McCann Football's MIAA Run Ends in State Semis
LEOMINSTER, Mass. -- The McCann Tech Hornets road to Gillette Stadium and a possible Division 6 state championship came to an end on Saturday afternoon in Leominster when they were defeated 46-20 by a big, athletic Littleton Tiger team.
Littleton is the defending D6 state champions and it looked the part as it opened up a 40-6 lead heading into half-time and cruised through the second half to advance to the finals.
"They were a very athletic team. Very strong and I noticed it on their first series," McCann coach Bob LeClair said. "They drove the ball down field and we were more than a step behind in a lot of situations. They opened things up and we had a tough time."
The Tigers opened up the game with 10-play, 57-yard drive that included a 33-yard scramble by junior quarterback Connor Bassett on third down and 9. Bassett finished the drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the first touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion was good and the Tigers had an early 6-0 lead.
McCann went three-and-out on its first series, and Littleton took over on its own 46-yard line. It was Bassett and senior running back Elijah Pyram who did the damage this time. Bassett ripped off runs of 9 and 16 yards before Pyram ran for a 12-yard gain followed up by a 17-yard blast up the middle for their second score of the game. The two-pointer was good to make it 16-0.
The Hornets took over but again went three-and-out, forcing them to punt. Littleton sent up for its third possession of the game, and this time McCann bent but did not break and was able to stop them. Bassett hit Pyram with a short pass to the right side of the field and Pyram weaved his way up the field for a 41-yard gain to the Hornet 15-yard line. The McCann defense got the help of a holding call on the Tigers and then a big sack for a 9-yard loss by senior Cody Laframboise on second and 11. Littleton picked up 11 yards on third down but its fourth down attempt failed.
McCann got its first big play of the day on its ensuing possession when, on third down and 20, quarterback Nick Lincoln threw a pass down the middle looking for his wideout Rahmer Vincent. The pass was short but Vincent made a great play, coming back to the ball and snagging it away from the Tiger defenders. The drive stalled there, though, and the Hornets had to punt.
Littleton made quick work of their next series as Bassett found classmate Chris Renaccio on their third play for a 42-yard touchdown completion. The two-point conversion was good, making it 24-0 with 7:31 remaining before half.
The Hornets put together a drive of their own though on their next possession. Senior Brett Pecor got things going for his team with some tough running between the tackles with fellow running back junior Eathan Heller chipping in as well. The duo blasted McCann down to the Tiger 5-yard line before Lincoln snuck in one-play later on a sneak from the 1-yard line. They could not convert the two-point conversion but the score was now 24-6 with just 1:48 to play before intermission.
But with just under two minutes to play, Littleton was still able to get another two scores on the board before heading into the locker rooms. Bassett found Renaccio for completions of 11 and 36 yards before Pyram ran it in from 10 yards out to make it 32-6 using just under a minute of time to find the endzone.
The Hornets took a couple chances before half to move down the field and on their second pass attempt, the ball was tipped by one of the Tiger's secondary players and it was Renaccio again, this time playing defense, who found the ball in his hands and rumbled 40 yards to pay dirt. The two-point conversion was good to make it 40-6 at half.
McCann got a couple scores in the second half though to keep things respectable. After a fumble by Littleton that gave the Hornets great field position on the Tiger 25, Lincoln found Vincent on their first offensive play for a 25-yard touchdown on a nice fade pass to right pylon.
Then with 24 seconds left, Pecor smashed in from 10 yards for the Hornets third score of the day to put the final score at 46-20.
"This is just a great opportunity for us," said LeClair. "You know what you have to do to get here is win a Western Mass title and accomplishing that is fantastic. We came in here 10-0 and so you can't say by losing this one it was a terrible season. Plus, we still have another ball game we are going to play on December 4, which is for the state vocational championship."
Coach LeClair says there are two divisions, one for bigger schools and the other for the smaller ones. McCann is the top seed for the division of smaller schools and will be playing at a site to be named for a chance at a state vocational title.
"We still will be practicing for two more weeks, so not time to put those pads away yet," added LeClair.