Pittsfield's Shade, Tucker Too Much For Lee
The last two weeks, those seniors have been able to get some experience for the underclassmen.
Chad Shade threw for two touchdowns, and Devon Tucker ran for 113 yards and returned a kickoff 81 yards to lead the Generals to a 38-16 win over Lee at Wahconah Park.
Neither of the Pittsfield senior playmakers were around for many plays by the end of the third quarter. For the second straight game, Pittsfield coach Brian Jezewski was able to turn over the offense to sophomore Jack Cooney and a number of second stringers.
"Jack Cooney is a real deal triple option quarterback," Jezewski said. "That's what I want to stay with. Chad [Shade] can do so much other ways.
"The reason we're having success is what the No. 2s are doing to us in practice. You can't say enough about how hard these guys work during the week."
One of the things Shade can do for the Generals (4-0) is keep plays alive with his athleticism in the backfield. He did that twice on Thursday night -- breaking tackles and eluding rushers before finding receivers in the end zone.
Late in the first quarter on third-and-13 at the Lee 21, the Wildcats (2-3) appeared to have Shade corralled in the backfield, but he crossed the field to the left side and heaved a pass into the end zone for a wide open Cooney to make it 13-0.
Then, at the end of the half, after a fumble gave Pittsfield a first-and-goal at the 8 with 4 seconds on the clock, Shade ran around for at least 12 seconds, bounced off one of his offensive linemen and found Mason Papiro in the end zone to make it 31-8 going into half-time.
"I'm so afraid every time he does it," Jezewski said. "That play at the half was just incredible. But we talk to him all the time about just throwing it away, throwing it away. He's really tough. He's extremely fast. And he's a four-year starter, so he makes these plays."
Lee coach Keith Thomson gave all the credit to Shade for two back-breaking plays against the Wildcats' defense.
"The Shade kid just had an unbelievable game," he said. "He broke things down, made plays when they weren't even there to be made, and a tip of the hat to them.
"We had some opportunities. We didn't capitalize on a lot of them. We had him in the backfield a couple of times, and we broke down fundamentally. ... He's an excellent athlete. We've seen him do it all year on film. He keeps plays alive with his feet, and he's not just looking to run. He pulled up and found open receivers."
Tucker is another excellent athlete for the Generals, and he had another big night on Thursday. His 32-yard run off left tackle on the first play of the game set the tone and set up Shade's 10-yard scamper for the game's first score.
In the second quarter, after Lee went 51 yards to make it 13-8 on a 12-yard pass from Cam Abderhalde to Trey McNinch, Tucker took the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to put the Generals back up by 11.
Tucker then had five carries for 46 yards on a 58-yard drive that produced Pittsfield's fourth touchdown and a 25-8 lead before Shade's heroics on the final play of the half made it a 23-point game going to intermission.
Lee opened the second half by going 52 yards to the Pittsfield 16, but Shade picked off a pass in the end zone to stall that drive. And three plays later, he gallopped 72 yards for his second TD of the game to make it 38-8 midway through the third quarter.
The Wildcats kept battling, though, and their persistence was rewarded in the fourth quarter when Danny Griffin recovered a fumble in Lee's end of the field. On Lee's first snap, Jordan LePrevost (98 yards) scored on a 72-yard run to provide the final margin.
"We talked about it at half-time," Thomson said. "You have pride. Our program has pride. Our team has pride. We couldn't promise a win or anything like that coming out [of half-time]. All I wanted to see was them come out and give effort.
"I'm proud of the effort in the second half, but it doesn't take away the pain of this one. This was a big game for us. It was a big game for Pittsfield. They just came out and seemed like they wanted it more than we did."