Late Orioles TD sinks Warriors

For the Recorder
Published: 11/7/2016 10:26:35 PM

BELCHERTOWN — It was a heartbreaking end to a promising night for the Mohawk Trail Regional High School football team as the Warriors fell to Belchertown High School, 30-26, in the game’s final seconds.

The Warriors appeared poised to come away with a hard-fought win, as senior running back Jonny Herbert scored a 5-yard touchdown with 41 seconds remaining in the game to give Mohawk a 26-24 advantage.

The Orioles had other ideas, however, as Belchertown quarterback Jackson Leduc found a wide-open Cameron Supple on the second play of the ensuing drive for a 57-yard completion down the left sideline, setting up a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 18 seconds to go. After an incompletion made it second-and-goal, Leduc handed the ball to running back Cam Cass, who busted it through the middle for the winning score with 9.3 seconds on the clock.

It was a hard-fought contest throughout in which the scoring started quickly in the opening quarter. The Orioles received the opening kickoff, and after a Cam Supple return to the Orioles’ 36, it took Leduc just three plays to find the end zone with a 21-yard strike to Mercier. Leduc hit Hunter Klinginsmith for the two-point conversion, and the Orioles were up 8-0.

Mohawk struck back quickly, needing just four plays to find paydirt. Runs of 37 yards by Herbert and 27 yards by Jordan Grenier set up a first-and-goal at the 2. Herbert barreled in for the score and added the two-pointer, and the game was knotted at 8.

Mohawk took the lead on its next possession, following a nice defensive stand that forced Belchertown into a three-and-out. The Warriors marched 70 yards on 10 plays, all runs, the finale coming on a 4-yard scamper to the right by Grenier. The conversion failed, and the Mohawk lead was 14-8.

Belchertown answered right back, embarking on a 9-play drive of its own, and tied the game at 14 all on a 14-yard Leduc pass to Clayton Daskam. The Orioles added the two-pointer, and went into the half with the 16-14 edge.

After a scoreless third frame, the final stanza began with Mohawk driving at the Orioles’ 35, and the Warriors capitalized. Herbert scored on a first-and-goal from the 3 with 8:07 remaining, putting Mohawk in front 20-14.

The Mohawk defense then again came up big, forcing another three-and-out. After a punt, Mohawk fumbled the ball on the second play of the possession, and the Orioles fell on the ball, taking over at the Mohawk 25. Cass did the rest, as he took the ball to the 1 on the first touch of the drive, and then dove into the end zone on the next play to give the Orioles a 24-20 lead.

That set up Mohawk’s 12-play scoring drive that gave it the lead with under a minute remaining, and Leduc’s final second heroics.

As tough of a loss as it was for the Warriors, Herbert was dazzling, putting up 172 rushing yards and went over 1,000 for the season. According to Warriors head coach Doug McCloud, Herbert had 894 yards entering the night, which gives him 1,066 on the year with two games still remaining.

The Warriors will have to wait to see who their next opponent will be, as the MIAA will assign the schedule Sunday. They will finish off their season on Turkey Day eve, as they host Frontier at 7 p.m.


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