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Indians rally past Mahar, 19-12

TURNERS FALLS — On a cool and crisp Friday evening tailor-made for high school football, Turners Falls High School came back from an early 12-point deficit and defeated Mahar Regional School, 19-12, in an Intercounty League football game at the Bourdeau Fields Complex.

In a game both teams needed to keep their playoff hopes alive, Mahar (3-4 overall, 3-3 IL) came out strong and appeared poised to extend its three-game winning streak. After a strong defensive series to begin the game, the Senators took the ball at their own 16 yard line and proceeded to run through the Indians defense, seemingly at will.

Malik Adams led the charge, rushing for 48 yards on six carries on the 15-play, 86-yard drive in which the Senators never needed to put the ball in the air. Adams capped the drive with a 5-yard scoring run, and Mahar had a 6-0 lead with 2 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Both defenses then settled in through the bulk of the second quarter, and Malik Adams showed his skills on that side of the ball as well. Adams intercepted a Malcolm Smith pass three yards deep in the end zone, and returned it 70 yards to the Indians 33 yard line.

Troix Adams did the bulk of the work on the ensuing drive, rushing for 20 yards on two carries, nearly running the second into the end zone. He was stopped just inside the 1 yard line, however, and on fourth-and-goal, Senator quarterback Logan Barrett caught the Indians defense off guard — throwing his first pass of the game — hitting Troix Adams for the touchdown. For the second time in as many scores, the Senators could not put in the two-point conversion, and settled for a 12 point lead with 2:47 remaining in the first half.

After another strong defensive stand by the Senators, Mahar got the ball back at its own 15 with just over a minute to play, and after a quick 11-yard run by Malik Adams, Turners got the break it needed to get back into the game when Barrett threw a backward pass that bounced off the turf and into the hands of the Indians.

Turners (6-1, 5-1) took over at the Senators 24, and junior running back Alex Carlisle wasted no time, running it 15 yards to the 9, setting up a first-and-goal. Two plays later, Smith found Melvin Moreno in the end zone, cutting the Senators’ lead in half with 44 seconds remaining. Turners set up for the point after, but it was a fake, and the pass fell harmlessly, and the Indians went to the locker room still down six.

The defenses were again on display in the third quarter, which was scoreless and featured two punts for Mahar and one for Turners. Mahar was also forced to punt from its own 8 on the first play of the fourth, and that’s when the night began to unravel for the Senators.

Smith led the Indians on a five-play, 45 yard drive, culminating with a 14-yard pass to Carlisle, who had 28 total yards on the series. Moreno added the extra point, and Turners took its first lead with 8:55 remaining in the game.

The Indians’ defense kept the pressure on Mahar, forcing yet another punt, but Turners gave the ball right back to the Senators when Smith threw his second interception of the night into the waiting hands of Mahar’s Angel Biegen. The Senators could do nothing with their good fortune, however, fumbling the ball back to the Indians just three plays later at the Mahar 27.

The re-energized Indians went back to the running game, this time with sophomore running back Jalen Sanders, who ran it 20 yards into the end zone on a third-and three, giving the Indians a 7 point lead at 19-7 with 2:59 remaining. The Indians decided to try a PAT to make the lead 8, but Moreno missed wide left, and Mahar would get one more shot to try to tie or win the game.

It appeared that the Senators just might get it done, as they drove the ball from their own 47, and had a first-and 10 from the Indians 12. It was not to be however, as Barrett lofted an ill-advised pass toward the end zone, and his Indians’ counterpart Smith, who plays safety on defense hauled in the pass for an interception that effectively ended the night, and most likely any hope of the playoffs for Mahar.

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