Wahconah Claims Div. II Super Bowl Victory at Gillette
Wahconah wins the WMass Division II Super Bowl 24-21 against South Hadley.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Wahconah Warrior football team conceded touchdowns on all three of South Hadley's first half possessions and trailed the Tigers 21-16 with nine seconds to go before intermission.
Facing third down and 10 on the Tiger 42-yard line, Warrior quarterback Lane Grogan dropped back and heaved a 41-yard bomb down the middle of the field to his tight end and fellow senior Jordan Fiske, giving Wahconah a first down and goal on the one-yard line with one second remaining on the clock.
"Lane dropped the ball perfectly into my hands," said Fiske, "I honestly didn't even realize it was in my hands until I clenched it against my chest."
On the next play junior Ethan Wells took a pitch to the left and plunged into the end zone to give Wahconah the lead 24-21. That touchdown would turn out to be the Western Mass. Division 2 Super Bowl-winning score at Gillette Stadium as both teams were unable to put any points on the board in the second half.
"Surreal" was the word Wahconah head coach Gary Campbell Jr. used to explain the feeling of winning the big game on such a big stage as Gillette Stadium.
"I couldn't be prouder of such a great group of kids," he added.
The Tigers had Wahconah on their heels to start the game as they returned the opening kick off up to the Wahconah 47-yard line and used just three plays to get into the end zone to take a 7-0 lead.
Wahconah's winning touchdown came in the first half as neither team were able score in the second half.
Wahconah answered back with a nine-play drive for a touchdown and converted the two-point conversion to snag the lead 8-7. After another South Hadley touchdown on their next possession, Wahconah wideout Darrow Brown made two big catches to keep his team in the game. The first came on a fourth down and four as he caught a ball on the left sideline to move the Warriors from the 44-yard line down to the 18. He followed that up with a beautiful 15-yard touchdown grab that he had to go up and pull down away from a defender to put the Warriors in the lead 16-14.
"I don't care what sport you are playing. You need to have one or two big plays like those guys made to win championships," said Campbell. Grogan added, "We wanted to get our receivers involved since we ran a lot in the last game and they were pumped to go out and make plays."
Perhaps the biggest play of the game came on fourth down with two minutes to go in the game as the Warriors worked to wind out the clock. Coach Campbell called a time out to talk about the play with the team and they went out and executed it to a T.
Grogan received the snap and swept out left like he was looking to get outside, and right as the defense was closing in on him, he threw a screen back to the right side of the field. Wells was there this time to haul it in and take it just far enough to give Wahconah a fresh set of downs to seal the game.
After a half that saw 45 points scored between both teams, Campbell said, "Defense, that's all we talked about at halftime."
It worked for the Warriors as they never let South Hadley past the 40-yard line and forced the Tigers to turn the ball over on downs, twice.
When I asked Fiske at the end of the game if it was extra special to win the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium he told me, "Best way to end your senior year possible!"