The stage is set: Four Berkshire County football teams in Western Mass. Super Bowl semis

Saturday November 24, 2012

Mahar Regional's football team is nowhere to be found in this year's Western Massachusetts Division III football playoffs. But that didn't keep Mount Greylock from being assigned to Mahar for a first-round game.

"We definitely look at their field in that it's been very friendly to us," said Flaherty.

It's the third consecutive year the Mounties will begin their quest for a Division III Super Bowl title in Mahar. This year, the second-seeded Mounties will play No. 3 Greenfield in the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday at 5:15 p.m.

Greylock is one of four Berkshire County teams playing for the right to participate in Saturday's Super Bowl. The big game will be played at Westfield State at 5:15, where No. 2 Wahconah Regional plays No. 3 Hoosac Valley. That game is big because the winner advances to Saturday's Division II Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on Saturday at 6 p.m.

The other Division III semifinal features No. 4 St. Joseph's against top-seed Belchertown at Holyoke High School's Roberts Stadium. That game will also kick off at 5:15.

The Division III Super Bowl game will be the third game of the three-game series at Westfield State. Last year's games at Westfield were scheduled for 10 a.m., 12:30 and 3 p.m. This year, the Division IV Super Bowl will begin the day, followed by Divisions I and III.

The four playoff sites are all at fields with lights and artificial turf.

Flaherty said, "It is quite a ride to play a football game." The Greylock coach said he wasn't superstitious and therefore doesn't necessarily believe in any karma involving Mahar. It is, however, a place the Mounties are more than comfortable playing at.

"The kids absolutely love the field. The kids look forward to it," said Flaherty, whose team is looking to make it 5-0 in Super Bowl games. "It's a home away from home."

Three of the four teams have been recent Super Bowl participants. The Mounties beat Lee last year and Athol in 2010, while Hoosac defeated East Longmeadow in 2009 and Wahconah lost to Auburn in 2008. That was the last year of the Western/Central Super Bowl games.

Wahconah last won a Super Bowl title in 2003, while St. Joseph's last appeared in 2005 and hasn't won a Super Bowl title since beating East Longmeadow in 1995.

"We're very excited. The core guys have worked really hard to get here," St. Joseph's coach Gary Bianchi said. "They're looking forward to playing Belchertown and then hopefully having a Berkshire County final."

If the Mounties and Crusaders both win Tuesday, it'll be a rematch of the game on Oct. 19 that Greylock won 44-6.

Bianchi's team got back to work Friday, will practice throughout the weekend and possibly get a workout on the Fieldhouse turf facility in New York.

"This is the best part, to see the kids enjoying themselves," said Bianchi. "We're excited as a staff."

Hoosac will face a team it beat 21-8 on Oct. 6. The last time the Hurricanes were on the field at Westfield State, they won the Super Bowl.

"It's good to know where you're going and what you're doing," said Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot. "Westfield is a great facility. I'm glad that's where we're going."


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