Wave rights ship, shuts out Eagles

  • Greenfield's Daniel Vega (3) gets wrapped up by Franklin Tech's Bailey Young (24) after a completion in the first half Friday night in Turners Falls. Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield's RJ Byrd (22) heads up the field on a run before being brought down by Franklin Tech's Austin Demers (33) in the first half of the Wave’s 30-0 win Friday night in Turners Falls. Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield's RJ Byrd (22) powers over the goal line for a touchdown against Franklin Tech in the first half Friday night in Turners Falls, Sept. 28, 2018. Staff/Dan Little

  • Franklin Tech's Hunter Wozniak (28) runs up the sideline under pressure from Greenfield's RJ Byrd (22) in the first half Friday night in Turners Falls. Staff/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 9/28/2018 10:56:08 PM

TURNERS FALLS — There must’ve been a bad taste in their mouth when they drove over the bridge, down Turners Falls Road and past the Bourdeau Field complex on their way to Franklin Tech. 

While the Thunder continued its thunderous ways a mile away, it was the Green Wave that rediscovered its ways. Keeping itself in the early conversation of the playoff picture, and ending a two-game skid, Greenfield High School knocked off a banged-up Franklin Tech, 30-0, Friday night in an Intercounty League North game.

“We were definitely hungry for this win,” quarterback Owen Phelps said. 

RJ Byrd got back to his usual technique of running through the opposition, with the players hanging on his heels, as he carried the Green Wave with 151 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. 

“We all got to push harder,” Byrd said. “We’re not satisfied.” 

The push came, first and foremost, from an offensive line that opened holes over and over for the lead back. 

On the first score of the game, Byrd ran with ease up the gut from the 1-yard line. One team member  could be heard yelling, “a whole lot more of these,” touching on the point that they’ve been waiting for these big Byrd scores.

Later in the second quarter, Byrd ran in the second touchdown of the game, untouched, using a lane wider than Main Street.  

“Credit to him,” Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache said. “He’s a tough athlete. Probably one of the better ones in the league.”

The Green Wave also found some balance with its passing game.

Phelps threw for 88 yards on 5-of-7 passing, including one touchdown and one interception under the new LED lights at the Tech School.

Coming out of halftime, two plays in, Phelps found a streaking Daniel Vega down the Tech sideline for a 56-yard touchdown, putting a stamp on the game, with the lead extending to 24-0.

“We’re just a duo,” Vega said. “We’re Brady and Edelman.”

The first quarter, though, was one of missed opportunities for the Green Wave — wasting 45 rushing yards from Byrd, which included giving the ball up on downs at Tech’s 5-yard line on its opening drive.

The second quarter was defined by finishing for Greenfield.

Byrd punched in his two touchdowns and Phelps ran a calm offense, rarely running into a negative play or incomplete pass.

“Offensively, they have some weapons and some athletes,” Gamache said. 

For Gamache’s Eagles, they lost, hopefully just for the game, another key player. While Bailey Young ran 77 percent of the plays in the first half, including when he led a wildcat offense, he did not play the second half. A lingering hamstring injury sidelined Young, and Gamache is hoping he’ll be able to go next week.

Without the Eagles’ most dynamic offensive player, the team still put together long drives. In total, Tech gained 37 second-half yards, often losing significant yardage as it approached the redzone. Greenfield finished with three sacks on the night, two of which were by Dakota Burgh. Franklin Tech quarterback Owen Bashaw, who made his varsity debut, finished 3-of-7 for 20 yards.

“We asked the guys to play hard for 44 minutes and they did and they dug deep and did some good things,” Gamache said.

The fourth and final touchdown for Greenfield came on a run from the goal line by fullback Nate Haselton, who began to share some of the load with a split backfield.

Next week Tech will host Frontier Regional School.

Greenfield will host Easthampton, but in the minutes after Friday night’s game, they had to drive by Turners Falls High School again, where the team that crushed them earlier in the year just finished celebrating another win. 

“We’re getting revenge Turkey Day,” Vega said. “No hate, but we gotta get revenge.”  

“That game is obviously on our calendars but we got a ways away,” Phelps said. 




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