Eagles pull away late from Warriors, 35-12

  • The Mohawk football team takes the field carrying the American flag on Friday night. Recorder staff/josh solomon

Recorder Staff
Friday, September 08, 2017

BUCKLAND — Trading blows throughout the first half and for a few minutes in the second, Franklin County Technical School struggled to build a lead Friday night. 

The Eagles tried to extend a 7-6 advantage right before halftime, but fumbled the ball away on its own side of the field. They scored a touchdown right out of the gate in the third quarter, only to give up a 65-yard touchdown run on the second play of the ensuing drive.

One step forward, one step back.

But one big play — a bootleg by senior quarterback Seth Aldrich that saw him connect with senior fullback Spencer Telega for a big 44-yard touchdown — set the tone for the remainder of the night. The Eagles would close out well from there, scoring 20 unanswered points for a 35-12 independent victory in the season-opener Friday night at Pollard Field in Buckland. 

“We feel we have a lot of things to clean up as a team but what we showed in the second half is what we're expecting to show for 44 minutes every week,” FC Tech head coach Joe Gamache said. 

It was a game that pitted two former Turkey Day rivals, both teams looking to replace 1,000-yard rushers in the new season. The Warriors switched quarterbacks and running backs throughout the game, looking for the right groove, while the Eagles stuck with Aldrich under center and featured a fearsome duo in the backfield in the form of Telega and sophomore Bailey Young.

“A year ago we had a feature back that did all of the rushing and scoring for us, but this year we want to spread the ball around and make it tough for teams to scout us,” offered Gamache, referring to graduated tailback Dylan Mailloux.

After a scoreless first quarter, Mohawk put together a scoring drive to start the second quarter. The Warriors took what would be their only lead of the game, 6-0, on a TD pass.

After the shock wore off, the Eagles responded on their ensuing drive. Rolling to his left and throwing across his body with the coaches and players on the sideline yelling “run, run,” Aldrich hoisted a pass downfield for a 35-yard gain to sophomore Antonio Govan. 

“They told me to run and I threw it,” Aldrich said. “I saw (Govan) open, but I probably should've ran. But he made a good catch, a very good catch.” 

The momentum shifted on the benches following the catch. The Eagles pounded the ball into the end zone behind its two backs, with Telega bulling in from one-yard out. The extra point put Tech ahead, 7-6, on what amounted to a 65 yard touchdown drive.

Despite commanding the rest of the half, the Eagles almost blew away that tight lead when pressing for a potential extra score from their own 37-yard line. Aldrich rolled around with less than a minute to play, searching for someone down the field. With no one to throw to, he scrambled and juggled the ball, fumbling it loose. Mohawk recovered, though the Warriors couldn’t quite punch it in with the clock winding down and the Eagles took the 7-6 advantage into the half.

“Certainly wasn't the way we looked to close out the half but we made some adjustments,” Gamache said. “And the kids responded really well.” 

That response came slowly though. 

Tech opened the second half with a touchdown on a string of nine runs, started off with a huge 38-yard burst through the seam by Young. 

The Warriors responded with their own touchdown on two plays, scoring on a 65-yard run by junior Jordan Grenier. 

On the ensuing drive however, Aldrich dumped it off to his trusty running back, Telega, who then pounded his way through the Mohawk defense. Looking like he would be stopped before he had a chance to bounce it in, Mailloux laid a huge hit down the field to clear the rest of the way to spring Telega free for a 44-yard TD.

“Obviously we started a little slow. There's probably a little first game jitters there,” Gamache said.  “Mohawk came out and played tough, especially in that first half.”