New-look Turners trounced by Wildcats, 35-8

For The Recorder
Friday, September 08, 2017

LEE — For the second consecutive year, Lee High School and Turners Falls High School met to open the high school football season.

And for the second consecutive year, the defending Western Mass. champion had to go on the road in that game and, in turn, left the field with a loss.

The Wildcats scored four first-half touchdowns en route to a 35-8 victory on Friday night. Coming off a 5-5 campaign, Lee finished with over 300 yards of total offense against a Turners team coming off an 11-1 season and the aforementioned Western Mass. title.

Last year, Turners defeated 2015 Western Mass. champion Lee, 20-0, in the season opener.

“Last year we went there, we were pumped up as defending Western Mass. champs, and they kicked our butts,” Lee running back Lukas Loehr said. “We had to come back with that same energy.”

Loehr and his teammates did just that, as he rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns for Lee, while JJ Jiminez added 52 yards, including a 22-yard scamper into the end zone with only 13 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats played well on defense, as Turners had only 5 total yards of offense until it registered a 75-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. Marcus Sanders scored on a 30-yard run to put the Powertown on the board with 2:09 remaining in the contest.

Turners, a senior-heavy team in 2016, had 15 players dressed for the contest.

“That’s a quality program,” Lee coach Keith Thomson said of Turners. “We’ve got a lot of respect for their program, we’ve had some good battles with them the last couple of years. They’re a perennial playoff contender, and right now to look over there and see four guys standing on the sideline, that’s tough.

“So we wish them the best moving forward, hope they can keep it rolling, and come out of this thing alright.”

Jake Corcoran opened the scoring for the Wildcats with a 56-yard punt return touchdown before the Lee offense even touched the field.

Loehr’s 15-yard touchdown run doubled the lead just over halfway through the first quarter and Andrew Reuf made it 21-0 with a 1-yard plunge in the second frame.

Loehr scored one more time early in the third quarter to make it 35-0 in favor of the home team.

“We knew they were low on numbers,” Loehr said. “It’s 11 vs. 11 on the field, but sooner or later they’re going to wear down. And we knew if we kept pounding them up the middle, they were going to get tired.”

Lee had 237 yards rushing and quarterback Homer Winston added 68 yards through the air on 5-of-9 passing. Dominic Bartini, Ben Harding and Loehr all hauled in passes from Winston.

“In the second half we got a little bit vanilla,” Thomson said. “But first half we tried to utilize all the pieces that we have. We feel like we’ve got a lot of team speed. We’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays for us.”