Buffoni's Rushing, Big Stop Lift Monument in Opener
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Monument Mountain football team could not stop the pass all night in Friday's season opener ... until it had to.
Cayvon Truden made an interception with 1 minute, 8 seconds left to secure a 22-14 win over Mount Greylock on John T. Allen Field.
Mike Buffoni rushed for 177 yards and scored three touchdowns for the Spartans. But the Mounties kept themselves in the game with 226 yards and a touchdown through the air by Brodie Altiere.
"Giving up big plays has been our Achilles heel for a long time," Monument coach Chris D'Aniello said. "It's true. It's obvious. We give up that big pass all the time.
"At the end, I wanted to see somebody actually figure out how to step up and stop the pass. And that's what Cayvon did."
Truden stepped in front of Brandon Condon, who earlier had caught a 27-yard scoring strike, and picked off a ball in the left flat to stymie the last comeback effort for the Mounties, who were out of timeout.
Two kneel-downs by Monument quarterback Brandon Perry, and the Spartans were able to enjoy a season-opening win and a rare winning record.
"We're a potentially really good team, but we've got a lot of things to work on, so we're going to go with that," D'Aniello said. "We're having fun.
"This is the first opening night win for Monument in a long time."
The Mounties scored the game's first points early in the second quarter when Patrick Storie (53 yards) scored from the 6. The two-point conversion failed, and Mount Greylock settled for a 6-0 lead.
Monument then scored the next 22, thanks to the bruising rushing attack of Buffoni.
Perry's 30-yard return on the ensuing kickoff gave the Spartans the ball at midfield, and six rushing plays later, Buffoni scored from the 5 to tie the game.
After a Mount Greylock fumble gave Monument the ball at midfield again midway through the second quarter, an 11-yard Perry pass to Truden and a 15-yard penalty against the hosts put the ball at the 16. Buffoni took it the rest of the way in three runs that gave Monument its first lead, and Truden ran in the conversion to make it 14-6.
Halftime ended the next Monument possession, but on its first try of the third quarter, it went 51 yards after another Mount Greylock fumble. Buffoni scored on a 1-yard plunge, and Truden's conversion made it 22-6 with 3:51 left in the third.
Mount Greylock answered, thanks largely to another big play by Storie, who took the kickoff 53 yards to the Monument 37. Eight plays later, Altiere hit Condon for the TD that made it a one-score game with 10:52 left in the fourth.
Mount Greylock's defense, which struggled against Buffoni in the first half, stiffened in the fourth quarter, forcing three Monument punts. But Monument did even better, allowing just one first down in three Mount Greylock possessions, the last ending in Truden's INT.
Mount Greylock coach Andrew Agostini said he was confident putting the game on the right arm of Altiere, a senior who has been starting since he came off the bench freshman year to start in the postseason of the Mounties' Western Mass Super Bowl season of 2012.
"I have a quarterback who can throw and receivers who can catch," Agostini said. "You certainly saw some of that tonight. ... I trust Brodie more than anybody. I trust him to put the ball in the air, I trust him to make the right decisions. I trust him to lead us.
"The fact that we threw it that many times, I'm OK with that."
Mount Greylock travels to Pittsfield next Friday, as Monument hosts Taconic.