Indians stay hot, run past Mahar

ORANGE -- Demonstrating quick-strike capability from all over the field, Turners Falls High School shrugged off the first touchdown of the night and powered its way to a 47-13 victory over Mahar Regional School Friday night in Intercounty League football at the Woodward Complex.

Ryan Wilder ran for 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Turners (7-2, 5-2 IL), which also got kickoff returns for scores by Dominic Emery and Dan McCormack. Emery’s runback tied the game just 15 seconds after Mahar had opened the scoring, and McCormack took the second-half kickoff back 83 yards as the Indians rang up three touchdowns in just over four minutes to decide the issue.

Mahar (2-7, 1-5 IL), which dropped its fourth straight, started brightly enough when Rafael Silva ran the opening kickoff 30 yards to the Senators’ 45. The big play came when Logan Barrett hit Troix Adams on a middle screen for 49 yards down to the Turners 5, and Silva ran it in for the score on the next play. Karim El Miari’s extra point gave the hosts a 7-0 edge just 2:40 into the action.

The ensuing kickoff was a popup that Emery fielded on the dead run at his own 31-yard line, and found his way to the left sideline to beat all pursuers to the end zone. T.J. Meyer booted the extra point for a 7-7 tie at the 7:05 mark.

After a fake punt misfired and gave the Indians possession at the Mahar 35, Wilder broke off runs of 10 and 14 yards to get Turners close. Quarterback Malcolm Smith did the rest on a 5-yard bootleg around the left side, putting the Indians up for good, 13-7, with 3:38 to go.

Midway through the second quarter, Turners extended to a two-score lead starting from its own 43 and helped along by a 34-yard gain by Wilder down to the Senator 28. On first-and-goal from the 1, Wilder dove in for the first of his two scores to make it a 21-7 game.

McCormack came up with an interception of Barrett, the game’s only turnover, at the Turners 40 with just 19 seconds to play to halt a Mahar drive just before the break.

Then it was McCormack’s turn to break loose on special teams, grabbing the second-half kickoff at his own 17 and taking it the distance. Just 16 seconds into the third quarter, the Indians held a 27-7 lead.

Mahar missed on another fake punt try to give Turners the ball at the Senators’ 30, and Wilder needed only one snap to bounce off left tackle and down the sideline for a 30-yard TD and a 34-7 advantage.

The Senators finally answered on the next series, with Barrett connecting on a 40-yard pass to Charles Verheyen to bring up first-and-goal at the Turners 5. Adams ran it in for the touchdown on the next play, although the Indians’ John Ollari came free up the middle to stuff the extra-point try.

After Wilder ripped off gains of 18 and 13 yards on Turners’ next series, Smith lofted a 23-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open McCormack on a go route.

Trying to stay within arm’s length, Mahar drove from midfield to the Indians’ 10 before losing the ball on downs, and Turners decided to take the long way to the end zone. Alex Osowski broke off back-to-back runs of 29 and 19 yards, sandwiched between a 11-yard run by Wilder and a 24-yarder by Ollari. On third-and-goal from the 19, it was Ollari who got on the end of another rainbow pass by Smith for the final points of the night, coming with 6:24 to play in the game.

Turners finished with 280 rushing yards and Smith added 47 through the air, completing 3-of-6 passes with two going for touchdowns. Barrett completed 8-of-21 attempts for 121 yards, with Verheyen (two catches, 52 yards) and Adams (three receptions, 50 yards) his primary targets.

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