Thunder comes crashing into Athol

  • Mason Barrieau ran the ball well last season against Turners Falls last season but the Thunder cruised to a victory. Staff file photo

Staff Writer 
Published: 9/13/2018 8:12:15 PM

With Turners Falls coming to town on Friday, the Athol football team knows it will need to bring its best game to O’Brien field.

“They are a perennial contender in the Intercounty League,” Athol coach Bill LaRose said. “They always have been and always will be.”

The Turners Falls’ roster got a boost this season with a co-op with Pioneer Valley Regional School.   

The positive aspects of the Athol football team's opener against Narragansett could translate into a much better game against Turners Falls.

Turners Falls had a very hard time stopping the run against Lee last week. The Thunder gave up 243 yards rushing.

Mason Barrieau and Keegan Lutz should have space to run after running effectively against a stout Narragansett defense. The running back duo combined for 24 carries and 157 yards last week against the Warriors.

On offense, the Thunder can attack in multiple ways from many, many formations. After seeing Narragansett's Damian Comeau pick apart Athol's secondary through the air, the Thunder could use that information to keep the ball in the air against the Red Raiders.

“They give you different looks, but they do the same thing,” LaRose said. “They like to run the ball up the middle and run play-action and boot with the quarterback.”

The Red Raiders have a counter to possible play-action, as the team underwent some schematic changes to better defend the pass this week.

“Our kids just didn’t seem to read things very well,” LaRose said. “I hope our deep men don’t get burned like they did last week. We’ve been working really hard.”

Turners Falls quarterback Kyle Dodge had a rough opener against Lee's defense with three interceptions. He did show some positive flashes, including a 50-yard touchdown to Andy Craver early in the game.

“The kid (Dodge) can throw the ball,” LaRose said. “We have to defend the pass better than we did last week.”

Some Athol players were dealing with the flu during the week of practice but everyone seems to be back feeling better for Friday.

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