Mount Greylock pulls out OT thriller against Lee in football
LEE — Mount Greylock senior quarterback Michael Wellspeak completed all of two passes from scrimmage in regulation on Friday night against Lee. He was 2 of 3 on two-point conversion passes, but consecutive attempts late in regulation were intercepted, giving the Wildcats a chance to win with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
With all the struggle Wellspeak battled through, his coaches still had faith in him with the game on the line. After Wellspeak scored on a 1-yard run during the first possession in overtime, he found Taylor Cummings on a short pass for a two-point meconversion. That play proved to be the winner as the Mounties defense held strong, pulling out a 36-34 win in overtime.
"We just had to finish," Wellspeak said. "I missed some plays that probably brought down my team, but we just had to finish and they had my back. I knew they weren't going to give up on me, and I wasn't going to give up on them."
After Greylock (3-1, 3-0) scored, Lee (3-1, 1-1) needed just three plays to answer, as Lukas Loehr rushed in from four yards out. The Wildcats passing attack was in sync all night, but when they needed a conversion to extend the game, Homer Winston's pass to Ben Harding was broken up by Sean McCormack to end it.
"This was an old-fashioned slobber-knocker," Lee coach Keith Thomson said. "I'm proud as hell of our guys. Greylock's a terrific team, we knew that coming in. Thought our guys rose to the challenge. We were 3-0 coming in, three blowout wins. You never really find out about a team until their backs are against the wall.
"We got a little adversity. Got down by a couple scores early and boy, they showed what they've got today."
Greylock's touchdown in overtime came after some controversy. On fourth-and-goal from the 11, Wellspeak's pass fell in and out of Eli Ostheimer's hands after a big hit from a Lee defender. The hit drew a personal foul call, giving Greylock the ball back with a new set of downs on the six.
Thomson said he can't fault his player for separating the receiver from the ball with a forceful blow.
Overtime was just as action-packed as a regulation that featured four lead changes and three touchdowns over 50 yards.
Lee looked as if it was heading toward a lopsided loss after Reece Gillette stripped Loehr and went 36 yards the other way for the touchdown. Gillette's second defensive score of the season put Greylock up 22-7 with 1 minute and 34 seconds left in the second quarter.
Instead of playing it safe with less than 30 second remaining in the half, the Wildcats dialed up a play to their big-play receiver. Winston hit Jake Corcoran over the middle for a short gain, Corcoran spun, broke a few tackles and raced 60 yards into the end zone. The successful two-point conversion cut Lee's deficit to seven at halftime.
Lee's explosive plays through the air continued after the intermission. After forcing a Greylock punt to start the quarter, a long Loehr run setup Harding's 22-yard touchdown catch. A missed extra point allowed Greylock to keep a 22-21 lead.
Three plays later, Loehr made an impressive play on a jump ball to McCormack, winning the battle for the ball and getting the interception at the Lee four-yard line. Again, the Wildcats did not play it safe. With their backs against their own end zone, Winston found Corcoran with another short pass along the left sideline. This time, a nice block sprung the accomplished hockey player, and he sprinted 96 yards for the score and a 28-22 lead. Corcoran made three catches for 174 yards and two scores.
"We've got a lot of weapons," Thomson said. "We've got a lot of weapons and a lot of people we can turn to to make plays. They were really focused on Ben Harding, who also had a terrific game. ... [Corcoran] is definitely the fastest guy on our team — and they found out tonight — one of the fastest guys in Berkshire County."
Another player that could vie for fastest player in the county is Messina. Before Lee could even breathe a sigh of relief after coming back from a three-score deficit, Messina took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for the score. A failed two-point conversion left the score tied at 28 with 2:28 left in the third.
The fourth quarter was a defensive struggle, setting the stage for overtime. Winston completed 8 of 16 passing for 209 yards and three scores. Loehr led all rushers with 147 yards on 19 carries. He threw a touchdown pass, as well, on a tricky flea-flicker to Dominic Bartini in the second quarter. Messina led Greylock with 54 yards rushing and a touchdown on 13 carries.
The win allows Greylock to keep pace with Lee, a fellow potential contender for a Division VIII tournament berth. Greylock coach Andrew Agostini said his team's developed the poise to pull out tough games.
"Mental toughness is something we talk about," he said. "I don't think it's something you're born with, I think it's something you earn. I think we've worked on that just being tough. In practice this week we went over a lot of situations, maybe not these particular ones that we came into. But we always do weird thing and look at weird things and just try to be as prepared as we can.
"But this was about the kids and the heart and desire they played with."
Greylock heads to Monument Mountain next Saturday to face the 3-0 Spartans, while Lee heads to Ludlow on Friday.
Greylock 6 16 6 0 8 — 36
Lee 0 15 13 0 6 — 34
M — Michael Wellspeak 30 run (run failed), 2:01.
L — Dominic Bartini 13 pass from Lukas Loehr (Will Consolati kick), 7:12.
M — Cal Messina 18 run (Sean McCormack from Wellspeak), 3:25.
M — Reece Gillette 36 fumble return (McCormack from Wellspeak), 1:34.
L — Jake Corcoran 60 pass from Homer Winston (Ben Harding from Winston), :18.
L — Harding 22 pass from Winston (kick missed), 5:03.
L — Corcoran 96 pass from Winston (Consolati kick), 2:43.
L — Messina 80 kickoff return (pass failed), 2:28.
M — Wellspeak 1 run (Taylor Cummings from Wellspeak).
L — Loehr 4 run (pass failed).
Rushes yards 30-139 36-211
Comp-att-int 2-8-2 9-17-1
Passing yards 35 209
Penalties-yards 2-25 6-60
Fumbles lost 0-0 3-1
RUSHING — Greylock: Jude Rorke 2-8, Cal Messina 13-54, Mike Wellspeak 10-48, Taylor Cummings 3-21, Sean McCormack 2-8. Lee: Andrew Reuf 13-38, Homer Winston 3-20, Lukas Loehr 19-147, Dominic Bartini 1-6.
PASSING — Greylock: Wellspeak 2-8-2 35. Winston 8-16-1 209. Loehr 1-1 13.
RECEIVING — Greylock: Eli Ostheimer 2-35. Lee: Ben Harding 2-33, Bartini 2-16, J.J. Jimenez 1-0, Jake Corcoran 3-174, Loher 1-(minus 1).
Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.
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.