DALTON, Mass. - The Wahconah and Taconic football teams played under the lights on Friday night in an important league match up.
Wahconah entered the game undefeated and widely considered the favorite.
Taconic had other ideas.
The game was well played from both sides but favored the passing game of the Taconic (5-1), which prevailed, 28-18.
Quarterback Jake McNeice had a great night throwing the football and his wide receiver Devon Walker was the beneficiary, both went for over 100 yards on the night.
Wahconah (5-1) received contributions from quarterback Will Geneway and strong rushing games from Tanner Hastings and Andrew Carlson.
The scoring started with a Wahconah 17-yard field goal, halfway through the first quarter. The teams then each turned the ball over on their following series.
Taconic fumbled the ball on the 50-yard line and then Wahconah turned the ball over on an unsuccessful fourth down attempt giving Taconic the ball back. On the next Taconic series, the team was forced to punt. The Taconic long snapper launched a ball over the punters head, the punter picked the ball up and threw it down field the Taconic gunner who was interfered with by a Wahconah defensive back resulting in a Taconic first down.
After the penalty the visitors scored on a 50-yard pass from Jake McNeice to Devon Walker for Taconic’s first score of the game. Wahconah got the ball back and drove down the field eating much of the clock. This drive ultimately lead to a 7-yard rushing touchdown from Will Geneway. The first half finished Wahconah up, 11-7.
The second half started quickly when the Braves were able to score twice early in the third quarter. On the first play from scrimmage after the half the Braves scored a 75-yard pass from McNeice to Walker.
The second touchdown was a 7-yard rush by Jake Galliher.
Wahconah answered back when Dane Campbell returned a kickoff at the end of the third.
Heading to the fourth, Taconic led, 21-18.
Wahconah had an early chance to tie the ballgame with a field goal, but the attempt was pulled wide. The Braves received the ball and chewed almost all the clock before scoring another touchdown on a 5-yard rush from Galliher.
Wahconah’s last chance ended with an interception. Taconic’s Lucien Almeida picked off Will Geneway as the Warriors tried to stage a comeback.
“This was a statement win,” said coach Jim Ziter “This is a statement win for this school, this program, and these kids. It’s not easy to play from behind especially when it comes to Wahconah.”
Ziter commented on the game plan coming into the game, “Well, they stop us (Taconic) from running in-between the tackles so we took to the air a lot more than usual. We had a great game from McNeice and the wide receivers and great blocking from the line.”
Taconic plays South Hadley at Wahconah Park next week.
Wahconah plays Chicopee at home next week.