Wahconah Pulls Away from Hoosac Valley in Second half.
CHESHIRE, Mass. -- After battling Hoosac Valley to a stalemate in the first 24 minutes on Saturday, the Wahconah football team took control of the game with two long drives to open the second half and never looked back.
Will Geneway threw for 172 yards and a touchdown, and Connor Noyes ran for 109 yards as Wahconah won its second straight and ended the regular season at 7-1.
The Hurricanes (3-4), who needed a win to qualify for the Western Mass playoffs, kept the visitors off the scoreboard for the first 21 minutes of the game and went to the locker room tied, 8-8.
But Wahconah regrouped.
“Half-time was about us, it really was,” Wahconah coach Gary Campbell said. “I felt like last week against Chicopee we were a little flat. And I thought today, getting inspired play from Hoosac, we didn’t anticipated that coming out of the gate well. And I thought we were sloppy.
“However, I’m really proud of the boys and how we came out at half-time. We regrouped. We talked about some things. It really wasn’t schematics. It was really more about getting back to basics and playing consistent football.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the teams traded touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the second.
First, Hoosac Valley took advantage of a short field after Wahconah misfired on a fourth-and-10 at its 35. It took the Hurricanes three running plays to get the ball in the end zone on a 27-yard scamper by Matt Hall.
Wahconah answered with a 66-yard drive that ended when Geneway hit Connor Washburn for a 26-yard scoring strike down the middle. Noyes ran in the 2-pointer to make it 8-8 at the half.
Geneway directed his team 66 yards on the first drive of the second half.
Hastings ran for 30 yards on the drive, including the 4-yard TD to make it 14-8, but the key play of the scoring march was a 20-yard completion from Geneway to Connor Matthews to pick up a third-and-8 conversion.
After forcing the Hurricanes to punt on their next possession, Wahconah took over at its own 8 midway through the third quarter.
Six straight running plays -- and a 15-yard flag on Hoosac for a late hit -- got Wahconah back in the end zone when Hastings scored from 14 yards out to push the lead to 20-8 with 4 minutes, 12 seconds left in the third.
A 44-yard kickoff return by Vance Eugene kick-started Hoosac’s offense. It took over at the plus-40 and needed just four plays to set up a 9-yard Brenden Ellsworth touchdown run. The point-after try failed, and it was 20-14 going to the fourth quarter.
The lone score in the final quarter was a 1-yard plunge by Geneway to put his team up by two scores with 3:02 on the clock.
Hoosac drove from its 23 to the Hoosac 29 in the final minute, but a fourth-and-22 pass from Eugene gained just 21 yards, and Wahconah took over on downs with 30 seconds on the clock.
Wahconah learns Sunday morning against whom it will start its playoff run next weekend.
The Hurricanes have two non-qualifier games to play over the next couple of weeks before taking on rival Drury on the night before Thanksgiving at Renfrew Park.
“It’s tough not being in the playoffs,” Hoosac Valley coach Dayne Poirot said. “The setup of the schedule and our league is kind of crazy. You look at the teams that are going to be in it, and I think there are a lot of people who will tell you they’re glad we’re not going to be there.
“We’re a good football team, and our kids have gotten better week to week. As a program, we just need to keep improving. We need to have kids be committed to getting better, and they’ll do that. They’ll do a good job.”