HS Football: Athol edges Smith Vocational for first win

For the Recorder
Published: 11/8/2019 10:49:39 PM
Modified: 11/8/2019 10:49:24 PM

ATHOL — The comeback started a week ago when the Athol High School football team had a forced bye week because there were not enough players to field a team.

There were just enough Red Raiders this week, and the three seniors celebrated their first win of the season, beating Smith Vocational 34-32 Friday.

“If ever 12 kids deserved the victory, it was tonight,” coach Bill LaRose said. “We faced adversity the entire year with our numbers, and to come out with a win on senior night, it was special, and I’m glad we came out with a win. I’m glad they got to taste victory once this year.”

Athol got off to a quick start and it looked like the three senior Red Raiders would indeed celebrate their first win of the season. The Red Raiders dominated the first period and had the lone score in the period but Smith Vocational rallied with a pair of unanswered scores and had the advantage at the half. Quarterback Caleb Cox and running back Jacob Smith carried much of the load for the undermanned Red Raiders, who just last week were unable to field a complete lineup. With only an extra man on the sideline, Athol could have rolled over after Smith answered with two quick scores but there was still a lot of fight left in the dog.

First, Viking Chevron Wall knotted the score with a three-yard plunge and with great field position after recovering the ensuing onside kick, Jonathan Castro then unleashed a Punishing ground game with seven carries, scoring from one yard out to give Smith the lead. The Red Raiders would not give in however, as they evened the score on Cox’ second touchdown run, this one a nifty scamper from 22 yards out. The Vikings would again counter, with Adrian Loud connecting with Wall on a 56-yard scoring pass just before the intermission but the Red Raiders regrouped were far from done.

Despite the temperature dropping, things heated up after the break. Smith opened up a 12-point lead, but Athol answered with a pair of Cox touchdowns, as he snuck one in from the one and connected with Jacob Smith for a 32-yard strike. The pair teamed up to successfully converted the extra point to give the Red Raiders the lead once more.

Athol and Smith both added another score, but the Red Raiders defense stepped up and held off a last-minute Viking comeback to seal the win.

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