Monument Mountain crushed Drury, 26-0, on Saturday afternoon. For more photos, click here to view the slideshow.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass — The Monument Mountain football team has experienced a ton of growth and maturity this season compared to years past when they struggled to find even one win each season. Changing the culture of a program takes time and often times the team will experience a slow start and the Spartans game on Saturday afternoon was no different as they started slow but found their stride after halftime, running over Drury 26-0.
Monument head coach Bill LaGrant felt that the Spartans bye week last weekend attributed to the slow start.
"The bye week is the toughest week of the season to coach," LaGrant said. "The kids don't want to be at practice. They want to be looking forward to a game. So to keep them focused. Polish up on some things that we needed to do and then come out and be crisp in the first quarter is real difficult. And we came out sluggish."
Monument's first possession of the game looked promising as they completed four first downs, driving down to the Blue Devil 33 before having to punt. Then after a defensive stop, disaster struck on their second possession when they lost a fumble at midfield. Drury was unable to take advantage as a 38-yard field goal attempt had plenty of distance but missed right.
The Spartans and Blue Devils both went three and out on each of their next possessions and finally Monument got something with just 1:17 left before half. The Spartans got a great punt return from their own 30 yard line all the way up to the Drury 37. A roughing the passer penalty on the Blue Devils moved Monument up to the 22 and two plays later senior Peter Oggiani plunged in from three yards out putting the Spartans up 8-0 at half.
That was just the start for Oggiani as he found the end zone two more times in the second half to give him three rushing touchdowns on the day. Oggiani finished with 91 rushing yards after putting up just three in the first half.
"One of our main running backs Malik Wilbon was not able to play today so we had a couple young guys, Mark Leon-Duque and Terrence Powell, really step up and block well for me. You know I couldn't have done what I did without them," Oggiani said. "We got off to a slow start but we were resilient and the line blocked great. I couldn't be more proud of these guys."
Oggriani is soaking in his senior season.
"It's all I can ask for. I mean when I came in as a freshman that was my goal to really try to turn things around," Oggriani said. "We had some years where we won a couple games or whatever but I think this year the starters are doing great and we have a big freshman class with a lot of potential. It's great to see that the future is really bright and I think we are going to finish strong this year."
Drury played a tough physical game but penalties and the Monument defense was too much to overcome.
"They've had some tough sledding," said LaGrant about the Blue Devils. "But they are a good ball club and they played well today. I knew they would play tough today but I don't think our kids expected them to be the force they were."
"I applauded the kids after the game for their resiliency," added LaGrant. "To be able to hang in there until we could get some things working and finally punch the ball in a couple times."