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Comp grounds Red Raiders

CHICOPEE — It’s been a long, frustrating season for Athol High School, and the frustration continued into Friday night as Chicopee Comprehensive High School downed the Red Raiders, 36-12, in an independent football game at Comp.

Athol struggled from the beginning, which was not entirely unexpected. While the Raiders were up against a Colts team that came into the night 1-8, they are a Division IV program that plays in the Suburban League. Athol came into the night knowing it was facing a challenge.

After the first Athol drives and the first Comp drive resulted in punts, the Colts got the ball back at the Athol 36-yard line and needed only three plays to record the game’s first score. On a first-and-10 from the Athol 25, quarterback Michael Whitsett found receiver Cam Kagan behind the Raiders defense for the touchdown. Mike Bombard then ran in the 2-point conversion to give Chicopee Comp and 8-0 lead.

The Colts then tried an onside kick, which Athol recovered at its own 46. The Raiders appeared to have something going until on a third-and-10 from the Colts 30, when quarterback Jerry Parker put up a pass that was intercepted by Bombard. His long return was negated by an illegal block and Comp started with a long field at its own 10.

The Colts were up to the challenge, and used most of the rest of the first quarter to drive down the field, and with 20 seconds remaining in the frame, struck again. This time it was Whitsett finding Bombard with a 19-yard strike, and after the extra point, it was 15-0 Chicopee Comp.

The second quarter started out well for the Raiders, who took the ball at their own 48 after another onside kick attempt. This time Parker was able to sustain the drive, and on third-and-5 from the Colts 20, found Poor for a 20-yard score. The two-point conversion failed, but the Raiders were on the board, trailing 15-6.

After a nice defensive stand, the Raiders would strike again quickly, as on the third play of the drive, Parker found Poor once again, this time for 55 yards and a touchdown. Athol failed to convert again, but were down just three with 5:25 remaining in the half.

For the Raiders, that was as close as it would get. The Colts answered with a seven-play, 61-yard drive that saw Whitsett throw his third touchdown pass of the night, this time a little 4-yarder to Hunter LaRochelle, and Chicopee Comp took a 22-12 lead into the break.

The second half was dominated by the Colts, who would not allow the Raiders another point on the night. Athol made it into Chicopee Comp territory three times in the half, but never got inside the 15.

Comp added to its total with 5:06 to go in the third on Whitsett’s fourth TD pass of the night, a 16-yarder to Kagan. It then completed the scoring with 10:01 left in the fourth (Suburban League games use 12-minute quarters), as running back Kyle Mrozinski capped the night with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Athol (3-7) must regroup and prepare for its annual Thanksgiving Day tussle at archrival Mahar Regional School.

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