Wahconah Regional last played Drury High 15 days ago and suffered a shutout defeat that gave the Blue Devils home field advantage in the first round of the Berkshire County playoffs. Yesterday, the visiting Warriors needed overtime, but erased that loss from their memory banks.
Tyler Morey's two-point conversion run after John Rivers' one-yard touchdown run in the first overtime gave the Warriors a 22-21 win over Drury, advancing the Warriors to the county title game Thanksgiving morning against regular-season champion Mount Greylock. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:30.
"We were embarassed, which doesn't happen at Wahconah. We were shut out (14-0) at home," said Wahconah coach Matt Morrison. "We put in a game plan and our kids wanted to come up here to play this game. (Drury) came down and beat us. Today, we ended up with more points on the board, that's all I can say."
The visitors gave up a touchdown to Johno Hinkell on the first overtime series and Charles Toomajian's kick gave the Blue Devils a 21-14 lead. It took Wahconah two plays to get in the end zone and one more to eliminate Drury.
"I'm so proud of my boys," said Wahconah co-captain Rudy Sacco. "I'm ecstatic, actually. I'm so pumped up."
Pride was something felt on both sides of the field yesterday. The Blue Devils were in shock when Wahconah punched in the game-winning points, and tears were frequent on the faces of the Blue Devils as they congratulated their opponents in the post-game handshake line.
"We both played as hard as we could, and they just came up with one more point," said Toomajian. "We're proud of ourselves, we did all we could."
It was quite a day for Morey, who rushed for a career-high 183 yards on a career-high 36 carries. In fact, Morey ran as many plays as the entire Drury offense.
But this was as even a football game as you could ask for. Wahconah did run off 51 plays to 36 for Drury, 49 of them running plays. But the Blue Devils had 242 yards in total offense to 237 for Wahconah and each team had 13 first downs Wahconah getting nine in the first half and Drury nine in the second.
The Warriors had a chance to win this game in regulation, but Sean Walker's 26-yard field goal attempt with 1:17 left was wide to the right. It was the first time Walker had kicked in a varsity game and he also had a field goal try blocked as time ran out in the second quarter.
After the Blue Devils moved from their 20 to the Wahconah 35 as time ran out in the fourth quarter, the captains gathered on the Blue Devil painted at midfield for the overtime coin toss. Wahconah won the toss and elected to play defense.
"We wanted to see what they had," said Morrison. "We knew what we were doing going in. We were going for two from the moment the game ended."
In overtime, each team gets four downs from the 10-yard line to try and score a touchdown or a field goal. The overtime started when Hinkell, who ran for 95 yards on 13 carries, took a Jake Cantoni pitch to the three, and then moved the Wahconah defense the other three yards on the next play. Toomajian's kick put the Blue Devils up.
"Just score," said Rivers, when asked what he told his teammates in the huddle. "Do what we've been doing the whole game. Just have our line block and we'll get in, because the backs have been doing their job, just follow their blocks and that's exactly what happened."
The Wahconah quarterback handed the ball to Morey, as he did 35 other times yesterday, and the senior running back went up the middle for nine yards, being downed just shy of the end zone. Of Morey's 36 carries, 35 of them were for positive yardage and the other was for no gain. Rivers took the snap on second down and went in for the TD.
On the two-point conversion, Morey took the pitch, ran around left tackle Jeff Burrows, who sealed off the Drury linebackers, and the senior tailback went into the end zone for the deciding points.
Wahconah's first score came at the end of a 13-play drive that took 8:23 off the clock. Mike LeVasseur's four-yard run made it 6-0. Drury answered with an 86-yard drive that culminated in Hinkell's 31-yard touchdown run. The bruising fullback ran over several Warrior defenders.