WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Friday’s 36-6 loss to Amherst dashed whatever slim hopes the Mount Greylock football team had of a playoff berth.
But Mounties coach Andrew Agostini still has plenty to be excited about going into the last two weeks of consolation round play.
“It’s been a tough and resilient group,” Agostini said after Mount Greylock finished the regular season 4-4. “This is my fourth year, so the seniors, these guys have had me the whole time. I’m really proud of the way they’ve played.
“We just want to finish these last two weeks super strong, have some fun these last couple of weeks. I want to enjoy these last two weeks with this team, and in particular these seniors because they’ve given a lot to this program.
“That’s our plan going forward.”
On Friday night, the Mounties plan appeared to be to use the passing skills of senior Michael Wellspeak to keep pace with the playoff-bound Hurricanes (6-2).
And in the first half, Wellspeak’s passing and Mount Greylock’s defense were enough to keep it a one-score game, 14-6.
But in the second half, a pair of blocked punts and a fumble allowed Amherst to pick up three easy scores and run away with its fifth-straight win.
The Hurricanes struck first when they recovered an onside kick on the opening kickoff and went 55 yards in four plays, the last 19 on a run by Daniel Block. James Mills completed a 2-point conversion pass, and it was 8-0 before the game was two minutes old.
Mount Greylock answered with a 33-yard drive to get to the Amherst 19, but in a theme that would repeat throughout the night, the Mounties turned over the ball.
Mounties senior Taylor Cummings made a tackle for a loss on the ensuing possession to hold Amherst to a three-and-out, and after a punt the hosts took possession at midfield.
Wellspeak drove his team 47 yards in four plays for the score. The key play was a 41-yard catch and run by senior Sean Malloy, who took a pass over the middle, cut to the right and then cut back to the left to get his team a first-and-goal at the 6.
Three plays later, Wellspeak found classmate Jason Betti in the end zone for a score. The point-after try failed, and Amherst preserved an 8-6 lead.
The Hurricanes went 58 yards on their next possession, scoring on a 29-yard Mills completion.
Mount Greylock drove 26 yards on its next possession before turning over the ball on downs, but Cummings got it back with an interception and 33-yard return to the Amherst 20.
The Mounties again got a goal-to-go opportunity, and again Amherst got a turnover at the goalline to stymie the drive.
This time, Amherst returned an interception 67 yards, but 30 penalty yards on the play pushed the Hurricanes back to midfield with just less than two minutes left in the half.
Mills drove his team to the doorstep, but on fourth-and-6 at the 7, Mount Greylock senior Zeke Locklear pulled an Amherst receiver down behind the line of scrimmage to end the threat and keep it 14-6 at half-time.
In the second half, it was all Amherst.
The Canes started the half with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. Mills made it 28-6 lead with a 12-yard TD pass on his team’s first possession of the second half. And a 53-yard drive that spanned the third and fourth quarters put the game entirely out of reach.
Mount Greylock learns sometime Sunday who it will face in the first of two weeks of play for non-playoff qualifiers.