LEE — Easthampton’s stingy defense stymied a potent Lee High offense as the Eagles edged the Wildcats, 20-19 Friday night at John J. Consolati Field.
The Intercounty South showdown Friday night left both teams 2-1 in the division as the two squads battle for a spot in the playoffs. The Wildcats will visit Hoosac Valley (3-0 Intercounty South) on Saturday.
For Lee, the hometown team could not hold a 19-14 halftime lead, unable to sustain any offense after the mid-way point thanks to the Eagles’ swarming, tenacious defense.
Photos: Lee football faces Easthampton at home
On Friday in Lee, visiting Easthampton escaped with a 20-19 victory.
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“We take a lot of pride in our defense, we knew the defense would win games,” said Luke Kraus, a safety on defense who also scored the game-winning touchdown on offense.
Easthampton frustrated the high-powered Lee offense most of the night as the Wildcats vaunted running game mustered just 15 total yards on 24 carries.
“We didn’t execute and we got beat up front, and they put pressure on Hayden all night,” Lee head coach Keith Thomson said of his quarterback Hayden Siok.
Siok threw three touchdown passes and racked up 143 yards, but only completed 13 of the 25 attempts he made through the air and was intercepted twice, one a pick-6.
In all, Lee had four turnovers, which included two fumbles, while Easthampton coughed up the ball twice and Shea Healy threw one interception.
Easthampton head coach Matt Bean was thrilled to grab a road win and overcome a wild, mistake–filled first 24 minutes.
“Coming up here and winning a game on the road is big,” said Bean.
The winning score came with 11 minutes, 19 seconds left in the game. Kraus took the handoff from Healy and burst through the left side of the line into the end zone for the only score of the second half.
The Eagles defense opened the scoring when Edward Przbyla picked off Siok’s first pass of the game at the Lee 17-yard line and sprinted into the end zone. Toss in a successful 2-point conversion and the visitors were up 8-0.
Lee countered by taking advantage of great field position deep in Easthampton’s territory after recovering a fumble at 10:37 of the second quarter. Four plays later on a fourth-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Siok threw a tight spiral to fellow senior Dylan Ely crossing in front in the end zone to cut the lead to 8-6.
Then the scoring came fast and furious with three touchdowns in a span of 79 seconds.
The Wildcats grabbed their first lead of the night by taking advantage of getting the ball on the Easthampton 30 after Healy threw an incomplete pass on fourth down rather than punt with 7 minutes left in the half. Four plays later, Lee jumped ahead 12-8 when Siok threw a screen pass to Elliot Winston, who ran in for the score at the 4:55 mark.
Easthampton wasted no time answering the Wildcats touchdown with a 66-yard catch-and-run 15 seconds later by BB Tauscher who caught the ball in the flat and outran the Lee secondary.
The Eagles’ 14-12 lead didn’t last long. On third-and-5 at the Lee 40, Siok hit a wide-open Ely who got behind the defense catching Siok’s pass near the Easthampton 25-yard line. From there he scored with ease, with 3:36 left in the half giving the Wildcats that 19-14 lead following Matt Petrescu kicking the extra point.
Easthampton 8 6 0 6 — 20
Lee 0 19 0 0 — 19
E — Edqard Przbyla 17 interception return (2pt conv.), 3:19
L — Dylan Ely 7 pass from Hayden Siok (pass fail), 8:11
L — Elliot Winston 17 pass from Siok (run fail), 4:55
E — BB Tauscher 66 pass from Shea Healy (run fail), 4:40
L — Ely 60 pass from Siok (Matt Petrescu kick), 3:36
E — Luke Kraus 5 run (run fail), 11:19
RUSHING — L: Tyler Bartini 5-25, Elliot Winston, 3-14, Cam Tyer 4-(-11), Cam Freeman 6-1, Mason Mihlek 1-(-9), Hayden Siok 5(-5); E: Giancarlo Osiecki 13-50, BB Tauscher 6-37, Shea Healy 5-7, Luke Kraus 4-35, Angel Moody 2-8, Keith Cudworth 1-10.
PASSING — L: Siok 14-25-2 143yds; L: Healy 5-10-1 101 yards.
RECEIVING — Tyler Bartini 7-49, Winston 1-17, Dylan Ely 3-63, Cam Freeman 2-15, Shaun Kinney 1-(-1); E: Cudworth 1-18, Kraus 1-16, Osiecki 2-67, Hogan 1-(-2).