High school football Week 5 previews: Monument Mountain, Mount Greylock meet in Intercounty South tilt
Hoosac Valley, Wahconah and Monument Mountain are the undefeated county teams remaining. Unfortunately for football fans, none of those teams play each other during the regular season. Monument and Wahconah could meet in the postseason. Lee fell from the ranks of the unbeaten in what is certainly the heavy favorite for game of the year so far. On the other end of the spectrum, Pittsfield left the ranks of the winless, leaving McCann Tech and Drury as the only county teams still searching for a win. The common theme for the two North Adams teams is being forced to rely heavily on a lot of inexperienced players. On the bright side, having a winning program is often cyclical. For our Game of the Week, the matchup features two county teams with programs trending upward in Mount Greylock and Monument.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Mount Greylock at Monument Mountain, Saturday 6 p.m.
Greylock's game last week against Lee wasn't necessarily a must-win, but the thrilling 36-34 overtime victory is a nice resume builder in a division with powerhouse teams such as Hoosac and Ware. The Mounties (3-1, 3-0 Intercounty South) have always been strong on offense, but it was special teams play that allowed them to pull out the close game. They converted two-point conversions in the clutch, and added a kick return and a defensive touchdown. Monument Mountain (3-0, 2-0 Intercounty South) remained unbeaten with a 38-14 win over Belchertown. Monument's Tyrell Beverly has been one of the top running backs in the county. His 200-yard performance against the Orioles gives him two 200-yard games on the season. He's rushed for 541 yards and seven touchdowns on 42 carries through three games. The strong play of linemen Kadin Shafiroff, Jeremy Tousey, Drew Esoldi and company have paved the way for Beverly to average 12.8 yards per carry. John Field's added 132 yards rushing and three scores, providing the thunder to Beverly's lightning. Against the Mounties, however, a one-dimensional approach may be hard to sustain. Lee showed that Greylock is susceptible to the long pass, as Homer Winston threw for 209 yards and three scores last week. Quarterback Caleb Carlson has not been asked to pass much this season. If Greylock stuffs the box, there could be passing plays on the perimeter for Monument. Cal Messina and Sean McCormack are big-play threats for Greylock. Outside of Beverly and Field, the Spartans need to find play-makers for those crucial downs.
Hoosac Valley vs. Taconic at Wahconah Park, Friday 7 p.m.
Hoosac Valley (4-0, 1-0 Suburban North) looks to remain unbeaten against a struggling Taconic (1-3, 0-1 Suburban North) team. The Hurricanes rushed for 246 yards in a 48-20 win over South Hadley last week. Taconic managed just 97 yards on the ground, and a failed fourth-and-1 conversion sent the Braves to a 20-14 loss to Chicopee. Hoosac's developed a strong three-headed rushing attack of David Critelli, Matt Hall and Vance Eugene with the absence of Steve Stodja. Eugene's ability to turn broken plays into highlight-reel runs can be back-breaking for opponents, especially on third down. Taconic coach Jim Ziter said his offensive line showed improvement against the Pacers. They'll need to continue moving in the right direction again a stout Hoosac front seven.
East Longmeadow at Wahconah, Friday 7 p.m.
Wahconah (4-0, 1-0 Suburban South) will be in for its toughest test to date as East Longmeadow (3-1, 0-1 Suburban South) travels to Dalton for this Suburban South matchup. The Warriors made quick work of Putnam in their 34-14 win last Thursday. East Longmeadow suffered a 36-8 loss to West Springfield last Friday.
Wahconah's first unit hasn't faced much adversity this season. They were off the field by the third quarter last week, and as a team, the Warriors have defeated their opponents by more than 32 points per game on average. Coach Gary Campbell Jr. said he's happy with his team's strong performances to date, and with extra preparation ahead of this week's game, the Warriors could add something new if they're ever in a jam.
Despite the lopsided result last week, East Longmeadow has plenty of talent on offense.
