Photo Gallery | Lee wins W. Mass. D-VI football title over McCann Tech
CHESHIRE — Despite recording a shutout through three quarters, the Lee defense had to make one more stop to hold off McCann Tech in Saturday's Western Massachusetts Division VI championship. The Wildcats got that stop with the Hornets in the red zone early in the fourth, and Lee took over possession and drove it down the field for a touchdown en route to a 13-0 win over McCann at Hoosac Valley High School.
The second-seeded Wildcats forced an incompletion on a 4th and 6 for the Hornets at the Lee 19-yard line on the third play of the fourth quarter. The Wildcats took over and went 81 yards in 12 plays to extend its 6-point lead to a 13-0 advantage.
"We just had to punch it in," Lee's Nick Castillo, who scored both touchdowns, said. "We felt good, we came together, and we played as a team."
Quarterback Cam Abderhalden converted on a 3rd and 1 to achieve a first down on the third play of the drive following the turnover on downs. Abderhalen then hit Michael Hurley on a 15-yard pass play on 3rd and 6 later in the drive, moving the ball to the Lee 49-yard line.
After moving the ball to the McCann 35-yard line and still clinging to a 6-0 lead, Abderhalden hit Hurley on a deep pass to the Hornet 1-yard line with 2:12 remaining. Castillo punched in the second of his two touchdown runs with 2:09 remaining to give Lee a two-score lead.
"Once we got the ball right there, we knew if we could just string together some first downs and march it down the field, we knew we'd take a shot somewhere down the line," Lee coach Keith Thomson said. "Cam hit Hurley and then we got the touchdown."
Abderhalden threw for 94 yards and rushed for 75 while Hurley had 49 yards receiving. For fourth-seeded McCann Tech, Dakota Bolte led the way with 38 yards rushing. The Hornets were only able to muster 58 yards rushing and 30 passing overall, but they were still in the game until the end.
"We just couldn't finish drives," McCann coach Bob LeClair said. "We were moving the ball like we wanted to, but we couldn't finish. Hats off to Lee, certainly. Defensively, they did a really good job. They took an awful lot away from us."
Lee struck first when Castillo scampered in from 2 yards out with 10:12 remaining in the second quarter. The Wildcats carried the 6-0 lead into halftime.
With the victory, the Wildcats will now play in the Division VI state semifinals against St. Bernard's at Westfield State on Saturday. Lee has earned its place in the game due to a four-game win streak following a 2-4 start to the season.
"Our backs were to the wall, we were in the playoffs right then, we knew it was win or go home," Thomson said of the 2-4 start. "The guys came out and won the last two in the regular season, then these two here, now it's on to states."
L—Nick Castillo 2 run (pass failed), 10:12.
L—Castillo 1 run (Nick Wood kick), 2:09.
RUSHING—MT: Dakota Bolte 9-38, Nick Lincoln 8-18, Adam Dufur 2-6, Charlie Bohl 4-0, Mike Ferrara 5-(-4). L: Cam Abderhalden 16-75, Nick Castillo 13-20, Ryan Ruef 8-17.
PASSING—MT: Mike Ferrara 1-5 11, Nick Lincoln 1-1 19. L: Cam Abderhalden 6-14 94.
RECEIVING—MT: Keigan Case 1-19, Dakota Bolte 1-11. L: Michael Hurley 2-49, Nick Castillo 2-17, Matt Reynolds 1-15, Patrick Finnegan 1-13.