Monument Mountain rides ground game to beat Drury in opener
GREAT BARRINGTON — With less than two minutes remaining, Drury needed a third-and-four stop in order to get the ball back and mount a comeback. The Spartans gave the ball to Jack O'Brien, who drove up the middle for six yards, icing a 14-6 win on opening night.
"Over the years I've always been a bigger kid and I've got big thighs," O'Brien said after the game. "Coaches have taught me to just keep on running and go downhill. I've got to the speed to get downhill, but I couldn't have done it without my offensive line. They were amazing tonight, it was awesome."
With the help of his offensive line, O'Brien was the definition of ground-and-pound, finding himself fighting for extra yardage in a pile of linemen. He finished the night with 107 yards on 20 carries and also added a touchdown.
"We've been working for the last three weeks and conditioning like crazy and the mindset was we would go in, give it our best and come out with a win," O'Brien said. "That is what we did — it's awesome."
The Spartans complimented O'Brien's power with the speed of sophomore Ashton Aloisi, who added 53 yards on 16 carries, highlighted by a three-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Center Caden O'Roarke joined the backfield on the two-point try and carried it in for a successful attempt, giving Monument an early 8-0 lead.
The running game allowed sophomore starting quarterback Ty Duquette to find his rhythm as the signal caller for the Spartans.
"When he stepped on a freshmen from Mount Everett, I could tell immediately that he has all the tools," Monument coach Dennis Martin said. "He has the natural way about him and it was all about development. I see good things for Ty and it is really starting to show and we have a very capable backup in Hunter. We're pleased we have two young men who will continue to get better and better."
Duquette also made a name for himself on defense as he made a handful of key stops and halted Drury's momentum early in the second half.
After Blue Devil quarterback Keeghan Vidal scrambled for a 14-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to just eight, Drury's Anthony Pettengill recovered an onside kick on Monument's 48-yard line with nine minutes left in the third quarter.
The Blue Devils reached into their bag of tricks on first-and-10 from the 37 as Vidal tossed the ball to Pettengill, who delivered a perfect pass to senior Payton Barnes for a 29-yard gain.
Later in the drive, Vidal completed a first-down pass to freshmen Trey Lepecier for a nine-yard gain to set up a second-and-one.
"I am excited about the passing game," Drury coach Al Marceau said. "We had some wrong routes and a few blitzes, once we clean that up the passing game is there."
Needing one yard with a down to work with, the Blue Devils took to the air again. The Spartan pass rush forced a throw that was tipped by Reece Mullen, before Duquette secured the ball for the interception, killing Drury's momentum.
"We were stout on the line, which is exactly what we needed," Martin said. "I think we won the battle at the line of scrimmage and I always tell them, you have to win that before you can go any further."
Drury's Dante Woodson displayed his quickness all evening, especially on a third-and-15 in which he ran into a linemen, ran laterally to the other side of the field and then broke free for 30 yards, setting up Drury's one scoring drive. However, the Spartan defense did just enough to keep Woodson from breaking the game open, holding him to 36 yards on 11 carries.
"You can't pass unless you effectively run the ball and it seemed like we would come out and run the ball well one series and then it would just shut down," Marceau said.
The Blue Devils have a week two bye before their home opener on Sept. 21. The Spartans return to action next Friday as they host Frontier, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
Drury 0 0 0 6 — 6
Monument 8 0 6 0 — 14
MM — Ashton Aloisi 3-yard run, 8:09 (Caden O'Rourke run)
MM — Jack O'Brien 3-yard run, 1:14 (Run failed)
D — Keeghan Vidal 14-yard run, 8:40 (Run failed_
Rushing — M: O'Brien 20-107, TD; Ashton Aloisi 16-53, TD; Reece Mullen 5-15. D: Dante Woodson 11-36; Keeghan Vidal 2-19, TD; Seth Schultheis 4-7.
Passing — D: Vidal 2-9, 46 yards, TD; Anthony Pettengill 1-1 29 yards.
Receiving — D: Trey Lepecier 1-9; Payton Barnes 1-29; Pettengill 1-35.
Jake Mendel can be reached at email@example.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.