Wahconah Runs Over Hoosac Valley in Opener

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- With touchdowns on five of its first six possessions on Saturday, the Wahconah football team did not miss many opportunities.
The biggest of all: just to be on the field.
“We can’t take it for granted,” Wahconah coach Gary Campbell said after a 39-22 win over Hoosac Valley on Berkshire Community College’s Gene Dellea Field. “We thought we were all playing today. Every school in the county thought they were playing today. And we were lucky enough to play.
“In these days and times … maybe we take too many things for granted. So, very, very happy to be able to come out with the boys and play football. Great stuff.”
And a great day running the football for Wahconah senior Zach Archambault, who had 121 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Archambault echoed his coach’s sentiments about how fortunate Hoosac Valley and Wahconah were to be able to play their season opener.
“Sports has been a pretty large part of my life,” Archambault said. “It’s just that little escape from COVID and all the weird stuff going on.
The senior running back scored from 33 yards out to cap a four-play, 47-yard drive that got Wahconah on the board with the first score of Berkshire County’s “Fall 2” football season.
And Wahconah continued its fast start from there, dominating the first three quarters on both sides of the ball. It gave up just one first down before taking a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter and it was up 39-6 in the fourth before the Hurricanes mounted two scoring drives.
“I think a huge factor at Wahconah is we can adapt to weather, we can adapt to whatever, and that’s partially because our practices are so hard,” Archambault said. “We can adapt to a lot of different factors and come out with the same fire and the same energy. That’s a huge part of it.”
Wahconah cashed in the game’ first turnover with a 41-yard drive that ended in a 7-yard run by Jonah Smith.
After a 25-yard kick return by Aaron Bush set up the Hurricanes at midfield, Hoosac Valley’s next drive ended in a punt that pinned Wahconah on its own 3.
But nine plays later, Wahconah went 97 yards -- all on the ground -- and scored on a 19-yard run by Jon Render, the third of five Wahconah players to run for a touchdown on Saturday.
“I think we have some talented backs, but our line played awesome today,” Archambault said. “The blocking was on a different level from what we’ve seen before. Respect to the big buffaloes in front. It’s pretty awesome.”
The third time Wahconah put the ball in the air on a windy afternoon, it was picked off by Hoosac Valley’s Davion Cote in the middle of the second quarter. But after taking over at the plus 45, the ‘Canes were stopped on downs at the Wahconah 38.
Wahconah scored five plays later, this time completing two Quinn Gallagher passes for 53 yards -- a 26-yarder to Render and a 27-yard completion to Owen Salvatore to set up Gallagher’s 2-yard run to make it 26-0.
Gallagher hooked up with Render again early in the third quarter, this time going for 41 yards and Wahconah’s fifth touchdown of the day to make it 32-0.
Hoosac got on the board midway through the third with an 80-yard drive that started with a 55-yard scamper down the left side by Logan Davis (93 yards rushing). Bush had a 21-yard carry on the drive that ended with his 2-yard plunge to make it 33-6.
Wahconah sophomore Salvatore gave his team its final score, going 78 yards on a jet sweep early in the fourth quarter.
The Hurricanes then controlled the ball for most of the remainder of the game. First, they marched 57 yards for a drive that ended in Carson Meczywor’s 17-yard scoring run.
Then, after Hoosac Valley recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, it went 37 yards for the game’s final score, a 14-yard run by Davis.
Although the two late scores make it look like Wahconah’s defense was vulnerable, it was anything but for most of the afternoon.
“I thought defensively -- for both teams, us and Hoosac, we just got told on Thursday that we were playing each other -- so to prepare for each other’s offenses, I was preparing for [Pittsfield’ High’s] Emmanuel Nda and [Patrick] Rindfuss and Sincere Moorer and that whole crew,” Campbell said. “And, all of a sudden, Thursday, that double wing power offense is something totally different.
“They got to us a little in the second half, but, overall, really proud of our defense, coach [Jim] Galliher and the whole defense for a day to try and stop it.”
With Pittsfield and Taconic deciding late in the week that they could not play their openers on Saturday, the short season’s schedule is undergoing adjustments. Wahconah is supposed to play Taconic in Week 2, while Hoosac Valley is on track to face Mount Greylock in the Mounties’ opener, but the Berkshire County athletic directors are planning to release updated schedules this week.
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