Late surge propels Ware

Staff Writer
Published: 11/9/2018 11:35:23 PM

WARE — Two huge missed opportunities near the goal line plagued visiting Franklin County Technical School in the first half, and Ware High School’s big-play ability took over in the second half.

The Indians turned a close game at intermission into a rout with a big second half, pulling away for a 40-6 victory in an independent football game played before a few dozen brave souls Friday night in miserable conditions.

Devin Slattery rushed for 246 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries to pace Ware (7-3), and the senior also threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Orszulak. After losing a week ago to Lee High School in the WMass Div. 8 semifinals, the Indians broke through after a tight first half to earn the lopsided victory on a sloppy field.

Franklin Tech (3-7) had its chances early. The Eagles looked strong on their opening drive of the night, marching 62 yards – all on the ground – to get to the Ware 1. On third-and-goal however, quarterback Owen Bashaw’s pass fell incomplete, and he was flagged for intentional grounding with no receivers in the vicinity. That set Tech back 10 yards, and on fourth down, Jared Bergmann (20 carries, 130 yards) was hauled down after just a 4 yard pickup for a turnover on downs.

The Indians responded with gainers of 28 and 47 yards from Slattery on the ensuing drive, and quarterback Dillon Slattery capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the hosts a 6-0 lead.

The Eagles tied the game in the second quarter. After Tim Fritz recovered a fumble that got Tech in business near midfield, the visitors needed just three players to cash in. A 27-yard run from Bergmann set up Bailey Young (22 carries, 76 yards) for a 13-yard touchdown run with 4:02 left before halftime to make it a 6-6 game.

Ware didn’t take long to regain the advantage, as Devin Slattery rumbled for a 51-yard touchdown on his team’s first play from scrimmage just 14 seconds later to make it a 12-6 game.

Franklin Tech stayed the course however, moving the ball all the way to the Ware 6 with the half ticking away. On third-and-short from the 6 with just seconds to play, Bashaw slipped while looking to pass, and the ball wound up in the hands of Ware’s Shawn Santiago two yards deep in the end zone. He took the intercepted pass and ran it back the other way, moving 102 yards for what looked like a pick-6 to end the half. But the officials ruled that there were matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the return, negating the touchdown and sending the former Tri-County League foes into the locker room with Ware still holding a 12-6 lead.

The Indians made it 20-6 with a 2-yard TD run from Devin Slattery late in the third quarter, and the Eagles were unable to keep pace when Ware exploded for 20 points in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win.

Franklin Tech is off until Thanksgiving Day when it hosts Smith Vocational in the first game of a new holiday series after former Turkey Day foe Pioneer co-opted with Turners Falls High School this season.

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