Dodge leads Turners past Mohawk, 27-14

For The Recorder
Friday, November 03, 2017

TURNERS FALLS — It wasn’t hard to conclude that the pass-and-catch combo of Kyle Dodge and Andy Craver made the real difference for Turners Falls High School Friday night.

The two connected only twice, but both went for 39-yard touchdowns in the second half, and that provided the two-score margin in Turners’ 27-14 assigned-game victory over Mohawk Trail Regional High School at Bourdeau Fields.

Craver ran for a third score for Turners (5-4), which also got a touchdown run from John Torres. The nicely-balanced hosts put up 197 yards through the air and 171 on the ground for 368 yards of total offense.

“It certainly wasn’t pretty, and we’re gonna have to get better down the road, but a W’s a W,” said Turners coach Chris Lapointe. “It’s a team win, and different players had to make plays at different times. I thought the guys did a good job picking each other up.”

Warriors tailback Jordan Grenier proved more than a handful all night, piling up a game-high 173 yards on 22 carries with touchdown runs of 33 and 51 yards. Adding a two-point conversion, the junior accounted for all 14 Mohawk points.

“I knew they’d throw the ball, and they threw it,” said Mohawk coach Doug McCloud, whose team dropped to 3-6. “I thought we went toe-to-toe with them on the ground. They just got over us two or three times, and you cannot let that happen. It’s disappointing.”

Turners burst from the starting blocks with a 12-play, 69-yard drive to begin the game, as Dodge (8-of-11 passing) had completions of 15 yards to John Driscoll and 25 yards to John Fritz. Torres (22 rushes, team-high 83 yards) went in for a 5-yard touchdown run, but Mohawk blocked the extra-point kick, leaving the score at 6-0 with 5:49 to play in the first.

The Warriors then failed on fourth-and-1 at the Turners 23 when quarterback Ryan Walker slipped down for a 3-yard loss, but got the ball back after a Turners punt and went on their own 76-yard march. Walker (40 rushing yards) kept the ball for a 27-yard gain, and Grenier took a toss dive the last 33 yards for Mohawk’s opening score. His two-point conversion run put the visitors up 8-6 with 5:23 left in the half.

That lead didn’t hold up for long, as Turners cashed in its next possession just before halftime. Dodge threw a 28-yard completion to Jaden Whiting to get his team close. On second-and-goal from the 10, Craver came in motion from his wingback spot, took the handoff from Dodge and swept the left side for the score with 57.7 seconds on the clock. Dodge’s two-point run made it a 14-8 game.

Mohawk still managed to drive from its own 40 to the Turners 20, thanks to a pair of 12-yard gains by Grenier and Evan Shippee, but ran out of time as the first half expired. The Warriors held a narrow 155-152 edge in total yardage at the break.

After a pair of Mohawk punts sandwiched around a lost fumble by Turners, the hosts took over at their own 31 and Dodge went back to work. His 13-yard throw to Ryan Campbell put the ball in Warrior territory at the 39, and he then aired out a deep ball to Craver on a fly pattern for the touchdown. Tyler Lavin drilled the extra-point kick to make it 21-8 with 1:57 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors started their next drive with fine field position at their 43, and Grenier quickly found the end zone with a toss sweep down the left sideline good for 51 yards. Turners stacked up Grenier on the conversion try, but Mohawk trailed only 21-14 as the third quarter ended.

Turners then began at its own 7-yard line after a holding call during the kickoff return, and moved back to the 3 on illegal procedure. From that deep hole, the hosts used several chunk plays, including an 11-yard run by Driscoll, 18 yards by Campbell, and a 16-yard pass from Dodge to Campbell to reach the Mohawk 39. This time Craver ran a post pattern and Dodge hit him in space for the insurance touchdown with 7:15 remaining, although Lavin’s extra-point kick clanged the left upright.

Mohawk’s last drive carried to the Turners 35 before falling short on fourth-and-8, giving Turners the ball back with just under four minutes left. Turners controlled the clock from there with three first downs to get out with the win.

“We’re not used to this scenario (missing the WMass playoffs), but the kids are taking pride in this,” said Lapointe. “They want to get up and stay up over .500 for the year. Our big game’s on Turkey Day and we want to be playing our best football by then.”

Campbell added 46 rushing yards for Turners and Craver led the receivers with 78 yards on two catches. Campbell caught three passes for 51 yards. For the Warriors, all 257 of their yards came on the ground.

The teams will now await their Week 10 assigned-game opponents next weekend, before wrapping their seasons on Thanksgiving morning.