Indians win; Wilder hurt
TURNERS FALLS — Another week, another win for the Turners Falls High School football program — but this one may have come at a price.
The Indians easily handled Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 21-6, in an Intercounty League showdown at Bourdeau Fields Friday night, but lost star senior tailback Ryan Wilder late in the game to an ankle injury which, initially, appeared to be minor.
“He was blocking for Alex (Osowski) and one of the defensive lineman fell on him, at least that’s what it looked like,” Turners Falls coach Chris Lapointe said afterward. “It doesn’t look serious at this point.”
Trainers attempted to wrap Wilder’s ankle so he could return, but he had a tough time putting weight on it, so he stayed out for the remainder of the second half. Wilder could be heard telling coaches as he left the field that the leg would be fine, and he was urged to ice it stay off it as much as possible by the staff.
Up until the injury, Wilder was having another solid night, factoring in all three Indian touchdowns. The first came at the end of a surgical opening offensive drive which saw new deep threat John Ollari catch three of his five passes of the night. Wilder capped off the eight-play, 65 yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. T.J. Meyer kicked the extra point to make the score 7-0 Turners.
The Indians scored again on the next series with a nice bit of razzle-dazzle between Wilder and Ollari. A short punt gave Turners the ball on the Warriors 46. Two plays later, on the Mohawk 35, Turners quarterback Malcom Smith hit Wilder with a ten-yard pass. Wilder caught the ball then flipped it to the trailing Ollari, hook-and-lateral style, who then ran it back 25 yards for the score — a play which Lapointe freely admitted he took right out of the playbook of Mohawk Coach Jim Smith.
“He’s run it on us a time or two,” Lapointe said. “We actually added that play this week in practice, and it was nice to see it work as well as it did.”
Meyer’s kick sailed wide right, keeping the score 13-0.
It looked like Turners might blow the game open on the next offensive series, only to have two big gainers called back because of penalties. A holding call negated a huge run by Dominic Emery which would have given Turners first and goal on the Mohawk 5. And a pass completion from Smith to Ollari which would have given the Indians the ball at midfield was called back by a chop block as the first quarter came to an end.
Mohawk had a difficult time getting much of a ground game established because of a tenacious Turners run defense, but the Warriors managed to get on the board in the second quarter, courtesy of a 2-yard Ryan Pease touchdown run set up by a brilliant 38-yard pass from Buntin to sophomore wideout Stephen Reynolds. Buntin’s point-after pass fell incomplete, keeping the score 13-6 going into halftime.
Turners added its final score early in the third quarter, when a blocked Mohawk quick kick set the Indians up on the Warrior 25. Four plays later, Wilder took it into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. Smith managed to hit senior receiver Dan McCormack with a two-point conversion pass on a broken play caused by a high snap on the point-after kick.
Wilder was injured on the next Turners series, but he was not the only player in this game forced to seek medical attention. Mohawk running back Jeremiah Jones left the same in the first half with a right ankle injury, and wingback Bryce MacLeod also was forced to leave in the first half because of a concussion.