Mount Greylock holds on for 22-20 win over Mahar in football

ORANGE — The fans got their money's worth, that's for sure.

In an independent tilt Friday at the Woodward Complex, the Mount Greylock Regional High School football team used big plays to take a lead and then protected it, holding on to beat upstart Mahar, 22-20.

Clinging to a 22-20 advantage, the Mounties (6-1) were 15 yards from increasing the lead with a first-and-10 from Mahar's 15-yard line with 4 minutes, 27 seconds left in the contest. Quarterback Michael Wellspeak took the snap, but confusion in the backfield led to the ball hitting the ground, and Mahar's Quinn Gervais pounced on it for the recovery at the Senators' 22.

Mahar then marched the ball 55 yards to the Mounties' 23, where on second-and-12, quarterback Sam Paul lofted a pass toward Jordan Desrosiers who was racing down the sideline. It looked like the connection was inevitable, but out of nowhere came Greylock's Eli Ostheimer — in his first game back from a concussion — to intercept the ball in the end zone for the touchback with 42 seconds remaining.

Mahar (2-4) forced a three-and-out and get a couple of desperation plays as the clock wound down, but two sacks of Paul ended the Senators' chances.

"I'm not happy with the result, obviously," said Senators head coach Chris Bailey. "But I can't say enough about the effort. The kids played hard, and they played well."

Mahar looked like it was going to grab an early lead after it took the opening kickoff at its own 16 and held the ball for seven minutes on a 15-play drive before turning the ball over on downs at the Greylock 20. On a fourth-and-2, running back John Gariepy was marked just inches shy.

Two plays later, Wellspeak found Ostheimer cutting across the middle, and he did the rest, taking it in for an 80-yard score. Wellspeak then converted the two-pointer on a keeper, and the Mounties led, 8-0, with 3:23 left in the first.

Mahar was not rattled, and again went on a sustained, 14-play drive, this time finishing it off on a great grab by Desrosiers in the corner of the end zone. Mahar's two-point try failed, making it 8-6 with 7:52 left in the half.

Greylock started the next possession at its own 45 and gained 35 yards on three rushes. The Mounties again went to the air, as Wellspeak hit Sean McCormack with a 20-yard strike for the touchdown. Wellspeak again tacked on two more points on a keeper, extending the lead to 16-6 with 6:03 remaining in the frame.

The Senators took possession at their own 40, and drove 60 yards in nine plays, capped off by a five-yard scoring run by Gariepy, who also hauled in a 20-yard pass from Paul on the march. Mahar's two-point attempt was unsuccessful, and Mount Greylock took a 16-12 lead into the half.

Mahar kicked off to begin the third quarter, and Gariepy, who is also the place kicker, dribbled a perfect onside kick that he recovered himself at the Greylock 44. Mahar moved the ball to the Mounties' 8, but was unable to capitalize, as on a fourth-and-3, a Paul pass to the end zone was ruled incomplete.

The teams traded possessions before the Mounties struck again, this time on a 19-yard laser from Wellspeak to McCormack. The try for two failed, but it was back to a 10-point lead for Greylock with 56 seconds left in the third.

Mahar decided to feature its ground game, and it paid off in a big way. On an eight-play drive, Paul carried three times for 21 yards and Gariepy added 42 yards on four hauls, including a five-yard touchdown. Gariepy added two more on the conversion, which cut the lead to 22-20 Mounties. That would ultimately be the final.

Wellspeak was 7-of-11 for 184 yards for the Mounties, with 104 of those yards to McCormack. Paul was 9-for-19 for 137 yards and the one interception. Gariepy led all rushers with 155 yards on 26 carries, including 113 yards in the second half. In all, Mahar ran 73 offensive plays to Greylock's 30.

The Mounties head to Amherst on Friday to round out the regular season. With a win, the Mounties will secure an Intercounty South title.


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