Loehr, Lee 'D' Too Much for Amherst
LEE, Mass. -- For the third straight week, Lee’s “D” was impenetrable.
The Lee football team Friday night hung a 40-0 loss on Amherst to improve to 6-1 on the year with the Wildcats’ third straight shutout.
On a night when when the Lee football team’s offense continued its run of scoring at least 34 points per game, perhaps the biggest play was turned in by the Wildcats’ defense.
It was midway through the second quarter, and Lukas Loehr had just scored his second touchdown of the game to help give Lee a 15-0 lead.
Visiting Amherst recovered the ensuing kickoff at its own 46 with more than five minutes to try to get some points on the board before half-time.
The Hurricanes picked up 8 yards on first down to cross midfield. But on second down, Garrett Hopkins lowered the boom, sacking J.B. Mills and putting Amherst in a hole. Two plays later, Amherst turned over the ball on downs.
And six plays after that, Homer Winston and Jake Corcoran hooked up for a 21-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left in the half, and the rout was on.
“I think our defense is one of the best in the county,” said Loehr, who finished with 113 yards rushing. “We’re stout. I don’t know how many shutouts we have. Four? You’re not going to find a crack in our team anywhere.”
That’s four shutouts in seven games for the 6-1 Wildcats, who also gave up just a garbage time touchdown in a 35-8 win on opening night against Turners Falls.
“Our offense gets a lot of publicity in the paper because we put up points,” Lee coach Keith Thomson said. “But we’re giving up less than 100 yards per game. … In seven games, we’ve given up less than 700 yards all season long. It all starts with our defense.
“Got the ball there [at the end of the half], and the offense did the rest. Our offensive line has been terrific all year, and they just grinded this one out.”
Lee scored the second time it touched the ball, going 40 yards after an Amherst punt on a drive that saw Loehr do all the damage -- catching a 23-yard pass from Winston before scoring from the 11. Will Consolati’s extra point made it 7-0 with 5:05 left in the first quarter.
At 5:20 of the second quarter, Loehr scored from the 6, and Andrew Reuf caught a 2-point conversion pass to stretch the lead to 15-0, setting the stage for the big stop that allowed Lee to push its lead to 22-0 at the break.
Lee scored on all three of its second-half possessions.
The first one started with a J.J. Jiminez interception and ended with a 28-yard Consolati field goal.
Then, after senior Shane Cloutier recovered an Amherst (5-2) fumble, Lee went 51 yards, the last one on a Winston keeper to make it 32-0 after three quarters.
Lee capped the scoring with a 53-yard drive after Amherst’s third turnover of the second half. Jiminez did the honors, scoring from the 10, before Omar Pichardo ran in the 2-pointer.
Lee’s win kept it in contention for a share of the Intercounty South title and likely assured it a spot in the Western Massachusetts Division 8 semi-finals -- not that Thomson is allowing his Wildcats to look that far ahead.
“We’re 6-1, I think we’re in great position, but right now we’ve got a rivalry game with Monument,” he said of next Friday’s regular season finale. “We missed that game last year, and right now our focus turns to Monument. When that’s over, we’ll let the powers that be decide our fate.
“But the team is cranking right now. The train is rolling, and you better get off the tracks.”