 with 7:01 to go. Tyrell Thomas had a 60-yard interception return called back for a block below the waist. Barrett picked off Giarolo for the last time with 4:49 left.

"This is going to help us more than another blowout," Barrett said, "because we were in a close game and we found it within ourselves, and we came out and we won."