Pittsfield is green: Taconic takes home City Championship in football with 2OT win over Generals

Nikos Gian gained 112 yards and scored 3 TDs. But it was his fumble recovery in the second OT that clinched the city title for Taconic.
HOWARD HERMAN - THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
It took 2 overtimes, but Taconic retained the city championship by beating Pittsfield.
HOWARD HERMAN - THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
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STEPHANIE ZOLLSHAN - THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
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PITTSFIELD — It is a time-honored statement, almost a cliche, in rivalry games. Throw the records out the window. Friday night, what Taconic had done in the previous seven weeks didn't mean much.

Cedric Rose scored both of the Braves' touchdowns in overtime and Nikos Gian recovered a Pittsfield fumble in the second overtime as the Braves kept the City Championship Trophy with a hard-fought, 38-32 win in double overtime over the Generals. The loss was Pittsfield's second overtime loss of the season.

"Our record wasn't nearly what we wanted, but this was big," said Rose, one of Taconic's seniors. "This was our season right here, to keep that trophy at Taconic."

Pittsfield kept getting up off the mat in this one. The Generals sent the game into overtime thanks to a 13-play, 91-yard drive late in the fourth quarter.

The Generals recovered a fumble by Taconic's Sal Amaral on the 9-yard line. The drive included converting on fourth down, when Joe Traversa took a pitch from D'Andre Johnson and got a tough two yards to move the sticks. Johnson sent the game into overtime with a one-yard run to score. Emmanuel Nda's point-after kick was just wide left, as PHS went for the win on the kick.

Nda's kick might have missed, but so did all but one two-point conversion attempt by both teams. Had one or two others been made, the game might never have seen overtime.

"It's great to keep the trophy back in our house," Taconic coach Jim Ziter said. "It was for the seniors. They did a great job. This was for the seniors on their day."

In high school football, overtimes start on the 10-yard line, and a team has four downs to score.

Taconic won the toss at the start of overtime and elected to play defense. On third down, Pittsfield's Edwin Rodriguez (24 carries, 125 yards) broke two tackles in the backfield and got in for the touchdown. On the two-point conversion, Johnson's pass to Donte Cruz was picked off by Cole Lander. The Taconic defensive back would have gotten credit for two points had he run it the distance, but he was stopped after a 10-yard run.

Taconic took over and Rose, who also ran a punt back 65 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown, pounded it in from a yard out. The missed PAT tied the game at 32.

Taconic started on offense in the second overtime, and Rose went around right end and was virtually untouched.

"It was just a quick pitch to the outside," Rose said. "I saw an open lane and I saw the end zone. I had to get in."

It was Pittsfield's turn next. Rodriguez gained two yards on first down and Jamal Beda was stopped just shy of the end zone. But on third down, there was a problem with the exchange from center, and Gian recovered the loose ball to give Taconic the win and the city title.

"It was the biggest thing I saw," Gian said of the football on the ground. "What I saw right there was the trophy right there. That's all I saw and I went for it."

Gian also had a big night on offense. He rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries, and had three touchdowns. He scored on runs of one, seven and 21 yards.

Neither team led by more than a touchdown in the game. Taconic led 8-0 after one quarter. The score was tied at the end of every other quarter.

"It was awesome," Ziter said of the game. "Pittsfield High is a well-coached team. Coach [Brian] Jezewski does a great job.

"It was a lot of fun to be a part of it."

———

Pittsfield     0     14     6     6     6     0          32

Taconic     8     6     6     6     6     6          38

First Quarter

T — Nikos Gian 1 run (Sal Amaral run), 1:28.

Second Quarter

P — Joe Traversa 4 run (Pass failed), 10:01.

P — D'Andre Johnson 1 run (Jamal Beda run), 3:18.

T — Gian 7 run (Run failed), 0:19.

Third Quarter

T — Gian 21 run (Run failed), 5:44.

P — Noah Beckwith 13 pass from D'Andre Johnson (Run failed), 3:14.

Fourth Quarter

T — Cedric Rose 65 punt return (Run failed), 10:29.

P — D. Johnson 1 run (Kick failed), 0:36.

First Overtime

P — Edwin Rodriguez 3 run (Pass failed)

T — Rose 1 run (Run failed)

Second Overtime

T — Rose 10 run (Run failed).

———

     PHS     TAC

First Downs     18     13

Rushes-Yards     51-195     50-231

Passing Yards     103     0

Comp-Att-Int     7-13-1     0-1-0

Punts-Avg.     2-24.5     2-29.5

Fumbles-Lost     2-1     2-2

Penalties-Yards     8-61     6-45

———

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — PHS: Sebastian Guilce 3-7, Edwin Rodriguez 24-125, Jamal Beda 11-55, Trevon Taylor 3-6, D'Andre Johnson 7-(minus-16), Joe Traversa 3-18. TAC: Cedric Rose 15-72, Hunter Johnston 8-34, Nikos Gian 19-112, Lucien Almeida 1-2, Sal Amaral 5-4, Dylan Burke 2-7.

PASSING — PHS: Johnson 7-13-1 103. TAC: Amaral 0-1-0 0.

RECEIVING — PHS: Rodriguez 2-21, Beda 1-22, Donte Cruz 2-36, Beckwith 1-13, Traversa 1-11.

Reach sports writer Howard Herman at 413-496-6253 or @howardherman.


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