Orioles beat Wave, win IL crown
GHS VS BHS FOOTBALL 1 - Green Wave Quarterback, Parker Hickey looks for room to run as a Belchertown defender tries to get a handle on him. -
Photo by Jeff Brown Purchase photo reprints »
GHS VS BHS FOOTBALL 2 - Green Wave Quarterback, Parker Hickey looks for room to run against a the Belchertown defense. - Photo by Jeff Brown Purchase photo reprints »
GREENFIELD — As championship showdowns between unbeaten teams goes, this wasn’t much of one. But it did allow a little peek into the future for fans of the Greenfield high school football program.
The Belchertown High School football team handed the Green Wave its first defeat of the season and captured the Intercounty League football championship with a convincing 35-8 win on Senior Night at Veterans Memorial Field.
With two of Greenfield’s main offensive weapons, starting quarterback Zach Bartak and wideout/backup QB Garrett Hudson on the sidelines, the Wave’s chances of winning the game and capturing a share of the IL championship were greatly diminished, especially since Belchertown had all of its many offensive weapons intact, most notably senior running back James Ryan, who opened the Oriole scoring with 21-yard touchdown run on the first offensive series.
Ryan took in the two-point conversion run to make it 8-0 with less than four minutes gone in the fourth quarter. Greenfield got the ball back and with junior Parker Hickey at quarterback, gradually moved the ball up field before turning it over on downs at the Greenfield 47. Two plays later, Belchertown quarterback Nick Leduc hit a streaking Jake Mastorakis down the right sideline for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The Wave managed to stop Leduc’s point-after touchdown run to keep the score 14-0.
That would be enough to deflate a team, especially a young one plagued by injuries. But the Green Wave kept clawing their way back, with Hickey (9-for-16, 106 yards) hooking up with junior Lew Borden (5 catches, 67 yards) on a number of screens, and relying on a pretty solid north-south running game manned by senior Steve Duclos (9 carries, 55 yards), and the real workhorse of the night, freshman running back Brayten Stack, who carried the ball 29 times for 110 yards, most of them of the four- and five-yard variety.
“We like him a lot,” Greenfield Coach Mike Kuchieski said. “He’s a good kid, he works hard, and has a great attitude, and he ran well for us tonight.”
Hickey, who had never played quarterback before tonight, managed to work the ball down to the Belchertown 13 before his touchdown pass attempt was intercepted by Ryan, who took it back out to the Oriole 43. Three Joe Sarno runs later, and Leduc hit junior wideout Steve Boudreau streaking across the middle for a 29-yard touchdown pass. Leduc hit the extra-point kick to make it 21-0 at the half.
Belchertown doused any chance of a Greenfield comeback on its first offensive series of the third quarter, when Sarno took it in from 27 yards out, a touchdown run which was set up by a 27-yard run on a fake punt by senior Ben Thornton. The Orioles would round out their scoring in the fourth quarter, when Ryan took it 92 yards around right end for the touchdown. Leduc’s kick made it 35-0.
Greenfield broke the shutout on an impressive, 67-yard final drive which was capped by a four-yard touchdown run by Duclos. Hickey took in the two-point conversion run with 47 seconds left.
“I’m proud of how our kids played tonight,” Kuchieski said. “(Belchertown) is a good football team, there is a reason why they are unbeaten, but I thought we played well on both sides of the ball and we fought all the way to the end, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Greenfield rounds out the regular season at home Thanksgiving morning against Turners Falls. Belchertown plays Tri-County League champion Pathfinder on Thanksgiving Day in another battle of unbeatens.