The Western Mass Sectional Finals did not disappoint on Friday night. Six teams battling for three Western Mass titles. It featured two incredible finishes in the final minutes. Now, the state semi-final match-ups are set.
DIVISION II SECTIONAL FINAL: (2) Longmeadow vs. (1) Central
In Division II, the defending Western Mass champion Longmeadow Lancers were hoping to upend the one-seed Central Golden Eagles at Westfield State University. The Golden Eagles came out strong in a back-and-forth game, taking a 21-13 halftime lead, after a touchdown run from Tyreque Estrada-Crapps. They carried that momentum into the second half with a touchdown pass from Tank Walker to Coreese Everett to put Central up two scores.
Longmeadow responded with a touchdown run from Dominic Santaniello and a two-point conversion put the Lancers within seven in the third. As the rain started the pour, the Lancers defense stopped Central cold, putting the ball back in the hands of quarterback Scott Elder. A strong run from Max Rye set up another touchdown run for Santaniello. From there, an extra-point would tie the game, but the Lancers were going for the win.
Santaniello dove in for two points and the Longmeadow sideline erupted, anticipating a come-from-behind victory. But the Golden Eagles had other plans.
Central had more than two minutes to orchestrate a game-winning drive, but it only took one play. Walker sent a screen pass to Everett who took it up the sideline for a 59-yard touchdown, turning the tides in the Golden Eagles' favor. However, the Lancers still had roughly two minutes to work with to take back the lead.
The Lancers went back to Santaniello, who ripped through the defense for a huge gain, giving the Lancers a chance. Longmeadow worked their way inside the 10 yard-line, but sputtered through three downs. On fourth down, nearing the goal line, Elder fumbled the hand-off, fell on it, and the game was over.
Central claims the D-II Western Mass Title with a 36-29 win, and will face Nashoba, the D-II Central Mass Champions, in the state semi-final. They'll face off Saturday, Nov. 21 at Westfield State University at 2:00 p.m.
DIVISION IV SECTIONAL FINAL: (3) Chicopee Comp vs. (1) Agawam
In Division IV, Agawam had been virtually untested all year. Averaging more than 44 points-per-game. Chicopee Comp gave the Brownies the best run for their money in the regular season, putting up 20 points, the most Agawam allowed all season.
Both teams traded scores to start the D-IV Western Mass. title game at West Springfield High School, before the Colts took the lead before the half. Kenneth Mitchell lined up at quarterback and found Cam Kagan for the score.
The Brownies stuck to their game-plan in the second half, turning to running backs Nick Scuderi and Chris Morassi. Morassi was the first to break through with a weaving touchdown run to help the Brownies keep pace.
However, quarterback Trevor Johnson was relentless, finding Mason Labonte for a touchdown in the third to take back the lead. The back-and-forth continued with another Morassi touchdown run. But they didn't celebrate for long, as Johnson came back to hit Cory Heath for another touchdown, putting the Colts up 36-28.
Then, after trading touchdowns, the teams traded turnovers. Morassi fumbled, giving the Colts a chance at a huge touchdown. Instead, Jacob Root intercepted Johnson's pass to give it back to the Brownies.
Eventually, the teams worked themselves to a 36-36 tie with just more than 30 seconds to play. The Colts could have let the clock run down to overtime, but they decided to take their shots at the game-winner. That decision is one the Colts won't soon forget.
Johnson dropped back with 15 seconds to play, but pitched it to Kagan. He launched it deep down the sideline to Dave Pedrasza who avoided tacklers and got into the end zone with seconds to play. With that touchdown, the Colts claimed their improbable title.
Chicopee Comp wins the D-IV Western Mass Final 44-36. They advance to the State Semi-Finals to face Grafton, the Central Mass Champions in Division IV, on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Doyle Field in Leominster at 2:00 p.m.
DIVISION V SECTIONAL FINAL: (3) Taconic vs. (1) Hoosac Valley
In Division V, undefeated Hoosac Valley was looking to continue their incredible season against a tough Taconic team, which was coming in on a five-game win streak.
Hoosac Valley's high-octane offense had been tough to stop all season, but the Braves proved they were up to the task.
Avery Hall started the scoring for Hoosac Valley, taking in a three-yard touchdown run.
Taconic answered in the second quarter, getting a touchdown from Devon Walker, along with a two-point conversion. The Braves seemed to be in good shape heading into halftime, managing to contain the Hurricanes offense. But Hoosac Valley broke through when they needed to.
Matt Koperniak took a long run in for the score less than two minutes before the end of the half, giving the Hurricanes the lead going into the locker room.
Defenses took over in the second half, but the Braves fell short on the offensive end. After a scoreless third quarter, Hall added another touchdown run, giving the Hurricanes all they needed to bring home the title.
Hoosac Valley stays perfect, defeating Taconic 22-8 to claim the D-V Western Mass Title. They will face Northbridge, the winner of the Division V Sectional Tournament in Central Mass. That state semi-final will be played Saturday, Nov. 21 at Doyle Field in Leominster at 11:00 a.m.
DIVISION VI SECTIONAL FINAL: (4) McCann Tech vs. (2) Lee
This Saturday Division VI final featured the two-seed Lee Wildcats, who rallied to a 4-4 record to close out their regular season. They have carried that momentum into the playoffs and their defense put up another strong showing against four-seed McCann Tech.
The Hornets were fresh off of their upset victory against one-seed Turners Falls in the sectional semi-finals. They were hoping to utilize a strong rushing attack, behind running back Dakota Bolte, on a blustery day at Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire.
McCann Tech managed to stymie the Wildcats ground game, limiting Ryan Ruef and Nick Castillo to less than 40 yards.
They trailed 6-0 in the final minutes, while driving into Lee territory. However, their drive stalled on an attempted trick play and they turned it over on downs.
Lee comes away with a 13-0 shutout victory, winning the Division VI Western Mass Title. They move on to the State Semi-Finals to face St. Bernard's out of Fitchburg. That game will be played Saturday, Nov. 21 at Westfield State University at 11:00 a.m.
You can find all the highlights and scores in the video above, along with highlights from non-playoff games across Western Mass.