H.S. Football: Eagles welcome Chicopee for rare Thursday tilt

  • Franklin Tech quarterback Owen Bashaw throws a pass against Mohawk last week in Buckland. Bashaw and the Eagles look to bounce back tonight in their home opener against Chicopee at 7. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Ryan Bergmann runs up the sideline for a first down against Mohawk last week in Buckland. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/18/2019 8:47:19 PM
Modified: 9/18/2019 8:47:05 PM

A short week following a disappointing season-opening loss stares Franklin County Technical School in the face tonight.

Six days after the Eagles blew a fourth-quarter lead in a 15-12 loss to Mohawk Trail, the squad will play another tough independent foe in their home opener under the lights in Turners Falls tonight when Chicopee High School (1-1) rolls down Industrial Boulevard for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The visiting Pacers are filling the void left on Tech’s schedule when Turners Falls High School suspended its program for 2019. It’s a tough matchup that will test the Eagles, and the unconventional Thursday night time slot adds an extra wrinkle into the mix.

“Coming off a tough one last week, we want to have a short memory,” Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache said. “It’s a short turnover for us, playing Thursday. The kids rebounded pretty well, we had a solid practice Monday I thought. You never know how you’re going to rebound from the fashion we lost to start our season, but I’m encouraged.”

Chicopee opened its season with a loss to Holyoke, but rebounded in Week 2 and knocked off Lee, 16-10. Tailback John Vega Gonzalez was a busy man, rushing for 164 yards on 21 carries — 72 of those yards coming on a fourth-quarter touchdown that helped put the game out of reach. It was a much better performance in the second half, as Chicopee managed just 24 total yards in the first half while running only 15 plays.

“This will be a different kind of test for us,” began Gamache. “Chicopee is an unknown to us. We watched some film from last week against Lee. They’re used to playing teams from tougher leagues, higher division teams, faster paced. Looking at the score against Lee, it’s eye-opening but the other piece is football is a game of matchups. Lee may have made some plays (in a Week 1 win over Greenfield) that they didn’t against Chicopee. It’s all about how you match up on that day, and how well you execute.”

The Pacers are a Division 7 foe, meaning a Franklin Tech victory would pay big dividends if the Eagles find themselves in the Division 8 postseason mix later this fall.

“After losing the (Turners Falls game), it’s good we’re playing a football game this week,” Gamache said. “With a short season, every game matters. If we come out ready to play and are able to pull one off, it’ll be a nice rebound from last week.”

There were positives to take away from Tech’s opening performance, despite the loss. Wide receiver Donte Rosewarne showed flashes of why he can be a dangerous player this season, as he hauled in three catches for 72 yards. That included a 37-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Owen Bashaw, when the duo connected on a slant route and Rosewarne used his track speed to get to the house.

Tailback Ryan Bergmann went over the century mark in his first career start. After a slow first half, Bergmann was the workhorse after intermission, and he finished with 118 yards on 26 carries.

Defensively, Franklin Tech did a nice job bottling up the Mohawk Trail rushing attack. The Eagles limited the Warriors to 65 yards on 28 carries, and they’ll need a similar effort to hold serve at home tonight. The team is healthy entering tonight’s game, and also should get some help in the defensive backfield with the return of senior Bailey Young at safety.

“From what we’ve seen, they’ve got some pretty decent-sized linemen,” began Gamache of Chicopee. “They didn’t seem to throw much but they seemed to wear Lee out over time. They have numbers. Hopefully, we can rotate and stay fresh. We did a nice job stopping the run against Mohawk last week. Hopefully, we can build off that performance.”

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