Cloutier’s big night leads Wave past Orioles, 30-6

For The Recorder
Friday, October 27, 2017

GREENFIELD — Colin Cloutier knows a thing or two about plowing the road for his running backs, but now that he’s become Greenfield High School’s featured back late in the football season, the converted lineman is suddenly piling up the numbers.

Cloutier, a senior, ran for 213 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown and three 2-point conversions, helping to key the Green Wave’s big second half Friday night in a 30-6 Intercounty League crossover victory over Belchertown High School at Veterans Memorial Field.

“We know with RJ out, everybody on the team has to step up,” said Cloutier, who filled in for RJ Byrd (left leg injury). “Tonight, the offensive line played phenomenal. They were moving guys left and right, and I just did my part.”

The Wave (4-3, 3-3 IL North) snapped a three-game losing streak during which its defense was worn out for 113 points allowed. After Belchertown pulled to within 8-6 early in the third quarter, Greenfield held the Orioles to a pair of punts, a lost fumble and a turnover on downs in their last four possessions, while rattling off the last 22 points.

“A guy coming off the line of scrimmage for three years, and then we put him in the backfield, I can’t say enough about him,” said Greenfield coach Mike Kuchieski of Cloutier. “We gave him a shot — unfortunately it was with RJ being hurt — and he ran hard. He was the real deal tonight.”

Greenfield began Friday’s game on a nice drive, aided by Owen Phelps’ 32-yard completion to Daniel Vega, but lost the ball on a fumble at the Belchertown 6. The Orioles couldn’t move the ball and punted, setting up the Wave in great shape at the Belchertown 28, After gains of 15 and 12 yards by Cloutier put the ball on the 1, Phelps snuck into the end zone on second-and-goal, with Cloutier running in the two-pointer for an 8-0 lead with 1:16 left in the first quarter.

The Wave’s next possession carried into Belchertown territory as well before Phelps was intercepted by the Orioles’ Hunter Klingensmith, who returned the pick 65 yards. At the end of the runback, Klingensmith lost the football and the Wave took over again at its own 12.

Belchertown (1-7, 1-5 IL South) had a chance before the half, moving from midfield down to the Greenfield 4, helped by a roughing-the-passer call on fourth down. On fourth-and-goal from the 4, Joe Douillard was dropped for a 1-yard loss by the combination of Vega and Jose Rodriguez, giving the Wave possession at its own 5 to close out the half ahead 8-0.

After Cal Daskam ran the second-half kickoff back 48 yards to the Greenfield 29, the Orioles put together their lone scoring drive of the night. John Flink threw to Ryan French for 15 yards down to the 2, and Michael Pelletier dove in on the next play to make it 8-6. Flink’s conversion pass was intercepted by Vega, who returned the pick deep into Belchertown territory before being stopped short of what would have been a defensive two-point conversion.

Greenfield then used a long special-teams play to advantage on Hunter Campbell’s 40-yard kickoff return to the Belchertown 48. Phelps, who threw only six times on the night, hit Vega on a crossing pattern for 34 yards and the touchdown with 5:46 to play in the third. Cloutier’s two-pointer made it a 16-6 game.

On the Wave’s next series, Cloutier hammered the Orioles for consecutive gains of 14, 25 and nine yards to put the ball at the Belchertown 1, then did the honors himself for the touchdown and another 2-pointer to make it 24-6 with 37.1 seconds on the clock in the third.

Once Cloutier came out of the game – ripping off 26 yards on his final carry of the evening – sophomore Jared Hart took his turn at tailback for the Wave and scored his team’s last touchdown, a 4-yard run, with 1:34 remaining.

The Green Wave owned total offense to the tune of a 333-54 advantage, with 267 yards on the ground. Phelps completed 2-of-6 passes for 66 yards, both going to Vega. Daskam led Belchertown with 46 rushing yards and the quarterback tandem of Flink and Cam Otto combined to go 2-of-17 through the air for 15 yards.

Late Friday night, Greenfield’s potential playoff chances seemed to be improved by Mount Greylock Regional High School’s loss to Amherst Regional High School. The Green Wave entered the weekend ranked fifth in Division 8, needing to make up considerable ground to jump into the four playoff positions.

“We had to play well in the middle of our season and we didn’t,” said Kuchieski. “We’ve regrouped and tried to get ready for our second season which starts next week, whoever it is. It’s a fun time, you’re still playing football, and that’s why we’re out here.”