H.S. Football: Digging deeper into Week 1’s slate

  • Greenfield’s Trevor Kuchieski (12) jumps in front of Chicopee receiver Nathan Serrano (8) for an interception in the first quarter Friday night at Vets Field in Greenfield. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/13/2021 7:22:11 PM
Modified: 9/13/2021 7:22:10 PM

Talking to local high school football coaches throughout the summer, one constant theme surrounded the uncertainty of opponents for the impending season.

As Athol, Franklin Tech, Frontier, Greenfield and Mahar only played each other during the Fall II season, it was tough to get a read on how opponents who didn’t play a full schedule would look two years after the last time they saw them.

Since none of us are Nostradamus, it was going to take the first slate of games this past Friday to get a feel for what we’ll see going forward. Here are some early season thoughts heading into Week 2.

Greenfield picks up where it left off

The Green Wave were the unquestioned Fall II winners in the Recorder area, going unbeaten while not allowing a single point in four games. It was a great start for the cooperative program between Greenfield, Turners Falls and Mohawk Trail, as the Green Wave looked like a team that could have made a postseason run had a statewide playoff been contested.

The key questions this year for the Green Wave center around replacing key cogs from last year’s squad. Quarterback Shawn Davenport, running back Marcus Sanders and fullback Cam Lococo were responsible for a lot of the Greenfield production in 2020, but all were seniors.

So far, so good. David Carey switched from wide receiver to quarterback and showed off the arm talent that’s made him a great center fielder in baseball on Friday against Chicopee, completing 7-of-8 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Carey formed a connection with Brendan Driscoll, who was on the receiving end of five of those passes, with Driscoll eclipsing 147 yards and a touchdown in the 24-6 victory over the Pacers.

The Carey-Driscoll connection should give Western Mass. foes problems throughout the year, and with a defense that doesn’t seem to have missed a beat, watch out for the Green Wave this season.

Franklin Tech gets in win column

“We aren’t going 0-5 again,” Eagles coach Joe Gamache told me last week at practice.

Indeed they won’t, as Franklin Tech dug itself out of an early 14-0 hole to complete a 22-14 comeback win over McCann Tech on Saturday in North Adams.

After the game, the Eagles mentioned their ability to wear out the Hornets. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering Franklin Tech has over 50 players on its roster, and with so many Western Mass. schools low on numbers, having a deep bench is a massive advantage for the Eagles.

Gamache was excited about the stable of running backs at his disposal going into the year and he used them all on Saturday, with five different players carrying the rock. Freshman Josiah Little — listed on the Tech roster at 5-foot-3 and 121 pounds — looks like a mini-Darren Sproles with his blend of size and speed on the field. He had a big day Saturday, leading the Eagles with 65 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. I’m looking forward to seeing how he gets deployed throughout the season.

Athol, Mahar blanked in openers

It’s not a surprise that it was going to take some time for Mahar to find its legs after graduating nearly its entire starting lineup from a season ago.

The Senators have more middle school players on their roster than high school players, which could set up the program nicely for the future but is not exactly ideal in 2021. Watching them fall to Easthampton 42-0 on Thursday, Mahar will have to do a better job blocking up front for quarterback Kaleb Lemcke. The junior took a beating, but showed his toughness by bouncing back up after each hit. It’s going to be a work in progress for the Senators throughout the year.

Athol might have fallen to Drury 28-0 (who knows what the score had been if the game wasn’t called with seven minutes to play in the third quarter after the lights went out at O’Brien Field) but there were positives to take out of it for the Bears. The first is quarterback Caleb Cox is going to be a player, with multiple deep shots called back by penalty or dropped on plays that could have changed the complexion of Friday’s contest.

I’m sure tackling and run defense will be an emphasis at Athol practice this week after Blue Devil running back Louis Guillotte ran for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone.

Springfield Central loses a shootout

The best team in Western Mass. is Springfield Central, and it’s probably not close. Getting to see the Golden Eagles in action against perrenial Eastern Mass. power Central Catholic gave a good look at how they’ll fare across the state. After coming across the state for a season-opening game, the Raiders gave the Eagles a warm welcome to Div. 1 with a 67-52 win. Central Catholic running back Ayden Pereira scored 10(!) touchdowns.

With MaxPreps No. 1 ranked team Catholic Memorial coming to town to play an Amherst squad (that just lost to Westfield 44-0 on Friday) next weekend, it’s shaping up to be a rough start for Western Mass. football in the new statewide format.


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