AMHERST, Mass. -- Pittsfield senior Evan Bossio kicked a 22-yard field goal with 3.6 seconds left to give the Generals a 24-21 win over Amherst on Friday night.
“What a great job by Evan Bossio,” Pittsfield coach Brian Jezewski said. “Missed an extra point earlier, didn’t get rattled. Banged it home for the win.
“This kid’s solid. He’s a senior. He’s a four-year starter for us. And we have a bunch of four-year starters. When the going gets tough, these kids make the plays.”
Pitsfield came back from a 21-7 deficit late in the third quarter to win its sixth game of the year and, perhaps, wrap up the No. 1 seed in next week’s Western Massachusetts Division 5 playoffs.
The seed will be decided when the committee sets the playoff bracket.
Friday’s game was decided by a wild fourth quarter that saw PIttsfield (6-2) take advantage of two Amherst turnovers and drive 55 yards for the game-winning kick on the strength of junior Sam Sala.
Sala ran for 142 yards after becoming Pittsfield’s No. 1 option when Devon Tucker (102 yards, one touchdown) sat down after aggravating an ankle injury returning a second half kickoff.
It was the second week in a row that Tucker was bothered by the sore ankle. Last week, he had to be helped off the field after scoring a touchdown against Taconic but returned to play a strong game. On Friday night, he never carried the ball again, but did get on the field for special teams.
After the game, Jezewski said Tucker would be fine.
“He’s a tough, resilient kid,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons. Sam Sala is a nose tackle, backup fullback, played JV fullback his freshman and sophomore year. This kid has heart of a lion, and we love him. He’s a tough kid.”
A week ago, Jezewski said the same sorts of thing about Tyrell Boire, who stepped in under center when senior QB Chad Shade went down with an injury. Shade returned against the Hurricanes (1-7), running for 52 yards and throwing for 51 and a touchdown.
But the story of the night offensively was Sala, who scored from the 1 with 58 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 21-13.
After Bossio missed the extra point, Pittsfield’s defense forced Amherst to punt at midfield to start the fourth quarter.
The Generals were forced to punt themselves, but a fumble on Amherst’s first play gave Pittsfield the ball the plus-29. Four plays later, Shade hit Boire from the 1 to get the visitors within two points. Sala ran in the conversion to tie it, 21-21.
A short kickoff and a modest return gave Amherst’s offense the ball at its 47, but after making a first down, the ‘Canes fumbled the ball back at the Pittsfield 40 with 3:32 on the clock.
Sala carried the ball seven times for 35 tough yards, and Shade had a couple of carries for 31 to get the ball down to the five with time running down.
Out of a timeout with 27 seconds left, Pittsfield (with no timeouts) tried a third down running play that gained nothing and then rushed to get its field goal unit on. Amherst called timeout with 7.9 seconds left, setting the stage for Bossio's heroics.
“That was actually a really good thing for us,” Bossio said of the timeout. “We had to rush to get the block out there. It was going to be really close if we had to pull it off without the timeout.
“But that timeout -- I had to think about [the kick], but it worked out in the end.”
See video of Bossio's game-winning kick on iBerkshires.com’s Facebook page.