Wahconah Wins Opener Over St. Joe's
DALTON, Mass — Wahconah's stable of running backs and defense were too much for a St. Joseph team that got dinged up early and couldn't fight back in a 34-6 loss at Pinegrove Park on Saturday afternoon. Wahconah's backs: Jared Genzabella, Stephen Shea, Eli Pease, and Joe DiMassimo combined for 168 yards on 28 carries and three touchdowns.
The Warriors got off to a slow start with their first two drives ending in a punt and an interception. "We were really slow in the first quarter" said coach Steve Stengl. "I think it was the whole week, kind of wearing on them. First we are supposed to play Friday, then Monday, then back to Saturday. It took some steam out of the kids."
Wahconah looked like they were putting things together in the second quarter as Zack Morey caught a pass for 14 yards and Genzabella busted out a 29 yard run to set up the Warriors with a first and goal on the three yard line. Genzabella finished the drive with a three-yard score. The extra point was no good by Collin Bean.
St. Joe's came right back at the Warriors on their next drive with a 70 yard touchdown to tie things up on a pass from Tank Roberson to senior captain receiver Joe Wiggins. The Crusaders tried for a two point conversion and were stuffed.
Wahconah got the ball back and drove down the field, ending with a 15-yard touchdown run from Shea. St. Joe blocked the extra point. The Warriors got the ball back again on the St. Joseph 29-yard line with 1:33 left on the clock before halftime but couldn't score. The teams went into the half with a score of Wahconah 12, St. Joe 6.
The second half is when Wahconah really started to pull away as turnovers and penalties hurt the Crusaders. After Wahconah fumbled the ball and St. Joe's recovered, the Crusaders gave the ball right back on the next play, with a fumble by junior running back Levante Wiggins. A play later Wahconah quarterback Lane Grogan hit Shea with a pass and after a great block downfield by teammate Morey, Shea was in for six. The two point conversion was unsuccessful as the pass fell incomplete.
The first play on the Crusader's next drive, a bad snap, went over Roberson's head and junior defensive end Jordan Fiske scooped it up and took it in for a defensive score. Shea smashed in the two-point conversion and the score was at 26-6 Wahconah. The next two possessions for the Crusader's resulted in interceptions, and the Warriors capitalized on the second, with a 42 yard drive ending with Pease rushing in for a touchdown from 29 yards out. They completed another two-point conversion when DiMassimo crossed the goal line.
St. Joe's junior safety Jonny Bianchi who had 130 tackles last year and is a leader on the defensive side of the ball for the Crusaders went down early in the game and quarterback Roberson was bothered by an an ankle issue from the first quarter on. On top of that the Crusaders had eight penalties including numerous offsides calls that gave the Warriors some free first downs, and four turnovers, two of which lead to touchdowns.
St. Joe's running back, Wiggins, looked good and ran the ball hard all day, toting it 15 times for 95 yards, he also was a force on the defensive line. "My guys played hard throughout the whole game and never quit. Carlos Rodriguez, Luke Clark, and Sam Thomason all stepped up and did a nice job. Wahconah played very well and deserved to win the game." said Coach Gary Bianchi.
The Crusaders will look to get healthy and redeem themselves next week on Saturday night at home when they host Hoosac Valley. Wahconah will travel to Pittsfield to take on the Generals, Friday night at Wahconah Park.
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