Senators beat Orioles for 2nd straight win

ORANGE — In a matchup of Intercounty league rivals, both desperate for a win to keep any hope for the playoffs alive, Mahar Regional School emerged victorious, beating Belchertown High School 20-13 in a down-to-the-wire thriller Friday night.

The Senators (2-3, 2-2 IL) drew first blood just 2:16 into the first quarter. After Belchertown (1-4, 1-3 IL) received the opening kickoff and recorded a quick first down, a fumble on a bad snap over the head of Orioles’ quarterback Nick Leduc handed the ball to the Senators at the Belchertown 23-yard line.

Six plays later, senior running back Nick Newton plunged three yards into the end zone for a touchdown, followed by a successful 2-point conversion pass from quarterback Logan Barrett to Drew Patria, giving the Senators an early 8-0 lead.

After a solid defensive series, the Senators struck again with a three-play, 62-yard drive that featured sophomore running back Malik Adams. On second-and-10 from the Mahar 38, Adams rumbled 57 yards down to the Orioles 5. One play later, Adams barreled in for the score, and Mahar was up 14-0 with 3:26 remaining in the first.

Belchertown, looking lost for the bulk of the first half, suddenly came to life as the clock was winding down. The Orioles drove 90 yards on 10 plays, scoring on a 6-yard pass from Leduc to Jake Bradway in the corner of the end zone with just 15 seconds remaining, giving the game a whole new look going into the break.

The third quarter belonged to the Orioles, with the key drive going 92 yards, 87 of those coming on a beautiful catch-and-run from Leduc to Bradway. The then two hooked up on a 6-yard TD strike. Leduc missed the extra-point try, keeping the Senators ahead 14-13, but clinging for dear life.

The Senators gave themselves a little breathing room halfway through the fourth when Barrett hit Troix Adams with a screen pass, and Adams did the rest, running through the Orioles’ defense for a 27-yard score with 5:20 to play. The 2-point try went incomplete, however, keeping the score at 20-13, and giving Belchertown a chance.

The ensuing Orioles’ drive kept everyone in attendance at the Woodward Athletic Complex on the edge of their seats, and the Senators’ defense on their heels. Starting at their own 40, Belchertown carved its way down the field and had first-and-10 from the Mahar 11 with just under a minute to go. The night ended painfully for the Orioles with eight seconds left, when Leduc’s pass fell incomplete in the end zone.

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