Charles Toomajian and Johno Hinkell each scored on one-yard runs and a rock-ribbed Drury defense held host Wahconah Regional to 81 total yards in a 14-0 win last night that wrapped up Berkshire County's three postseason spots.
"Ever since we've been freshmen we've been saying it's going to be different when we're seniors," said Toomajian, who also had a pair of point-after kicks. "Now we've finally proved it. It's different. We've turned this program around."
The Blue Devils won their third straight and fourth game in their last five. With the outcome Drury and Wahconah are both 5-2, and will face each other in the first round either Nov. 17 or 18. If the Blue Devils beat Hoosac next Saturday, they'll host the first round on Saturday the 18th, no matter what Wahconah does. But if Wahconah beats Taconic next Saturday and the Hurricanes beat Drury, Wahconah would host the first round on Friday the 17th.
"It's amazing, I can't even explain it," said Hinkell, who outgained Wahconah on the ground 89 yards to 56. "We're flying high right now. But we have to take a game at a time. The playoff berth doesn't mean anything right now. We have to come out and finish the season strong."
Finishing the season strong is something the Warriors are also going to try to accomplish.
"If our line doesn't block and our line doesn't get off the ball on defense, we don't win," said Wahconah coach Matt Morrison, who shouldered the responsibility for not having his team ready to play. "Drury's line beat our line period on offense and defense."
Over the past month, Drury has developed a propensity to give up the first points of the game, and have to claw their way back into contention. In fact, in each of their last three wins (over Lee, Pittsfield and St. Joseph's), the Blue Devils gave up the first points. Not last night.
Drury took Wahconah's kickoff at its 19 yard line, and Toomajian lost a yard on first down for a not-too-good way to start a drive. But that was one of two negative yard plays on a 16-play drive that ate up 9 minutes, 45 seconds, and put six points on the board.
The Blue Devils were 3-for-4 on third-down conversions and 1-for-1 on fourth down that play was a two-yard sneak by quarterback Jake Cantoni. But Hinkell had the two biggest runs of the drive, a 11-yard gain for a first down and a 18-yard gain that put the ball on the Wahconah 13. Four plays later, Toomajian followed Steve Senecal's block into the end zone from a yard out, and booted the PAT.
"We made a statement," said Hinkell. "We're both usually second half teams. Coming out and sticking (a touchdown) in first, it's a big boost of momentum. You can't ask for much more than that."
Wahconah had its only scoring chance midway through the second quarter. Starting at its 34, Wahconah marched into Drury territory. The key play was a 25-yard pass from John Rivers to Kyle Appleton. The drive stalled on the Drury 10 and on third down, Rivers tried to hit John Anastasio in the end zone but linebacker Sean Trottier picked off the pass at the goal line, ending the threat.
"Our captain Seamus Flynn could tell something was going on. He saw a receiver release and gave (Anastasio) a good pop. I saw him release and saw (the receiver) coming across the middle," recalled Trottier. "I just dropped back, stayed in my zone and the ball was thrown right to me."
Long Drury drive
Drury played keepaway until the fourth quarter, when the Blue Devils needed nine plays to travel 52 yards and score the insurance touchdown. Cantoni and Trottier hooked up on a 16-yard pass that put the ball on the Wahconah 23. Two plays later, Toomajian ran over Wahconah defenders for 17 yards and Hinkell capped off the drive with a one-yard TD run with 1:49 left.
"I give props to our line. Without them, our ground attack wouldn't be anything," said Hinkell, referring to center David Carrigan, guards David Button and Senecal, and tackles Jason Menard and Jonathan Thomas. "Me and Charles, we rely on our line. You can't win football games without a line like ours."
Hinkell finished the night with 89 yards on 17 carries, while Cantoni had 55 yards in 12 carries and Toomajian carried the ball 17 times for 47 yards. For Wahconah, Tyler Morey had 26 yards rushing in 11 carries.
D Charles Toomajian 1 run (Toomajian kick) 1:09.
D Johno Hinkell 1 run (Toomajian kick) 1:49.