Will Geneway helps Wahconah football hold off South Hadley

Published: 10/7/2016 11:59:31 PM

DALTON — Wahconah tried to pull away from the South Hadley football team the moment Dane Campbell returned the opening kickoff to the South Hadley 6.

“How ‘bout it?” Wahconah coach Gary Campbell said. “Get a kickoff 60, 70 yards, get a touchdown, that helps.”

Conner Noyes scored the first of Wahconah’s seven touchdowns two plays later to start a 57-25 win Friday at Wahconah Regional High School.

Michael Pratt and Teddy Doyle pulled back on the reins as hard as they could, a quarterback let loose in his first varsity start and a two-way battering ram trying to stay with an unbeaten league rival on the road.

Pratt, a junior, threw for 136 yards and three scores, including a 43-yarder to Marcus Larrier to tie the game at 7 with 4 minutes, 5 seconds left in the first quarter.

“We knew he was going to be a threat, and he was,” Doyle said.

Pratt started in place of Ryan Mooney, who was out with an injury.

“A lot of it has to do with the way Mike’s able to throw,” South Hadley coach Scott Taylor said. “We see some things on film that we try to exploit.”

That was as close as the Tigers got to the Warriors.

Wahconah (5-0, 2-0 Suburban North) quarterback Will Geneway made sure of it.

He threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for 48 yards. His 49-yard pass to Connor Washburn (148 yards receiving) set up Wahconah’s second score, a 4-yard run by Tanner Hastings.

A 41-yard Geneway to Hastings connection put Wahconah up 22-7 with 9:19 to halftime.

“He can flat-out throw it, and when he does, he puts it on the money,” Gary Campbell said. “He’s a heck of a quarterback. I think he’s one of the best around. We’re going to ride him, that’s for sure.”

South Hadley (3-2, 1-1 Suburban North) played most of the game without its leading rusher, running back Sean O’Grady, who left the game with 17.1 seconds remaining in the first half.

O’Grady caught a pass and crossed the plane of the end zone but lost the ball during the course of the hit, and the pass was ruled incomplete. He stayed on the field for several minutes while a golf cart and eventually a stretcher were brought to the far pylon.

“After he scored the touchdown?” Taylor said facetiously. “He just landed on his hip. His hip was sore from last week. As a precaution they sent him to the hospital because there was some pain.”

Pratt threw three incomplete passes with a Wahconah penalty mixed in before the Tigers went to halftime trailing 29-7.

They came out throwing in the third quarter.

Pratt completed seven passes on South Hadley’s opening drive, including a 5-yard touchdown to Steven Starattion that made it 29-13.

Doyle (14 rushes, 121 yards) brought the Tigers even closer two plays later on the defensive end. He took a fumble back 82 yards for the score and a 29-19 deficit with 6:06 to go in the third quarter.

Geneway answered that score and Pratt’s next touchdown with scoring passes of his own. He found Connor Mathews for 53 yards over the middle to go up 43-25 with 11:40 and ice the game.

“He’s a talented kid,” Doyle said.

South Hadley (3-2, 1-1 Suburban North) has lost two out of three games and will continue its league schedule next week with Pittsfield at home.

“We gotta get healthy. We had nine guys out. Some were starters, some weren’t,” Taylor said. “Nine guys on a roster of 40, that’s a significant amount.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.

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