WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The two defending Super Bowl champion teams from Berkshire County, Division II winners Wahconah and Division III winners Mount Greylock, are set to clash Friday night.
The anticipation for the game is huge for both teams for a multitude of reasons, including payback for last year's Berkshire County championship that the Mounties won on Wahconah's home field, pay back for Wahconah ending Mount Greylock's 33-game winning streak on the Mounties' home field, and because the winner of this game could decide who gets to compete in this year's Berkshire County championship. The two teams from Berkshire County with the highest points in the state playoff ranking will face off on Thanksgiving Eve or Thanksgiving Day morning.
"It hurts. They came down here and played wonderfully and unfortunately they took that crown on our home field," said Wahconah head coach Gary Campbell about last year's Berkshire County Championship. "So it's a pretty good draw for round three that's for sure. I guess that's the way you look at it. It's a heavyweight fight and now it's round three and obviously each one of us wants to win that round."
Wahconah comes into their last game of the regular season undefeated at 7-0 and coach Campbell was most excited that all of his players are healthy at this important part of the season.
"I think what I'm most happy about is that we have all of our guys," Campbell said. "Each and every week has been a different group that has had to come in which is a great thing because we've built depth. But last week against Taconic was our first time where every single kid that came in during the summer is healthy and ready to go. So we have our full squad and we are really excited about that."
Coach Campbell hopes to limit Mount Greylock's speed.
"That's the number one thing," he said. "I think Greylock runs well at every single position. The offensive line is not overly huge but they all run well and are very athletic. That's the key if we can play with team speed. Secondly, they are as balanced a team as I think we are. I think we are a very balanced team. We throw and run well but they do that also. So you can't say hey take [Daivon] Clement out because you also have to keep an eye on [Mike] McCormack and keep an eye on [Robbie] Buffis. We have got to play our best team game and I'm sure coach [Shawn] Flaherty is telling his guys the same thing."
Mount Greylock heads into Friday night's tilt at 6-1, with their lone loss coming back in week three at home to Hoosac Valley.
"You know, that Hoosac Valley game was a tough loss," coach Flaherty said. "We fumbled on our own three, threw a pick six, and then gave up another big pass play and were looking at 20-0. But I'm real proud of the kids to just battle back to get us here at 6-1. Playing Wahconah, an undefeated team, it's huge. It's definitely a different year, Wahconah's coming in and their worth 24 points for when it comes to power ranking stuff. We know that we are in second place in Western Mass but the sentiment is we want to get to that number one spot."
"Wahconah is a good football team," Flaherty added. "I think what Wahconah does well is establishing that run and they are basically running that spread offense from last year. It's real dependent on [Eli] Pease and giving draws and sweep plays but then they'll bite you and they will fake a draw to Pease and then [Ethan] Wells will keep it and go the other way. It's about maintaining that, but Pease and Wells have a nice luxury of running behind a really big, strong and physical front line. So our defensive line needs to play tough and hang with them the entire game. I think we have played good football during the season. But obviously when it's that last regular season game of the year and your playing an undefeated team and we have scratched and clawed for everything. It sells itself but you want to be playing your best football at the end of the season and this is the greatest showcase to do it."
Both teams understand the importance of Friday night's 7 p.m. showdown at John T. Allen Field in Williamstown.
"We need to be at the top of our game," coach Campbell said. "Greylock has unbelievable team speed. They have very good coaching. They have the athletes in all the right places. Daivon Clement is phenomenal. [Brodie] Altiere beat us as a freshman last year. McCormack kid catching awesome passes. And I tell you what, every film I pop in, this [Matt] Malloy kid is good. He is tough. They are the three-time defending champs in Berkshire County for a reason. They're good. Our kids totally respect that but then again, they also want to defeat that. So you add all the tradition they have up there, all those other things and I think it makes for a great football game."