NORTH ADAMS, Mass — After a quick score by Wahconah(2-1) on their first drive, Drury(3-0) scored 26 unanswered points and held off a late Warrior surge to secure their third victory of the season 26-21, Saturday afternoon at home.
Drury junior Nolan Bird had a huge interception right after the half to kill Wahconah's drive and stop the momentum from swinging the Warriors way. "We had a nice drive going, I thought we could get away with a pass, and when it got picked off, it gave them the momentum and kind of blew up in my face." said Wahconah head coach Steve Stengl about Bird's pick. Two drives later, Bird caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from junior Jose Melendez to make the score 26-7.
Drury looked like they would run away with the game, but Wahconah wasn't going to go easy. The Warriors got the ball back on their own 46, handed off to senior captain Stephen Shea and he rumbled for 50 yards to the Drury four yard line. Quarterback Lane Grogan scooted in for the score on the next play, making it 26-13.
The Blue Devils went three and out with their possession, giving the Warriors the ball back, down just 13 points and with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter. On fourth down, quarterback Grogan rolled out left looking to keep the Warrior drive alive, as he released the pass he was hit hard and the ball fell incomplete. Grogan stayed down after the play and was forced to leave the game because of a right arm injury.
Drury took over on Wahconah's 33-yard line. After three straight runs, the Blue Devils were faced with a fourth down and four. Melendez dropped back and hit Isiah Clark for a 17-yard gain, setting up first and goal on the 10. Wahconah's defense dug deep and stopped four straight Blue Devil attempts to score, giving their offense another shot at closing the Drury lead.
With Grogan out of the game, sophomore back-up quarterback Darrow Brown took over the Warrior offense. Deep in their own territory, facing a fourth and five with hope diminishing, Brown dropped back and connected with senior Zack Morey for a 82-yard touchdown. Shea slammed in the two-point conversion to make the score 26-21. The momentum was shifting back to the Warriors side.
A failed onsides kick and late hit penalty moved Drury up to the Wahconah 36. Up by only five, the Blue Devils weren't safe and looked to seal the victory with a score. Melendez got it going with a 23-yard scamper, but the Drury offense fizzled out and turned the ball over on downs. Giving the Warriors one final shot to win the game, needing just six points.
With their starting quarterback out, it was tough for the Warriors to get things going. They sent a few screen passes to Morey, hoping for the senior to make a big play, but were unsuccessful and they turned the ball over on downs.
When talking to Drury head coach Bill Bryce after the game he said that he felt his team played well at times but slipped up at others. "I told them if they want to be a championship caliber team, then they have to put teams away. Wahconah played their hearts out and I give them credit. They played really hard even after their quarterback went down, but when we have the ball inside the twenty in the fourth quarter, we need to put the ball in the end zone."
Shea had a strong day for the Warriors, as usual, carrying the ball 19 times for 103 yards and a score. He also added one catch for 12 yards. Receiver Morey had a great day as well, hauling in six catches for 128 yards, with a good chunk coming from the 82-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
Drury got production from all areas of their team. Melendez threw for two touchdowns and 113 yards. Senior Slayter Aubin accounted for 47 of them and a touchdown, while Clark had three catches for 40 yards. Alex Bush was effective on the ground, toting the rock 27 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
"I told our kids to not be disappointed, they played their hearts out," said Stengl, "This was one of the hardest hitting football games I've seen in a long time. It was a typical Wahconah-Drury brawl, two teams just smashing each other, and see who's the last one standing."
Click HERE for pictures from the game!