Lee football drops opener at Turners Falls
MONTAGUE >> Two of last year's Western Massachusetts Division VI playoff entrants, now realigned to the new Division IV-A, met to start the 2016 football season Friday night.
Turners Falls High School got a quick early jump en route to a 20-0 shutout of defending Western Mass. champion Lee High School at Bourdeau Field.
Turners (1-0) jumped to a 6-0 lead on its first possession and carried it late into the third quarter before the Indians added a pair of scores.
Quinn Doyle rushed 23 times for 107 yards and a touchdown to lead the hosts. Tionne Brown threw a touchdown pass to Nick Croteau and Ricky Craver snapped off a 35-yard scoring run early in the fourth to cap the scoring.
Lee's best chance for points came late in the second quarter, after a Wildcat punt was touched by a Turners player and covered by Michael Hurley at the Indians' 31 with 2:15 to play. Three runs by Nic Castillo and an 8-yard scramble by quarterback Homer Winston put the ball at the Turners 11, but the clock ran out on the Wildcats before they could advance any further.
The 'Cats' four second-half possessions resulted in two punts, a lost fumble and a loss on downs. In all, Lee (0-1) totaled seven first downs and 122 yards of offense, led by 40 rushing yards from Lucas Loehr and 31 yards by Winston.
"Give Turners all the credit, I thought they out-physicaled us from start to finish," said Wildcats coach Keith Thomson. "Defensively, they were aggressive and got a lot of hats around the football. They forced some costly mistakes from us.
"We'll try to fix our issues. This was a test for us, to see where we're at as a football team. Last year's gone, this is a brand-new team with some of the same components. Our sophomore quarterback (Winston) showed some composure, threw some nice balls, and kept us out of bad situations."
Turners got a big play to open the game, with Brown airing out a 55-yard completion to Owen Ortiz before Lee's Cole Redstone made a saving tackle at the Wildcat 4. Three plays netted three yards before Doyle went in standing up from the 1, putting Turners up 6-0 with 7:06 left in the first. Brown's two-point conversion pass intended for Ortiz fell incomplete.
Lee then failed on fourth-and-1 at the Turners 45 after Winston (5-of-12 passing, 34 yards) missed connection with Patrick Finnegan. The teams later exchanged fumble recoveries in the span of less than a minute, with the Wildcats' Shane Cloutier and the Indians' Tahner Castine doing the honors.
First-half offense favored Turners with 85 yards and three first downs to Lee's 66 yards and four first downs.
The Indians then capitalized on a strip-sack of Winston by Ricky Smith, with Kyle Bergmann pouncing on the ball at the Lee 14. On third-and-7 at the 11, Brown lofted a pass to the left boundary on which Croteau made a sliding, sprawling catch just inside the sideline. Lee stopped Doyle on the two-point attempt, but the Indians held a 12-0 edge with 2:15 to go in the third.
The hosts then got a 34-yard run by Doyle to start their next series and Craver turned a delayed dive over the right side into a 35-yard score with 7:43 remaining. Doyle punched in the two-pointer for a 20-0 advantage.
Lee plays its home opener against Palmer High School Friday night.