Taconic Last-Minute TD Trips Easthampton

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Anthony Whiteley scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 57 seconds left to give Taconic a 21-18 win over Easthampton on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Taconic (6-2) keeps its playoff hopes alive heading into the MIAA Western Mass "Selection Sunday." The seeding meeting is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. at Smith Vocational in Northampton.
The winning score capped a 45-yard drive that followed a 72-yard burst by Hunter Leveille to give the Eagles (6-2) an 18-14 lead with 7:01 on the clock.
Taconic's final possession started with a 25-yard kickoff return by Whiteley to get the ball to midfield.
Taconic then benefited from an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Easthampton that turned an 8-yard run into a 23-yard gain on second-and-18.
From there, Whiteley, Jake Galliher and Zach Gage took turns running the ball, making short gains -- and bleeding the clock -- all the way down to the 3, where Taconic had first-and-goal with 1:46 left.
Whiteley then got the call on four straight runs, the last time over right tackle for the touchdown.
Brandon Peaslee then came on to kick his third extra point of the game -- points that were the difference in the game.
Whiteley finished with 165 yards. Quarterback Jake McNeice ran for 43, and Gage had 41.
McNeice also threw for a touchown, the first score of the game and a 31-yard completion to Tyrell Council on the second play of the second quarter.
Easthampton responded with a drive that went 68 yards and featured a 31-yard run by Leveille. The 2-point conversion try failed, and Taconic led, 7-6.
Taconic struck with a 77-yard drive that ended in a 5-yard McNeice run to go ahead, 14-6 with 1:59 left in the first half.
But Leveille caught a ball for 20 yards and ran once for 37 in a 68-yard Easthampton drive that made it 14-12 at half-time.
After a scoreless third-quarter, Leveille's big run gave the Eagles (6-2) their first lead.
Easthampton got the ball back on its 39 with 48 seconds left after Whiteley's TD. Max Weir completed four passes to get his team as far as the 24. But two big tackles by Taconic preserved the lead: First Gage dragged a receiver down in bounds to keep the clock running. Then Devon Walker made a stop at the 11 on the game's final play.
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