Elijah Johnson leads the Spartans rushing attack. He's a shifty runner with strong vision. He's patient through the hole and has the ability to bounce runs outside for long gains. Hunter Mazza is a skilled runner/receiver that the Spartans like to get into space. Cameron Ottoson is the quarterback. Ottoson shows a strong arm when given a clean pocket. He's able to throw accurately on the run as well. Jourdan Powell is one of his go-to targets. Stopping Johnson should be the top priority for the Wahconah defense.
McCann Tech at Ware, Friday 7 p.m.
Injury woes have plagued McCann Tech (0-4, 0-3 Tri-County) again this season. Without their starting running back and quarterback, the Hornets were forced to rely on underclassmen in a 28-0 loss to Turners Falls. Jason Delisle carried the load offensively, rushing 17 times for 73 yards. Sophomore quarterback Travis Dozier made his first start, going 3-of-9 passing for 29 yards. The Hornets are in for a tough game against undefeated Ware (4-0, 3-0 Tri-County). The Indians earned a 41-6 win over Palmer last week. Quarterback Ryan Johnson can hurt teams with his arm and his legs. Hunter Millier is the Indians' top running back. Ware is a deep, experienced squad. McCann's young players must continue to improve. Playing against one of the top teams in the Tri-County League will be a learning experience.
Ludlow at Lee, Friday 7 p.m.
Lee competed in the game of the season to date in its thrilling 36-34 overtime loss to Mount Greylock. The Wildcats (3-1, 1-1 Intercounty South) produced over 400 of total offense, but allowing fumble and kickoff return scores proved to be costly. Lee's high-powered offense will face off against a winless Ludlow (0-4, 0-2 Intercounty South) squad. Ludlow lost 54-28 to Woodstock Academy (Connecticut). The Lions allowed seven rushing touchdowns to Woodstock. A weak rushing defense will bode well for Lee, with Lukas Loehr and Andrew Ruef running the ball. Jake Corcoran showed his top-end speed against the Mounties opposite Ben Harding. Corcoran caught four passes for 174 yards, two of those catches went for scores of 60 and 96, respectively. Homer Winston's doing a good job of spreading the ball to his weapons. Can the Wildcats limit the big plays and avoid a letdown after a tough loss?
Belchertown at Drury, 3:30 p.m. Saturday
The good news about this game is that one team will leave with its first victory of the year. The bad news is the loser may have squandered its best chance at earning a victory. Drury fell to 0-4 (0-2 Intercounty South) with its 54-0 loss to Amherst last week. Belchertown is also 0-4 (0-3 Intercounty South), as the Orioles lost 38-14 to Monument Mountain. The numbers tell the tale of two struggling squads. Drury's allowed about 48 points per game while scoring 7.5. Belchertown's allowed about 42 points per game, but have scored just 5.5. Belchertown's played a slightly harder schedule, with its opponents combining for a 13-2 record. Drury's opponents are 11-5. The Blue Devils also appear to be trending in the wrong direction. They've been outscored 109-0 over their last two games. Offensively, Belchertown may have the advantage at running back. Ben Lovett is a tough runner between the tackles. Drury quarterback Obilio Rodriguez is one of the Blue Devils' few bright spots. Payton Barnes is developing into a quality receiver as well.
Chicopee at Pittsfield, 7 p.m. Saturday
Pittsfield (1-3, 1-0 Suburban North) finally put together a complete game in its 37-0 win over Commerce last week. The Generals had multiple players return to the lineup after missing time with injuries, and a new quick-tempo offense allowed them to keep the Pacers off balance all night. Even with a new offensive approach, earning a shutout was the most impressive part of the Generals' performance. After allowing 111 points over their last three games, Trevon Taylor and Edwin Rodriguez anchored the Generals' defense, holding the Red Raiders to just 132 total yards. Chicopee (1-3, 1-0 Suburban North) pulled out a 20-14 win over Taconic last week. The game was defensive battle, but the Pacers' play-makers made big plays when needed. Quarterback Dylan Conover is a dual-threat signal caller. Steven Matta is a talented two-way player. The Generals' secondary will need to rise to the challenge against the Pacers.
Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.
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