Raiders seek third straight victory against Smith Voke
ATHOL — After back-to-back victories, the Athol High School football team is beaming with confidence. They will have one more crack at a confidence boost heading into Thanksgiving Day when Smith Voke comes to town tonight.
“Things are definitely better than they were a couple of weeks ago and we’re looking for a third win in a row,” said Athol head coach Bill LaRose.
The Raiders are coming off victories over Greenfield (32-0) and Palmer (26-10) while the Vikings (2-9) are on the heels of a 39-8 loss to a previously winless Drury squad. Palmer defeated Smith Voke 33-14 which should give Athol fans plenty of reason for optimism.
“Last week was as big of a win as we’ve had,” said LaRose. “We were only up 10-3 heading into the fourth quarter and our kids dug down and pulled out a big win.”
Athol’s young running backs have provided a spark in recent weeks. Freshman Mason Barrieau, sophomores Nick Casella and Robbie Nelson and junior Tyler Lutz have all experienced success in recent weeks. They’ll be running behind Mike Welcome, Jared Cormier, Greg Moore, Ryley Saisa and Noah Giuffre.
Junior quarterback Trever Mousseau will do the handing off. Mousseau has made some plays on the run with tight end Bryce Melanson and receiver Carter Amadon his top targets.
Defensively, the Raiders have recovered from a disappointing performance at Belchertown in Week 7 and turned in strong efforts each of the last two weeks. The Vikings are averaging 13.8 points per contest and are led by backs Manny Madera-Therrien and Jared Pease.
Athol will look to bottle up the Vikings with defensive tackles Welcome and Jordan Chapalonis leading the way. Evan Saisa and Ryley Saisa are the defensive ends. Matt Winters and Moore are the inside linebackers with Casella and Nelson on the perimeter.
Barrieau, Amadon and Sergio Morales make up the secondary.