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Senior-Day Eagles soar, 36-0

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) looks for an opening during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) looks for an opening during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Kyle Laffey (34) makes a run for it during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Kyle Laffey (34) makes a run for it during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles players tackle Dean Tech Hawks quarterback Joe Colon (#3) during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles players tackle Dean Tech Hawks quarterback Joe Colon (#3) during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Brett Bean (#12) and other team-mates move in on Dean Tech Hawks quarterback Joe Colon (#3) during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Brett Bean (#12) and other team-mates move in on Dean Tech Hawks quarterback Joe Colon (#3) during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) looks for an opening during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) looks for an opening during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Kyle Laffey (34) is tackled  during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Kyle Laffey (34) is tackled during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) is tackled  during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) is tackled during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) makes a run for it during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) makes a run for it during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Nate Crocker (13) runs past a downed Dean Tech player during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Nate Crocker (13) runs past a downed Dean Tech player during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Nate Crocker (13) advances during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Nate Crocker (13) advances during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech  head coach Joe Gamache is the longest tenured coach in Franklin County as he heads into his 13th season with the Eagles and will try to lead the team back to the WMass Division VI playoffs. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech head coach Joe Gamache is the longest tenured coach in Franklin County as he heads into his 13th season with the Eagles and will try to lead the team back to the WMass Division VI playoffs. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) looks for an opening during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Kyle Laffey (34) makes a run for it during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles players tackle Dean Tech Hawks quarterback Joe Colon (#3) during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Brett Bean (#12) and other team-mates move in on Dean Tech Hawks quarterback Joe Colon (#3) during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) looks for an opening during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Kyle Laffey (34) is tackled  during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) is tackled  during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Ethan Wickline (50) makes a run for it during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Nate Crocker (13) runs past a downed Dean Tech player during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech Eagles player Nate Crocker (13) advances during Saturday's game held at Franklin County Technical School. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • TURNERS FALLS (October 26, 2013) — Franklin County Tech  head coach Joe Gamache is the longest tenured coach in Franklin County as he heads into his 13th season with the Eagles and will try to lead the team back to the WMass Division VI playoffs. Recorder/Trish Crapo

TURNERS FALLS — On a crisp, clear beautiful autumn afternoon, Franklin County Technical School celebrated Senior Day before its Saturday game against Tri-County League foe Dean Technical High School. After the game, the Eagles celebrated some more, because their 36-0 victory over the Golden Hawks clinched them a division VI playoff berth.

Senior running back Kyle Laffey led the way for the Eagles, rushing 22 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns, crossing the 1,000-yard threshold for the season in the process. It was a timely performance for Laffey, as Franklin Tech was without the services of starting quarterback CJ Daignault.

Ethan Wickline, a lineman by trade, stepped up admirably for the Eagles, and Laffey was happy that he could take some pressure off the newly anointed signal-caller.

“He’s only been a quarterback for four days and he played great,” said Laffey.

Indeed he did, calmly running the Eagles offense and contributing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Dale Daignault. Wickline also had a stellar day defensively, intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble.

“It’s exciting, but at the same time, we didn’t play the greatest game that I think we could have. We made some stupid mistakes and had a lot of stupid penalties, but we came out with a victory and I guess that’s all that we could ask for.”

Eagles head coach Joe Gamache echoed those sentiments. “We’re certainly happy about the circumstances,” said Gamache. “But we’re not particularly pleased with our play today. We were undisciplined and unfocused.”

It certainly was a sloppy day for the Eagles, who fumbled the ball away on their second offensive play of the game, and then went 3-and-out on their next series. It wasn’t until the first quarter was winding down that the Eagles found their stride, when Laffey barreled 6 yards into the end zone with 1:15 remaining.

The second quarter was the most productive and cleanest for Franklin Tech, which started the quarter on defense. On third-and-9, Dean Tech’s Daniel Scott-Wilson lofted a pass and the Eagles’ Zaviere Washington read it perfectly, stepping in front of the intended receiver and running it back for a 52-yard touchdown return. Nate Crocker added the PAT and Franklin Tech had a 13-0 lead with 8:59 remaining in the half.

After the Eagles forced a fumble on the ensuing Dean Tech drive, Laffey took over, and rushed three times for 35 yards and his second touchdown. Crocker’s kick was good, and the Eagles were up 20-0.

On the very next play from scrimmage, Wickline recorded his interception, setting the Eagles’ offense up at the Dean 38 yard line. Once again it was Laffey’s ground game that took center stage, as he rushed the ball five straight times for 41 yards. Wickline then threw one of his two passes on the day, hitting Dale Daignault on a sideline route for the 32-yard score with 1:34 remaining in the half. Crocker kicked yet another extra point, and the Eagles went into the break with a commanding 27-0 lead.

The Eagles received the second-half kickoff and appeared poised to score again, but on first-and-goal from the Dean 9, Laffey coughed up the ball, which was recovered by the Hawks.

“I was a little down after the fumble.” admitted Laffey, “but I shook it off.”

Refocused at the beginning of the next drive, Laffey took the ball from Wickline and smashed through defenders en route to a 21-yard gain. That was the run that put him at over 1,000 yards for the season, and the crowd stood and cheered the accomplishment.

“It feels great,” said Laffey of the 1,000-yard milestone, “but I couldn’t have done it without the rest of the team. The offensive line played great all year.”

Gamache agreed.

“We are very happy for Kyle and our offensive unit for achieving the goal of having a 1,000-yard rusher. We truly believe it is a team accomplishment as much as it is an individual one.”

Laffey recorded his third touchdown of the day to round out the drive on a 5-yard power run, and Crocker’s fourth PAT of the game gave the Eagles a 34-0 cushion.

The Eagles finished their scoring for the day when they kicked off, and chased the Dean Tech receiver backwards into the end zone for a two-point safety. The fourth quarter saw the Eagles revert to the sloppiness they had overcome earlier, which was cause for concern for Gamache.

“It was easily the sloppiest game that we played all year. We had a poor week of practice and usually that translates into a poor performance on Saturday.”

The good news for the Eagles is that the players all understand they need to prepare better going forward. After a brief celebration of the season’s accomplishments to date, the theme was all about getting back to work and recapturing the focus that has led to so much success this season.

“We absolutely can not afford to play the way we did today against whoever our next opponent is,” said Gamache.

“We played very uncharacteristic of us. We were undisciplined and a bit unfocused as a team. Sometimes you get that based upon the opponent you are playing and the distractions of Senior Day. To be successful in the postseason, we will have to clean that up. We are happy to have qualified for the postseason and are excited for the opportunity.”

The Eagles have a bye next week, then will have to wait until Sunday to find out who their next opponent will be.

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