GREAT BARRINGTON >> In a battle of two teams searching for their first win of the season, the Monument Mountain football team was able to pick up its first win, defeating Ludlow 16-2 on Friday night.
"It feels good, we've been fighting a lot of battles this year," third-year Monument head coach Chris D'Aniello said. "We're coming along, I have a lot of fun guys. I'm proud of these guys and this school. We've been struggling in the second half all year, but we're resilient. I'll take the win any way we can get it."
The Spartans (1-5, 1-2 Intercounty South) forced a Ludlow punt to begin the game, but were unable to get anything going on their opening drive. Forced to punt inside their own 10, a bad snap led to a safety, putting the Lions up 2-0.
After the kickoff, Ludlow quarterback Justin DeBarge fumbled the snap on first down, but recovered and scrambled for a first down in Spartans territory. A few plays later, DeBarge took a shot into the end zone, but Monument's Hayden Gerow read the ball and made the interception to halt the Ludlow threat.
On the Spartans' next drive, the home team found themselves in a second-and-long situation in which Ludlow's Todd Holloway was able to take advantage, picking off a deep ball to give the Lions the ball back.
A defensive chess match continued into the second quarter until Monument's Cam Dargie found the endzone on an 11-yard run with seven minutes remaining until the break. Nolan Dupont scored on the two-point conversion, making the score 8-2 in favor of the Spartans.
"We've been trying to get everyone riled up to get our first win," Dargie said after the game. "I just wanted to run my heart out. It feels great [to give the team the lead]."
Down by six, DeBarge got into a rhythm with receiver Holloway as the Lions moved the ball down the field with two completions over the middle. But Monument's defense settled in and stopped the Lions on fourth down before they found the end zone.
On the ensuing drive, Shamaal Schoonmaker put the Spartans in great position to increase their lead, moving the chains 40 yards on three plays, breaking a handful of tackles along the way. With just over a minute remaining in the half, Dupont and Dargie switched roles as Dupont found the endzone on a 9-yard run and Dargie tacked on the two-point conversion, making the score 16-2 headed into halftime.
While the score remained the same for the rest of the game, there was some fourth quarter drama as the Spartans lost possession of the ball on a fumble with 56 seconds remaining.
Sam Corner entered the game for the Lions at quarterback for the final drive. Corner threw a deep ball that bounced off a defender's hands, landing in the lap of Holloway, who brought the ball down to the six-yard-line. The Spartans tightened up the defense in the red zone, though, keeping the Lions out of the end zone, securing the 16-2 victory,
Monument is back in action on Friday night against Belchertown at home.
L — Safety, 7:17.
M — Cam Dargie 11 run (Nolan Dupont run), 7:01.
M — Dupont 9 run (Dargie run), 1:01.