Indians take it to Hawks, 34-0
SOUTH DEERFIELD — It had been 14 years since Turners Falls High School had beaten Intercounty League foe Frontier Regional School on the gridiron, but on Saturday afternoon, the Indians were able to end that in convincing fashion.
Senior tailback Ryan Wilder rushed for 154 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries, and Turners scored 27 second-half points to pull away from the Red Hawks, 34-0, in an IL football game that was Frontier’s home opener.
After their first victory over Frontier since 1998, Indians head coach Chris Lapointe said, “It feels great.”
Ironically, Lapointe was the starting quarterback for Turners’ in its last win against Frontier.
Rather than just simply put an end to the 14-year drought, Turners (4-2 overall, 2-2 IL) put an exclamation point on it by dominating the Red Hawks (2-2, 1-1).
The first half was anybody’s game, with the Indians leading 7-0 after Wilder’s 11-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter.
The second half was a far different story.
After a solid Frontier first half powered by running backs Matt Ackerman (10 carries 42 yards) and Justin Blake (eight carries 35 yards) the Red Hawks couldn’t get anything going offensively after the halftime break. It didn’t help that they committed four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) after intermission.
Yet, it wasn’t just a lack of execution by Frontier, but the strong second-half by visiting Indians quarterback Malcolm Smith that helped Turners. After not completing any of his three pass attempts in the first half, Smith got hot in the second, going 4-for-4 with 116 yards and a touchdown.
In addition to Smith’s strong half, it was Wilder who was solid all game long. With another impressive performance, Wilder has eight touchdowns in his last two games, and now leads western Massachusetts in rushing yards with 894, as he closes in rapidly on the single-season 1,000-yard plateau.
Wilder didn’t do it alone. His offensive line was once again stellar, opening holes and clearing the way for success.
“These kids are grinding it out, working hard each and every day, and he (Wilder) respects that,” says Lapointe. “He knows how important they are and he thanks them.”
Not one to gloat, Lapointe was direct as his victorious team boarded the bus.
“Enjoy this victory,” he praised, “but come Monday we have more work to do.”