High school football week 5 preview
After four weeks of football, all county teams have a conference game under its belt, except for Drury. Wahconah and Taconic are 1-0 in the Suburban North. Mount Greylock and Lee are 1-0 in the Intercounty West. All of the 0-1 teams, Pittsfield, Hoosac Valley, McCann Tech and Monument Mountain, struggled in conference openers, losing by a combined 168-32 margin. The 1-0 teams seemed to have separated from the rest of the pack, but Wahconah faces the toughest test this week with its game against South Hadley.
NO. 7 SOUTH HADLEY AT NO. 3 WAHCONAH, 7 P.M. TONIGHT
South Hadley dominated Hoosac Valley in a 35-0 win last week. The Tigers enter with a 3-1 record, and their lone loss was a 12-7 decision against Northampton in Week 3. Their offense got back on track against the Hurricanes, as Sean O'Grady rushed for 208 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Teddy Doyle had 109 yards rushing and a touchdown. They used jet sweeps to get on the perimeter against Hoosac, but Wahconah's speed at defensive end could negate that play.
The Warriors are stout up the middle as well with linebacker Kyle Noyes leading the way. A defensive battle looks to favor the Warriors. They're holding opponents to an average of nine points per game. The offense showed its firepower as well, beating Pittsfield 60-6 last week. The winner of this game should be considered the favorite in the Suburban North, along with Taconic.
DRURY AT LEE, 7 P.M. TONIGHT
Drury picked up its first win of the season with a 34-6 win over Smith Vocational. The Blue Devils showed improvement on offense, especially in the passing game. Quarterback Obilio Rodriguez threw for 150 yards and three touchdowns.
The Blue Devils played with more discipline on defense as well, but Lee enters this matchup playing at an extremely high level. The Wildcats have recorded back-to-back shutouts, winning by a 50-0 margin. Coach Keith Thomson said the team's 0-2 start served as a wake-up call and now things seem to be clicking. Lukas Loehr has emerged as a solid rushing threat and the 'Cats passing game has found its rhythm. Strong performances against the Blue Devils and in the following week against non-conference Ware, sets up a game against Mount Greylock that will likely decide the Intercounty West.
MONUMENT MOUNTAIN AT EASTHAMPTON, 7 P.M., TONIGHT
Monument Mountain's second half woes continued in its 32-12 loss to Amherst. After jumping out to a 12-6 lead after one quarter, the Spartans were outscored 26-0 by the Hurricanes. On the season, teams are outscoring the Spartans 72-12 in the second half. Shamaal Schoonmaker continues to show big-play ability, scoring on runs of 85 and 22, respectively. But their passing game is non-existent, going for 24 yards total through four games. Even with Monument's struggles, Easthampton also enters this game winless. The Eagles have played a fairly tough schedule and are coming off a 42-0 loss to Dennis-Yarmouth. They do have capable playmakers, however, so the Spartans will need someone to produce alongside Schoonmaker if they want to end their losing streak.
PATHFINDER AT MOUNT GREYLOCK, 7 P.M., TONIGHT
Mount Greylock's established itself as the class of Division IV-A and looks poised for a postseason tournament run. The Mounties defeated McCann Tech 41-13, scoring touchdowns through the air, on the ground and in the return game.
Devin Pelletier is a disruptive force up front, and the offense showed it can produce in inclement weather. They're facing off against winless Pathfinder, a team that hasn't topped 12 points all season. The Pioneers lost to Lee 31-0 in Week 3, so the Mounties' performance versus them could serve as a measuring stick when compared against another quality team in the division.
PITTSFIELD AT CHICOPEE, 7 P.M., TONIGHT
Both teams enter this matchup coming off lopsided losses. Pittsfield lost 60-6 to Wahconah, while Chicopee lost 48-12 to Taconic. The loser will pick up its second Suburban North loss, likely ending any hopes of a conference title. Defense was the main struggle for these teams, as each allowed their opponents to top 140 yards passing and 200 yards rushing. Offensively, neither team relies on the air attack much, instead turning to their dynamic ballcarriers to shoulder the load. Wahconah held Pittsfield's Edwin Rodriguez to just 37 yards rushing. Chicopee's Issaiah Jackson rushed for 117 yards, but 110 of those yards came in the second half when the game was already decided. These teams are so similar that execution will be crucial. Will Chicopee struggle with the Generals' speed the same way they did the Braves? Or can the Pacers shore up their defense and find enough running room for Jackson to be successful?
MOHAWK AT MCCANN TECH, 1 P.M., SATURDAY
McCann Tech is a young team trying to fight its way through injury and inexperience. Quarterback Justin Mecyzwor was thrown into the fire against Greylock, and did an admirable job in his first ever start. The Hornets' youth makes things such as substitutions and play-calling an adventure for coach Bob LeClair, but in Week 5, some of their young players should start to show signs of progression. They're facing off against a Mohawk team that started quickly, but dropped its last two games. Jonny Herbert leads the ground attack for the Warriors. For the Hornets, Mecyzwor may have to become more of a factor in the rushing game, because Corbin Richardson and Dakota Bolte have yet to produce the breakout game necessary for the offense to find its rhythm.
NO. 4 TACONIC AT HOOSAC VALLEY, 2:30 P.M., SATURDAY
In a rematch of last year's Western Mass Division V title game, Taconic heads into the contest with plenty of confidence after beating Chicopee 48-12. The Braves have speed and strength at every position, and use misdirection and play-fakes to get the defense going one way — and attacking it in the opposite direction. South Hadley used a jet sweep — a play Taconic features heavily — to beat the Hurricanes 35-0.
The Braves use their speed to gain yards on the perimieter, and wingbacks Zach Gage and Jake Galliher present a similar trouble. If the perimeter run is shut down, Anthony Whiteley and Brandon Peaslee are strong between-the-tackles runners. Under center, quarterback Jake McNeice can fake a handoff to any of those weapons and pull it for a gain on the ground or a long pass to Devon Walker as well. Hoosac will need its playmakers to produce, as Steve Stodja has been the 'Canes most consistent big-play threat.
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252
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