Wahconah Routs Lee for Campbell's 200th Career Win
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- It took a few weeks, but Wahconah coach Gary Campbell may have found the silver lining of coaching during a global pandemic.
No common drinking sources means no Gatorade buckets.
So when his team wanted to douse the veteran coach after giving him his 200th career win on Saturday morning, it had to be satisfied with smaller vessels.
“That was just a little better,” Campbell said in between accepting congratulations for a 50-12 triumph on Berkshire Community College’s Gene Dellea Field. “They’re throwing water on you from a bottle. There’s a lot to be said for that.”
Especially on a cool mid-April day.
Campbell’s team did its best to counter Mother Nature by coming out red hot on Saturday.
Wahconah needed a combined six plays to score three touchdowns on its first three possessions, and it scored all six times it held the ball in the first half to take a 44-6 lead into the break.
Jonah Smith ran for 132 yards and three scores to lead Wahconah (3-0), which set the stage for next Friday’s clash against Pittsfield (2-0), a winner over city rival Taconic later in the day at BCC.
Wahconah’s defense set the tone by holding Lee minus-5 yards on its first possession to force a Wildcats punt from its 15. Jon Render returned that punth 20 yards to the Lee 25, and two plays later, Smith was in the end zone after a 22-yard run.
Lee (0-2) went three-and-out on its next possession, and after a second punt Wahconah again set up its offense in plus territory, at the Wildcats’ 45. Quinn Gallagher ran for 8 yards and then threw for 37 to Render for a score to make it 14-0.
On Lee’s next possession, it went to the air, but Render intercepted a pass at the Wahconah 45.
A personal foul against Wahconah pushed it back to its 30, but Smith broke off a 70-yard run to make it 22-0 with 4 minutes, 13 seconds left in the first quarter.
Lee tried to run the ball one more time on its next possession before going to the air on seven straight plays.
Jimmy Purcell completed four of those passes for 70 yards, including two 19-yard completions to Gabe Kelly and a 23-yard strike to Averin Paradise to move the ball to the 1.
Kelley scored from there to get Lee on the board at 22-6.
Campbell said Wahconah came into the game wanting to take away the running game and make Lee one-dimensional.
“They’re a good football team,” he said. “Obviously the quarterback and the [Luke] Patella are very good players. All their players are.
“But we wanted to do that -- force them to put the ball in the air. And I think the wind, again, this is the second game we’ve played here, and the wind is a factor here at this field. It makes a difference here.”
After throwing for 70 yards on that first-quarter scoring drive, Lee had just 4 more yards through the air until a fourth-quarter drive that produced its second touchdown.
Before the Wildcats got their second score, Wahconah got a 6-yard TD run from Smith, a 1-yard plunge from Zach Archambault (39 yards) and a 3-yard run from Xavier Wellington to make it 50-6 late in the third quarter.
Once the game was over and the milestone win was in the books, a slightly soggy Campbell had trouble putting the 200th win into context.
“Not right now, it’s hard,” he said. “You always focus on a week. It’s week to week. I do believe in that stuff. It’s cliche, but I believe in it.
“As you hit me in the moment, I just think of people. I think of kids. I think of coaches. I think of teams and the reflection on all those years. That does truly mean you’ve been around for a while. It’s now my 25th year as a head coach. That’s a lot of kids. That’s a lot of coaches. That’s a lot of teams.
“I’m grateful to be able to do it.”