Hope for Pittsfield, Heartbreak for Drury In Year-End Game
|The Generals ended the season at 6-5 with Saturday's victory over the Blue Devils. See more photos here.|
And Dominic Traversa's 3-yard score on the first play of the fourth quarter was all the offense Pittsfield High School needed Saturday in an eventual 16-0 victory over Drury in a "Plus-One" game at Taconic High School.
Traversa ran for a game-high 173 yards, but the first 128 produced no points until he broke the scoreless tie with a run off left tackle.
"It was obviously very frustrating," Traversa said of the early scoring drought. "But we just kept fighting it and never gave up. We were feeling down, but the captains and the coaches kept us up, and we just kept going."
Pittsfield won for the fourth time in five games to finish 6-5, a record that includes two double-digit wins against Drury (3-7).
Afterward, an emotional Pittsfield coach Brian Jezewski praised his small senior class for helping turn the fortunes of the program and — Jezewski hopes — build a foundation for the future.
"It means everything," said Traversa, a captain as a junior. "We haven't had a winning record in so long. It means everything to give it to [the seniors]. Hopefully, we can do it again next year."
For Drury, a difficult season ended with a difficult postgame talk by coach Bill Bryce, who as recently as the regular season finale against Hoosac harbored hopes his Blue Devils could finish .500 after a 1-5 start.
"The last huddle for the seniors is always tough," Bryce said. "You always want to end up on top, and, unfortunately, we made some mistakes. We turned the ball over a couple of times, had some penalties at some key times.
"Unfortunately, in the first half, we were moving the ball, moving the ball, moving the ball and we couldn't punch it in."
Drury was stopped on fourth-and-6 at the Pittsfield 9 on its first drive of the game, on fourth-and-4 at the Generals' 8 on its second possession and on third-and-5 the Pittsfield 45 (after moving the ball 35 yards) on its final first-half possession.
After half-time, Drury lost the ball twice on fumbles and twice on interceptions.
One of those interceptions was by Pittsfield's Devon Tucker, who returned it 23 yards for a "pick 6" to make it a two-score game with 4:04 left to play.
Drury's second lost fumble of the third quarter gave the Generals' their best field position of the game at the Blue Devils' 35 with 26 seconds left in the period.
On first down, Pittsfield quarterback Chris Shade hit Tucker for their team's second completion of the afternoon, and Tucker dashed down the right sideline for 32 yards. Traversa scored on the next play to make it 6-0 and ran in the first of his two 2-point conversions to make it 8-0.
Jose Melendez ran for 95 yards to lead Drury's offense. Alex Bush and Nolan Bird rushed for 33 and 27 yards, respectively. Ty Discoe joined Traversa north of the century mark with 103 yards.
Unlike Pittsfield, which won an independent game against Burke in week 10, Drury was playing for the first time since a disheartening 14-0 loss to Hoosac in the regular season finale.
"We didn't have the best week of practice," Bryce said. "We had some kids miss practice, and we had a few kids not be able to play today. So we were scrambling all week to figure out who was going to be there and how we were going to do that.
"It was a tough week of practice. ... But you never worry about motivation. They're a great group of kids. I have a great senior class that has a lot of good leaders. They lead by example, and they did all year long. It's tough when you have five sophomores starting all the time. They knew going into the year it was going to be tough, but they came day-in and day-out and motivated the younger kids.
"That's what I told them in the huddle: They were positive and helpful to the younger kids. It shows their character."