Game of the Week: Unbeaten McCann Tech Looks to Avenge '13 Loss
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Last year, Franklin Tech had an experienced, senior-laden football team, and it showed in a 14-12 win over McCann Tech that spoiled the Hornets' perfect season.
This year, McCann again comes into their matchup with a perfect record. But this time around, the Hornets (5-0) are the team with all the seniors, and the Eagles are 3-2 heading into their Week 7 matchup.
"I guess with that, having the advantage of having a truly veteran team with 12 seniors like we have, that does indicate that, yeah, we should play well," McCann coach Bob LeClair said this week.
That doesn't mean the Hornets are taking Franklin Tech lightly.
"They're a good team this year," said LeClair, who has seen the Eagles play in person three times. "They still have a number of kids back.
"They're someone we really have to pay attention to and have to reckon with."
LeClair does not put much stock in Franklin's 34-16 loss to Mohawk, a team McCann beat in Buckland back in Week 2. Last week, Mohawk scored 20 fourth-quarter points to break open a close game against the Eagles.
Last year, Mohawk, McCann and Franklin ended up in a three-way tie for the Tri-County League title after Mohawk beat Franklin Tech, and McCann Tech beat Mohawk.
According to media reports, Franklin Tech quarterback CJ Daignault completed 16 of 17 passes in the loss to Mohawk. LeClair cited the junior QB and classmate Kyle Johnson, a lineman, as two of players that could cause trouble for the Hornets.
McCann Tech has been causing trouble for all its opponents this fall. The Hornets are outscoring opponents by a margin of 46-5. McCann Tech has allowed just six points total in the last three weeks while scoring 158 (53 points per game).
In some teams, those blowout wins could lead to overconfidence, but LeClair said his Hornets are keeping their wits about them.
"Going into games, they know they can't overlook teams and ignore them," he said. "Every week, they have prepared well for no matter who the opponent is. Some [opponents] may not have been as good as others, but [the Hornets are] looking to get better.
"Last week, we knew that was going to be a tougher ballgame, and the kids prepared for it and performed well."
Even though McCann got out of the Palmer game with a 45-0 win on Friday night, it was a game in which LeClair had to keep his starters on the field into the second half -- unlike the previous two weeks. And he said that as much as he enjoyed giving the reserves significant time against Smith Voc and Ware, he was happy to get the first unit more snaps in Week 6, especially with tougher games down the road.
"This week, this is an even better team," he said. "As good as Mohawk? Maybe.
"I know this is a team that is going to come in looking to win the ballgame. They're backs are against the all playoff-wise."
The Hornets are the top-ranked team in the commonwealth in all of Division 6, according to the website maxpreps.com. The MIAA Western Mass have the Hornets ranked first in their division; Franklin Tech is ranked fourth.
The Eagles have a rating of 10.4, well ahead of fifth-place Ware (3-2, 8.4) and even further ahead of No. 7 Lee (3-3, 8.2) and No. 8 Monument Mountain (3-3, 7.8). The top four teams at the end of the regular season make the playoffs.
Although it is possible for either Monument or Lee to win out and not make the post-season no matter what happens in front of them, a win by McCann Tech on Saturday could help keep the Spartans' and Wildcats' playoff hopes alive. And that's just fine with LeClair.
"That would be great to have two Berkshire County teams in the playoffs," he said. "Certainly we're going to have that in Division 5 with [No. 1] Pittsfield and [No. 2] Hoosac."
LeClair is aware of the discontent in the Berkshire County League that a team like Monument, which has wins over D5 Mount Greylock and Taconic and took Pittsfield to the last minutes before losing by four, could be shut out even if it beats Drury on Friday night and Lee on Oct. 25.
That discontent is not helped by the fact that Ware, which was pummeled by McCann's first and second strings two weeks ago, enters Week 7 with a better shot at the playoffs than Monument or Lee.
But there is not much McCann can do about that situation.
"I know things are said about how we should play [Lee or Monument] and things like that," LeClair said. "But we've got our league, and we can only play who we're scheduled to play."
This week's schedule around the county is heavy with Friday night lights. In fact, only McCann will see the light of day in Week 7.
The county's other undefeated squad, Division 4-leading Wahconah (6-0) welcomes Taconic (2-4). As mentioned above, Drury (1-4) heads to Great Barrington to face the Spartans.
Pittsfield (4-1) looks to bounce back at Wahconah Park against Hoosac Valley (5-1) in a possible Division 5 playoff preview. And Mount Greylock (2-4) heads to Lee to take on the Wildcats.