The undefeated record of the Turners Falls Indians football team faced the ultimate test in the Division IV-A Western Mass Championship. Facing undefeated Mount Greylock, Turners Falls was running out of time.
"I remember looking at Tionne," Turners Falls head coach Chris Lapointe recalled, "and I said, 'time to go win ourselves a championship.'"
Quarterback and captain Tionne Brown says fellow captain Ricky Craver came to him with an idea for the perfect play, with time running out and the Indians needing a score.
"I jogged over to coach and suggested it," Brown said, "and he said, 'run the play.' I got in the huddle and said, 'This is it right here, we've got to get it.'"
In the end, it helped Turners Falls score their last-second touchdown to Owen Ortiz, and Turners Falls claimed the Western Mass Title for the first time since 2013. But it was years of hard work from the Indians' 26-man roster that made that game-winning play possible.
Senior running back Quinn Doyle began playing football in 4th grade and the comradery that he's built with his teammates lasted them through good times and bad.
"I remember just being a freshman and seeing those seniors celebrate," Doyle recalled from the 2013 title, "it was amazing."
Brown, who is also a senior, says that first championship motivated them, but he was also inspired by their difficult defeats.
"My sophomore year, we went undefeated, went to the Western Mass Championship and we lost," Brown said, "it was kind of a heartbreaking loss. It was a big win to go on a revenge tour and get this one this year."
Coach Lapointe says it's the teamwork and dedication that has made this team so good, but the support from the community has played an integral role.
"Between the spaghetti dinners and the various raffle prizes that are donated to support our team," he said, "it's a great little atmosphere."
Now, they hope to go where no Turners Falls team has gone before.
"We're going into pretty much uncharted waters right now," Doyle said. "I think if we went to the state finals, it would be unheard of for some team around here."
Turners Falls will be put to the test Saturday at Doyle Field in Leominster, when they take on the undefeated Maynard Tigers. Kick-off is set for 6:00 p.m.
Video of the Western Mass D-IVA Title Game courtesy of iBerkshires.com.