Big Second Quarter Propels Taconic Past Pittsfield in City Championship
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Taconic football team's roller-coaster regular season ended on a major up note Saturday: a 46-8 win over Pittsfield to claim the City Championship and a likely berth in the Western Massachusetts Division 7 playoffs.
Haywood Eurquhart ran for 91 yards and three touchdowns, and Tyrell Beverly ran for 90, including a 62-yard score, as Taconic finished the regular season 4-4.
Both squads stepped onto Gene Dellea Field knowing that the winner likely would end up in next week's sectional semi-finals, three wins away from Gillette Stadium.
After Pittsfield took the opening kickoff and went 62 yards for a drive that ended in D'Andre Johnson's 11-yard run, it was all Taconic.
In many ways, the game went a lot like the season for Taconic's defense, which allowed 86 points in the first three weeks and has allowed just 40 in the final five.
"The last four or five weeks, our defense has just been stepping up and playing really fast -- playing fast and hard and doing a great job," Taconic coach Jim Ziter said. "They're just being physical. That's what we've been preaching, and they're really buying into it. They did a great job."
And Ziter knew he would need a big day from his defense against a Pittsfield (3-4) offense that averaged 30.5 points per game over its last four games.
"We worked on our keys this week, defensively," Ziter said. "[Pittsfield coach Brian Jezewski] does a great job. His kids are fast. They're disciplined. Their quarterback plays disciplined. Donte Cruz is one heck of a receiver; he gives you fits when you see him on film.
"Our kids -- we preach keys. We try to preach that all week. See your keys, see what they're giving us."
Taconic's offense answered Pittsfield's initial score with a big play from Beverly. The senior receiver took the ball on a sweep to the left and went 62 yards to make it an 8-6 game midway through the first quarter.
The two-point conversion was no good, and the Generals were able to take an 8-6 lead into the second quarter.
But the last six minutes of that quarter saw Taconic score 24 points to take control of the game.
First, Nick Sayers recovered a fumble at the plus-23 to set up a short scoring drive that ended in a 4-yard Eurquhart plunge.
Next, Taconic senior Tyler Killbury returned a fumble 20 yards to set his team up on the 19. Three plays later, Eurquhart scored from the 11. Cole Lander ran in the two-pointer to make it 22-8.
Pittsfield's next possession ended in a punt attempt. But a miscue on the snap led to Generals punter Johnson being taken down at the 29, and Taconic got the ball back in great field position with 1 minute, 7 seconds left until half-time.
It took just four plays to get into the end zone on a 15-yard Eurquhart run, and Lander again did the honors on the conversion to make it 30-8 at half-time.
One long drive and one turnover added to that lead in the second half. First, Eurquhart, Beverly and Dylan Burke (27 yards) tookturns toting the ball 57 yards to the 4, where Lander finished to make it 38-8. Then, with 2:03 on the clock, Jalen Hill recovered a fumble and went 65 yards for the day's final score.
Taconic learns Sunday morning where and against whom it will begin its postseason road.
Wherever Ziter's team goes, he knows that if it keeps controlling the line of scrimmage, the road could be a long one.
"My O-line, the last five weeks, has been lights out," he said. "I can't be more proud of them. They did a great job for these running backs."