Missing high school football: This week in Franklin County history

  • In this 1980 photo, the Mohawk Trail defense, left, lines up against Ware during the Warriors’ 34-12 victory in high school football action. STAFF FILE PHOTO/STEVE SMITH

Staff Writer
Published: 10/16/2020 4:38:33 PM

I think I speak for most people in saying Friday nights just aren’t the same without high school football.

The games are a great way to get the community together and rally behind the kids, but everyone now must wait until the Fall II season in February to see their schools in action.

In the meantime, here’s a trip down memory lane of games that happened during this week in Franklin County history:


■ It came down to the last minute at the Bourdeau Fields Complex, with Turners and Easthampton in a back-and-forth affair throughout.

The Eagles held a 28-26 lead in the fourth quarter, with the Thunder having one final possession to drive down the field and take the lead.

Turners did just that, marching down gridiron and getting into the red zone by virtue of an Easthampton facemask. Thunder running back Trent Borbeau then blasted into the end zone to take the lead with 1:19 remaining. Tionne Brown connected with Jalen Sanders on the two-point try.

The Eagles then had a chance to tie or take the lead, but the Turners defense stood tall, earning a 34-28 win to move to 6-0 on the season.

■ It took two overtimes for a winner to be decided between Athol and Greenfield.

In a defensive battle, the Wave held an 8-6 lead in the third quarter, but a sailed punt snap resulted in a safety, knotting the game up at eight.

Neither offense generated any more points in regulation, leading to overtime. The first overtime saw no points scored, but the Red Raiders opened the second overtime with a score, as quarterback Bryce Melanson zipped a pass into a double-covered Eric Aikey in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown.

The two-point try failed, however, and Greenfield made Athol pay for it. On third down, Brayten Stack ran in a score from seven yards out to tie the game at 14. On the two-point try, Stack took a pitch from quarterback Owen Schilling, ran to his right but instead of trying to run in a score, pulled up and fired a pass to Ben Padua who made a sliding catch for the score and giving the Wave a thrilling 16-14 victory. It was the first win of the season for Greenfield.


■ Following a Super Bowl trip in 2000, Frontier put away any doubt of being a one-year wonder during a Saturday game against Turners.

The two teams entered 3-0 in the Intercounty League, but the Red Hawks showed they were the superior team throughout, utilizing a 22-point second quarter to roll past the Thunder, 43-8.

The game was won on the line of scrimmage, with Mark Pushalski and Nate Smith combining for 212 yards and five touchdowns on the ground for Frontier in just three quarters of work.

■ It’d be hard to find a more impressive box score than the one Mohawk’s Jesse Sheldon amassed this week 19 years ago. Sheldon produced 323 yards on offense, intercepted three passes and scored four touchdowns to lead the Warriors to a 24-0 win over Mahar.


■ If you were reading a box score and saw one team had 15 first downs, 132 yards passing and 148 yards rushing and the other team had four first downs, two yards passing and 145 yards rushing, you’d assume the first team won the game, right?

Well, you’d be wrong in this case. Despite the lackadaisical stat line on offense, Mohawk Trail came away with a 34-12 win over Ware.

Big plays were the key for the Warriors, as Dave Wissman had a 93-yard kick return, Mike Gerry picked off a pass and took it 56 yards to the house and also added a 73-yard touchdown run, all in the first half.

In the second half, Mohawk Trail produced turnover-after-turnover, with Jason Rancourt, Bunker Mazanec and Todd Scott all intercepting passes. Dave Rancourt blocked a punt and Dave Gowdy and Joe Kearney recovered fumbles to lead to the victory.

■ In a game against his former high school coach, Greenfield’s Bill Budness was unable to get his offense going, falling to Bill Moge’s Chicopee squad, 18-7.

The Green Wave offense entered averaging 22 points and 237 yards of offense per game, but were held to just 38 yards of total offense. It was Greenfield’s first home loss since the 1978 Turkey Bowl contest against Turners.


■ Gary Churchill, Craig Amsden and Bill Young all scored touchdowns to lead Pioneer to an upset 22-6 victory over Frontier on what was a rainy Saturday across Franklin County.

Tim Derrig scored the lone touchdown for Frontier on a 53-yard punt return.

■ Turners tops St. Joe’s behind three touchdown passes by Artie Burke, two to Bob Cadran and another to Mark Barber.

■ In a battle of 4-0 squads in the Intercounty League, the Mohawk Trail offense needed to produce just two touchdowns to pull off a 12-6 win over Mount Greylock.

The Warriors defense showed up to play, utilizing a bend-but-don’t-break strategy, as Greylock moved the ball but was stifled once it reached the red zone.

Quarterback Mike Gaffigan ran in a touchdown and running back Rick Walters got the edge and ran one in on a toss play.

Greenfield Recorder

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