McCann's Pecor Sets School Rushing Mark in Season-Ending Loss
WESTFORD, Mass. - McCann Tech senior Brett Pecor ran for 90 yards to break the school's single-season rushing record, but the Hornets dropped a 42-22 decision to Essex Tech in the State Vocational Championship game on Thursday night.
Essex quarterback Yordany Sanchez ran for 167 yards, and the Hawks took advantage of three McCann turnovers deep in Essex territory.
Pecor, who came into the game needing 70 for the record, busted an 18-yard run off right tackle in the closing minute to pass Gary Whitman, who ran for 1,215 yards in 1975.
"I was kind of doubtful I'd get it," Pecor said of the game's closing moments. "I only needed 12 yards, and I really wanted it.
"I've been working for 1,000 yards all season, but to top that and get the record is awesome."
Pecor ran for 5 on the last play of the game to finish with 1,235 for the season.
McCann coach Bob LeClair said Pecor's contribution to McCann's success the last few years goes well beyond the yardage he gains.
"This is a kid who just shows up every single day -- as so many of our guys do -- and works hard," LeClair said. "He leads by example. He's not going to be yelling and screaming or anything like that. He's not a vocal person at all. He just shows up and does that blue collar stuff that you have to have.
"He's just been terrific for us. It was a great year for him."
And what a season for the Hornets (10-2), who went undefeated in the regular season for the first time in school history and won the program's first Western Mass title.
On Tuesday, McCann got off to a fast start when Levi Lawson took the opening kickoff 88 yards and caught a two-point conversion from Nick Lincoln to give the Hornets an 8-0 lead.
But Essex scored the first two times it touched the ball to take the lead. Sanchez went over the 100-yard mark midway through the first quarter with a 40-yard run for his second TD of the game.
Daniel Bailey's extra point made it 15-8, and the Hawks never relinquished the lead.
McCann got close, though.
Early in the second quarter, Eathan Heller broke loose for a 46-yard run to get the Hornets within one point, but the try for two failed, and Essex scored the next 27 unanswered.
McCann was plagued by miscues on offense that took away scoring chances.
"Turnovers," LeClair said. "Turnovers in the red zone -- three of them, three times, and one of them was a score. You can't let that happen.
"We got the ball down there, and we didn't finish. That was our problem."
After Heller's TD, Essex muffed a short punt and Henry Stockman recovered at the plus-38. A 16-yard run by Pecor got McCann to the 22. But Daniel Ramirez picked off Lincoln's first-down pass to end the threat.
After Essex started the second half with a 67-yard drive to go up, 35-14, McCann answered by going from its 28 to the Hawks' 7 as time ran out on the quarter. But on the first play of the fourth, Bailey picked off Lincoln on fourth-and-goal.
McCann's defense held the Hawks without a first down, and the Hornets got the ball back after a punt at midfield.
A 24-yard pass from Lincoln to Vincent got the ball to the 16. But on second-and-10, an errant pitch in the backfield hit the ground, and Easex's Bailey scooped and scored, going 77 yards to make it 42-14 with 7:14 left.
A 35-yard run by Heller (96 yards) helped set up a 3-yard run by Lincoln to provide the final margin.
The loss came in the first half of a double-header that ended with the large school State Voc Final between Whittier and Blackstone Valley. The commonwealth's high school football season comes to an end on Saturday in Foxborough with the MIAA Super Bowls as six state titles are decided.
That was McCann's focus coming into the post-season, but after losing in the state semi-finals last week, the State Voc Final gave the Hornets one more chance to strap on the pads.
"Two losses, but look where we are," LeClair said of the way McCann's season ended. "It's a state semi-final game and a state final here for the Voc championship.
"That's a great experience for all these kids. The seniors came in and played in a [Western Mass] Super Bowl as freshmen, and now they're going out like this, playing in December.
"Only 16 teams are playing in December in the state. We're fortunate to be one of them. I'm very proud of the kids for that."
More photos of this game here.